On one of my walks at the end of last year, when dusk was being blown in horizontally with the gales and snow I found a buzzard – in trouble.
At first I thought it was a piece of sacking blown from the farmland onto the barbed wire fence. But the dog was scenting it from a safe distance, making me suspicious and I went to investigate.
Can’t imagine how it happened but it was ensnared by the fleshy part of the wing onto the barbs and had tangled itself round and round until all it could do was hang. Or so I thought, when I tried to help it went for me with its fierce beak and talons.
I feared I was going to make it worse so called a birding friend for help and we rescued it between us by cutting chunks out the wire and letting the vet see if it could be removed from the flesh.
“It’ll have to be put down, I reckon” said my friend. I thought it was likely too. I watched them go with heavy heart. But couldn’t help thinking that the girls would have loved to have seen it.
“Did you get a picture?” my youngest asked. That had not been my priority at the time and I was keeping my eye on those flesh ripping talons.
Having wildlife on their doorstep, our involvement with the natural world and consequently wildlife, was an organic part of our home educating days. And a great way to introduce the sciences into their learning days.
Science can be a subject potential home schoolers feel they’d never be able to tackle. Yet it surrounds us every day whether you live in the countryside or not. There are critters to identify (my youngest now sees more deer in the town than she saw here), natural spaces to visit, plant life to experiment with even if you only have a plant pot on a windowsill. And the most fascinating aspect of science is often their own bodies – a great starting point. You can do experiments in your own kitchen (Google kitchen science) and go online for all kinds of inspiration, clips, resources, (look at this one from the science museum) There are also a number of generous bloggers and groups who share resources and ideas.
So don’t be put off home educating because you think you couldn’t do the science.
One of the most important aspects of science is encouraging a scientific mind and kids already have that in that they question everything and are always asking ‘why’. Parents just need to extend those valuable scientific skills to others like finding out (research), encourage their observation, hypothesising, classification (naming things) analysis, etc. So easy now with the internet. And let them look at and investigate everything however repellent to you it may be! It’s all science in a way.
If I hadn’t investigated the piece of sacking that buzzard would still be hanging lifeless on the fence. But miraculously its wing only had a flesh wound and it made a full recovery in a rescue centre.
The day before new year they brought it back and set it free. My heart soared with it when I watched it go.