As you may or may not know, I homeschool my two DDs aboard a 40 ft cruising catamaran in the San Francisco Bay Area. This can be challenging due to space constraints and losing internet connectivity when the tide goes out or when we go sailing. (Not so bad now that the harbor has made some upgrades, but still worth noting)
I’ve owned homes before and there were always tasks that needed to be completed, but this in no way compares to a boat’s fix it list. Our catamaran had a massive issue that needed to be fixed. It turned out to be covered by warranty. This was phenomenal news as extensive work needed to be done. That usually means expensive. Our boat manufacturer sent two workers from Europe to Alameda for a week to get the job done. The nature of their work would leave us homeless for about a week; the week of Thanksgiving. Naturally we decided to visit family out-of-state. Amazing how things come together!
We put all the cogs into place. Then the manufacturer called. They would be delayed until we returned. What was I saying about things coming together? Things were now falling apart. We were going to have to live in a hotel for a week. My feelings of happy anticipation now were clouded with dread. Homeschool in a hotel? How exactly does that work? I put that out of my mind and focused on enjoying our family in Washington State. Ever the committed educator, I sussed out local museums and got to work getting the kids out.
We visited MONA, the Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner. It’s a great art gallery that features artists from the Northwest. They made a wonderful effort to include the kids, giving them a nicely put together activity sheet. The girls were encouraged to ponder the images in front of them, and I was appreciative that all of the art was family friendly. I have not had this experience in every gallery we have visited. “Mommy, what is that?” Ahem. Hello awkward silence.
Next on the list was the Anacortes Museum. This was a very small museum, but so well done we spent over an hour there. The steam paddle wheeler was closed for the winter, but we made the best of what was available to us. Being originally from the area, I was surprised at how much I didn’t know about this little town. It really is worth stopping by if you have the opportunity.
With still more time to kill, we headed to the Skagit County Historical Museum back in La Conner. This was probably the largest of all the museums we visited. They have a great collection of Native American artifacts and document the history of the differing populations really well. The combined history is celebrated in what seems to be a very honest and balanced manner; neither whitewashing atrocities, nor vilifying an entire populace. We left with a greater knowledge set than we had when we came.
The time in Washington came to an end all too soon. We headed back to the Bay Area, homeless. Stopping by the boat prior to checking into the hotel, I got to work packing up. Clothes were easy, activities even easier; the challenge was what school work to bring. While homeschooling on a boat can be difficult, whittling down to bare necessities for hotel life was daunting. Obviously, it was time to rely more heavily on the internet.
We focused on computer programming and reading/English. Code.org and ReadingEggs.com mixed with reading time and lengthy walks to the park ate up our days quickly. We utilized Starbucks, libraries, and the hotel lobby for work spaces. It worked out great! When the time finally came for us to move back aboard, though, I was ready.
Typically, I think of living on the boat as being in a small space, but after being in a hotel for a week and a half, it felt luxuriously huge. Everyone had their own space again, with a door! We sailed back to our home port, happy to have put that experience behind us.