We are so blessed to have access to a condo on St. Simons Island, Georgia. My parents had a great opportunity to get in on the building of one of the resort like places from the beginning. My kids have grown up visiting this island year after year. We don’t know how many more trips we will be able to take as they may have to sell sooner than later… but until that day comes, we will take advantage.

We usually like to go down in mid- September, just before the public school fall breaks. The weather is beautiful… warm, but not stifling. The beach is not crowded.

This year, our trip happened to line up with a unit on ocean animals and sand in my younger girls Nature Class through Schoolhouse Teachers. We collected all the shells and bags of sand. The girls drew their observations in their nature journals.

Trips like this are right in line with our delight directed learning approach. The girls were going to play in the sand anyway. They were going to collect shells anyway. We always go on a night time walk and look for ghost crabs. Every other year or so, we either visit the Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island or go on a dolphin cruise. We are going to have these experiences anyway… so why not devote a little extra conversation and intentionality to it and call it school!

The dolphin cruise we went on was pretty great. We were able to go through the St. Simons sound and see pieces of history like Epworth by the Sea where old slave cabins still stand. We were able to see a bald eagle in flight, several sea gulls and brown pelicans, and yes.. dolphins!

I have been going to St. Simons since I was a kid and never realized there was a small island dedicated to a bird sanctuary. No man made structures exist on the small island. It is the nesting grounds for hundreds of… wait for it… white pelicans… did you know such a thing existed???

We also got to observe a cargo ship that had tipped over just off the pier. It was bizarre… just sitting there on its side in the middle of the ocean. Thankfully no one was injured and no oil was spilled.

In our time playing on the beach, we observed all kinds of shells and critters. My youngest made sure to collect all the shells she could find to put into a glass jar at home and keep forever.

Dry Sand Slide through the Microscope

Once our trip was over, we took some time to observe the sand samples we brought home under the microscope. The girls decided it looks like tiny pieces of smooth glass. We observed dry sand and wet sand and drew our findings in our nature journals.

The girls also looked through the book “Nature Anatomy” by Julia Rothman and pointed out some of the things we had seen on our trip. By the way… the “anatomy” books are some of my new favorite things!

Do you ever “do school” while you are on vacation? What does that look like in your home?

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