Year 2 of Boat School - Reflections on Year 1
Let me start by admitting that I failed a little last year as a teacher. As a retired teacher of nearly 20 years, I am used to reflecting on my teaching and making adjustments. If you'd like to see last year's plan, check out my post from 1 year ago. Best laid plans....
We did have an uncommon year, cruising both coasts of the US, moving to Mexico, adjusting to life as expats, and some health issues that required multiple flights to the US. But I don't like making excuses... I didn't live up to my own expectations as an educator. My kids checked all of the boxes necessary to meet state requirements and for college transcripts, but really they were just regurgitating information. There wasn't much deep critical thinking (other than perhaps which taco or tamale to choose). We missed out on a lot of reading and writing opportunities (much to my AP-English-Teacher-mom's horror), which are really the most important subjects of all, if considering college or being a well-read, educated human.
I found a great writing curriculum that focuses on history for Jack (his area of interest), Byline Writing at www.clearwaterpress.com, and a different one for Hailey with an emphasis on preparing for college writing, www.bravewriter.com . We'll see how it goes!
I've picked a novel for every month that covers all of the genres. Some are classical novels read in high school and others are more modern. Once we get together with other cruiser kids, we will hold a monthly book club to discuss and analyze the books and authors. It should be fun!
I don't want to short-change the amazing education they are getting out of life though. They are learning perseverance, problem solving skills, flexibility, communication skills and loads of patience.
So, we have adjusted our curriculum, found better resources and come up with a plan we can all work with. We also have a new Boat Education Plan (BEP - because we all know how much educators love acronyms). This BEP gives them plenty of freedom, but with much more oversight and direction from me (which I'm sure they love).