The Southern Ocean and Other Things I Don’t Know About…..


My daughter who’s in third grade this year asked me to help her study for her geography test.  “I have to know the names of all the continents and oceans and where they are,” she told me.   This sounded familiar, as I had taught third grade for several years and this was part of our curriculum back then too.  I start perusing her map and list of words when I see Southern Ocean.  What’s this I ask her?  There’s no Southern Ocean.  I tell her there’s the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, The Indian Ocean, the Arctic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea….did she mean, Mediterranean Sea?!!   She was adamant that there was a Southern Ocean so we studied the map she was given.  Well, my daughter came home today with a 100% on her geography test and she let me know that her teacher said that there is a Southern Ocean.  When did this happen?!! Have I been living in a shoebox?  So, I had to refer to my go-to for all things unknown, Wikipedia.   According to wikipedia, the Southern Ocean, also known as the Antarctic Ocean comprises the southernmost waters of the world. The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) has not formally published the existence of this ocean, but it was circulated in a 2002 draft edition and is used by organizations like the CIA and Merriam-Webster. However, The National Geographic Society does not show this ocean… how things have changed. Like my husband pointed out, Pluto is no longer a planet. But, that was made a big deal. I don’t remember ever hearing anything about this other ocean.

As I’m finding out with my children’s school work, there is much changing in the education world. We recently went on a cruise to Bermuda and took the kids out of school their second week back. I figured that they’d be doing review and A and C wouldn’t miss too much work. Well, A came home the second day of school with multiplication homework!! It’s been four years since I’ve stopped teaching and I can’t believe how much has changed in those four years. It’s frightening and yet a bit amazing that I am learning new things from my eight year old daughter.

Did you know about the Southern Ocean? And if so, how long have you known about it?!!!


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