Yes, summer in Florida means one thing:
I think my girls have an unspoken pledge to make themselves as perpetually pruney and water-logged as possible this season. They come running and stripping off their clothes when they hear me slide open our glass door. Bathing suits are put on in record time and the first splash is generally made before I’ve had time to slide the door closed behind me. It’s all fun and games. (And learning- did I mention that?) We might count off to 20 before a jump-in for Lyra and watch as her anticipation and excitement mounts. Or Stella might spell ‘BAT’ aloud before being allowed to push Mommy in the pool. (‘Cause there isn’t much a kid won’t do for the chance to push their mother into the deep end!) Mira has a fun time making up her own elaborate games that inevitably involve the essentials of things she has learned the last year.
Yesterday she wanted to pretend to be the dreaded sea monster Cetus. (Mira takes pride in being named after the variable star in the Cetus constellation.) I was given the position of a sacrificial Andromeda and instructed to squeal for help on the steps. Stella played the part of the hero Perseus and came to my rescue to destroy the beast. Well– not really ‘destroy’ per se. Mira and Stella decided to alter the ending to the Greek myth by having the monster defy Poseidon’s orders and instead turn friendly so Mira could play a “happier-scary monster” (her words). The Greek myth was later altered even more drastically when we all magically turned into prehistoric sea creatures a short time later.
When we heard the rumble of thunder we got out of the pool and headed for the safety of our covered area. I took the opportunity to grab our copy of D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths and read it to them until the shower passed and were able to jump back into the pool. During a normal Florida summer day, this will happen at least once or twice during the course of the afternoon. It works great to fit in potty breaks, snack times, and some fun read-alouds.
There really is no end to the amount of learning that can take place in the pool. Educational games seem to manifest themselves from depths of the water. Most of our learning doesn’t require any additional tools or hardware. But sometimes I do see something that gets my happy-homeschooling-self rather excited…
Like these measuring cups from our local dollar store.
This past spring, Mira completed her Singapore math chapter on capacity and volume. We did some playing around with it back then but haven’t really touched upon it again. Since that time we’ve been working through Miquon math where she’s been steadily learning about fractions, so these pretty plastic measuring cups made me doubly excited.
I would call out a fraction and Mira and Stella would take turns filling up their cups. For Stella we just stuck to whole numbers since it was easier for her to see the large 1 and 2 cup marks on the cup. Mira practiced with the smaller 1/4, 1/3, and 1/2 marks as well. Lyra just had fun filling and pouring, filling and pouring, and filling and pouring.
As Mira got more comfortable with the game, I added another layer on to it. I would have her start with two cups and tell her an amount to fill the first cup. For example she would fill the first one to 1/4. Then she would would carefully look and see how much more she would need to add to get to 1 cup. She would make a guess, fill up the second cup with that amount, and pour it into the first to see if she added correctly.
When this gets easy for her I will add yet another layer by having her subtract down.
The girls took turns filling up two large plastic bins that normally hold our collection of pool toys and floating devices.
Now, whenever we go into the pool these bins are emptied out, filled with water, and used as mini-pools within our larger pool.
Education is not the filling of a pail . . . but sometimes it can be.