Living Science

Homeschooling moms have an incredible knack for bringing out the educational components of simple day to day living.

You can spot her at the end of the grocery store aisle – mid-morning – kids in tow having the kids calculate the best deal on beans. She’s in the produce aisle watching her children weigh the produce and calculate the costs. She’s also seen at checkout grading her children’s projections of the shopping trip costs.

She’s an educational maniac… always keenly aware of her surroundings, looking for something to glean a bite-sized morsel of education from.

Life is school. There are opportunities in every day, everywhere.

Living on the plains of Colorado, we have found our share of wonderful educational opportunities. We’ve studied our native bugs. We’ve enjoyed watching the location of our sunrises and sunsets (both fully visible from our home) change as our seasons have changed. We’ve had opportunities to study weather first hand. Some opportunities are a joy to study and others can be downright tapping into Fear-Factor-levels!

Rattlesnakes are an unwelcome, but tolerated, part of our lives here on the plains. One sense that they are anywhere near and Ho-Hum-Momma-Bear instantly transforms into Alice-in-Wonderlands-Queen-of-Hearts screaming, “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS! OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!”

The first time I was informed that a snake was encroaching on my property I quickly became some sort of gun-toting cross between Annie Oakley and Rambo. Satisfaction overwhelmed me as I trotted across the property in an effort to protect my children from the unwanted visitor.

Those days are gone, however.  I quickly learned that blasting a rattlesnake leaves you with a myriad of questions, including “is it even dead?” as oftentimes they are blown into oblivion leaving no evidence of their existence. We are a little more humane around here now as we have recognized the value of a good rattlesnake educational experience. They are simply scientific opportunities crawling around us and awaiting discovery!

Here we go...

Early October was one of these discovery times. After months of comfortably believing there were none on our property, we suddenly found over five in just a few days – within feet of the areas our children happily play. Yes, we did “off with their heads” and this time we decided to bring them into the kitchen – for science class, not cooking class (at least not yet)!

20151018_120224Skinning a rattlesnake is not for the faint at heart – but then again, neither is homeschooling. So we held back our fears and we cut away. The fascination of discovering the organs inside was an absolute priceless experience. The ewwws and ugghhhs quickly turned into WOWs and COOLs. It was simply amazing.

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One of our volunteer science experiments (hey, if they are near my kids, they are donating their life to science) happened to be an egg-bearing momma with over 20 eggs! There was a a moment of grief that swept over me20151018_120114 as I realized her young would not be born (rattlesnakes do not lay eggs like their reptilian counterparts – they birth their young). At the same time I was appreciative that we had saved ourselves from 20 young rattlers so close to our play area next spring.

Tell me about your living science experiments… what have you found in your environment that became a homeschool specimen?

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