In thinking about our school year officially starting up soon, I have been thinking about all the lessons that our children will have in all of the subjects provided in the books that we study in each year, and realized that what we are giving to our children beyond the books, is really beyond compare. I truly love our homeschool life no matter the challenges, setbacks, struggles; it is truly a blessing and a gift to be able to explore life with our children and learn and grow together, not only in knowledge, but also in faith, family, spirit, and community.
In living a "farm: life" we also give our children the knowledge of where their food comes from and keeping them in touch with nature and the importance of that balance.
This week we have new chicks hatching. Of some of the lessons learned in the process patience is the biggest.
Chicks take twenty one days to hatch...the waiting is horribly excruciating, even(especially) for me. We haven't learned to candle the eggs yet so we have been having to wait the whole twenty one days to see what happens.
Yesterday they began to come out of the eggs and so out of eighteen there are eleven.
This clutch of chickens hatched almost two days late which added to the stress of hatching. The next biggest lesson is disappointment. Knowing that death is part of life and it is natural, it is still a very difficult thing to handle. Some eggs just never develop for whatever reason, but it is still so hard to sit and watch the unhatched eggs and realize that it isn't viable.
You move on, though because the next lesson is caring for something smaller than you. These little guys need lots of time and attention. They have to be fed, given water, kept warm, and kept clean. It teaches responsibility, charity, and dedication. Animals are also a great supplemental education tool for teaching science and math.
During hatching the kids and I have to chart the progress and make sure that the variables are at their best. It is also a game of percentages when the eggs hatch because you never know how many will actually hatch for what ever reason. The egg development and life cycle(we haven't figured out candling, but there are lots of pictures out on the internet of the development of a chick) is amazing and fascinating. The other thing that I came across recently in the science of hatching eggs is the genetic aspect. I loved this as a kid. It is amazing to me how the different traits being combined can create new and wonderful(or sometimes not so wonderful) differences in living things. One fact sheet that I found touched on a few of these things and it was great to share it with the kids.
Funny story that got me searching for information. One of the chicks after being taken out of the incubator and put in the brooder box, still only a couple of hours old and still slightly wet, stretched his neck, flapped his little wings, and let out this little "reeep". I knew instantly that I had to see if it was a girl or boy. So I searched for wing sexing and decided to try. From what I could tell according to the previous fact sheet mentioned he is a boy. I was amazed that at that age he was already showing rooster traits. I can not even begin to describe how adorably cute it was I wish I could have gotten a video of it. So needless to say having a mini farm is a wealth of investigation, exploration, and learning opportunity.
Do you have a hands on lifestyle for your children? What are some of the opportunities that you give your children a chance to explore with?