How do you do nature studies
where YOU live?
Both kiddos are high schoolers this year so we don't formally study "nature" like we once did using the Apologia Jeanne Fulbright courses and Considering God's Creation. We still look up into the heavens and at the seasons and nature~ha! It's not a formal course per se but how could we not notice what goes on around us?
When they were littles, my daughter and her friend had an adventure~a SCIENCE adventure~
"The Gator in KY"It really started out as an easy day . My daughter’s best friend and her mom were coming over for a visit that afternoon, and as we were studying archeology and the Ancient World, these two girls decided to go on a "dig" in our backyard. I should tell you that we were living in Western KY at the time, and it was a gorgeous sunny warm day in the early fall of the year. As my friend, Best Friend’s Mother and I were settling down for some relaxation with our favorite HGTV…IN SHOT ONE GIRL, THEN THE NEXT from the outside yelling, "We dug up an allegator!" which both girls repeated as they jumped up and down something like kangaroos or jack rabbits in their excitement. Their eyes were wild with the wonder of WHAT they had found…the deceased body, the carcass of a baby…well, I won’t say it again, but you know! AND of course their hands were dirty with the remainder of the soil from which they had dug and had fallen off in their haste to get to us to share their good fortune…they WERE fortune hunting that day…Imagining everything from gold to all manner of artifacts from some ancient PAST civilization. Questions had loomed in their minds about just what lie under the layers of earth RIGHT in OUR OWN BACK YARD…they had seen video of digs where groups had found fossils, pieces of pottery, clues to history, and THESE two girls wanted in on the action. NOW they had found something…I got nervous. We did live near a freshwater lake not in the so far distance that when the trees were bare of leaves, one could see the sun glistening on the water dancing. WAS it possible for such a creature to survive in this climate? Surely it’s species could NOT survive the cold of the snow and ice that we had experienced that winter past. But because of their excitement, and my fear that there just might be a whole FAMILY of those ferocious animals just near our back yard, I cautioned the girls NOT to actually touch it, but gave them both a set of rubber gloves from my cleaning stash, a paper plate and words of instruction to bring it to me…I had to see it for myself. NOW I was not then, nor am I now an expert on reptiles, but I’ve seen a few having grown up in south GA. It wasn’t uncommon for an allegator to wander into ponds, rivers, ditches; we lived near the marsh which is a natural habitat for the creatures. There is even the famed Okeefanokee Swamp in the area where there are many many who thrive…I was taking no chances; I needed to see this thing for myself. Since this became a natural homeschooling venture really, I pulled from our bookcase the Smithsonian Animal guide for the girls to research their find…what kind, how old…was it indigenous to the area or had it merely found its way to KY from a sunnier climate such as FL? Folks in KY LOVE FL! This wasn’t a big stretch that one of these reptiles could have lost his owner and ended up…in MY yard. With resource book out on the table, the girls sat down with their "treasure" to research him thoroughly. They looked up his species, his age as noted by the spiney prominences on his back…I began to really think about this…NOW I HAVE TO CONFESS that my friend, who is a native of the area was not one moment convinced that this animal could be in a natural habitat in our lake behind the house because of climate, but she wasn’t sure it had not perhaps gotten away from it’s owner and ended up there…after all, it was now fall…and summer travels could have brought him to our yard from the many miles of his home in a warmer deeper south. AND I also have to tell you that she wouldn’t look at the find either…it was UP TO ME…Curiosity what it is…and the girls had worked really hard determining what sort he was, I decided to check him out myself…no smell, no… well…I won’t go here, but something dead and in the dirt…YOU can IMAGINE for yourself…and why they and I wore gloves…but as I examined him, I began to feel of his body…spongy, intact all but the lower jaw…I looked and looked…WHEN IT occurred to me…he was a plastic gator that a child obviously before we had moved into our home…well, he was a lost pet, never an actual live one…My friend, girls and I found this so funny…except that the girls were a bit disappointed. Their treasure was a toy…But WHAT A DAY where home schooling worked beautifully and so naturally. When you see the picture, you will note the cat who is standing watch as the girls work…THIS IS HOME SCHOOLING when it works BEST! AND BTW, gators don’t survive in KY…THANK GOD!