Homeschooling While in the Ministry · Literature · teaching helps

52 Weeks of Literature Fun: Call It Courage

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52 Weeks of Literature Fun: Call It Courage

52 Weeks of Literature Fun is a greatly daily addition to your school or a wonderful way to have classics structured into your homeschool program. Fun activities and printables can be enjoyed from each book you read as a class or your student’s independent reading. Depending on the age of your students and how you are implementing this into your day; the activities listed below shall aid in finding learning curves, fun summer ideas to go with extra read aloud book, or in create a literature based table school program to add to your learning schedule.

A great place to start is: Call It Courage

This is a great read for all ages on our book list is: Call It Courage. At just under a 100 pages, this book is filled with some wonderful adventure and learning themes for my kiddos.

A great read aloud book that can lead to many “rabbit trails” and independent studies filled with fun and adventure. As you may already know, literature is a big chunk of our homeschool. Looking at the previous years in our education; the kids experienced literature. Reading came to life. Right before my eyes, their love for learning grew. Some homeschool moms lean 100% of their cirricula on literature. Basing their entire educate off of great books. Others use the Charlotte Mason method, while some of us a more blended approach. While many homes or teachers add literature for just pure enjoyment.

If you are just finding our blog, you will find us in the middle. Literature breaths life into our school, but does not replace traditional methods and exercises for optimum learning potential. However, I will add, when things get “stretched out” or I feel we just need a break, the kids still love to read and “do literature”. We find ourselves doing more book projects and research; allowing a break from the worksheets and bookwork. As we break, I find that spark returns. [All while still reading and learning. ;-)] However you school or teach, I hope this is useful and blesses you. If you are apart of our group, thanks for coming and we’re glad you found the way here! We look forward to our picnic and art projects in the park.

So here is a quick break down of how we used this book during Literature and “Table Time”:

The book begins with a boy, or Polynesian, that belongs to the tribe of Hikueru. So, ours began there too. We made up our own “tribe”. We talked about our home or shelters and equipment that we made. We go on our daily morning walks and while doing so, we collected many large sticks to construct a shelter. Meanwhile, we dove right into studying reef life and the Southern Seas in which the tribes sailed. We also touched a bit on history (early trading along the seas) and craftsmen trades (joiners, carpenters and wood carvers).

Photo by Bedis ElAcheche on


To begin we pulled out some of our favorite topographical fishing maps from our local sportsman shop of our favorite lakes. We then looked at the topical map of the 5 Great Lakes in the US. Searching for deep points and bays, we started pulling up pictures of homes along the shores of our great lakes (we are also studying US this year) and then expanded to all coastal homes around the world. Comparing and contrasting, we talked about our favorites and least favorites. We then shifted our focus on coastal communities (Polynesia).

This as a great place to emphasize to my K-2nd graders structures and dependency in society. Ourselves, our family, our homes, our communities, our state, our country, our continent and our world. We also were able to talk a lot of geography in relation to the equator, types of climates, and also weather.

Older students learned about fresh water meeting salt water, mangroves and ocean life. Even though it was geared for the older children, the younger were within listening ear and visual contact. They all loved the videos, dissections and projects for marine biology as well going on because of a “rabbit trail” from tropical island discussion.

Chapter 1-

  1. We discuss fear. Mafatu was afraid of the sea. Why do you think he was afraid? Each student wrote one thing they were afraid of in their notebook (Top half is picture, bottom is lines). Then drew a picture in the slot above.
  2. Hurricanes. We studied and watched- How hurricanes form HERE.
  3. We watched this document on hurricanes as well by National Geographic.
  4. Call It courage word search- free printable
  5. Glued our boats together. (see picture below of them done)- I found these at the Dollar store.
  6. Made ocean cookies and brought to the park as we met up with other homeschool friends. We used ocean cookie cutters like these.
  7. We went fishing with our poles and nets (in our canoes) after we were done with school for the day. (We continued this everyday after school.)
  8. We had gold fish crackers for morning snack with our fruit and homemade tuna salad (with ocean shaped pasta- Meijers) for lunch.

Chapter 2-

  1. We went around and shared our pictures and things we feared. After discussion we wrote our copy work verse on note cards for easier memorization.
  2. Storms and Current. We talk about our previous videos we watched and found a few more on large ocean storms and currents of the ocean and islands.
  3. Watched live aquarium while labeling the parts of a fish. (Free printable HERE) We also checked out the free live cam at the dolphin tank at the Stone Dolphin Complex. (HERE) and at the Key Largo Lagoon (Here)
  4. Building Lego “Islands and tribe with boats” (LEGO Islander Catamaran Set helps)
  5. Looked through science books to find amazing looking reef creatures and the most beautiful fish.
  6. Painted our boats.
  7. Dolphin fruit cups (Banana) I spotted on and fish cut out PBJ’s w/ ocean jello cups for lunch.

Chapter 3-

  1. We talked about Mafatu and how he faced his fears. We discussed how if and how we could face and conquer our fears.
  2. Islands. Volcanoes. Watch how new Islands are created HERE and another HERE.
  3. We watched this documentary on ocean life.
  4. Sharks. Research and label the sharks printables. Specifically a sharks (since we are dissecting one) documentary found HERE for my oldest students. Or this one for all ages. (HERE and also HERE)
  5. Play “The Shark Attack Game” (It’s a game made by Milton Bradley.)
  6. Make our Shark Suncatchers & Shark word find printable
  7. Shark bait and fruit for snacks (decorated cake batter popcorn) and Shark shaped quesadillas (pizza flavored).

Chapter 4-

  1. We talked about Mafatu’s thoughts and fears. How he dealt with his fears while thriving, even in a dangerous situation. How his years and the time he was so hard on himself for his fears prepared him for now. Skills that allowed him to thrive in his current situation. We talked about how we are being prepared for things in the future and made a large list of examples.
  2. Whales. Island life. We found as many different kinds of whales we could locate as possible. Then drew a whale. If you don’t feel comfortable or not sure how, have your students following instructions via this video. (Kids Art) Here is a video located in their free section on youtube.
  3. Island life. Polynesian island history. We made a list of all the things our book has listed Mafatu has seen or talked about in the book thus far. Then we made a comparison chart on the wipe board of all the things we think are probably on the island as well. We then chose one creature or bird we wanted to learn about and found as much info as possible. (We chose a couple from different categories since we couldn’t just pick one- Of course, I love this!) Tuamota Kingfisher, an owlet moth, Raiatea Parakeet (recently extinct), a cardinal fish, Red spotted mitten lobster AND Kuri. (Also extinct) We watched various videos of islands we knew about and this video with gorgeous photos of 10 different islands.
  4. Jungle life Printable (on my teachers page) and free coloring pictures for our diorama jungle (animals). My little ones read “Hippo goes Bananas” by MD Murray and made banana cookies. While they baked we all made jungle “ears” using headbands from the dollar store. Here is an example. Or you could purchase ahead of time.
  5. Fish & Sharks parachute game with friends at meet up and then visited the aquarium.
  6. Ocean hummus w/ crackers and fruit for snack. “Crab” croissant ham & cheese sandwiches w/ the fixings and beach cupcakes for lunch.

Chapter 5-

  1. We talked about Mafatu and all he has done. (Review) We then talked about what his motivation was. Why did he keep trying to think about his return home? What did he say he wanted to bring with him? Who did he want to make proud? Then we talked about our lives and the people that are important to us. What motivates us? What makes us proud?
  2. Sea Turtles. Print and color a sea turtle while we watched a documentary on sea turtles and the reef.
  3. Went to a turtle exhibit.
  4. Drew the ocean floor and sea turtles. (Downloaded our sea turtle kit & STEM project here for free.)
  5. Finished our “outdoor home village” and shelter for play.
  6. Dissected a shark.
  7. We ate Sandy beach pudding cups with fruit for snack. Onto fish sticks and smiley fries for lunch.

Call It Courage was another great read. This book allows for so many amazing studies that peak your curiousity. From geography, to science, creative writing projects to flow so many unit studies. It can be as simple or complex as you desire. All from a small book. This can be a one book project or apart of a book list that ties in with a particular science and nature group of studies like we used it for. From the study of reefs, coral, sharks, fish, dolphins, ocean life, hurricanes, volcano and island formation, sailing, watercraft safety, wood working, tribal life, tropical islands, and the list goes on. In placing this book first, it seems like such a simple read, but it’s a great back to reading-book, because of it’s shorter length. Do not let that fool you though, it is meaty in value and for its exploration avenues of unit studies.

Other things that we have added or could be added in with this read aloud:

  1. We do board work each day during table time. (Example above.) It’s not always the same, sometimes its: Sentence correcting, vocab, spelling, a writing enrichment assignment, etc.)
  2. We watched Moana (the DVD) and I printed the Educator’s Guide to go with it. (All the kids choose to do it just for fun!)
  3. A trip to Underwater World at the Mall of America
  4. For my little’s I made a sensory bin filled with ocean creatures. Purchased HERE.
  5. We made some sort of boat to sail at the lake each day we went. We made them out of all kinds of different materials to see what would float best. (Plastic milk containers, muffin plastic packs, box juice cartons, walnuts hollowed out, Popsicle boats, etc.)
  6. Here is a complete study guide (with questions and answers). I did not create this so will just leave a link HERE for sharing purposes.
  7. Handcrafting wooden boats
  8. Complete a simple shark tooth dig kit
  9. Canoeing class through our local DNR/ state park program
  10. Boater Safety Week via our state program (they give out boater packets, coloring books, etc. at the local department)
  11. Set up a beach play date. (Kids went to lake with canoes and paddle board)
  12. Raise hermit crabs, sea horses, or sea monkeys.
  13. Set up a salt water aquarium.
  14. Go sailing.
  15. Go to your local aquarium, zoo, sanctuary or shark cove.
  16. Make a campfire & cook on it. (Hot dogs and food on sticks are easy OR try more primitive like Mufata had to do.)
  17. Go fishing.
  18. Apologia Curriculum (My teens do this as a we correlate our literature in groups and its all related to oceans, sailing, etc.)
  19. Ocean Bingo- Make your own cards or purchase a Ocean Bingo game.
  20. Build Lego Creatures with the Lego ocean set.
  21. BE ADVENTUREOUS AND HAVE FUN, the kids will be excited if you are.

(5) Other free resources:

  1. Up close and packed with tons of video and education on the Alaska Bay. Witness water viewing window of sea lions. Puffins and creatures galore. Check out the Alaska Sea Life Center.
  2. Kids Educational Ocean Videos on the website.
  3. Oceans activities, educational and printable worksheet. Allow kids to navigate the American Museum of Natural History site for supplemental learning.
  4. Shedd Aquarium has some great classroom resources HERE.
  5. My boys enjoyed the featured projects and up to date articles for their study project and diorama HERE.

(6) Other inexpensive purchased resources:

(These were helpful to make this a complete unit study and highly educational.)

  1. Ocean encyclopedia (beautiful pictures~ our library did not have)
  2. Sharks and other deadly ocean creatures (visual)
  3. Ocean animal dig kits (12)
  4. National Geographic Look and Learn at your library or HERE for purchase.
  5. Maps of the World’s Oceans

(7) Cool gifts if your child loved this unit or you want to incorporate some fun gifts along the way- UNDER $20

  1. Ocean Light (projector lamp)
  2. Ocean Life on display OR can be used as bath tub toys
  3. Mini sea creatures for a sensory bin, dioramas, or fun fun play.
  4. Glow in the dark ocean stickers book.
  5. Sea Monkeys

(8) Other gift recommendations with this unit

  1. Classroom pet Gecko
  2. Classroom Fish Aquarium
  3. Raise Sea Monkeys
  4. A Family of Hermit Crabs
  5. Classroom Budgies or Parakeets

Happy Homeschooling! Happy Learning!

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