Sunday, August 9, 1998 Published at 16:06 GMT 17:06 UK
Around the world in 80 lessons
Homework will be e-mailed back from Barbados
Part of a series on how the Internet is being used in education. By BBC News Online's Sean Coughlan.
In terms of excuses for not handing in homework, being on a small boat several thousand miles from land might count as fairly impressive.
Sophie and Suzy Edington from Broseley Wood, near Ironbridge, will be setting sail from Plymouth with their parents on 18 August, beginning a 15,000 mile voyage which is scheduled to finish in Queensland, Australia in October 1999.
A cabin on board the yacht has been converted into a classroom for the sisters, with a laptop computer connected to the Internet by a mobile phone serving as the main link with their teachers in Britain.
Assignments for A level courses will be sent to and from the yacht by e-mail, says the school's senior deputy headteacher, Tommy Masters.
"As the girls will have no access to a library or a wide enough range of text books, the Internet will be the main resource for research," he said.
Mock exams will be taken on board the yacht, but so far there are no plans for sitting external exams while at sea.
"The boat wouldn't be a recognised exam centre," Mr Masters said, "but you never know - in the future such things might be possible".
The possibility of using video-conferencing for lessons is also being explored, although this would be limited to when the family came ashore in towns large enough to provide the technical facilities.
Mr Edington is delighted with the flexibility that such distance learning offers.
The family's journey is supporting the charity Sight Savers, which campaigns against blindness in developing countries.
After leaving Plymouth the Edingtons will sail to West Africa, where they plan to travel upstream along the River Gambia to deliver optical equipment to riverside surgeries and to promote a health education message.
From Africa, they will sail westward across the Atlantic, aiming to arrive in Barbados in time for Christmas. In February, the Edingtons will sail through the Panama Canal and travel across the South Pacific in the summer months, before arriving in Australia in the autumn.
As the Edingtons travel around the world, Peter will be reporting on the journey on the family's own Internet site.
In another record of the journey, the enterprising Edingtons will be taking a video camera for the BBC television series Video Diaries.