We completed our first homeschool lesson on accident this week. A plan to use Groupon at Port Discovery in Baltimore fell through because the dates listed were incorrect. After my husband, who won’t take no for an answer, finished with Groupon we had $45 to spend. So, we bought Historic Ships tickets at the Inner Harbor.
Seven Knoll Lighthouse
Being one one of the hottest July days on record, our first stop with the 3 babes was the Lighthouse. Air conditioning was just the respite we needed after walking from Little Italy to the Inner Harbor. My eldest enjoyed the miniature boat models, interactive maps and talking with the guide. We left pretty quickly because it’s small inside and the little ones became restless.
We boarded the USS Constellation at our next stop. The tickets ($37 for all 5 of us) give you access to the “floating museums” which include a few ships, a submarine and the light house.
After watching the sailors reenact the cannon shooting (super loud and perfect for my 11 year-old), one of the tour guides sent B on a mission to find the ammunition and explain why it wasn’t kept near the cannons. B loved this! The sailor was young and engaging. B went straight below deck searching through the captain’s quarters, the dispensary, the “mess kitchen” and even saw the hammock beds with picnic-style dining display.
Once B found the answer and reported it to the guide, the lesson continued. The guide explained how to use the ship’s “speedometer” a wound rope on a spindle with “knots” every mile and a half. Even I didn’t fully understand how that worked before the boat tour. It is thrown into the water and unravels, literally counting knots per mile!
The submarine, USS Torsk, was almost 60 years younger than the last voyage of the Constellation. All the kids were nervous about climbing down into the bowels of the sub. This meant the pre-teen approved.
Highlights were the tiny bathroom for the crew, modern 50’s kitchen, and shaving kit which my son recognized. It looked just like his great-grandfather’s kit with brush applicator. B helped brush Grandpie’s teeth and checked out his digs in the nursing home a few times before he passed in 2014.
All in all it was a fantastic day of learning by doing. The museums are in partnership with Baltimore’s Living Classrooms.
We even made museum donations on our way out:
How to “Homeschool” it
I’ve set up a binder with sections for B’s science, social studies, math, writing and reading. For this final assignment Beni will reflect on the ship/sub experience and what was most interesting to him. You could take this a step further and have him write a letter as if he was a sailor or crew member on the submarine.
My grandfather served in the Korean War on a ship and saved some letters to my grandmother and his family. B will also be exploring these “original documents” as part of his write-up to get a sense of what life was like living on a ship for months at a time.
I’ll file his work in the Social Studies section with pictures I took (make sure your child is in the pictures). The binder is evaluated as proof of work completed. We meet twice with our county (my overseeing body for the homeschooling) during the school year to assess progress.
Want more homeschool tales and how-to’s? Comment below.