One of the big positives that proponents of home schooling tout is that it preserves the Love of Learning. All of us hopefully have a good memory of discovering something for the first time that really inspired us and made us want to know more. When we really care about a topic, we leave no stone unturned searching for information just because we want to. We don't need a teacher or a parent prodding us to study. Forcing us to memorize facts. Making us churn out a report. We just do it because we are interested. And in our excitement we gain KNOWLEDGE almost without realizing it!
This happened here recently with the discovery of a dead coyote. It seems this hapless coyote crossed the road and was hit by a car on the other side of the river. (Luckily, they didn't notice it until nature's scavengers had taken care of its soft tissue and it was mostly dried out.) Its decomposing carcass generated a lot of interest here at the Gale Academy of Classical Education. First, my would-be scientists had to get across the river for a closer inspection. They put on swimsuits and old shoes and set out on their expedition. The river is a little low right now and there are enough rocks that they walked most of the way across and only had to wade a few yards in the water. The coyote carcass had fallen onto a fairly flat rock which made for an easy inspection. And thanks to that ever-trusty, long respected scientific tool: the stick--they were able to observe every detail of this road-kill. They sloshed back across the river to report their findings. The findings were thus: "Its guts are all shriveled and mostly gone" "The fur is stuck to the bones but there isn't any flesh" "I lifted up the skull with a stick and the jaw fell open--COOL!"
It was then decided that the specimen should be brought over to our side of the river for a more detailed study. Not one to stand in the way of science, but still being a Mom, I suggested plastic gloves and eye protection as well as a large plastic garbage bag to bring it back. They are going to bleach what is left and put the bones together: "The knee-bone's connected to the leg-bone" etc. etc. What better way to learn anatomy and nurture an interest in zoology?
An Important Side-Note: For all parents of any future grandchildren, let me say that though I make light of some of the "icky" stuff that happens out here in Nature, I really am a stickler for safety and cleanliness. I should take out stock in the Clorox company-- it is my best friend and has been through all the raising of the eight children (whom you will notice are healthy and for the most part well-adjusted!) Just to let you know--your children will be safe and clean and loved and spoiled when they are in my care. Although, when they are about seven or so I will probably let them poke at dead stuff with a stick.