We’ve been spending more time on the boat recently, trying to see what “regular” life is like here, not just week-end retreats. For anyone interested, here is the outline of a typical day on the boat, which resembles our life on land, only with the chaos stuffed into a smaller space that moves (and breaks).
|Tanya’s watch alarm goes off. Mom and Dad snooze when they’re too tired to get up, or rouse themselves anyway for coffee and early morning quiet time and head start on work.
|Kids are awake and hungry. Bananas all around. Eli and Aaron enjoy an early morning wrestle in their full-size bunk. Loud banging and thumping. Sam takes himself to the potty. Sarah says good morning to the cats. All dress and make beds. Jay gets to work at his makeshift desk in our cabin.
|Breakfast in progress, kids get out math workbooks. Breakfast takes twice as long to prepare because mom has to keep coming over to answer math questions and scold Sam for trying to escape from the cockpit.
|Breakfast over, mom reads a chapter from the Bible and kids answer comprehension questions. If there’s any left-over patience, devotional, song or memory verse is added.
|Chore time (swabbing the decks, etc.) If there’s any free time, kids go out and jump on the trampoline (a net on the foredeck strung on one side with bungee), climb in the rigging, or take their nets and hunt for interesting sea life for the observation bucket. At anchor, everyone fishes whenever given a moment of free time. Mom does dishes and gets school stuff ready.
|Read-Aloud (chapter book in progress, history, science, library books on unit study topic, board books for Sam, etc.)
|More schoolwork: handwriting, spelling, science, art, extra math lessons, individual reading lessons, and so forth and so on.
|Mom starts lunch prep while kids finish their work and put away school stuff.
|Some kind of outdoor activity (swimming, tree-climbing. taking the dinghy to the island to explore, walking to the laundry facilities to put a load in, going to the park or walking to the museum for the 1:30 planetarium show.
|Read and rest for everyone, except Jay, who gets a Coke from the cooler to make it through the afternoon. Short read-aloud, individual reading lessons, nap time for some, quiet time for others and Lego time for yet others.
|Tea-time. Mom puts water on to boil and picks reading material (often poetry or something related to unity study). Eli finishes any written work from the morning or draws/writes in his journal.
|More outside time, sailing if possible. Jay emerges to work on boat projects. Tanya starts dinner preparations, gets interrupted a dozen times and generally takes forever getting it to the table.
|Dinner, sometimes eaten on the way to the anchorage.
|Kids start clean-up and get ready for bed. If they do an exceptional job, they may get to watch a video on the laptop before bed.
|Story-time. If on the “hook,” cuddle time on the trampolines to watch the stars come out and tell stories.
|Lights out. Mom finishes any cleaning and gets to spend time with Jay. Jay and Tanya work on small projects or look through encyclopedic boat catalogues.
|Jay and Tanya head to bed, reading a few pages of some book about boating before collapsing.
Reading back over this list, I realize that this is not a typical day, but an ideal day. There are often so many other things that intrude, like housework, laundry processing, bread-baking, visiting with friends, shopping and field trips, that it’s hard to say what a typical day is like. All of these things do happen, but not necessarily in this order or with such neat organization. Life sort of just happens, and maybe that’s better anyway.