Posted by: lapazfarm | June 26, 2010

Wrapping it up

It has become rather obvious that we at LaPaz Home Learning are not gonna finish this course as written, right? I mean, considering it is the end of June, and Superboy is gone to New Mexico for a Boy Scout high Adventure trip, and I am hyper-focused on planning for next year, I just don’t see it happening.

To be honest, once we moved here to Sitka, things changed.  Superboy got so involved with his volunteer work at the Science Center Aquarium and the salmon hatchery, plus just exploring  the many tide pools and shorelines, whale watching, learning about the local herring  fishery, observing sea lions and sea otters from our front yard, catching crabs and snails, doing shore clean-ups,  identifying shore birds and waterfowl… well, assigning extra bookwork just seemed kind of superfluous!

From the beginning this course was about encouraging hands-on learning in the sciences–getting away from the textbooks and getting out there in the world, getting our hands wet and getting up-close and personal with life itself.  I fully believe that is the very best way to learn any subject, but most especially science.

So..that’s what we did. For that I have no regrets at all.

But… I do feel a bit guilty for dropping the ball on this curriculum because of the folks who were following along. I hope I did not leave anyone hanging.  And if I did, I apologize. I feel kind of awful.

One thing that gives me some comfort is that  I do believe that through the 24 weeks where this blog and the plans within were the guiding force, that I laid down enough of a foundation that any one of the Fieldworkers following along could take the rest of the syllabus and run with it. Some of you did just that, I know! After all, the plans are fairly simple, following a pretty regular format:

  • For the marine biology component, read the chapter from the Seaside Naturalist
  • Copy important diagrams into your field notebook
  • Get out and find some relevant living examples, sketching them in your notebook, and noting interesting behaviors, etc.
  • Use your local field guides to identify them.
  • Watch some related YouTube or Netflix video.
  • Read up on the oceanography component on the internet or other source material (plenty of good links for that in the sidebar). Summarize in your notebook.

That’s pretty much it and is a format that can be applied to any of the chapters. There are actually only 4 (I think) topics I don’t have written plans for and I think if you apply this format and just run with it, you’ll be fine.

I’d love to hear how you guys finished up the course, and if anyone has any links, lesson plans, etc you’d like me to put up and share I’d be glad to do that.And who knows. I may just get those last lesson plans up one of these days!

But for now…I’ve got some hands-on Chemistry to plan!LOL!



  1. Don’t feel bad. We didn’t finish either…yet. We’re taking a break and then we may do mammals which is all we have left, IF we feel like it.

    That’s what homeschooling’s about. You do what works for your family which means changing things to suit you.

    I so appreciate all your efforts on this curriculum. The outline and activities you provided were an incredible source of learning for our family this year. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  2. Tess, you did more than was necessary. We finished up our lessons with our own hands on learning as well and learn we DID!! What an awesome study and such a great year for all of our family. My dd truly loved this as the best year of science yet and imho, that’s better than any lesson plans 🙂 THANK YOU so much for such a great year, her early high school science credits on her transcript is happy too!! Happy Summer and to new horizons!!

  3. i know that we were not the most obviously active of participants online (blushes in shame) but we have routinely come by to pick up links and ideas, and we have adapted these for dd (who is 10). we recently visited the sea shore with a list of eight topics she had outstanding and just two hours to collect her data! so i can seriously say you have had a big impact here.

    i also can add a big THANK YOU for all the work and ideas. this sort of curriculum is really what we need to guide us in these special interest areas, and i am so pleased to have found this course. it was fantastic, just a big warm thank you!

    • Thanks so much! I am glad the course was useful!

  4. We are in mid winter here, too cold to be fossicking in the sea, but we are a good way through and will wrap it up in November-December. We have all learnt heaps and it’s certainly changed how we visit the seashores. Thanks so much for all your work, you are right, with the basic format we can just keep on going.

  5. Just want to give you a HUGE thank you for putting so much work into this and sharing it. I so appreciate it and using your outline for an oceanography unit over the summer. Thank you again.

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