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Mountains and Oceans: Nature’s Classroom

Just less than a year ago our mountain loving family uprooted again and moved to the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. This was a very unexpected move. We are always up for the next adventure. However, we were enjoying the snow and our little mountain valley. Once again we needed to make a choice about schooling for our oldest child. She was in 3rd-grade at the time and had attended four different schools due to our own graduate school studies.

We insisted on making a better choice for her, but we were not sure where to begin. How could we transition to yet another new school? We had homeschooled some during early elementary. This seemed like the most stable choice – especially considering that we may end up moving again at the end of my husband’s four-year contract on the island.

Why not take advantage of our unique lifestyle and – officially – turn the globe into our classroom? Why not use the best tools for learning possible? And that is just exactly what we have done.

We still use textbooks and a few traditional learning tools (including the occasional assessment), but those books take us into the world and help us experience it more fully. We have found a few curriculum options that help bring us outside and let us dig into what is available outside the doors to our home.

We have found that setting our work up by the week instead of by the day also gives us more time each day for in-depth learning. Some lessons are a bit longer, but we are then able to get through more material with better retention. Our current home really does help to provide us with tools for learning about nature and the environment. Finding geckos, lizards, snails, frogs, centipedes, chickens, and a few mongoose in your classroom always makes things interesting! :)

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