Last week we had the chance to stop at an ocean beach on our way home from a family gathering. I have always enjoyed going to the beach, but now that I’m homeschooling, it has opened up for me a whole new way of looking at the ocean and beach areas.
Whether you stop at the beach often, or hit the beach inconsistently like I do, bring your nature guide and consider tapping into a few learning opportunities:
- The Horizon: At the ocean, you can clearly see where the water reaches the sky, creating the horizon. Depending on the age of your children and the depth you’d like to cover, you can discuss anything from the curvature of the earth to using the horizon in drawing like this art lesson in horizon lines by That Artist Woman.
- Tides: Spending time at the beach, you are sure to notice the water either creeping up on the beach or flowing further out to sea, which is the tide of the ocean. Over the course of your stay, see if your children can identify which way the tide is headed (in or out) and stop to enjoy a cookie on the way home so you can educate your to your children using this interesting youtube video explaining tides.
- Erosion: Are you at a rocky beach? Your children may notice holes in rocks, or caves. Is your beach flat? Check out all of the sand. Discuss how one type of erosion is water erosion, as the water eats away at a rock over time. Preview the topic prior to visiting the beach with this Bill Nye video on erosion and see his Water Flow Erosion Model. You might also touch on other kinds of erosion by using some activities from my Geology Enrichment Unit.
- Tide Pools: It is so much fun to investigate tide pools outside of the confines of a museum. Be sure to have a nature guide so identifying the animals is a breeze. The Handbook of Nature Study blog shares how exploring tide pools creates lasting family memories. If you find that tide pools pique your children’s interest, consider a unit study using Holling C. Holling’s classic, Pagoo.
- Rip Currents: Undertows and rip currents are serious life-threatening dangers. Practice identifying where there might be a rip current at your beach by using an illustration from the Education from National Ocean Service. Teaching about the flow of water near ocean beaches might just save a life.
How do you tap into learning at the ocean’s beach?
Andrea lives in Northern California with her husband and two young girls. She left 11 years of public school teaching to homeschool and hasn’t looked back. Andrea loves reading, writing, and spending time outdoors so naturally she fell in love with Charlotte Mason’s methods with her own eclectic twist. Outside of homeschooling, Andrea owns her own tutoring and educational consulting business. Connect with her on at her blog No Doubt Learning, Facebook, G+, Twitter, or Pinterest.