Monday, November 24, 2014

Homeschool Science

I don't use a science curriculum. It's not that I'm against them, I just feel overwhelmed by what's out there. I've found great comfort in reading about Charlotte Mason's philosophy about teaching science.  
I've learned to take advantage of every natural learning experience that comes our way. So far, we've been blessed with trips to farms, extended time with lots of different animals and hiking through the woods and up mountains. One of my favorite natural surprises was being given a dozen owl pellets to dissect!

The video below made us laugh our heads off!

For more information and instructions about dissecting owl pellets, the International Owl Center is pretty helpful.

A few months ago, our art museum hosted an amazing exhibit on Washington State birds. We could have spent hours there!!

The pumpkin farm was a great place to learn about more than just pumpkins. Getting lost in a corn maze is the perfect way to learn about direction, using your senses to guide you and listening to your gut!

Lazarus is drawing this turkey in his nature journal. So many great things to observe here!! We learned here that the wattle of a turkey engorges and turns bright red when they feel enlivened, scared or excited. We could have stayed and watched that turkey all day!

 The changing of seasons bring many opportunities for field trips. This fall, we went apple picking more than once. In fact, it was cheaper, easier and way more enjoyable to hit up the u-pick farm than braving super market traffic. We also got to spend time with friends, win win! The great part about taking a smaller group is that you get lots of time with the farmer-so many questions answered and a private tour of the farm where you learn about more than just apples.

We paired our picking outings with a cider making field trip. Again, small groups makes for great opportunities to learn so much and work hard for your cup-o-juice.

The boys even got to plant an apple tree!

 We were invited to the mountains to forage for mushrooms. Although we had no idea what to look for, we learned a lot and enjoyed finding a new spot to hike.

There it is, the beautiful Chanterelle mushroom.

We ended up with a basket full! And the views were incredible, too.

We are a one car family and on those super rainy/windy/cold days, we lend the car to papa. This means exploring our back yard! Sometimes I feel like there's nothing out there. We live in the city with only two trees and a few bushes in our yard, but the boys always surprise me.

Our most recent science lessons happened at Larrabee State Park. We learned about icicles, deciduous trees vs. evergreens, bark, ferns and cave formations.

With each outing, I'm learning to prepare myself for lots of questions. We're building up our field guide collection and even just recently bought a great bird journal. My boys are at the perfect age for hands on learning and we happen to live in THE perfect environment for learning about natural science. It's also great to be getting so much exercise and fresh mountain air!

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