Friday, October 22, 2010

Monday Musings on the Creator in Me

I set this to post automatically, but for some reason it didn't -- and I didn't notice! Sorry if you missed me ;)

The theme at Homeschool Blogger (HSB) this week is "Teaching Science." While I've always loved learning about most things, I've never been what you'd describe as "strong" in science -- I guess cuz I'm more of a word girl. But over the years of homeschooling, I have come to love some of the "natural" and even "creative" ways we can learn about the world in which we live -- which is really what science is all about. According to, "The word science comes from the Latin 'scientia,' meaning knowledge. . . . According to Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, the definition of science is 'knowledge attained through study or practice,' or 'knowledge covering general truths . . . concerned with the physical world.'" That's pretty easy to apply in everyday life! The physical world is God's creation, and any of our interactions with it furthers our knowledge and understanding of it.

One of our favourite ways to acquire knowledge of  our world is by caring for pets. While our menagerie is dwindling a bit, our grandest total of non-human inhabitants included a dog, a ferret, two hermit crabs, and eight rabbits, six of which were babies that we witnessed being born. We now have a dog, a cat, one hermit crab, and two rabbits, one of whom is our "special needs baby" because she was born with malformed legs and bad eyes. Let me introduce you to some of the critters we've loved and learned from here at Learners 4Life Academy . . .

Nikita is our latest addition to the family -- a 6 year old cat that we adopted from someone who couldn't any longer give her the attention she craves:

Our sweet ferret, Merlin, who died last Monday, on Thanksgiving weekend:

Caspian (Prince of Narnia), our 6 year-old golden doodle:

Some of our baby bunnies from the spring:

One of the babies, Honey-Bunny (aka Legolas) all grown up:

Now if we could only make these two friends:

The fact that all of these pictures were taken by children demonstrates that these animals are not just pets that share our home -- they're specimens for investigation. These critters are under constant scrutiny, and are therefore a source of information and knowledge -- outside of all that is to be learned by caring for them (which of course involves research about what food they thrive upon, how to care for their ailments as naturally as possible, and how to keep them as healthy and happy as possible). Have you thought about all the scientific things you can learn from your pets?

While it's wonderful to have these domestic animals to teach us, we also enjoy studying the fauna and flora of the natural world around us outside. We are blessed to live near a couple of conservation areas that enable us to study land and water animals at our leisure, so we often take our nature journals with us and document our observations. Sometimes, we even have the thrill of feeding birds right out of our hands! (Sorry, I didn't actually get a good picture of that.)

Besides benefiting physically from the fresh air and exercise we get from these outings (another scientific concept we can explore), we learn first-hand about plants and animals in their natural environment. Any questions we generate as we're observing and noting can then be answered by researching when we get back home. When I consider that during my elementary education, such excursions were considered rare and special "field trips," I feel blessed to be able to offer my children these learning opportunities on a regular basis. They can be "real scientists" virtually in our own backyard! Are there any special natural settings that you go to study the world around you? (The local zoo is another favourite of ours -- though it's not entirely "natural".)What kinds of things do you learn there?

Our kitchen provides lots of other opportunities for learning about science -- apart from all the experiments we conduct there for more formal science lessons. While we work together on all kinds of culinary creations, we learn about the impact of heat on raw foods, enjoying mini-explosions of things like cranberries cooking in a big pot:

And of course, we see liquids turning to solids when we cook eggs -- to go along with our reading of DS3's current favourite book -- Green Eggs and Ham ("I do like them, Sam I Am!" he announced -- once we convinced him to try them.):


When DS11 concocts his own version of chicken noodle soup, we learn about absorption as hard, dry noodles gradually soak up liquid and become soft and chewy:

There are chemical reactions to be observed as we put milk in our tomato soup -- with and without the dash of baking soda to keep the milk from curdling -- and the lack thereof when we forget to put the yeast in our batch of bread, or the baking powder in our coffee cake. What are some of your favourite lessons learned in the kitchen about the science of our everyday  lives?

Sometimes homeschoolers get hung up on curriculum, and worry that they're not doing enough bookish learning (and I'm guilty of that myself), especially about subjects like science. But the longer I travel on this journey, the more I realize that the organic learning we do in the course of living our lives is the more authentic learning -- the learning that will last a life time.

I've only scratched the surface of the scientific learning that can go on while we go about our daily lives. What are some of the other ways we can attain knowledge -- or "general truths" -- about the world around us? Be creative in your thinking, and please leave a comment about it :)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Sincere responses . . .

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...