Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dissecting a Flower

Despite all of their galavanting far from home last week, the boys still spent some time around the house.  The boys didn't need spring break but *I* sure did.  I was really hoping that we would just relax, play, and spend time outdoors.  I really really wanted to take some time off from homeschooling for just one week.  But then there is that cheerful, chirpy voice that is Kal-El:

"Mom!  What can we learn today!"
"Mom!  Do some math with me!"
"Mom!  I want to learn something right now!"
"Mom!  Can you show me something new about nature that I haven't known before?"
"Mom!  I really want to science something today!"
"Mom!  If I catch a chipmunk can we dissect it?"  NO!
"Mom!  Why haven't we done anything in the school room this week?"
"Mom!  Why aren't there any new things in my Asia box?"
"Mom!  I'm really sad we haven't done any school this week."

At one point I was sitting on the couch with my husband and Kal-El was peeking his head through the patio doors from outside every few minutes asking me if I was ready to come out and teach him something new yet.  I sighed and turned to my husband and said, "I am really not in the mood to come up with some supermom nature project right this minute."  But, I'm such a sucker.  A few minutes later I popped over to the computer and printed out a couple of botany pages from the Keys of the Universe biology album (thank you for coming to my rescue Jessica!).

I think I'm starting to better understand the purpose of the Montessori culture albums.  When you look at them all at once it is super overwhelming and you sometimes wonder "how am I supposed to know what to do when?"  I think the answer might be that "you don't."  You just have to be very familiar what is in them and be prepared to spring!  In this case it was Kal-El's urge to dissect something combined with his interest in what is happening in our yard now that it is spring that led me to the perfect lesson for him.

I told him the "story of the flower" and we dissected a few flowers from our garden.  They learned about the purpose and parts of a flower.  Now their interest is piqued and they are chomping at the bit to learn more botany.  I will be pulling together elements from both my elementary and primary albums in order to meet the needs of both boys together.

If you look closely at that picture, you will see that Kal-El has a "pet" roly-poly on his hand (the one resting on the table).  Check out that daffodil!  Last fall I planted about 100 bulbs.  I am really excited about these "double" daffodils.  They look more like peonies to me that daffodils.  Me Too dissected a tulip.  It worked out well that Kal-El did the double-daffodil because with ten times the petals it slowed him down enough that both boys finished removing the corolla of the flower at about the same time.

Me Too's tulip provided really nice, distinct examples for the parts of the pistil and stamen.  They both got pollen all over their hands and gleefully ran around the yard "pollinating" other plants like the insects in the story.  They thought it was interesting that the daffodil had yellow pollen and tulip had black pollen.  They asked for the microscope and it was really interesting to look at the stamen as well as cross-sections of the stem.

Kal-El immediately wanted to go get another daffodil and dissect that one too.  However, I appealed to reason explaining that we want SOME flowers left to enjoy in the garden!

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  1. What awesome spur of the moment learning! I find that sometimes that is the best kind! So sorry you didnt get a break though! ;) Spring time here is a best time to think about the botany albums here too, but Bunny it seems has found parrots to be the only thing she is interested in! Oh well. We did disect a flower last year, so hopefully that still counts! Its all about following the child!

  2. "(thank you for coming to my rescue Jessica!)"

    You're more than welcome! ;)

    I saw those flowers and thought "Beautiful!" then I saw the font of the album page behind... ;)

    And you're right - especially with botany and zoology, the best thing is just to have at least read through everything and have it tucked away in your mind for just the right moment.

    As far as school breaks - they don't seem to happen with Montessori kids, but especially BOYS (or especially my boy - and it sounds like yours too!).

    It sounds like you all had fun! I love reading your blog so much!

  3. Fun stuff! I guess thats what you get for being such a great homeschooling mama. You know that instilling a love of learning has side effects.LOL. It's great to hear that the boys keep learning no matter what. I have been looking on Ebay for that microscope, I want it bad!! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Hey MBT -- totally off-post, but did you get my email?

  5. Leann, I totally did. I have been racking my brain ALL DAY because I KNEW there was one e-mail I was forgetting to return (I slacked over spring break) but I couldn't remember who I didn't reply to. Sorry! I get so many junk e-mails lately you got buried.

  6. One of my fondest memories of homeschooling was the year I called the Parks and Rec office in early autumn and asked if we could pick flowers for our high school biology class - they were graciously allowed that and we picked *one* sample of *many types* of species - oh and the disecting and the comparing and the fun!

  7. This is such a great hands-on activity. Thanks for sharing! I pinned it: http://pinterest.com/pin/91690542383712293/

  8. Stephanie: You hit the nail on the head!

    Jessica: Thanks for the compliment! That's funny that you recognized the font :) Sounds like our boys are kindred spirits.

    Discovering Montessori: I don't know about "great", but you are right, there are dangerous side effects!

    Suzanne: It warms my heart to hear that someone has fond homeschooling memories. I'll keep that in mind on the rough days.

  9. What a great spontaneous learning experience ... the best kind! I pinned your post to my Gardening/Botany Unit Study Pinterest board at http://pinterest.com/debchitwood/gardening-botany-unit-study/

  10. I featured your post and photo in my Montessori-Inspired Gardening Unit at http://livingmontessorinow.com/2012/05/29/montessori-inspired-gardening-unit/