Saturday, August 7, 2010

Favorite Part

Ah. I DO love my little life carved out here...

I almost named today's post, "Off With Their Heads!" but out of respect for a sweet, almost eight year old friend, I resisted.
Beans, Nugget, and I got an impromptu invitation to observe a chicken butchering at a friend's house today. Considering that we will be butchering our own birds in a matter of weeks and we are novices at this, I decided this was a good opportunity to learn something.
It was homeschool for grown-ups.
With Nugget in the baby backpack and Beans in my arms, we gave the two ill-fated birds their final petting. Our friends showed us a few tricks to get the birds to be calm, a hachet delivered a swift blow, and without a squawk, the hardest part was over. The birds were hung To bleed out while preparations to dress the birds were made. The kids found that gross fascination with parts like the decapitated heads and removed wings and feet that all curious youngsters have. Homeschooled kids (in my personal opinion) have an even deeper fascination. Mere moments passed before all the kids (except Nugget) were asking great questions about why the body continued to move, or what chicken brains looked like. (Nugget continued happily clucking at the chicken remains.) Even Beans had some good questions, for a two year old. "Why did we do that?" and "Does the chicken feel better without his head?"
In attendance were three adults, one teenager, and youngsters aged 1, 2, 6, and 8.
Yes. I let my kids observe.
Nugget cared not. In fact, she merely squawked happily at the other chickens roaming the yard. Beans was curious but not disturbed. We have talked many times since buying our own chicks about how chickens provide meat and eggs. Once the excitement was over, she toddled off to play with more exciting things. Her interest peaked again after the "Women's work" (cleaning the chickens and preparing them for freezing and cooking) was done; when the birds looked more like dinner than livestock. Then she decided she was hungry.

I got some good experience and anatomy/dissection lessons. I don't feel nearly as intimidated about our upcoming butchering day as I did before. And I even think I could infidently handle the dispatching of birds... a job I had definitely ensured my husband would handle before we started the chicken venture.
The job was easy and fun as we visited with our friends. I love the interplay of homeschool families working on a task together. It makes me sad that formal education takes all the FUN out of learning. I gleaned as much information from my friends' children as I did from my friends. When the older kids tired of the lesson, they joyfully (and without being asked!) took Little Nugget to play so I could enjoy the rest of my learning experience.
It was a modern day "Little House on the Prairie" day. I loved it.

And my kids? (Before someone gets their knickers in a knot about me exposing my kids to the facts of food production)
I'm thinking they survived the exposure. When I tucked Beans into bed, I had our usual conversation:

Me: "Did you have a good day? What was your favorite part?"
Beans: "Um, yeah. Mine favorite part was getting that chicken
and chopping off his brains and then maybe we are gonna eat him right up!"

I think I definitely have a farm girl in the family.

Until Next Time,
Happy Moose Trails


~Missy~ said...

Sounds like a great day and a very worthwhile lesson to me! Wonder why people think simple facts should be hidden from kids?

JackDaddy said...

Why shouldn't they understand where their food comes from? I think you did a good thing!!

Anonymous said...

I think it is important for children to learn all of it from start to finish :)
I think you an J are Awesome Parents :) Keep up the good work!!

Karen said...

"The kids found that gross fascination with parts like the decapitated heads and removed wings and feet that all curious youngsters have. Homeschooled kids (in my personal opinion) have an even deeper fascination."
"It makes me sad that formal education takes all the FUN out of learning."

Wow, what a broad-based assumption. As a teacher it is HUGELY offensive.
I could insult you right back, but I'm above that sort of behavior. I don't think homeschooling is bad. It has its place in the educational system. It is, however, not for everyone.
Perhaps in the future you might be a bit more broad-minded instead of narrow-minded, which is what your children will be if you aren't careful about your opinions.

Karen (a teacher in Alaska whose students regularly hunt and fish and seem to enjoy it tremendously. It doesn't appear that going to "regular" school is affecting that pleasure, in fact it's amazing to see them carry on the traditions of their native ancestors.)

It makes me sad that formal education takes all the FUN out of learning.

Moose Nuggets said...

Karen- wow. Seems like you are NOT above that sort of behavior.
There was certainly no specific offense intended. And for the record, my mother, sister, and sister-in-law (as well as several aunts and cousins) are professional educators within the public and private sectors.
Funny, none of them take offense to my personal opinion of the public system- and many even agree that the flexibilty within lesson plans for homeschoolers are desirable in a classroom setting but just not possible.

While I generally try to keep the peace among my readers, I must say that your response AS an educator is also one of our reasons for homeschooling. I would muh rather that my children develop views under my tutelage (even if those quick to assume anything about our family based on a handful of blog posts consider those views "narrow minded") than to develop their views under the tutelage of instructors with assumption and ideations that go against the nature, morality, and code our family adheres to.

I am sincerely sorry you were able to take personal
offense by my joy at watching my children learn in an excitig and meaningful way. I would think as a "professional educator" you would be overjoyed at seeing children learn in whatever manner makes the lesson stick.
I know all the "professional educators" that have a personal and meaningful relationship with my girls were thrilled to hear Beans retelling her lesson- and didn't take offense one bit over the fact that I KNEW I could provide a better education than any self proclaimed professional.

Karen said...

Hmmmm. I'm taking it you do not care for differing opinions, Ms. whatever your name.
This will be my last comment on your blog as it will be deleted from my blog list.
I certainly did not expect you to insult me as a teacher and the profession as a whole but since you have decided to play that game, well I'll join in with the insults. I'll show you what poor blog opinion behavior really is all about.
I'm wondering, where are your other children, you know, those boys you criticize for being materialistic? If you are such a person of high morals than why aren't they with you? Have you even seen them since you moved to Alaska? I doubt it. I suppose they are the "collateral damage" for you deciding to start a new life and family in this state.
Sadly, and I know you find it hard to believe since I'm so narrow minded, I have had more than a few students who have been abandoned by a parent or parents who selfishly decided they didn't care for the life they had and took off for parts unknown. Many times they are cared for by relatives or a single parent and/or a step parent, but it just isn't the same. This narrow minded teacher spends a lot of time with these particular students, ensuring them that they are worthy of love even if mommy isn't around.
Of course one day, I'm sure with your "tutelage" they will understand that your high morals just didn't allow for room for them in your new life.
So, if there is a lesson to be learned, Ms.what ever your name, it is this, "those you live in glass houses should not throw stones."
As for me, I'm off to prepare a picnic for ALL my children, too bad you can't say the same thing.
I hope when all is said and done in your life you have no regrets about your choices, but being a bad mother is truly inexcusable.