It may be that our babies are still too young (ages 3 and 1) for “conventional” school but I have yet to sit down and look into some “proper” curriculum for them. This definitely does not mean that they are not learning, homeschooling of some sorts. Being that on a boat our girls have both their parents full time most of it is spent playing, and what better way to learn than through play. I do have a background in education for young children and have worked Montessori as well, which does not make me an expert but does give me a few extra play ideas.
When it comes to workbooks and school work Arias has a plethora of educational activity books geared towards preschool to grade 1 levels, most of them sticker books filled with games and fun ways to practice letters, numbers, and languages. She loves to “go to school” as she calls it and often asks to do her books rather than just play, and this I definitely will not deny her. (The ones that I have found and she loves are mostly from +++)
Our regular day is full of educational opportunities that don’t necessarily have to do with books and don’t require sitting still, because for our daughters that is almost impossible. There are endless ways to incorporate education into daily activities, and so I will not list them all off, but show some examples that our girls love. And if only to prove a point that our daughters are not aimlessly floating around the ocean I will divide their play into curriculum categories.
-walks into town usually become Spanish lessons about the world around us
-grocery shopping is a taste adventure and a possibility for learning those words in French, English, and Spanish. As well as value of money.
– the French chef, why not have your little helpers in the kitchen but switch up the language on them
-anything can be counted really, from money in the piggy bank to the amount of bananas in the fruit bowl
-playing with the measuring tape to understand length and different units
-cooking for understanding measurements
-addition and subtraction we mostly do with food, ie how many Cheerios do you have left if you eat three?
-singing, clapping, ukulele and radio. There is not a day that goes by on our boat where there isn’t music involved.
Reading and Writing
-books books everywhere
-sounding out words on food containers, boxes, at the store
-we have a load of ipad games for practicing writing letters
-draw/erase board to practice different sight words
-painting and coloring to practice crayon/paintbrush manipulation and handling
Spacial, Motor, and Problem Solving skills
– cooking is a major one, pouring liquids into containers, spooning objects from bowls, chopping vegetables these all help hand-eye coordination, concentration, and motor skills
– blocks for spatial concepts, recognition of shapes, and gravity
– play dough for motor skills
– scissors and cutting different shapes for motor skills
Creativity and Self Expression
– play dough, painting, drawing, singing, dancing, . . .
-color mixing in painting
-shells and sea creatures at the beach
-walks in the jungle and identifying different plants and animals
-even dinghy rides to understand speed and combustion of gas
-cleaning up toys
-helping your sister
I could go on and on and get very specific into certain play and what it helps develop in my daughters but what this all comes down to is that, for now, we do not feel the need to have our daughters in a formal schooling system, not at their age, and not with where we are in our lives, and so they will continue on leaning all these very important life skills through our everyday routine and not even notice that they are learning because of the fun that they are having in the meantime.
Please don’t forget that you do not need an education background to come up with games where your kids learn through play, even the smallest of daily chores (such as folding clothing which teaches dexterity, eye-hand coordination, matching skills, concentration, and responsibility) can be done by all, and if ever you feel at a loss there is always the Internet, a wealth of knowledge for games/activities that incorporate learning into everyday activities and things you have around home and the boat. And there is also the world outside, full of new experiences, new people, new cultures, and new adventures.