9. How did you handle: EDUCATION and FULFILLMENT?
Sammy doing her schoolwork in KANDARIK's main saloon
Schooling was always the one thing that everyone wanted to do least, but I must say that a huge part of the education of Sammy and Jamie did NOT come from SCHOOL but from the experiences they had and the people they met.
However, you cannot get away with just that!
Calvert School correspondence classes
We left home with a huge locker full of assignments and books, pencils and paper for the Calvert School out of Baltimore. I felt that a GOOD SCHOOL was absolutely necessary for the well-being of our children, and we did NOT want to have them fall behind their age group once back in school. So, school work we did!
| Homework, ugh!
There's Teddy again keeping an eye on things.
Calvert was very comprehensive and expensive! I had to buy two different classes because of the four-year age difference between Sammy and Jamie. While everything was the same for both classes as far as the syllabus was concerned, naturally they were on different levels for the different ages.
What I did find, and I can pass this on, is that if I had ONLY paid for Sammy’s 7 year-old grade, Jamie could easily have followed that structure as it was almost identical to his 5 year-old class. I could have saved a lot of tuition fees, and both children could have been “in school” in the same KANDARIK classroom.
We never did school work at sea. We did read a lot, but never real Calvert School work!
So our actual classes were limited to the joyous days in port.
And herein was the difficulty!
When in port we always wanted to explore, play, discover and enjoy where we were. So, the compromise was to get up really early, have class until lunch, and then away we would go! But I think concentration was very difficult for both teacher (me) and students as we were all thinking about the wonderful afternoon ahead. But we carried on and did all the work the Calvert School demanded.
School in Tahiti
| Jamie (age 6) and his classmates in Papeete, Tahiti 1986
When we got to Papeete and decided to stay there for a year, things were quite different! We wanted Sammy and Jamie to have the marvelous benefit of going to school in this new and exciting island!
So, both were enrolled in the local schools in Papeete. Two different schools were necessary because of their age difference, and the class room aboard KANDARIK was closed down.
I feared that they would now face an enormous challenge, to learn French.
I was so worried this added obstacle in school would confuse and frustrate them.
But, I needn’t have been! They took to French like ducks to water, and in less than a week Jamie was actually talking in his sleep IN FRENCH!! That’s how little children adapt so much better than any adults!!!!
|I remember the first spelling word my son, at age five (!), had to study and learn; it was rétroviseur or rear view mirror! Even I had trouble spelling that one! If you were to meet Samantha or Jamie today, you would find that they speak French just as well as English! What a fantastic good fortune for them!
Back to "Kandarik schooling"
As we progressed further westward, we went back to home schooling on board. We did not continue with Calvert but went solely with reading, writing, and arithmetic. Sociology, science, biology and history were all part of our daily lives where no school books were needed.
It was a bad year for little American children to be in school in New Zealand.
It was 1987, the year of the America’s Cup with Dennis Connors from America and Michael Fey from New Zealand competing for this coveted trophy!
Anything remotely American was considered a threat to all New Zealanders; they are such a sailboat-oriented country!
But, as always, little children were more diplomats that enemies, and Sammy and Jamie overcame the hostile environment in which they found themselves due to their nationality!
School in New Zealand
We again stayed a year in another wonderful country, New Zealand.
Sammy and Jamie wanted to go to school there since we were staying in Whangarei. This time they could go to the same school together.
When we finally left New Zealand, we were able to enroll in the New Zealand system of Correspondence School This is the fabulous set of courses through which children in isolated areas of New Zealand are educated. Remember, there still were no computers, so all work and grading of work was done by slow but secure MAIL!
School in Australia
By the time we sailed into Sydney, Australia, Andy’s home town, we knew we wanted to spend a year there as well. So once again as little “foreigners”, Sammy and Jamie went to real school, this time to two different schools, since by this time Sammy was in high school and Jamie still in grammar school.
Australian correspondence classes
When we left Australia, both kids attended the Australian School of Distance Education out of Brisbane, and these were the correspondence classes they had until we sailed back into Port Everglades.
By this time, no teacher was necessary, so I was let off the hook. They were strictly on their own to do their required work and looked forward to receiving their grades by mail in the next port! I no longer needed to discipline the time or frequency of schooling; they did that all on their own as they loved it so much. That, I think, is a real credit to the type of education that Australia offers its students who are too far from any regular classroom.
As a point of interest, when we returned home, both Sammy and Jamie were tested before being able to continue school.
BOTH surpassed all test scores, and the principals wanted to put them in higher classes.
This never happened as they both ended up wanting to go to school in France, which they did, but that is another story! But the point is, their strange and certainly different style of EDUCATION did not hurt them in the least, and most probably was a tremendous benefit to both of them.
Of course like all children, Sammy and Jamie collected many things along the way!
Friends, shells, photos, clothes, books, pareus and other charms, like Jamie’s parrotfish necklace given to him by the Kuna Indian Chief!
We also enjoyed collecting coins and stamps from the countries we visited. Not only did they give us something to search out and learn about, but the collections became something sought after in every port we visited.
Stamp collections became quite the artistic endeavor for both Sammy and Jamie. Their collections were not only practical but beautiful as well! A stamp collection is small, easy to stow, and later will bring back wonderful memories!
Besides their little log books, I think the stamps we found and saved were as precious to each of them as any jewel could be.
| Homework in Tahiti - Sammy (10) practicing the Tamare for dance contests
during Fête under the awning on the foredeck
Friendships and social interactions
Their school friends around the world were very important to them, and not only do they have lasting memories, they have friends they still correspond with.
Family back home and their concerns
Every couple of weeks we would record on a tiny little cassette recorder little things to share with our family at home.
I would mail it, and we would all look forward to our loved uncles and aunts, parents, and grandparents, and cousins who would also make little cassettes and mail them to us! It was a great way to stay in touch.
And to this day, I still have to insert those hilarious cassettes and listen to those sweet young voices talking into the microphone and telling everyone at home what they were doing!!!