Homeschooling at sea

Deciding to homeschool at sea

When Lisa’s parents decided in 2021 to sail their catamaran from Europe to the Caribbean, they needed a solution for continuing their daughter’s education and started to consider homeschooling at sea. After meeting a British family who were already successfully homeschooling, they realised it was possible to sail and study at the time. After researching options, in stepped Wolsey Hall Oxford.

“We were looking for a program with a clear structure and guidance of real teachers,” explains Agnes, Lisa’s mum. “Also the feeling of being part of an actual school felt great! If we move to land life again it will allow us to easily enrol in any international school.”

Our Travelling Family, the Binedells

Wolsey Hall Oxford has many families who homeschool while travelling.

Studying on sailing adventures

“We started with Year 3 in September 2021 when many other children started with their new school year, so we were able to sync it with school holidays of friends and family. Working with a clearly visible timetable showed what was expected throughout the week. Every lesson plan took 45 minutes and I think it is enough to keep focus, especially for the younger children who can’t work independently yet. We created a Whatsapp group with other parents to keep in contact and share information about specific assignments. The challenge, while homeschooling at sea, was mainly to find a steady internet connection so we were able to use all the apps and links during lessons. When we had to travel for a longer period and were offline, we prepared the lessons in advance, and adjusted our timetable according to the crossings. When back on land, we could continue with the regular lessons again. The support from tutors has been great. Quick answers if we had questions, help with some alternative resources or worksheets to explain some subjects better – this all gave us the confidence to succeed.”

Lisa homeschooling at sea
Homeschooling sailor Lisa

Why choose Wolsey Hall?

“No regular school could offer us assistance during our travels so Wolsey Hall was the solution for us. A professional institute, internationally recognised and offering the flexibility that was required to join this Atlantic crossing. This crossing has hit so many subjects during our journey. Geography assignments about Martinique and Grenada gave Lisa so much more knowledge about the people who live there, the history and economic challenges. Also the current presence of wildlife at sea and on land made her feel aware of what is expected from people to prevent bigger problems such as climate change and poverty. Different currency was used in Maths classes, weather and navigation with a chart and compass was amazing! These things she would never have learnt or understood so well in a classroom. Also, for 10 weeks a British teacher joined us from Grenada to help Lisa with her reading and writing skills. This worked out so well. Aliyah gave her so much confidence!”

“We have sailed from the Mediterranean down to the Canary Islands to cross the Atlantic Ocean to St. Lucia. From there we have visited Martinique, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Bonaire. After the hurricane season in January we will sail up to the British Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Florida and hopefully we will arrive next summer in New York, where we can anchor next to the Statue of Liberty! All this has been made possible with homeschooling.”

The Wolsey Hall community

“We try to join in with at least one club a month in the Primary Community. They are fun, and even sometimes other boat school kids join as a group activity. Lisa’s favourite was how to draw a sloth and creating an optical illusion. Baking is also something she really enjoys. Luckily, we have a fully equipped galley kitchen on board.”

Homeschooling at sea
Homeschooling at sea

Advice for homeschooling at sea

“My advice to other travelling families, and families homeschooling at sea, is to say that preparation is key! Local WiFi is not always reliable so plan before crossing. Also look at your child’s needs and interests. And very importantly, don’t be so hard on yourself as a parent. We are not teachers but with the support of Wolsey Hall you will always feel you succeed! We are happy to continue into Year 4.”

Our Travelling Family

Musican Cedar is homeschooling with Wolsey Hall

Cedar’s Story

Justine’s Story