Charlotte Mason:

Catherine Levison

Homeschooling Author:
John Taylor Gatto

Unschooling Ourselves:
Alison McKee

Between 12 & 20:
Erin Chianese

The Urban Man:
Marc Porter Zasada

Michele's Musings
Upon Christian Homeschooling:
Michele Hastings

Dear Learning Success Coaches:
Victoria Kindle Hodson & Mariaemma Pelullo-Willis

Be A Carrrrrrr School Pirate!


By Diane Flynn Keith


You might be paying more at the pump these days - but don't let the gas prices thwart your plans for a road trip. Think of those gas dollars as tuition payments for your Carschool! One fun way to get the biggest educational bang for your gas buck is to try Carschooling Unit Studies. Simply adopt a fun theme for your road trip that will enhance learning in the car. For example...


Avast, me hearties! Set sail on your adventures with the help of pirates! Cover history, language arts, math, social studies and every subject through a pirate theme. Thanks to Disney and Johnny Depp, pirates are hot! So, your kids will love learning on the road once they've been transformed into salty dogs and swashbucklers. On your next car trip invite the kids aboard the good ship Odyssey (or whatever the make/model is of your car). Use a pirate theme throughout your trip to have fun and promote learning while you steer your vessel through streets and byways!


You'll need a little advance preparation to get your car and crew ship-shape for the voyage! Here are some ideas to get you started...


·                     Read About Pirates!   - Get a list of pirate books and audiobooks that your family can use to learn all about pirates on your trip. You'll find resources to get a Jolly Roger flag that you can hoist from your car window too! Read " Treasure Island" by Robert Louis Stevenson online for free!


·                     Visit Rob Ossian's Pirate Cove - Rob Ossian (pronounced "ocean") is a nautical archaeologist. If you've got Internet access in the car, visit his website to enjoy pirate biographies, historical timelines, nautical and pirate terminology, pirate music and shanties, an online sailing simulator and much more.



·                     New England Pirate Museum's Lesson Plans & Activities - Get free pirate curriculum for carscholars in elementary through high school!


·                     Mrs. Mitchell's Virtual School: Pirates - There is SO MUCH content on the Internet about pirates that it's hard to sort through it to find the best of the best. Fortunately, teacher Kathi Mitchell has done that for us and maintains a list of links to fantastic sites about pirates including National Geographic and the Library of Congress. When you get to the site you will see a menu of links that include pirate lesson plans!


·                     Watch A Pirate DVD! - Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean DVDs are favorites for older kids (PG-13), and at this website you'll find the DVDs, online video games, and much more. Find suggestions for other pirate DVDs for kids here .


·                     Dress Like A Pirate!   - Create your own pirate costumes - from simple to swashbuckling. Of course, you can just put a colorful bandana or scarf around your head, and make a pirate eye-patch for added drama. Or print out these colorful, pirate masks   and activities for kids here.


·                     Sing Pirate Songs! - Check out Captain Slappy's Chantey Song . Or print out the lyrics to " This Old Pirate" sung to the tune of "This Old Man." Watch the free Captain Bogg and Salty's music video - and then get their terrific pirate song CDs for kids of all ages. Listen and sing along in the car!


·                     Eat Pirate Food! - Bring some snacks for the crew including Goldfish crackers, snack baggies filled with Cap 'n Crunch cereal, grog (spiced cider or punch), beef or turkey jerky - and maybe a few gold foil-covered chocolate "coins." For authenticity, use this recipe to make Hard Tack   or Sea Biscuits.


·                     Play Pirate Games - How about a game of "I Spy with My Good Eye," Search for "treasure" - just make a list of things the kids should try to find along the way (a flag, a scurvy dog, a drawbridge, a body of water, a graveyard, etc.). Mark each treasure off as it's discovered.


Want more? In an uncanny coincidence, I was surprised to find Pirates of the Caravan at MomsMiniVan.com. Writer Laurel Smith (The Road Trip Mom) describes the humorous pirate personas that boarded her van - enjoy their jokes, resources, activities, and pun-filled banter! While you're at the site, be sure to check out the archive of recommended car games (some with free printable activities).


Then, enhance the learning by visiting a museum that offers pirate history, artifacts, and memorabilia. Many provide educational materials for teachers and students, as well as guided tours. A few provide pirate living history days and reenactments along with tall ship events and Chantey sing-alongs. Check out these destinations for your next carschooling road trip:


Take A Road Trip To A Pirate Museum or Living History Reenactment!


·                     Chantey Sing at Hyde Street Pier, San Francisco, California- A public sing-along of sea chanteys and sailor songs aboard a historic ship at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. 8pm to Midnight on the first Saturday of every month. Wear warm clothing and bring a mug for hot cider. Free Admission. Reservations required, call 415-561- 7171.


·                     Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, Hatteras, North Carolina  - The waters off North Carolina's outer banks entomb thousands of vessels and countless mariners - the victims of piracy, war, and weather. This museum features artifacts from shipwrecks and some of America's most important maritime history.


·                     Jean Lafitte Pirate Museum, Jean Lafitte, Louisiana This museum offers the biography of pirate Jean Lafitte through animated marionettes and dioramas.


·                     Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, Key West, Florida http://www.melfisher.org/ - Exhibits feature treasure recovered from shipwrecks.


·                     Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic, Connecticut http://www.mysticseaport.org/ - Climb aboard historic tall ships, stroll through a re- created 19th-century coastal village, or watch a working preservation shipyard in action.


·                     New England Pirate Museum, Salem, Massachusetts Take a 20-30 minute walking tour, where you'll meet buccaneers from the days of yore, and behold artifacts and treasures. Visit a recreated dockside village, board a pirate ship and explore a bat cave filled with hidden booty.


·                     North Carolina Maritime Museum, Beaufort, North Carolina- Artifacts from maritime history, including shipwrecks. Special section on Blackbeard the Pirate. Holds all kinds of nautical educational events.


·                     Pirates In Paradise Festival, Key West, Florida- Pack up yer cutlass, don yer garb, grab yer mate and join us for a weekend of mischief and merrymaking that features a host of swashbuckling events for buccaneers and wenches of all ages!


·                     Pirates of Nassau Museum, Nassau, Bahamas- Board a replica of the pirate ship "Revenge" and enter the world of cutlass wielding, bloodthirsty pirates.


·                     Pirate Soul Museum, Key West, Florida- Visit the museum to see the largest and most authentic collection of pirate artifacts under one roof. The educators' page offers a free, downloadable guide to pirate history that includes discussion questions and activities.


·                     Real Pirates: The Story of the Pirate Ship Whydah Exhibit, Philadelphia, PA- National Geographic and Franklin Institute Exhibit, May 31-November 2, 2008. Great multi-media promo for this pirate extravaganza exhibit is available at the website.


·                     San Diego Maritime Museum, San Diego, California- Explore historic ships, enjoy all kinds of maritime- themed events including Chantey Sings, and treat your entire family to a sleep-over aboard a historic sailing vessel.


For a complete listing of all of the Maritime Museums throughout the U.S. - that may or may not have pirate-related artifacts and events visit: Smith's Master Index to Maritime Museum Websites of the U.S.


Copyright 2008, Diane Flynn Keith, All Rights Reserved.  Diane Flynn Keith publishes the rave-reviewed Carschooling® ezine. If you're ready to take the whine out of drive time and have fun learning with your children whether you’re running a 5-minute errand or taking a 500-mile road trip, get your FREE subscription to Carschoooling® now at http://www.Carschooling.com