Curriculum Thoughts–Science at the Shore

We just returned from a 2 week vacation at the beach.  The weather was very warm and amazing, every day was a beach day, and we all got our fill of sun, sand, and the surf.  We returned on Saturday and started our school year today (I’ll post about that tomorrow), and so during the trip my mind wandered and thought about education, curricula ideas, and fall planning.

I think my approach to academics is a bit on the intense side, but I save the intensity for the three R’s (reading, writing, and arithmetic).  We do the 3 R’s daily–we drill, we drill again, and we keep a strict schedule.  The way I see it, once a student has learned how to read, write, and reason (math), they are very capable of learning almost any other subject.  As a homeschooling mother, my academic goals are simple–give my children the toolset to be life-long learners.

And so subjects like Science, History, Geography and Art are often learned at convenient times, in fun-ways, and are not a source of stress for me.  My older children are still very young (2nd grade and K), and I’m sure we will get more “intense” about these none R subjects at some point.  But not right now.  Right now we are learning science on the beach.  Our lessons were fun, student-led, and very memorable.

Gianna and I searching for sea life
One of Gianna's first finds, he's coming out to say hello
Our next two finds. We cooked and ate this crab and mussel for lunch.
Claire was terrified of this smaller blue claw crab. Science lesson courtesy of a poor seagull, I robbed him of his lunch.
My babies chasing the birds. They learned pretty quickly that said birds will run or fly away every time.
Studying the hermit crabs, sand crabs, baby blue shell crabs, and snails Gianna fished out of the jetty.

The kids learned many lessons, including–low-tide is the best time to find sea life in the jetty; blue claw crabs reside in the jetty under the rocks; you should not reach your hand into a small pool with a blue claw crab present; even the small blue claw crabs can take a chunk out of your skin (poor G!); mom is lucky if she can catch a crab with only a bucket and shovel; hermit crabs borrow their shells and change them as they grow; mussels, crabs, and clams all make their own shells; sea gulls view small children with food as prey (poor Claire had food removed from her hand by some very aggressive birds!). And we also discussed some more scientific things, like the diet of bottom dwelling sea creatures, their habitat and need for water, the tracks different animals (mainly birds) leave in the sand, and the concept of tides and the moon.

I’m sure Gianna will think her science book pretty boring after our two weeks at the beach. I know I do!

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  • Mary Alice

    This is great.u00a0 I totally agree with your philosophy and I give you credit for putting it in to place, especially when it meant handling wildlife!u00a0 You can reinforce these lessons in small ways throughout the year with books about sea life, a small aquarium, a home garden, etc.u00a0 May God bless your school year!

  • Kathy

    What beautiful photos! That is a great idea about all your family learned about sealife. Like Mary Alice said – you can use these lessons as reinforcement with other methods. nnThe “bottom feeding concept” could always be used in later years if you do cooking and religious dietary retsrictions. nnHave a great school year. May God bless your efforts.

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t include the picture of me picking up the crab because I am vain and I didn’t look that nice.u00a0 Haha!u00a0 But the kids were impressed that I picked up a big crab, and I confess I was rather proud of myself.

  • Anonymous

    Oh and we are already reading Pagoo, by Holling and Holling.u00a0 Excellent book for studying sea life.

  • B-mama

    Oooh, you know this gets the science teacher in me all giddy! u00a0What great lessons about ocean life. u00a0Good work!! u00a0You can work this into studying about food chains and the delicate balance of lower order creatures with higher order ones. u00a0Those little crabs and mussels are vitally important to the stability of the ocean ecosystem! u00a0V. cool!!

  • Texas Mommy

    Great pics! What a fun (and educational) vacation!