Beached Whales and Tastebuds

First of all, no we did not eat a whale.

However, a sperm whale washed up onto the reef line a few miles from where we live. I heard about it on the news and in typical unschooling fashion, decided to take my kids on an impromptu field trip to see this sight. The only directions I had for where to find the whale was on the beach near the Yona cemetery. Eric thought it was very fitting of the whale to die near a cemetery.

I parked as close to the beach as I could get and then Eric, Cassie and I hiked a short way to the water’s edge. Along the way, Cassie noticed pinecones on the ground and was surprised to see them. She remembers our conversations in Canada about the different kinds of trees that grow in different parts of the world. The pine cones she saw were tiny replicas of those seen in Canada, and came from the Ironwood trees that line the shoreline.

The kids were expecting to smell the whale long before we saw it as we discussed decay of animals. But all we could smell was the usual salty air of the ocean. No sign of a whale. Looking out towards the reef line, at least 1/2 mile away, I could see a rounded long brown “lump” that the waves were splashing over. I'm fairly certain that was the sperm whale reported in the news. Too far away to smell or to get a good look at.

Disappointed we returned to the cemetery where we wandered a bit looking at graves and reading inscriptions.  Then home we went, where we looked at various pictures of sperm whales (and others) online.

Later that night, another teachable moment ensued when Eric was trying his first hot banana pepper. He talked about enjoying hot things and the trick is to not let them touch his tongue. So then I asked the kids if they knew that certain parts of the tongue could taste different tastes.

“Oh, yes” Cassie exclaimed,” I read about it in a book.” Both her and Eric were able to tell me what parts of the tongue tasted sweet, salty and bitter. And then told me how they had both experimented with this to see if it was true. All without benefit of a science curriculum or lesson plan.

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Home Economics

Cassie has been showing an interest in cooking lately so I have been taking full advantage of this window of opportunity and trying to teach her all I know. On Sunday we made a cheesecake together. It didn’t turn out so well. It tastes good enough but the texture is not right and so the kids, who generally devour cheesecake, weren’t too interested in it. I used the failed cheesecake experiment as a lesson to teach Cassie the importance of following a recipe. It’s not good enough just to gather the ingredients together and use the right measurements. It is the ORDER you put the ingredients together that makes all the difference. Our mistake with the cheesecake was not putting the items into the bowl and mixing in the correct order. Result? Cheesecake that was not as good as it should be.

Last night we made macaroni and cheese. With a white sauce. Very important to do that in the correct order or you will have very lumpy sauce. Cassie was very interested in my stories of Home Economics classes in 8th grade. She thinks that has got to be the best class in school. Until I told her we still had to do tests and homework and it wasn’t all just about cooking food and eating it. She feels that it should only be about the cooking. That is what is so great about homeschooling. It can be just about the cooking! But at the same time I showed her how to read the measuring cup and to find out how many tablespoons are in a cup and how many teaspoons in a tablespoon. She also learned about thickening agents and seasonings. And how just a little bit of salt can really make or break a dish.

In the meantime, while cooking was happening, back in the bedroom, Eric was working with his dad on how to find out where his air con was leaking from and how to rig up a system so that the dripping water landed in the bucket and not on the floor. So a little home building, mixed in with physics came into play. And a little lesson on electronics and water, and how the two just don’t mix.

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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.

About Me

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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