This blog is where we share our homeschooling journey. Our style is eclectic, employing strategies like notebooking, workboxing, and some relaxed unschooling I like to call organic or free-range learning.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Living is Learning

Broken arm stage 1=the soft splint

***Update: She finally got the cast off on September 9! The bone was 90% healed, so she wore a splint for an additional week. That meant a total of three months and one week of treatment, involving two hard splints and FOUR casts. What a summer!!***

There's an Alanis Morrissette song that talks about life as the process of learning: You Laugh, You Learn. You Cry, You Learn...etc. Bri found this out firsthand this past month when a simple romp in the grass with her new toy airplane turned into a broken arm. This doesn't mean she's learned to be careful while running (alas), but this rather cloudy kick-off to our summer has had the silver lining of providing a number of educational opportunities. Here's just a few things she's discovered:

1. States of Matter
The process of getting her fiberglass cast put on involves a substance transforming from one liquid to solid, so this was a hands-on chance to observe this in a new way.

Stage 2: the full arm fiberglass cast

2. Chemical Reactions

Also, she found out that the cast got warm while it was hardening up, demonstrating the principle that chemical changes involve the use of energy, which produces heat.

3. Bones and Body Repair
The doctor was nice enough to let Bri look at her x-rays and give us a copy that we can view at home on our computer. She learned about the two different bones in her forearm, and how one bowed (bent) and the other broke in half when she fell. We also have an anatomy book from my college days that has pictures demonstrating the process of bone knitting.

Bri has needed a lot more sleep

4. Health and Nutrition
Sure, we could have given a rote speech about recovery and health, but Bri has learned some things about the direct correlation between how she takes care of herself and her body repairing itself. She started sleeping more since the break, including naps that she'd long since left in the lurch. She learned that her body is diverting energy from certain "extra" activities in order to effect repairs. She's also been a bottomless pit of hunger, with special cravings for meats and dairy products. She discovered that protein and calcium are required for the body to create new bone.

Adjustments are needed for normal activities

5. Cause and Effect
Certainly there was the immediate lesson of Running Without Looking=Broken Bone, but there have been numerous cause and effect opportunities in the aftermath. There's the cause and effect of having to curtail activities, select wearable wardrobe, alter how she does things, etc.

She's learned a good deal more, of course, but this is just an example of how living is learning, and how one event can teach a variety of concepts.

Bri has been less than thrilled to lose out on swimming and other summer activities, but she can still have goofy fun!