Friday, February 25, 2011

Home school and learning through play

Home school takes on a different tone out here than it does in our house.  For one thing you never know where you will be on any given day or what opportunities will present themselves for unexpected learning opportunities, so many days we go with the flow and demonstrate to the kids how learning takes place anywhere you want it to.

The typical home school day onboard has all of us reading together and/or individually, and the kids doing math, research, writing, as well as art and crafts on their own or with our help.  We also incorporate chores into home school.  At the end of all that (typically 2 - 4 hours) we give reports to each other noting what we did/did not accomplish and what we learned.  It's always interesting to see what Chandler and Henry choose to learn. For example they know math is an important skill to develop so at times, even though they know it won't  be simple they choose to do 3 - 4 pages of challenging math. Some days they don't do math at all. It's their choice.  We ask them how they did during their schooling activities and they answer, as many 9 and 11-year-olds would,... "Fine."  But as time wears on and we ask what "fine" means, they've figured out, that answer won't always fly.  Now they tell us if they accomplished what they thought they would and if not, why they thought they didn't.  We ask them if they would hire themselves and why or why not.  There's very little criticism, but instead suggestions on how they could do their work differently.  After all, they should be their own critics, not us...we're still analyzing our own selves and improving our own learning skills.

Photos of typical home school activities, crafts, projects, and marine life discoveries follow.

Henry Wyatt hard at work

Chandler attacking long division
A comfy position, shade cover, and a good book...Black Beauty

Henry working on math and Ann researching inland destinations

Chandler making pot holders to sell to fellow cruisers

Chandler and Henry putting on a play with friend, Maia, aboard sailing vessel Ceilydh. 
The kids sold tickets, made costumes, and wrote the script!

Doug teaching Henry how to use the nautical spreaders for charting our course.

Henry giving it a go on his own.
Chandler and Ann have enjoyed reading together, especially the Anne of Green Gables books.

A friendly cruiser, and former marine biologist, came along one day and saw Henry netting a few sea creatures from under the dock. He stopped to help identify them and ended up giving a small group of kids a marine bio class!

This is an Ascidian; a primitive sponge that has a brain, two siphons, and one eye.  It senses things through chemicals that tell the brain where to settle for eating and least that's what the resident marine biologist said!?!  

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