Boat Schooling Aboard Noeta

(Hailey designed our school logo)

Today, September 4th, is our first day of boat schooling!! We had to wait until the afternoon to begin coursework, because today at 10:00 am we got a private tour of the Pixar Campus in Emeryville, California (Thanks to Jrod and KJ!) One of the joys of boat schooling is getting to do things like that! So Noeta Academy didn't start until 1:00 today.

After 20 years of teaching public school, all grade levels and nearly all subjects, one would think I'm fairly prepared to teach my own 2 teenagers on board our boat. But it's taken a lot of research to figure out the law and how I can best prepare Jack (Freshman - age 14) and Hailey (Junior - age 16) for life and education post high school.

So we will be Boatschooling with some Worldschooling mixed in. 

Since they will not be attending a public or private school in Washington, and we are still Washington residents, the kids need to follow Washington state's Homeschool laws. 

The Law (in Washington State):

1) All children over 8 MUST attend some form of school 

2) The parent must qualify by having 45 quarter units at the college level, OR attend a parent qualifying course, OR work weekly with a certified teacher, OR be deemed sufficiently qualified by the superintendent. Since I am a certified teacher, I am legally qualified.

3) The parent must complete an Intent to Homeschool form and submit it with their home school district, relieving the district from its responsibilities. This must be done annually.

4) There are 11 required subjects that must be included. The subjects are reading, writing, spelling, language, math, science, social studies, history, health, occupational education, and art and music appreciation.
These do not have to be taught separately and no length of course is specified for each. A unit study on Shakespeare could include reading, writing, spelling, science, math, art and social studies.

5) Students must participate in annual testing.Testing can be accomplished one of two ways:
  1. Non-test Assessments – an assessment of the student’s academic progress is written by a Washington State certified teacher who is currently working in the field of education.
  2. Standardized Testing – a standardized achievement test approved by the State Board of Education is administered annually to the child by a qualified individual.
Since Jack and Hailey are in high school, they will be taking the PSAT, SAT and ACT as their standardized testing. These test scores do not need to be reported to anyone in the state. Of course, we will be sending them to colleges.

6) Records must be kept of assessments, immunizations and any other educational activities. Again, these are private and would only be needed if there are plans to return to public school.

That's it! I was a little shocked that there wasn't more oversight. We will make sure that we are on track to complete all courses that colleges want to see (foreign languages, AP courses, sequence of math and science etc), but there is no specific coursework that needs to be completed- just subjects.

Also not a requirement are a diploma and graduation. This one really surprised me. But if you think about it, colleges don't ask for a diploma, only a transcript, and I will make that. Graduation is simply when you finish your coursework (even though we have turned it into a huge event including professional photographs, huge parties and a 3 hour event in robes). So while I will create diplomas for our kids and we will certainly celebrate graduations, they will be non traditional in every sense.

The Program - Power Homeschool:

There are virtually thousands of online educational programs out there.The program Jack and Hailey will complete is called Power Homeschool. It is a video based online k-12 curriculum. We needed a program that was very flexible in its schedule and had access to advanced and a variety of coursework. The kids can work at their own pace, and Hailey even hopes to work quickly and graduate early. While they won't interact live with any teachers, that is where I will come in (hopefully).

Registering for courses at Starbucks because they have better wifi than the boat does.
Hailey: Geometry, AP Environmental Science, English, AP Psychology, Poetry, Song Production
Jack: Algebra 1, US History, Biology, English, Spanish 2, Coding, Health
(Notice Gilligan is helping.)

School Schedule:

It's amazing how much you can accomplish in much less time when there aren't 30 kids in a class, announcements, assemblies, substitutes, classroom drama, bells etc. We don't expect to spend nearly as much time in 'school' as we did at home. And there will be times we don't have 'class' because we are off exploring and learning from the world around us. This is still very flexible as we see what works for us...but here's what I'm thinking for starters:

  • 1.5 - 2 hours of Acellus- your choice of courses
  • 1 session of ‘extra mom choice’ course (20 -30 min)
  • 30 min of independent reading
  • 30 - 45 min choice elective  (songwriting, ukelele, game development, local cooking - their choice)

  • 30 min exercise

  • Weekly Blog writing & editing 

Other resources for education:

  • Literature - both classic and modern literature. Sometimes we will read from the same texts, other times it will vary. Their grandmother is a great reference for this topic.
  • Blog writing - Jack and Hailey will both be adding to the blog monthly, sharing from their perspective.
  • Outschool & Udemy - these are other great online resources that offer unique courses like "Writing stories through Dungeons and Dragons" and "Using Logic to Produce Jazz" even "Why it's Important to use Deodorant and Brush your Teeth!"
  • Conversational Spanish - daily practice with locals
  • Fitness - might be beach yoga, daily walks or snorkeling under the boat to scrape off barnacles
  • Local history and culture of wherever we are (museums, libraries, memorials etc)
  • Volunteer service - we will decide once we are in Mexico, but may include weekly beach clean up, rehabilitating spider monkeys or releasing sea turtles. 

Our Class Guidelines (may be edited still):

I know we don't have it all figured out and will need to make adjustments. I will revisit this article after a few months of boat schooling and let you know what's working and what isn't.


  1. Love the academy logo!! Alexa, your two hashtags are so true! What a good laugh I had (and it still happens when Nathan comes home--at least the dishes part). Sounds like you are all settling in...enjoy your "boat school" experience!


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