This month was a huge month of discovery, anticipation, and celebration. We fit in several outings to tourist locations on the island. This island has so much history packed into it, and the monuments left over or erected in remembrance are so amazing to experience first-hand. Of course there was tons of water exploration and local experiences to be had as well. The anticipation was to gain house keys to our island abode and receive all our household goods that we’d done without for three and a half months. And we celebrated lost teeth, Easter, and a birthday while living in our, what seemed to be getting smaller, hotel room.
Some of the monuments we visited were Bonsai Cliff, Suicide Cliff, and the Last Command Post. All of these locations played a major role in World War II and the U.S. acquisition of Saipan as a U.S. territory. Honestly, they deserve an article all to themselves. At the same time, it’s necessary to express how much history can be taught and learned in your own area. It’s so much more real when it’s not text in a book, and for my boys to have this knowledge at such an early age will prove beneficial if and when they begin to learn more about it in a textbook later in their academic careers. They will be able to cross reference the new material with experiences and knowledge they already gained. Anywhere and everywhere you could possibly live has history, and most likely you’ll be able to tie it into a bigger concept that will be learned at a later time.
We observed some pretty amazing oceanography this month too! On a sunset snorkel, we saw something flitting about with a triangular “fin” down the way, so we decided to check it out. It became obvious that it was a manta ray and as I was videotaping it (because no one would be able to believe just how huge these things are), my youngest darted towards it to get a better look. Apparently we need to have a few more chats about ocean safety, but he was literally a few feet away from this ocean creature that had a span at least as wide as my son is tall. All the commotion scared it away, but the experience was heart pounding and awe striking. We also discovered flounders of all sizes and had so much fun spotting them and watching them scurry camouflaged against the ocean floor. The lagoon area is full of many different varieties of fish, sea cucumbers, slugs, and probably many things we don’t even realize are living. This is truly an awesome adventure for our little family.
And the critters aren’t only found in the ocean. While the island is snake-free, yes, snake-free, meaning there are NO snakes here, and there are no venomous or poisonous creatures here, we have discovered plenty of other wildlife. There are lizards galore that come INSIDE your house, fall on you, scuttle by you, jump past you, etc. There are also huge (the size of an adult fist) toads. Chickens and roosters from the jungle roam freely into yards and DO NOT start to crow as the sun comes up, but much closer to 1am. Yard birds are not as large and colorful as you would think for a tropical island, but they definitely have distinct characteristics and are fascinating to study.
All of this natural discovery is just what we wanted in our homeschool journey, along with writing journals and core standard learning, but still, doubt filled my mind as to whether I was actually accomplishing enough. Just as my mind was wandering and grasping for new ideas, I received an invitation to meet another homeschooler on the beach the following day. This woman has homeschooled her three children their whole lives, even into high school, and used to evaluate homeschool families. She was just the ray of sunshine I needed. She assured me that not only were we meeting standards, but that we were surpassing them. That beach day is one I will always cherish as I’m sure doubtful days are abundant in a new homeschooler’s heart. It actually has kickstarted me into creating the school name, mission, and goals that I knew I should have created before we ever started. I think that even in traditional schools, the teachers aren’t always 100% sure of themselves and their curriculum. And it’s important to remember that the teacher to student ratio and relationship homeschooling offers naturally creates more possibilities for the children.
Do you have questions about homeschooling? Ask away >>
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