“Preports” – Your family should do this too

It may be summer in the US, with all your “lucky” kids finished with school and enjoying their camps, playdates and lazy-mornings sleeping in…  but out here on the road we’re still cracking the whip on the Belfiore kids!   Our travel adventure is NOT all-about-the-fun, so homeschooling ain’t over yet.

Besides reading lists, Khan-academy math, journaling, blogging, spelling tests, times-tables and workbooks.. we’ve started a new home-schooling method:

Pre-port presentations!

Hey Deans John, Victor & Lisa… we’re training some future Semester-at-Sea preport instructors for you.  Take a look at these PPTs and let us know what you think!

 

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Berlin: Still Crazy After All These Years

 

26.5 years ago the Berlin Wall came down.

26 years ago, my friend Eli and I found 3 other Europe-travelers and rented a car for 24-hours to drive from the nation of West Germany into Berlin. (it was EXPENSIVE to rent a car and 24-hours were all we could afford!)  My oh my, how things have changed!

Let’s start with some photos from 26 years ago.

Berlin,  Then and Now…

…the Wall

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“zlata Praha”… Golden Prague

 

One morning in Prague when he woke from troubled dreams, Alexander found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin. He lay on his armour-like back… vertebrae protruding through his fatless physique… and if he lifted his head a little he could see his brown belly, flat to concave, just beyond the arches of his ribs. His legs, pitifully thin compared with the size of the rest of him, waved about helplessly as he looked.

“What’s happened to me?” he thought. It wasn’t a dream. His room, a proper human room although a little too small as in most AirBnBs, lay peacefully between its four familiar walls.

This was the land of Kafka. Of spires and Pilsner Urquell and its 4″ pour of foam. (Oh, the horror!)  Here, our children were coaxed into concert halls for Mozart, the synagogue for art and underground to escape the heat.  We had come to Prague, to be transformed.

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Homeschooling Belfiores .. one says-it-all photo

Typical Belfiores

At one point on our trip a fellow parent teased me and Kristina by saying something along the lines of “the Belfiore kids aren’t allowed to use iPads, are they. :)”   I should have said “sure– but since we’re homeschooling, we want them to be doing creative work … writing, presenting, etc. … and there’s a better choice!

I was sitting in the airport in Dubrovnik and looked up at our family and noticed the scene above.  It’s our three homeschoolers writing their travel journals, creating powerpoints (seriously!  more on this to come),  drawing or editing pictures.  We didn’t MAKE them do this.. we just give them reading lists, pre-port assignments.. and the best tools in the world for the job.  🙂

What’s more.. beyond the 2-in-1s on their lap, I love the fact that there’s a Kindle, ukelele (thank you David Hornik) and stuffed dog all at-the-ready… and tha tthe two girls are both wearing Star Wars shirts!  Be still my beating heart! Continue reading

Guest post: A Croatian Folktale by Evan Carr

Evan Carr, age 10, joins our blog as a guest author– but not with a journalistic report of our time together in Croatia.  Instead, Evan authored a “Croatian Folktale” while we cruised the blue waters of the Adriatic.   Here’s Evan’s original tale.  Enjoy!

Our turn to pilot the Lunja, with Gennaker sail aloft

Evan Carr– our guest author

“Ivon and the Magic Emerald”

Once, a long time ago in faraway Croatia, there lived a poor fisherman named Ivon. Ivon had a good heart, but had very little money, barely enough to feed his wife and 3 children. One day though, Ivon was out sailing, when he caught a large, incredibly colorful Trout. As soon as Ivon went to unhook him, the fish spoke. “Hold steady, fisherman. You have come across no lowly Trout. You are looking into the eyes of the immortal God, Jarilo, God of fishing, hunting, and farming.” Continue reading

Would YOU spend 6 Nights on a Croatian Sailboat with the Belfiores? They did…

by Joe (with Sydney and Piper).

 

People who know me well realize that I have a few quirky habits… and that some of these get a little, uh, magnified under certain circumstances.  For example:

  • When travelling and experiencing limited availability of high-capacity washer/drier machines, I might be comfortable repeating an article of clothing for more than just one day.  (I would NEVER do this at home. Cough..)
  • I believe in the natural cleansing power of salt water, sun, and ocean breezes.  I believe the oil in your skin is there for a reason and cavepeople weren’t “disgusting”. Mix in a touch of claustrophobia and… in the face of a cramped-sailboat-head-for-a-shower… I might just remain au natural for a few days.
  • My favorite article of clothing:  bathing suit.

What’s worse… powerful genetics have caused my offspring to inherit some of these predelictions– with even less measured maturity than I have.  You may debate that last point, but I can say for certain that if we did a “showercon” on the blog, I would NOT be leading the count in the “days without” column!

AND SO … you can imagine the giant leap of faith made by the Carr family— all FOUR of them– when they chose to cram themselves into a boat with FIVE of us for SIX long days and nights.  This is a cramped space, which of course increases pressure and retains odors.

They didn’t know us like some of you do…  but of course that’s changed and they now know us quite.. intimately …

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