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Homeschooling On The High Seas: A Montana Family’s Alternative Sailing School


Remember that globe that would sit inside your classroom near the teachers desk? When you were younger you’d spin it and point your finger on places you could only dream of visiting? Imagine being able to take your classroom onto the high seas and having the adventure of a lifetime while actually being given a real world education. Well, rather than being confined within the same four classroom walls day-in day-out, this local family is setting sail with their children and teaching them on their own, upon the ocean blue!

Nearly a decade ago, Missoula’s Jeremy Keene came up with a wild idea. Him and his family wanted to do something extraordinary, something that was completely unique off the shores of America. Why not? No one can ever be too old to chase down their dreams.

Recently the Keene family purchased a 30 year old sailboat, and rather than just pull it into Flathead Lake during just the summer months, only to have it sit around a collect dust during the long and cold Montana winter months, the family has decided instead to push off from the Florida coast and take their children out into the sea for a homeschooling (boat-schooling?) expedition.

Restoring the vintage 1978 Ranger 33 sailboat named the Chinook hasn’t been an easy feat. According to their Facebook blog, “a finicky motor, leading head, black gunk in the water tanks, a spongy side deck, and a rat’s nest of electrical wiring meant a major refit over the winter.” But now the boat’s to-do list seems to be nearly completed and the SV Chinook will soon cast off for one full year with Jeremy, his first mate and wife Heather Harp and their two children, both 8 year-old Shea, and 14 year-old Thea for a coastal cruise education that no traditional school could ever offer.

Hear an exclusive interview with first mate and mother Heather Harp here:

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Imagine, cafeteria food replaced with the freshest of seafood. Feeling sea spray on your face while learning arithmetic as sails snap overhead. Recess with the dolphins! P.E. on the poop deck! For some landlubber’s it’s only just a dream. But for the Keene family, it’s soon to be the voyage of a lifetime.

Follow the Keene’s Chinook adventures by liking their Facebook Fan Page.




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