Kids Getting Their Primary Education on a Sailing Boat

This week we at Sanoma Pro* had the pleasure of having Tuomo Meretniemi presenting his upcoming Sail For Good project. In a nutshell: he is going to pack his family of wife and three children to a sailboat for six(!) years to go around the world. Take a look at this “teaser”:

If you are still reading this after the watching the video (and not gone sailing), allow me to outline some details about the expedition. I am of course most interested in the educational aspects, but first some numbers:

  • 6 years, 75 months: the trip will last from June 2016 until fall 2022
  • 6, 4, and 2: Tuomo’s children’s ages at the moment (so 12, 10, and 8 when they return)
  • 57′: the length of their boat in feet
  • ∞: how cool the project is
  • 75: the number of countries they plan to visit

Here the 75 countries are plotted on a route plan:

Sail For Good route

Tuomo outlining the Sail For Good route. Photo credits: Minna Tuorila.

Basically: they’ll start off from Turkey, cross the Mediterranean, then cross the Atlantic from Africa to Brazil, go around South America (but not around Cape Horn, there are some more Northern alternative routes), go West from Valparaiso to cross the Southern Pacific to Australia, then New Zealand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, South Africa, Brazil, the Caribbean, up along the East Coast of the US, UK, and to the Baltic Sea and finally the market square in Helsinki. And many other countries in between. Phew!

They are going to take their time and spend weeks or even months in selected ports. During those visits the children can take part in local Finnish schools, when such are available. The educational plan is also to focus on the current surroundings. To quote Tuomo: “When in Rio de Janeiro, we are not going to concentrate so much on ancient Roman history”.

The children are going to build networks in the ports they visit, with local pupils and teachers. However, due to the nature of the expedition, the family has to move on. The formed communities will probably live on virtually as the anchors go up and the family sets sail for a new location. In addition, they intend to keep contact with schools in Finland throughout the trip.

Even though their boat is quite spacious, it is still a boat. So the family thinks carefully what to pack. The kids have to make choices on what toys to bring along. This also applies to educational materials. Family Meretniemi is going to pilot digital materials and tools in learning. I for one am very interested in following how the trip turns out. Should you be as well, here are some good places to start:

* Sanoma Pro is one partner in the Sail For Good project.

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