From "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran:



We've already learned a lot about cruising with kids and this page will be a place to organize all that. Home schooling, traveling with a kid, safety, you name it we're getting ready to learn it.

This is going to be a fun page to work on. We are going to do a little experiment on Reese, our four year old, by taking him cruising instead of enrolling him in a public school and letting them raise him to government specifications. (That is, to the lowest bidder.) Cruising was in the plans before Reese came along, so he becomes a welcome addition to the crew as well as adding to the challenge of it all. Now that he's part of us I realize this is going to be a whole lot more fun than it would have been if just G and I had gone cruising. Sure, it'll be harder in ways, and it will limit our late night party life, but the tradeoffs are way more than worth it. So on this page I'll try and collect the things we learn as we go along.

Education and safety are two topics we get asked about a lot.

Right now he's in a Montessori school, which, as far as I can tell, is the only place of learning doing it right. It was a refreshing surprise to find a curriculum that teaches kids the way they should be taught, that is, critical thinking instead of rote memorization. G is researching homeschool options for when we're aboard fulltime and we will be following Montessori guidelines as much as possible. More on this as we go.

One of the first things people always ask about concerning safety is taking Reese "out of sight of land". That is an easy issue to debunk. Sailing is one of the safer sports out there, except maybe for stamp collecting. Modern sailboats rarely actually sink. When they do it is generally extenuating circumstances, like storms or miscalculation of position or over-estimation of abilities. With modern communications weather reports are easy to obtain so we can try and avoid bad weather. We've met people who have circumnavigated and never been in a threatening storm or situation. Our boat can take much more than we can, so we're not likely to have a problem there. I'm well aware that I'm not a seasoned old salt with many sea miles of experience and will plan accordingly. Using some common sense and plenty of caution is the key. I've made it over 50 years using common sense and caution in a violent and unpredictable world and I see no reason to think that trend will not continue in a calmer and more predictable setting. We will be overly cautious concerning weather and Reese, with good reason to think that will be sufficient. It's worked for me half a century on land, there's no reason to think it won't work at sea.

Going overboard is the big issue for us, and Reese will be tethered in anytime he's out of the cabin below, and will be wearing a lifejacket. He's already trained to do that.

Actually, as far as safety is concerned, there are two major advantages I see in this:

First and most obvious, we'll getting him away from automobiles, which are the single leading cause of killing and maiming children from the ages of 1 to 24. (People accept that but think sailing is dangerous?) That, to me, is a leading indicator of how screwed up our society has become. If we can keep him out of cars for a significant percentage of his life we've increased his odds of suffering from that particular insanity. Sailing will be much safer than driving Reese to school,
which involves playing dodge-ball with 4000 pound missiles driven by distracted fools talking on cellphones while traveling 60 miles per hour. 40,000 people a year die in traffic accidents and a very few people die on sailboats. No contest. Not to mention that we will be in control of the situation most of the time, unlike the situation when you travel on a public highway.

Secondly he'll be away from toxins of two kinds. He'll be breathing cleaner air instead of the toxic soup that we are forced to breath in any large city and he'll be away from the mental toxins of TV and the media in general. So say we cruise for a few years off and on and he lives his life with 30% less exposure to these toxins than the average kid. When he's 50 or 60 he may run a significantly lower chance of cancer than average and he damn sure will be smarter and better adjusted than the kid who watches the national average of 4 hours of TV a day.

Sharks? Sunburn? Unruly natives? Stinging jellyfish? All topics we are educating ourselves on and as I said, we will be conservative and watchful. If we stay on land there's lightning, mean dogs, psycho neighbors, skateboards, and household chemicals. So where do you think he's safest? With his parents all day, every day in a clean, healthy environment or in a public school breathing air laden with crap and being indoctrinated with crap? Rather than raise him to be yet another clone, a working consumer with little or no ability to think critically, we aspire to raise a free-thinking young man with some experience of the world outside shopping malls and public schools.

All this may sound harsh but in my experience the world is a harsh place.