Dear Teacher: Homeschool children while on long trip

By Margie Eberts and Peggy Gisler

King Features Syndicate

We want to take a sailing trip around Europe for a year. Will this hurt our 10- and 12-year-olds? Academically, how do we help them keep up? — Travelers

What a great experience for your children. Just as you are preparing for the sail, you will need to prepare in advance for your children's education during next year's adventure.

First, begin by talking to the school your children are currently attending. Ask to see the curriculum for each child's next grade in school. You may wish to take the textbooks they'd be using in this school next year with you.


Essentially, you will be homeschooling your children next year. Learn all you can about homeschooling. Be sure to talk with parents in your area who homeschool their children about selecting a curriculum. You have the choice of making your own curriculum or using one of the many available homeschooling or correspondence-school curriculums. Depending on whether you will have Internet access on your boat, you may wish to supplement your curriculum with Internet courses or even use an Internet homeschooling program.

Consistency is important. Your children should work most days on their schooling. It doesn't always have to be textbook assignments aboard the boat. Tie what they are doing and seeing abroad to the experience. It will make their learning far more meaningful. They can learn geography by studying the route you will be traveling and the places you visit. Museums present valuable history lessons. Keeping track of the weather, winds and distances traveled easily can be turned into math problems. Journal writing and reading travel brochures can be part of their language arts work.

Remember this, one of the true advantages of homeschooling is that children do not have to spend near as much time on learning as they would in school.

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Students across the street from our house go to an excellent Blue Ribbon School in another district. Our children's assigned school, in a different district, is not nearly as good. I looked up all the students' scores. I really want my kids to go to the neighbor's school. What should I do? Just fudge our address? — Help

If you are considering transferring your children to the neighbor's school, you should do it legally or totally forget about the move. Lying about your address is definitely a terrible example for your children. Plus, you will be constantly worried about being caught.

Begin by calling your children's school district and the other school district to find out about transfer possibilities. There possibly could be a more appealing school in your own district that your children might be able to attend. Look into your district's charter schools, as they may enroll children from less-defined boundaries. Plus, if either a husband or wife works in a business in a school district, it is sometimes possible for children to attend a school in that district. Look into all these possibilities. If you are adamant about having your children attend a different school, you may need to move or consider a private school.

Send questions and comments to Dear Teacher, in care of this newspaper, Box 395, Carmel, IN 46082-03295, or log on to, or e-mail

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