Fire and Red Dirt Sliding (Feb 25 afternoon)

Yesterday I took the little kids home and Stephanie stayed with her mom to go to her youth group. We usually have intense discussions in the car as the kids know that's when to ask questions. They were asking me if dogs see in color and what other animals see. I don't know the answers, so these questions are still out there and they will be looking for answers.

We stopped at the curvy road in Inarajan to look at a grass fire. Eric was nervous and Cassie wanted to go see, so Cassie and I went for a hike. The afternoon sun was going down, so the pics didn't turn out so good, but I got some shots.

Cassie wanted Eric to see, so we went back to the truck to get him. He wanted to know why the sparks and ashes went up and then back down. Then he explained that he knew it was the heat, but didn't quite know why heat makes things rise. He also knew that they fall as they cool, but why? So I was able to explain (again), that increased thermal energy makes the molecules excited and that increases the space between molecules, and that means the earth's gravity does not pull so hard on it. I told him it's called density. Expanded hot air is less dense than cool air, so it rises.

They watched and tried to anticipate when and where the next flare up would be, based on the wind and the availability of fuel on the ground. They also took into account the dryness of the fuel. I used to fight forest fires, so they are pretty well-versed in the fire triangle and basic fire-fighting theories. They know you need heat, fuel and oxygen to keep a fire going. So this increased their knowledge of how the world works, just by watching and talking about a grass fire.

Then, we had to play on dirt hills. This little valley, which is pictured, is a place we have hiked before. It was very dry, so we had fun sliding down the dirt hills. You can see the strata of different colors of dirt, so we talked a little about how erosion works and how wind and water take the softest materials first and leave the harder substances. Cassie enjoyed her sliding very much and thanked God for it. She said God must want us to have fun because he made these hills.

"Actually," she corrected herself,"God told the wind and rain to make these hills so I can slide!"

There is your proof that kids retain information they are given when the timing is right and the knowledge is self-directed. You can see a strange formation where the topsoil is still intact in a little cap on top of eroded clay. This was the point of some discussion between the little kids, but I did not hear their theories.

I was wondering if other families do this kind of thing, but don't consider it educational, or if it's common but I am the only one writing about it, or if most parents would brush off the questions and tell them to ask their teacher, or if maybe most kids would play but not ask the scientific questions, or if maybe we were unusual in that we stopped to look at a fire...But you can see that this is where they get most of their education--in opportunities that are all over the place and I just spent more time writing about it than we spent doing it...

Stephanie has been learning about entropy and thermodynamics. She is starting to see this huge force at work and learning to recognize the second law and its parallel applications everywhere. If you want to go to Saipan, you have 360 compass points, but only one will get you there, so you have 359 wrong possibilities, and only one correct answer. This is why information and energy tend to become less available to do work even though the amount of mass and energy remain
the same.

This is another ongoing discussion that gives her a sound understanding of the world around her. She is contemplating if it makes sense to assume that copying errors in DNA are supposed to result in useful mutations, when the universe demonstrates that randomness is almost guaranteed to be between useless and harmful to existing information and systems. I think it's funny to imagine someone telling her that she is an uninformed religious nut for believing that DNA represents intelligence and purely physical forces will not produce organized information or systems in the face of all the entropy in the universe.

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We have decided to start this journal to keep track of our children's life lessons learned in our homeschool journey. We believe that as parents we are accountable for our own children's education. It is up to us to make sure we prepare them to be active and responsible citizens, not a drain on society. So this blog will be a place where we can share our daily lessons and activities that we incorporate into our homeschool.

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Mother to 9 children, 5 on earth and 4 in heaven.
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Christian Unschoolers
Unschooling is learning as you live life. All of life involves learning. This is what we "teach" our children.


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