A recent example of what I like to call our lifestyle of learning-
While seated around the table together, enjoying a Saturday morning breakfast of IT Guy’s biscuits and sausage gravy, one of our children was turning the pages of a very old copy of Today’s biggest animals (A golden look-look book). Naturally, the child sitting next to the page turner, was looking on. The older was reading to the younger, something that makes me smile inside.
When the big, brown Kodiak bear stands up, it is nearly 11 feet tall.
“Is our ceiling 11 feet tall?”
“Nope, our kitchen ceiling is 8 feet tall, and the ceiling in here (in the dining area of our open great room) is a couple feet over twice that, so, about 18 feet… 11 feet would be about 1 foot higher than the floor level on the loft (everyone turns and looks up towards the loft)”
The Kodiak gets its name from the island off the Alaskan coast where it lives.
“Do they only live on Kodiak island? That’s too bad, it’d be kinda cool to see a Kodiak bear…”
“No… it’s probably a very good thing that they only live on Kodiak island. How big does that book say they are? 1,500 pounds? That’s a really big bear, and they probably don’t like people so much.”
“Hmm, yeah, I suppose…”
A few more pages turn…
“What is that?!”
“A Komodo dragon.”
“Is that a big lizard?”
“Yep, it’s a really big lizard! 10 feet long and weighs more than 300 pounds!”
The Komodo Dragon prowls the island, hunting for deer to eat.
“It eats deer?!” “A lizard that eats deer?!!” “Deer?!”
When it finds one, the terrible dragon attacks it, biting down hard with razor-sharp teeth and slashing with its long claws.
“Razor-sharp teeth?! Slashing?! Deer?!”
(Our old worm-eating salamander seems like an awfully cute and cuddly companion in comparison…)
“Where is Komodo Island?”
My 1st thought was maybe somewhere near Japan… I was wrong.
We pulled out our DK Geography of the Worldbook, but it didn’t list Komodo Island in the index. Hmmm.
It was time to Google. Yes, I use Google as a verb. It’s an action, it’s something we do…
Migrating from the table to the computer… After reading about it (Komodo Island) being part of the Lesser Sunda Islands of Indonesia, we migrated back over to the table and tried to see which one, and if it was labeled on our globe. It wasn’t, hmfph!
It was time for Google Earth.
We zoomed in, found the island, then spotted the corresponding lumpy dot on our globe! Fun stuff! Really, it is
The talk of Indonesia led to talk of religious persecution, which led to exploring Kids of Courage and reading about restricted nations and locating them on a map, all while finishing our breakfasts…
We could have gone so much further- finding maps to print, label, & color, writing short reports about Kodiak bears, Komodo dragons, Kodiak Island, Komodo Island, a restricted nation, etc… but it was Saturday morning, breakfast was wrapping up, dishes needed washing and then there were things to get out and do in the yard with Dad! The sun was actually shining that day and everyone was eager to get outside
I gathered some links, to have at my fingertips, for when the mood strikes. It’s how we roll around here, with our relaxed home schooling, and honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
*Sidenote*- Actually, I bet if our children were in public school, that sort of Saturday morning lifestyle learning would still happen- it’s such a part of the way I am, and therefore such a part of the way I’m raising my children. You don’t know something? You can read, go look it up! Go find out! You can do it! It’s actually the way I grew up, public schooled and all. I didn’t realize how “not quite normal” it was too almost constantly be looking things up in our encyclopedias until one day in high school, as I was hanging out at a friend’s house and I don’t remember what we were talking about, but a question came up, and nobody knew the answer, not even her parents… So I grabbed the phone, called home, got my sister, and asked her to look it up, which she did, all the while my friend was standing by sort of snickering, and her parents were just sort of awkwardly quiet. “Did you really just dial an encyclopedia?” Um, yeah, I guess I did. Don’t you guys look stuff up when you don’t know it? Anyhoo…
Back to the links for a rainy day-
a collection of some Alaska coloring pages
an Alaska map to print(scroll down a bit, the numbers 1-10 each link to more Alaska printables that would make great little unit study resources!)
- Coloring page- Komodo Dragon
- Coloring page- (at www.crayola.com) Komodo Dragon
I could find links all day, but this should be enough to get us going!
FYI- this story took place a few weeks ago. I just asked the kids where Komodo Island was. While the younger girls returned some rather blank stares, the boys shot right back with “part of a group of islands by Indonesia” and “Komodo Island was one of the islands where they used to ship convicts” They looked it up out of interest and they remembered! A successful example of delight-led learning as a part of our lifestyle of learning…
Also FYI- While we’re not dyed-in-the-wool unschoolers, times of delight-led learning fit well into our eclectic and relaxed home schooling!