Oh, Dearest Mother, Sweetest Virgin of Altagracia, our Patroness. You are our Advocate and to you we recommend our needs. You are our Teacher and like disciples we come to learn from the example of your holy life. You are our Mother, and like children, we come to offer you all of the love of our hearts. Receive, dearest Mother, our offerings and listen attentively to our supplications. Amen.



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marihalojen
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Posted: May 25 2006 at 10:36am | IP Logged Quote marihalojen

With summer right around the corner let's post ideas here relating to that amazing series of books by Arthur Ransome, the Swallows and Amazons! The available books in the series are
Swallows and Amazons
Swallowdale
Peter Duck: A Treasure Hunt in the Caribbees
Winter Holiday
Coot Club
Pigeon Post
We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea
Secret Water
The Big Six
The Picts & the Martyrs: Or Not Welcome at All
Missee Lee: The Swallows and Amazons in the China Seas
Great Northern?: A Scottish Adventure of Swallows & Amazons


MacBeth's Opinion has a marvelous section on Swallowdale and Alice Gunther wrote last summer on her family's adventures with this series.
There is an Arthur Ransome Society which publishes a newsletter, SIGNALS FROM TARSUS, a very fun place to get, as well as submit, ideas.

I am envisioning this thread rather like the Mary in May thread. Lots of pictures and inspiration on our individual blogs with the links and conversations continued here at 4 Real Learning. It'll be very exciting to travel the S&A Rabbit Trails this summer!

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Posted: May 25 2006 at 3:49pm | IP Logged Quote Sarah

I wanted to start reading this aloud this summer. Are my 2 boys ages 7 (closer to 8) & 9 (almost10) the right ages?

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Dawn
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Posted: May 25 2006 at 7:25pm | IP Logged Quote Dawn

Jennifer, with which book is it best to start?

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Posted: May 25 2006 at 7:54pm | IP Logged Quote alicegunther

Dear Jennifer,

When I first read your blog, all I could think about was how perfectly you could play Swallows and Amazons!

Last summer, during our S&A craze, I looked in to sailing lessons for myself and the girls, but the summer was almost over, and it never happened. It is a real dream of mine to do this with them some day.

We have decided to revisit the series each summer, so this thread is timely for us!

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Posted: May 26 2006 at 8:36am | IP Logged Quote cathhomeschool

alicegunther wrote:
Last summer, during our S&A craze, I looked in to sailing lessons for myself and the girls, but the summer was almost over, and it never happened. It is a real dream of mine to do this with them some day.


I did the same thing, but was told that no one offers sailing lessons in our area. We were invited to sail with members of the Sailing Club here, and within 2 months had bought our own small sailboat (an 18' Bucanneer, which is a real crunch for our family. We hope to buy a Laser soon for the older two)! We are still very much novices, but are enjoying it so much... all thanks to MacBeth's continual recommendation of the S&As!

I want to revisit these books this summer too, and hope to have picnics and such as Alice did last summer.

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Posted: May 26 2006 at 8:43am | IP Logged Quote cathhomeschool

Dawn wrote:
Jennifer, with which book is it best to start?


Dawn, Swallows and Amazons is the first in the series. Technically, The Big Six is ninth and Great Northern is last, but you could read them in the order that Jennifer posted and it would all make sense.

I would read at least the first 5 in the order Jennifer lists.

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Posted: May 26 2006 at 10:33am | IP Logged Quote MacBeth

We have had many, many S and A adventures with friends of ours who are frequent contributors to Signals from TARSUS. I'll post some ideas here, but I want to suggest that there may be some great ways to learn to sail for not too much money--

In Boston, at Community Boating, for instance, kids 10-18 learn to sail and sail all summer for $1. It might be worth staying in Boston or the area for two weeks on vacation just to get the lessons and sail time. I learned to sail there in 1976...what a summer that was in Boston!

In many other places, summer camps are provided by yacht clubs at a great price for kids.

In some places, there are tours on tall ships, and some tall ships can be hired out for overnight sails. And when they hear you are homeschoolers, they are as likely as not to be thrilled . One crewman at Mystic Seaport once said, "Oh! You'll learn more out here, away from the classroom anyway. Good for you!"

Find an inexpensive sail boat (or even a rowboat or canoe) on eBay and learn to float , row and sail.

If all else fails, wait for nature to toss something your way--once, when the entire beach was flooded with 1 foot of water after a storm, the kids built "Wildcat Island", called an inner tube "Swallow", and spent hours paddling around, racing other tubers. Other times we have hiked "islands" at low tide. We have walked through caves, gone mining, talked with carrier pigeon enthusiasts, tried tickling trout, climbed into an old "igloo" kind of thing (a local estate has an old underground "cooler" where they stored perishables--makes a great S and A-type igloo), watched the ice yachts on a local lake, rigged sails out of rafts on rivers in VT, and Paul once rigged a sail sled to incread downhill velocity, and more...ALWAYS inspired by the terrific books by Ransome.

My
Swallowdale page included many photos (and so, may be slow to download ) of our adventures. I even tried to find photos to match the book covers.

It is hard to express and explain to those of you who have not read the books the number of rabbit trails, educational field trips, and just plain old fun times we have had because of these books. And if you think you cannot join us because you are not near a source of water, recall the words of Emily Dickinson:

I NEVER saw a moor,
I never saw the sea,
but I know how the heather looks,
and what a wave must be.




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Posted: May 26 2006 at 10:39am | IP Logged Quote Elizabeth

What are the audio options for these books?

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Posted: May 26 2006 at 10:52am | IP Logged Quote MacBeth

Blackstone has the first book ($60), but I prefer the tapes that Alice and I have (I think she has them all; I have a few)...here. The only problem is that they are only available from Britain. A few are now on CD, but most are on tape.

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Posted: May 27 2006 at 7:15am | IP Logged Quote marihalojen

Janette, I updated the listing to the proper order, and I may as well take this time to confess that I have never read these books I missed them somehow, someway, when growing up. But - I was prattling on about how excited I was about our summer plans to my dh and he stopped me, made me repeat the titles/author and began laughing! I had to ask if he'd heard about this series or read them before and his response - 'Why do you think we live on a sailboat? I loved Ransome's books as a kid.' was the final seal of approval.

Swallows and Amazons Forever!

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Posted: May 27 2006 at 8:15am | IP Logged Quote cathhomeschool

marihalojen wrote:
I had to ask if he'd heard about this series or read them before and his response - 'Why do you think we live on a sailboat? I loved Ransome's books as a kid.' was the final seal of approval.

Swallows and Amazons Forever!


I can see my oldest following in your husband's footsteps. He loves your blog, and hopes to live on a boat someday. (I would love to too, if there weren't 6 of us!) Last summer the boys donned their red hats and English accents, raised the skull and crossbones, and named our boat Amazon. They made lego representations of all the main characters and so continued play off- lake too. Ah.. such fun!

The books really are lovely. We read them all aloud as a family, then bought the DVDs (S&A, Big Six and Coot Club). Some day I hope to splurge and buy the audios from England.

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Posted: May 27 2006 at 7:17pm | IP Logged Quote Leonie

I loved these books as a girl and have enjoyed sharing many of them with our boys over the years.

Actually, I am amking a note to re-visit a couple this summer ( we are in autumn now and in the throes of reading about both Asia/Africa and the Middle Ages).

Thanks for the reminder - I saw some very attractive new editions of the S&W books at a local bookstore yesterday ( Dymocks, for any other Aussie readers).

Are the books available on CD? Oh, and are the videos still available?

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Posted: May 29 2006 at 12:02am | IP Logged Quote Kelly

Well, this has nothing to do with S&A per se, but if anyone is on a Sailboating rabbit trail, then they might enjoy reading the book "The Walkabouts"---the true story of a Rhodesian family of six who leaves Rhodesia/Zimbabwe/Africa and sails off around the world. With next to no experience, I might add! Not that I recommend that part, but the sailing with kids part IS enjoyable reading.

Also, my Seadog brother, also a sailboat liveaboard kinda guy in the Florida Keys, greatly enjoyed "Two Years Before the Mast" by Dana.


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Posted: June 02 2006 at 7:02am | IP Logged Quote marihalojen

Well! We almost got our S&A books from the library, we were called for a pick up and ran in, so excited, only to find they'd mistakenly been sent to Key WEST, not Key LARGO. Arrgh! I know, I know, it's the Keys, we are on Key's Time...

So, in the meantime I'll recommend a great example of a nature notebook on board a boat coming down the ICW - Narrow Waters by Dee Carstarphen. Very inspiring.

She has another book - The Conch Book: All You Ever Wanted to Know About the Queen Conch, from Gestation to Gastronomy that is all about (take a guess) The Queen Conch! I thought this would be very inspiring for older students, a nature notebook all on one topic, what a way to write a 'report'! (includes recipes for those who are interested in how to actually get the conch out of the shell and eat said conch)

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Posted: June 02 2006 at 7:41am | IP Logged Quote Dawn

Jennifer, these book look amazing! Wonderful summer nature study. Two summers ago we were really into tidepooling and this coloring book was a help.

We just received our copy of S&A yesterday and I can't wait to start!

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Posted: June 02 2006 at 7:42am | IP Logged Quote Natalia

We are on chapter four of S&A. The kids are loving it. Is there some kind of webpage that will help us with the sailing terms?

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Posted: June 02 2006 at 8:38am | IP Logged Quote cathhomeschool

Natalia,

This site has a pretty extensive dictionary of sailing terms.

This Boating for Kids site has some great information if you scroll down to the Sailing section. The "Kids 'N Boating" online lessons explain the parts of a sailboat and some sailing science too.

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Posted: June 02 2006 at 9:02am | IP Logged Quote marihalojen

The ultimate mariner's guide is Chapman Piloting & Seamanship 64th Edition : The Boating World's Most Respected Reference, Completely Updated & Revised with New Charts, Photographs & ... Seamanship and Small Boat Handling) most libraries have one of the 64 editions available.

On-line there are lots of fun sites, one I like is organized alphabetically using the international code flags, it does have quite a few ads though, so this Glossary has fewer ads.

I really like Sailorgirl but they were trashed in Charley, resulting in a refit boat now, I guess...anyway, fun site with a Sailing 101 section and even more on the Signal Flags. She had a return date of June 1, 2006 from a nice cruise, so new updates should be coming...

Boating Basics offers courses for each state online, just select your state at the top drop-down menu. Loads of good info here with certificates available (it looks like, check your own state) if you complete the Course.



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Posted: July 09 2006 at 3:12pm | IP Logged Quote marihalojen

While reading a totally unrelated article on Ellen MacArthur and it stated that she was inspired by the Swallows and Amazons as a child and is now the Patron of the Nancy Blackett Trust! Tiniest bit of research reveals these awesome pictures and a modern color picture here. If you are in the area this summer for 25 pounds or so (discount for Juniors) you can have a sail in her.

Found another absolutely terrific site on The Boats of Swallows and Amazons and the "Holly Howe" cottage is still a B&B. (Arthur Ransome stayed and wrote here.)

Just a few cool things on a hot day...

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Posted: July 09 2006 at 6:07pm | IP Logged Quote stefoodie

We are on Chapter 5 of S&A. Looked into sailing but you have to be a member of the sailing club here AND have your own boat to sail. So we did the next best doable thing and rented a pontoon Friday, and everyone got to steer in our one hour of "pretend sailing". Now the kids are asking for seed cake, etc. Will post a recipe soon.

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