Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Keeping our Summer Interesting...Up First : Pirates!

The kids and I had to have a bit of a talk a few days ago about how our summer is going...It seemed that some days, it can get pretty ugly around here...especially when we are inside more than usual because of storms and high humidity days.

I like having our summers off from our regular school schedule, but honestly, my kids need routine! They already do a little bit of "summer school" in the morning, a little Mammoth Math, a tiny bit of handwriting practice and for Dragon a few spelling words..It takes usually about one hour to complete. The rest of the day I was leaving open, for whatever we wanted to do, park, splash pad, play dates, etc... This still left a lot of free time for everyone, but maybe too much!

Anyway, now we have added a little bit of fun activities to do together, every day. I thought a weekly theme would be a good idea. The kids came up with the themes for the rest of the summer. Fairy even asked if she could be the "host" one week! She will be hosting a theatre week for us, and she already has a whole outline of activities!

The emphasis is on fun, but I am sure we'll learn along the way too!

This week our theme is PIRATES!

Today we found out about pirate flags, pirate words and expressions, and pirate names.
We found a few books at our local library, and have read through most of these 2:

The first one "Everything I know about Pirates" by Tom Lichtenheld is a fun book! It had all of us laughing! It's not to be taken too seriously, as the book says "a hilarious encyclopedia of piratedom...using educated guesses and made-up facts...". Here is one that had all of us laughing, in the Official Pirate Glossary we read the explanation for Buccaneer : "1. A fancy French word for pirate. 2. How much a pirate pays to get his ears pierced"!

The second book is packed with facts about real pirates and instructions for things a pirate might need like cooking ship's biscuits, writing a code of conduct, making a treasure map, creating your own pirate flag (which we did today, see below), making silver pieces of eight, etc...

We found out that even though the skull and crossbones flag (Jolly Roger) is the most famous symbol for pirates, it wasn't the only one used. Some pirates designed their own and tried to frighten victims. The colour of the flag has meaning, as well as the symbols used. Black means death and red means battle. They even used a green flag to communicate between pirates. Dragon decided to do a red flag (bottom right), the spear means a violent death is coming for you, a full skeleton means torment, and he also added the skull and swords... a very clear message on this flag! Dragon also did the hourglass one on the bottom left, which means your time is running out!
Fairy did the flag on the top left and I did the one of the top right. Fairy has a bleeding heart on hers, which means a slow and painful death awaits you!

Our next activity was to make up our own pirate names, to use for the rest of our week as pirates...So far we have:
Fairy = Fearsome Tia Dalma
Dragon = Dreadful Captain Barbossa
Princess = Princess Caspian
Mom = Black Tooth Bonny

We also learned about Pirate language and the meaning of words like "avast ye landlubbers" and "walking the plank" and who was Davy Jones...


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