Now that we are out cruising, it is time to begin boat schooling 4-year-old Ethan. We are using an eclectic approach to boat schooling, which means we are not using any one program or curriculum.
Ethan is currently in preschool, so our focus now is on pre-reading, writing, and beginning math skills. We also focus on his interests, which currently are the solar system, human body, and anything mechanical.
Here is an example of Ethan’s writing. We use small writing dry erase boards found at the dollar store, along with dry erase markers. It is a reusable resource, plus takes up less space on the boat.
His printing and fine motor control skills are coming along nicely, as you can see. 6 months ago, he was still scribbling, so he has made wonderful progress.
Ethan likes to use playdoh, to cook and bake, and any art activity. Since we have been on Great Harbour Cay the last few weeks, Ethan has taken up golf, so that would count as Physical Education. Time in the ocean is another common physical activity:
At this age, you want to make it fun for the child. Early on, Ethan was not enjoying school time, so we stepped back and discovered ways to make the time more fun.
We have lots of books on board, also Ethan has a kindle reader filled with eBooks. Ethan prefers the physical books at this age. As we read to him, he can make the connection of words reading left to right. We will on occasion use educational apps, including the Starfall series. We also have Osmo on board, which is a fun learning tool. Even though Joe spent his career at a technical company, we limit how much iPad time Ethan has each day. We noticed that if he gets too much electronic time, Ethan’s behavior gets cranky.
We often get asked if we are worried about Ethan getting enough peer and social time. With Ethan’s engaging personality, this is not an issue. He finds playmates wherever we go. Here in Great Harbour Cay, he has play dates with a darling 4 year old named Faith. He also plays with some local children, too. Ethan will also find kids on the beach to play with. Trust me, he is not shy. He interacts with all the adults, too.
The other boaters here in Great Harbour Cay will long remember the cute little boy who starts every conversation with “Excuse me?”