Not So LIFE Science

We are raising Guinea Fowl and aside from their amazing smell, they are really cool birds!

Perfect solution for an organic gardener’s pest problem. They love bugs and will delicately pluck them off your plants without destroying the plants (according to all the info we’ve read up on)

We are hoping they will keep the vineyard tick and bug free once they are released from their current run.

Unfortunately, last night some sort of predator found them and made an attempt at capture. It didn’t get much of a meal (the head and one wing) but it was a free meal, so I’m sure it will be back again soon.

We are making some adjustments to the run today, in hopes of keeping the rest of the flock safe!

However, since the predator did leave the bulk of the bird, I found this to be a perfect opportunity to dissect a bird and learn about its organs.

It’s a weekend, we are in our PJs and our laboratory is the tailgate of a truck.

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Nothing like a typical classroom.

This is one of many reasons homeschooling so great!

The love of learning takes place anywhere and anytime.

So beware graphic photos are coming…if you are squeamish,

you might want to take my word for it…it was FASCINATING!

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Unfortunate end to a lovely creature!

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First we removed the remaining wing and legs.

The kids were noticing how the ball and socket joint was similar to Transformers and Bionicle Toys.

They are certain the designers of those toys must have copied nature’s design.

Good opportunity to discuss other ways nature plays a role in modern technology designs.

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After flipping the breast-plate out-of-the-way, we were able to see the heart and either the liver or lungs clearly. (Did not have time to plan this dissection, so we are researching after the fact using our photos.)

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My daughter was very interested in the heart.

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We cut it in half to see the various chambers…

(we will learn more about atriums, ventricles, valves, etc next week)

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…and arteries.

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Then we started dissecting the digestion process.

We aren’t 100% sure yet what each of these parts are named.
The kids have a research assignment for next week to solve these mysteries.

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The part my daughter is touching is a VERY HARD THICK muscle!

Clearly used to help the inner stones crush up and break down the food.

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After cutting parts off, we discovered the left and right sides were THICK SOLID muscle masses

and the center was where food and small stones were being ground up.

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After digging all the stony bits of food out, we cut it open to find the THICK STRONG muscle was lined

with an EXTREMELY THICK membrane that clearly played an important role in processing the food.

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On to the intestines!

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Aside from the occasional “ha ha you touched the pooper tube” joke, they were fascinated with the way

the different tangled systems were combining into one tube.

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Seeing how delicately the blood vessels were attached,

yet how strong the very thin membrane was holding them together was a moment of awe!

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It was also interesting to see the ribs attached…

….and we aren’t sure yet (research is in their near future) what the red bloody spongy tissue is covering the ribs.

We are guessing it has something to do with the respiratory system.

Science lessons will be fun next week!

We took WAY MORE photos then these, so we have LOTS of research in our future!

Mom will be learning along side the kids!

Other great aspects of homeschooling;

mama learns as well and you can be flexible in your plans to add research projects like this.

 

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How American Homeschoolers Measure Up

For those with skeptical family and friends, this bit of homeschooling info is always handy to have in your back pocket! 🙂

Homeschooled: How American Homeschoolers Measure Up
Source: TopMastersInEducation.com

Unschooling In The Little Red School House

They say the first step is to admit your addiction.

So I’m going to make that first step here in this public arena!

I am an unschooling mama with an addiction to curriculum.

It is the truth, I love both worlds of homeschooling. I like to take what I like and dump the rest. There is a reason we as a family did not fit the standard school box, we see far too many flaws with that system. Homeschooling offers such a fabulous way to dump the flaws and run wild with what works for your family!

Being a homeschooler gives me a brilliant excuse to purchase some of the most amazing curriculum, manipulatives, supplies, etc. I just love back to school sales!

However, I also have a serious fondness of unschooling methods, so there is an internal battle forging on inside of me. My inner teacher, curriculum addicted self battles on with my free spirit, trust in my children, natural loving, unschooling parenting self. Hence the reason I consider myself a relaxed schooler.

I believe in the unschooling methods I’ve read about, they simply make sense. I have seen the wheels turning in my children’s minds when they are given the time and trust required to learn on their own accord. Unschooling methods bring a massive sense of peace and calmness to our lives. The kids are happy learning and living in an educational world with many new wonders around each corner.

But I struggle with how to record keep when unschooling and my husband has reservations about the unschooling method. (Which is another post for another time)

I graduated college with a degree in child development. I was being groomed to be a classroom teacher, and yet all the theories I was taught to bring into a classroom, genuinely fits the unschooling methods better.

In the modern classroom setting, a good teacher (because there are a few of them out there ya’know) simply can’t implement what they hope to accomplish. It’s just not possible. There are far too many hurdles. (But again that’s another post for another day)

I mentioned my addiction to curriculum, but I may have forgotten to mention our little red school house…I really do enjoy “playing school” when my kids are willing to “play the students” haha!

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It is the perfect place to keep our school materials and gives us a place to go and do school. A great place to keep all the record keeping administrative type things in order. A great place for the kids to “play school” with their friends. My kids enjoy being the teacher much more than the students. Haha!

Side note: I have noticed in the spirit of Charlotte Mason’s narration methods, when my children play teacher, I get a fantastic glimpse into what they know well and what still needs a little work.

I did mention the internal battle right? Yup, at some point in time I came up with “relaxed schooler” because that is what we are.

We go into the school-house and do school to fill my needs to teach, use the fabulous curriculum that has been given the stamp of approval from my kids, and have paper work for my record keeping.

However, majority of our lives are simply chocked full of relaxed style learning. I like to say: We go into the school-house to do school and when we are finished, we go out into the world and learn something. Haha!