It’s officially been the school holidays but don’t tell them how much they have learned over the last few weeks. We’ve seen bread, sweets, biscuits and jam being made, sardines being tinned and learnt about various fishing methods, they’ve spoken and read French, seen how a country can change from region to region, learnt some Spanish and learnt lots more boaty theory as well as putting lots of sailing knowledge into practice, there is also the journals they have been writing and all the books they devour.Then there’s all the construction they have been doing with lego and meccano, and the eldest has completed his first airfix model on his own.
No matter how much we teach them (and in our boys they quite often teach themselves through reading and endless questions) the main things they are learning are practical. Communication skills, problem solving, making do, independence, things which are not so much taught as embedded through experience. We have seen many boat children tackling tricky tasks which may be considered adult only in another context – climbing the mast, handling ropes, driving dingies. The Royal Yacht Association teach that ropes should be secured using an OXO pattern. When our 5 year old ties up the dingy he mutters to himself o-xss-o. In a crises when the boat ended up an adult down it was our then 9 year old who stayed calm, remembered what he had been taught and got us safely tied up. I’m not saying that other children can’t do these things just that it is noticeable how confident with practical things and problem solving our children have become. Then there is always the really important stuff, learning that people are different with different ideas and that is what makes the world interesting, learning to communicate, to feel valued and worthwhile.
After all that learning it’s time to start back at ‘school’ at the start of September. We’ll be doing the usual numeracy and literacy work for the basics and lots of reading practice for the youngest. In addition to that after lots of discussion they would like to look at towns and cities as the next topic so I have a big list of activities and learning around how cities develop, why they are where they are, what do we need cities for, light and shadow, technical drawing, Tudor life, Roman cities, city v’s country and anything else we can squeeze into the topic. They are keen at the moment, let’s hope that continues once they have pens in their hands. We’re starting off with a ‘field trip’/day out which should get the brains in gear and then it could well be more lessons on deck in the fresh air to the amusement of passers by J.