adventures in unschooling

Animals & Nature

BBC planet earth

At Cassius’ request Rosalind lent us the BBC planet earth series. It’s five DVD’s with three episodes on each one. Cassius says, “It”s quite good and interesting!” He enjoys the information about the animals most of all.

We talk about our thoughts as we watch it. We talk as much about the surprising information as we do about the film making. We’ve noticed that there is more of a focus on the visual images, which are amazing, than information. We also noticed the techniques they use to build dramatic tension. We both would prefer if they didn’t do this. For example they use scary music when a lion is hunting but happy music when a dolphin is hunting. Cassius thought it would be funny if they switched the music around. He also noted that if you’re cute when your hunting you get the happy music. He is considering becoming a vegetarian – I can’t believe it’s taken this long!

Rice Lake


We went for a lovely walk around Rice lake the other day. We met a fisherman who caught two Rainbow Trout while the kids were talking to him. They asked the fisherman all sorts of questions, for over a half an hour. It was very exciting when he caught the fish.


Academie Duello Falconry

Cassius was generously offered a grant to attend Academie Duello’s Knight camp this summer. He was the only student taking the camp for the third time, so he got an hour a day of private falconry lessons. A mother described her son’s experience with the falcons to me as “life changing”, and I’d have to agree, it was amazing.

Cassius hasn’t got around to learning how to tie shoes yet, but now I know I don’t have worry since he can tie a one handed falconers knot with his eyes closed.

Cassius’ teacher said he would make a wonderful veterinarian, and of course he wants his own falcon now! I never expected Cassius’ love animals and love of fencing would meet.

Mosquito Larvae

I knew there was a reason I was telling Paris not to drink the four day old wading pool water yesterday! Cassius found some mysterious larvae swimming in it today and wanted to take a closer look at them under our digital microscope.

He was compassionately thinking of ways he could care for them forever, until a image search revealed that they were mosquito larvae! Since he been waking every night since our camping trip crying “make the itching stop!” he suddenly decide that wasn’t a good idea to keep the pool filled with stagnant water until we move. The strange tube at the end of their tails are breathing tubes. The magnifigation 10X and the large mosquito measures 208 pixles. (8 millimeters I think)

We found the following information on the Kids Splash Website:

When a female Mosquito is ready to lay her eggs, she searches for stagnant (still) water with plenty of rotting detritus and bacteria for her larvae to eat. Her antennae can smell the gas that the bacteria make when they decompose detritus. More gas means more food for her young!

The Mosquito goes through four stages during its life cycle: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The eggs normally hatch into larvae within 48 hours. Larvae must live in water from 7 to 14 days depending on the water temperature. During this time, the larva molts 3 times and grows to almost 1 cm. After the larva molts the fourth time it becomes a pupa. The pupa is lighter than the water and floats on the surface. The pupa does not eat. In 1 to 4 days, the adult Mosquito comes out of the pupa. It rests on the surface of the water until its body dries and hardens enough to fly away.

Walking with Dinosaurs


Cassius really enjoyed the BBC Series Walking with Dinosaurs. He was never into dinosaurs before, but after watching this show he read his whole dinosaur handbook . I was surprised by how many names he remembered ( I didn’t remember any). He discovered a velociraptor in his bedroom which has become one of his prized possessions. He was disappointed when he found out that scientists now believe that velociraptors had feathers. They do look funny with feathers. BBC is presently doing an international Walking with Dinosaurs Live show!

Chicken Helper

Paris collected, washed, & carried the eggs to the fridge this week. I was amazed at how careful and gentle he was. Three weeks ago I wouldn’t have believed it was possible.

A Really Big Egg!

We got to bring home some eggs from UBC Farm, that were cracked or too big for the carton.  Cassius wanted to make them into a omelet when we got home. He cracked open the giant egg and two yokes fell out! “I was just going to say that egg was big enough for two,” Cassius exclaimed.

The big egg next to a regular large egg.