Farm Report- Home schooling options

Living here on the funny farm, you just never know what the day will bring. As a home school family, I believe that every day can be a learning experience and kids do not just learn by studying a book. I believe that every day experiences can teach them more than most books can. If they are seeing it in person, then they know it is factual because they are living it. I also believe that learning things as a family can be more rewarding than just two of us sitting in a classroom type setting and studying it.

Friday was one of those days that we took our learning outside for a little while and although we were sidetracked from our book work, we learned something together. We have been losing chickens and ducks and thought that coyotes were the culprits. However, my husband thought that he would set some smaller animal non kill traps that might allow us to find out if the issue was something else. After catching three cats and one of the puppies and a chicken, he finally caught a culprit. On Thursday morning, he had caught an opossum. Anyone who lives on a farm knows that these can kill the small animals so we called a friend of ours who keeps these near his home and he took it. On Friday morning, he had caught a large raccoon.

Seriously, this raccoon probably weighed close to 40 pounds and was one of the largest raccoons that I have ever seen. I am adding a photo of it in the cage, but I am not sure that the size really shows. Anyway, since our daughter has seen photos of raccoons, but never really seen one up close, I was interested in seeing how it would react to us being near him. Well, at first, he was very aggressive and she got the opportunity to hear him growl and bite at anything that went near the cage. Finally, after my husband took a stick and began to rub it against him in a petting motion, he began to calm down a little. He was still not happy about being in the cage and not happy about us watching him. We got to watch him move sticks with his front paws, eat, and sleep as well as just to watch his reactions to different sounds. This could very well have been what has been eating our flock, so we knew he could not be set free here, but we knew that the park might like him and my husband talked to someone to take him and turn him out. The biggest lesson is that this is a wild animal and no matter how cute he may be, he will be aggressive when he needs to be because it is his nature.

This report is actually covering two weeks as I never finished this last week and got it onto the site. This week we had an impromptu picnic and field trip to a McCormick’s Creek State Park to do a nature study and do some hiking. We were thrilled to have found a small waterfall that had an informative sign and recording that told of how the falls came to be since the land was formed during the Ice Age. It was interesting to see and hear about the history of the falls. We also got to see some good examples of the asexual reproduction of fungus that we have talked about in science the past couple of weeks.

We also watched how a caterpillar was getting around on the ground which led to a discussion about how different animals can develop and move. The nature center is very elaborate and gave us many hands- on exhibits to learn more about the nature within the park and the history of the park. Several exhibits explaining the Ice Age was there as well and led to some discussion as to what animals lived then versus now.

As you can see home schooling gives us great opportunities to learn both in and out of the classroom. It is a nice break to take an unplanned trip to learn a little more about what we have studied in a book. Reading and math as well as science can be found in many things that are parts of our every day life.
Farm life can be an interesting lifestyle if you want it to be and can be a great learning experience. Sometimes I feel that my daughter learns more by doing than by just reading and discussing it. There are so many ways that a child can learn and it is nice to be able to have the opportunity to explore those ways of learning.
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