Now that Skyla is four, I am thinking more seriously about our educational methods. As long as our work remains flexible we plan to homeschool, but I haven’t thought too much about the details. There are many methods and books out there about homeschooling, and I plan to read up on all that soon…really…I do. What works for us now is taking something Skyla is interested in and incorporating it into various aspects of learning.
Right now Skyla is fascinated with the sea turtles that nest on Melbourne Beach, where we are staying for the rest of the month. Each morning Skyla and I go out on the beach and talk about sea turtles. We examine sargassum weed and talk about what a great hiding place it would be for baby turtles in the deep ocean. We talk about seasons and why turtles lay their eggs only in the summer months and what it means to be a reptile.
Reenacting female turtles crawling from the ocean to dig a nest, laying eggs, and heading back to the ocean as well as baby turtles leaving the nest and scrambling to the ocean enhances gross motor skills and teaches biology life cycles and storytelling.
We take notes of how many turtle tracks we see along a stretch of beach. We can then work on adding, subtracting, and concepts of less and more by comparing turtle tracks over a couple of days.
I have Skyla draw turtles from pictures in a book and color in outlines that I draw (admittedly not very well). We then cut them out and use them for creating and telling stories with some of her figures. I try to incorporate biological facts into the stories.
We practice writing skills by spelling words like turtle, sand, ocean, nest, beach, tracks — writing with marker on paper as well as with fingers and toes in the sand.
We will take a field trip to the nearby Barrier Island Education Center where she can ask questions, view maps, see life-size models of turtles, etc.
Tomorrow her interest might change to sand. Then we will talk about the erosional processes of waves and wind, we will make pictures with glue and sand, we will compare the wet sand by the water with the dry, powdery sand and examine their different properties, we will build sand castles, we will …