Boning Up

by Stefani on 16-October-2007

You could call it, Unplanned Parenthood (thank you Molly for the brilliant terminology) or maybe we should refer to it as slow learning? Hmmm… If I call my kids “slow learners” I’m pretty sure that the reference to this movement might not be what leaps to mind.

What I mean, of course, is that in the way the Slow Foodies are railing against a fast food culture, we are attempting a departure from a force-fed education. I’d rather one that is thirsted after.

To that end, we didn’t go with my plans today either. Maybe tomorrow.

Over breakfast we got caught up in reading Netter’s Atlas of the Human Body. The boys were fascinated by the drawings of the skeletal system. They asked about the “blue” parts at the joints, so we had a discussion of cartilage. For a visual, I nested two tea cups together and made a fantastic grinding noise, pivoting one inside the other. We then put a tea towel in between and understood, right away, the value of cartilage.

We had a brilliant time on You Tube, playing this a million and one times (and acting it out, of course):

Then there was Schoolhouse Rock’s Not So Dry Bones.

At this point, it was abundantly clear that my list would get shelved once again, so that we could head downtown to the Austin Nature Science Center, where the array of bones (not to mention skins, antlers, insects, fossils, rocks, shells and more), is astonishing.

In a perfect world, our school room would be this cool:

Cases of Bones

Face to Faceless

Mr Toad Rides Again


Horse Skull

Even cooler is the fact that they have an exchange program, whereby you find objects in nature (there are some guidelines regarding acceptible collecting), or you can photograph, draw or journal them. You have to learn something about the object, and present it (or your other documentation) to someone at the Nature Center. You then receive points, which you can use in trade for things like geodes, shells, snake skins, and even various bones.

The boys have their eyes on a few skulls and an Armadillo shell. So, they are now half crazed, on FIRE, to journal and draw nature.

Yep, I’ll take that over accomplishing the laundry. Something tells me that we’re just going to get dirty again anyhow.

All of this is to say, if you ever pop in for a visit, you might feel a bit like you’ve called on the Adam’s Family.

You will have to push clean clothes off the couch in order to have a seat, and the good Lord only knows what might be hiding under there… bones, insects, seed pods. Sounds pleasant, right?

Oddly, it is.


And speaking of spooky and yet pleasant, I’ve been neglecting to mention that I was treated to a fantastic package from Anne of Green Jello. You can read all about our super-sized Halloween extravaganza here. Thanks to Anne’s generosity, we have discovered a new love – old monster movies. They are just spooky enough, without being gorey or too long. Good to the bone 🙂

Lisa Clarke October 16, 2007 at 7:37 pm

Ok, you are just TOO cool! My house is a big disaster area, but I don’t have rain sticks and museum trips to blame… I think I am inspired now to go beyond “googling” next time one of my boys asks me about something.

kristin October 16, 2007 at 7:58 pm

there are bones in nearly every room of our house right now…now that i think of it, i think the bathroom is the only room free of them.

eliza hauled a bone from micah’s room to her own saying: this bone, my woom, this bone mine.

ah, blog friend, rock on.

leslie October 16, 2007 at 8:18 pm

i used to dream about doing netter type paintings, all the gore. love it!!!! i even took a painting class called “rendering the anatomical body” or something like that, all about painting body parts (inside body parts) so fun! only an ultrasound tech would say that, oh well.

Sarah Jackson October 16, 2007 at 8:28 pm

Awesome! We’re heading up to a nature/dinosaur museum in Flagstaff on Thursday and I can’t wait. That is if we don’t get too sidetracked in Sedona. I love the toad skeleton. I’d stick that guy right on my mantle.

Glad to see education taking its own course and working out the better for it.

tania October 16, 2007 at 9:17 pm

You, my dear fantastic homeschooling mama are doing it all so RIGHT!!!! Bless you for giving your kids a rockstar education! Never doubt yourself girl!!!!

Molly October 16, 2007 at 9:42 pm

Why oh why don’t we live closer to each other? And speaking of bones, I impressed some young boys at “school” today with my homemade marshmallows and we may trade some of my goods for one of their owl pellets (which they find in the wild). It’s funny how October is all about sugar and bones.

Anne October 16, 2007 at 9:53 pm

I took my children to this little nature center the other day and one of the barn owls was opening his mouth in an odd way and then all of a sudden he spits this black wad out of his mouth. Because of your blog, I knew what this was – the “pellet” post you had last month. So, you are homeschooling us all. I’m glad you are enjoying the old monster movies.

randi October 17, 2007 at 6:22 am

This sounds like a fun outing! My kids love to visit the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, especially the dinosaurs and mummies!

What is it with boys and dead things???

Rose October 17, 2007 at 11:28 am

I love your post! My kiddos got a kick out of the dancing skeleton and we went over to you tube for more video fun. Days like the one you describe are going to be some of the most treasured memories we’ll have when our kids are grown! Thanks for sharing!

molly October 17, 2007 at 1:39 pm

you are SO GOOD! i love this.

Lori October 17, 2007 at 1:44 pm

“slow learning” — rofl — i *swear* to you i have used that same phrase, then thought “oops…”

what a fantastic science center. i was greatly affected by my seventh-grade science room. there was a high shelf all around that had stuffed animals in aquariums, pinned bugs and butterflies, dried things, etc. it’s an ongoing influence.

that exchange program sounds amazing.

Steph October 17, 2007 at 6:26 pm

The museum looks amazing and the exchange program sounds too cool! I only wish I had been given the chance to learn what interested me the most and not have to worry that my maths was due in that day.

Kim October 28, 2007 at 10:14 am

gosh, I would love to visit there!

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