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Archive for the ‘Creation Science’ Category

Backyard Nature Study: A Surprise Visitor

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on October 27, 2011

We had a visitor in our backyard this week—one that really surprised us. Here’s what

The dogs were barking like crazy. They seemed to be barking at something on the ground. In the past, they’ve killed mice (our doxies are great mousers), toads (I can’t tell you how many toads I’ve saved from the “jaws of death”—I’ve decided to count  next spring/summer), baby birds, and kittens (they dug under the fence and dragged them out of a neighbor’s yard—so sad–but they survived, thank goodness.) Anyway, the dogs were intently staring at something
on the ground, and barking like maniacs. I sent Ben outside to see what they were upset about, but I quickly followed him outside when I heard the dogs starting to fight over it. Was it another mouse, or some other creature I needed to save? I could see something in the grass, oblong shaped, but I wasn’t quite close enough to see what it was (or didn’t believe my eyes) until Ben shouted, “It’s a turtle!”

Sure enough, it was a turtle, flipped onto its back. I quickly snatched it out of the dog’s reach and brought it to safety inside.

The turtle was completely pulled into his shell.  There were not even any visible openings for its head, arms, or legs. We put it in a plastic container with some lettuce and a lid filled with water, and waited to see what would happen. We weren’t even sure if it was alive.

But after only a few minutes, a little head poked out! While the boys watched it, I got on the internet to see if I could identify it. I had noticed that the bottom of its shell seemed to be cracked in a straight line across the upper third of its body, and there was a tiny bit of blood in spots. That “crack” turned out to be a hinge—and we quickly identified it as a box turtle.

I found out that the box turtle’s hinge allows it to completely hide inside its shell. (There aren’t any visible holes in the shell at all when it’s pulled inside!) It can open and close its hinge  like a little door. Also, while inside their shells, box turtles can move their hinge and “rock” themselves from front to back. There is a band of skin around their necks—almost like a tight, thick choker necklace—that their head retracts into. Josh said it looked like
leather. This little guy had three back toes and four front toes, both with impressive little claws, and it had orange spots on its body. Whenever it was startled, it hissed. We were fascinated!

The boys begged to keep the turtle, but I knew that its presence, even in a habitat in the front yard, would drive our dogs nuts. I also knew my dear husband had no interest in trying to build
us a safe place to keep him/her…so I decided  to find our visitor a new home, and it’s a good thing I did.

A friend knew a friend who kept turtles, and she agreed to take it…until she saw it, that is. She could tell that it was a female, and she could tell right away that it was hurt and might
be sick. She didn’t want to risk exposing her healthy turtles to a sick one. So I drove it out to California Living Museum, having been assured by another friend that they would take her. However, they take only indigenous animals, so they didn’t want her, either! Even so, it wasn’t a wasted trip, because they gave me the name of someone from our local “Turtle and Tortoise Club”, saying they did “recues.”  What a relief.

That very night we bid good-bye to our visitor and drove her to the man from the Turtle Club. He immediately recognized that her shell had been chewed, right near her head (I don’t know why I didn’t realize it—it was obvious.) Also, her hinge had small specks of blood on it, still. Additionally, by then, we had realized that she wasn’t eating. He assured me that she would be seen by a vet right away, be nursed back to health, and then placed in a good home.

So ends our turtle adventure–except…naturally, like any typical homeschooling family, we had to learn more about turtles!

Box Turtle facts we learned (besides what I shared above):

-Box turtles are land-dwellers.

-Our little turtle was no more than 5 or 6 inches long, but she was surprisingly heavy.

-Box turtles eat grass, lettuce and so on (as I expected), but I was surprised to find out that they are omnivores–enjoying snails, worms, and other insects as well (they eat the snails shell and all.) According to  Box Turtle Care A to Z,  “Wild turtles are omnivores and in will eat earthworms, snails, grubs, beetles, caterpillars, carrion, grasses, fallen fruit, berries, mushrooms and flowers. They will take a bite of anything that smells edible.”  Apparently they love corn on the cob.

-Their backbones and ribs are fused to their shell. Since they have backbones, they are vertebrates.

-Turtles hibernate. Our friend told us that their pet turtles stop eating before hibernation (that’s not why ours had stopped eating–it is still warm here, and too soon for hibernation). When it’s time for them to hibernate, some people put their turtles in the vegetable drawer of their refrigerators for the winter; others put them in boxes (with newspaper padding) and then put them on a shelf in the garage until spring.

-Box turtles cannot right themselves if they are flipped on their backs. If we hadn’t found her, she would have died.

-Box turtles are NOT slow. They are quick little characters, and can even CLIMB.

-Box turtles can live as long as fifty years.

This was a unique opportunity for us to see a turtle close up–it really was amazing. I’m sorry the dogs chewed on her…I’m sorry we couldn’t keep her…but I’m glad we got to study
her for a couple of days, and glad to know she’ll get a good home.

Turtle books we’re going to read for continued research (This is one of those “teachable” moments that we’ll turn into a mini unit study):

Box Turtle at Long Pond, by William T. George

Take Along Guides: Frogs, Toads, and Turtles, by Diane L. Burns

A Turtle in the House, John Gabriel Navarra

Album of Reptiles, by Tom McGowen

(We’ll see if we get off on a tangent of reptiles, in general.)

Books for the boys to read:

Let’s Get Turtles (A Science I Can Read Book), by Millicent E. Selsam (a longer one)

Reptiles do the Strangest Things, by Leonora and Arthur Hornblow

© 2011 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.  Copyrighted materials may not be re-distributed or re-posted without express permission from the author. 


Posted in Book Lists, Creation Science, Family Life, Homepreschool, Homeschool, Homeschool Preschool, Homeschooling, Nature Study, preschool at home, Reading Aloud, Unit Studies | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Teaching Science from a Christian Perspective

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on August 27, 2010

     As Christian homeschoolers, we are determined to teach science from a Christian world view.  After all, many of the topics involved in science are foundational to faith:  A literal 6-day creation, the consequences of sin on all creation, the value of all human life, and responsible stewardship of the resources that God has provided us. 

     The problem is, like most Christian parents, we went to public school ourselves.  At first we knew little about science from a Christian perspective.  After all, we were taught that science and faith are mutually exclusive…things to be kept separate. 

      This is a problem because children—even young children—have lots of questions that really should be addressed on both fronts: The spiritual front and the scientific front.  If we want our children to believe the truth about  creation, the flood, dinosaurs, etc, then we need to teach them these things from both perspectives simultaneously. 

     The solution:  Re-education!  As homeschoolers, we have found that we have had to re-educate ourselves in many areas.  We have to “unlearn” the lies, and learn the truth.  We used a variety of resources in our re-education and as a result, we are more confident parents with a stronger faith…parents who are ready to answer those unending questions that children of all ages ask.

      If you feel totally unprepared to answer your children’s questions or talk to them about these issues as they come up, the first thing you should consider is re-educating yourself as well.  Many of the resources I list below offer resources for adults and children.  A few carefully chosen DVD’s or books can boost your knowledge and confidence tremendously.

     Here are some of the things we do to teach science from a Christian perspective (remember that my book has an entire chapter on science, including suggested topics and a list of the things that preschoolers can learn/do to explore science):

~From the time our children were tiny, we talked about how nature glorifies God.  When admiring flowers, we’d comment on their intricate design.  When cuddling a new puppy, we’d marvel at its sweetness and say, “I’m so thankful that God made puppies for us to play with, aren’t you?”  When learning about elephants or anteaters, we’d marvel at God’s creativity and sense of humor.  And when contemplating space, a roaring waterfall or a tornado, we would marvel at the power of God.

~We believe and teach that any scientific “theory” must align itself with the Bible (not the other way around.)  Any scientific “theory” or so-called “fact” that conflicts with the Bible is immediately discarded as false.  The Bible is always our standard.

~We teach our children to listen for “code words.”  Anytime we watch a science show or read a book that uses words like “evolution”, “evolved”, “adapted”, or “millions of years”, my children know that it means “evolution” which means LIES. 

~This doesn’t mean that we don’t teach our children about evolution.  When they are small, we explain it simply like this:  “Some people believe that people started out as ape-like creatures that slowly changed to be like we are today.  Is that what the Bible says?”  Other times I might say, “Some people believe that the whole world started all by itself in some sort of explosion called ‘the big bang.’  We believe that God created the world.”  As our children get older, we use a variety of curricula that teaches evolution, but then disproves it using creation science. That way, our children have a ready answer to anyone who might question them. 

~Be sure to watch non-Christian shows (Discovery Channel, nature shows, and even old Disney shows, etc) with your children so that you can remind your children of the truth, or, if necessary, turn the show off…especially while they are young.   

Recommended Resources

     To help you teach science from a Christian worldview, you might want to invest in some of the wonderful curriculums and DVD’s now available.  Here are some of the best creation-based materials I have found:

Apologia science curriculum:  Curriculum from a Christian/creation science perspective for grades K-12!

Answers in Genesis:  Lots of articles, books for all ages (preschoolers too), videos, a magazine, science curriculum,  and apologetics books.  We love The Answers Book for Kids, which tackles questions about creation, the flood, dinosaurs, the Bible, the nature of God, and so on.  It is for ages 5-11.  We read through it last year, and will re-read it in a year or two so that the answers are cemented in my children’s minds.  Answers in Genesis is the “gold standard” for creation science resources as far as I’m concerned.

-Master Books:  Books about creation/dinosaurs/animals and more from a Christian perspective—for grades preschool-three.

 –Nature Friend Magazine

It Couldn’t Just Happen:  A wonderful devotional book all about creation; could count as part of your Bible coursework, and part of science.  Recommended for older children, ages 9-12; personally, I would wait until age 10 or so.  Apparently this book is now out of print, but it is still available on Amazon, and still common at used curriculum sales.

Favorite Video Resources: 

Incredible Animals that Defy Evolution:  See previews HERE, HERE and HERE.   Wonderful!  Shows how animals could NOT have evolved.

Newton’s Workshop  offers videos from a Christian perspective on many different science topics; most are good for ages 6 and up, but check the recomended ages on each video.

Moody Science Videos   I understand that their videos on the human body are fantastic.

Websites with more resources:

Dr. Dino:  We have an entire set of his videos, and they are great! (For junior high through adult.)  I know that he is somewhat controversial, but we haven’t seen anything wrong in his videos, and have learned a lot. 

Crazy About Creation

Bible Probe

The Institute for Creation Research

Creation Evidence

© 2010 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.

Posted in Creation Science, Curriculum, Homepreschool, Nature Study, Preschool Science, Science | Tagged: , , , , , | 8 Comments »