Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It Wasn't All Fun and Games

Sure, we had a lot of fun at the beach. But Olivia did miss 1 1/2 days of school. Not too bad - but I think she made up with it with several things she learned during the trip.

And if I do say so myself, it was pretty interesting!

Olivia was determined to bring back shells for her class and teachers. She knew exactly how many she wanted, and we didn't stop hearing about it for 4 days! ;-) (I'm thinking one of her love languages is "Gifts" - but that's a whole other topic!)

Since Destin is not a shelly/rocky beach, we had to put a little elbow grease into searching for these special shells. They (Daddy Doc and Olivia) figured out if they dug little holes in the sand as the waves went up and down, little clams would pop up and were easy to catch!

Here she is digging her little heart out for those clam shells. And her little orange bucket she collected them all in! She must have had 100 or so by the end. When she would put them all in the bucket, the clams would open up and stick out their little siphons - which they use to collect nutrients from underneath the sand.

When the got up to the condo, they researched a little more about these clams as well as other shell types.

They learned that they use acoustical vibrations to sense out the size of the waves in order to be pushed up on the shore and under the sand. The little bands of brown and white on their shell tell you how old they are. They grow faster in the summer with brown stripes, and slower in the winter with white stripes. (I think I have that right) The shape is perfectly designed to pull them under the sand by the ebb and flow of the waves. Their biggest prey is not birds, but starfish and other sea urchins. These little clams do eventually grow into the bigger sized clams that make pearls.

Needless to say, we weren't going to bring all these little clams home with out - achhem - gently killing them and stealing their homes. What turned out to probably be her favorite part, Olivia helped Daddy Doc boil them and scrape out the little clams inside. The shells for the most part were still in tact and resembled butterfly or angel wings!

First thing Monday morning, she packed up her backpack full of the shells she was going to pass out at school. I also printed out a picture of what the shells looked like in her bucket with all their siphons out. I'm hoping she can tell them what she learned, and also bless her little buddies with a gift she worked so hard to bring them!

Who needs school when you can go learn even cooler stuff at the BEACH!! That's what I'm talkin' about. Oh, and she also counted to 200. Thanks every-single-mile marker on the way to the beach. :-) Those were some big tough numbers! But she's got it down pat now!!

I wonder what fun facts we'll learn next time....only 3 months until we all get to go!!! :-)


  1. what you did was called home-schooling.. that's basically it.. the whole world is their classroom. Not everything is out of books (although you did get to do the research). she got the first hand experience.. Yeah Olivia..

  2. Yes, I'm aware that that is one aspect of home-schooling. It was fun, but not something I plan on doing full time. My homeschooling friends put so much hard work into their lesson plans!
    But it was definitely fun to see her learn AND play! :-)

  3. excuse me...she counted to almost 250 something mile marker ..starting from mile marker 130!!!!!!


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