Studying The Human Body

This Homeschool Week - Exploring the human body {An Everyday Story}

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This week was all about the human body. You might remember from last week that Jack (4ys) had become quite interested in x-rays lately. This week he and Sarah (2yrs) have still been investigating different x-rays on the OHP and light panel. This inevitably led to questions about bones and so our friendly skeleton “Skelly” came to visit again.

Last June Jack became quite interested in the human body;Β mostly our digestive system. I really like that we have doubled back to this topic. I can see how much his understanding has grown since then.

Here’s a few things Jack and Sarah explored this week:

This Homeschool Week - Learning about skeletons {An Everyday Story}This Homeschool Week - Child-led Homeschooling from An Everyday Story This Homeschool Week - Building a skeleton {An Everyday Story} This Homeschool Week - Child-led Homeschooling from An Everyday Story This Homeschool Week - Child-led Homeschooling from An Everyday Story

Jack: “Mummy Skelly needs some muscles so he can move.”

Me: “Ok. How are we going to do that?”

Jack: “We could paint him with red paint….but then he’ll be all painty… how about we use some ribbons?… I KNOW we can stick them on with wire!”
This Homeschool Week - Child-led Homeschooling from An Everyday Story

This Homeschool Week - Exploring the human body {An Everyday Story} Everyday

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You probably noticed that there wasn’t any specific math and language work this week. I am still grappling with the best way to move forward with this; I mentioned before that a structured language program wasn’t working for us.

Jack may change his style of learning in the future but for now he really resists being taught in a direct fashion if you know what I mean. So even though I am very conscious of developing his language and math skills he quite understandably isn’t interested in learning things out of context; he’ll try to read and write something if he thinks it is meaningful to what he is doing but otherwise doesn’t see the point in writing for the sake of writing.

He expressed it beautifully yesterday. I wanted him to label some of his drawings…

“It’s ok Mummy. I know that is a rib cage. I don’t need to write it. I’ll remember.”

I quite admire that he has this attitude towards learning; it is me that needs to constantly retrain my teacher brain. I wanted him to practice writing, Jack had no reason to write those words, he already knew them. So I need to find more meaningful opportunities for Jack to write…I’m still thinking…it’s challenging for me but I’ll get there.

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Resources and Materials

Β Usborne First Encyclopedia of Science

Β See Inside Your BodyHuman Anatomy Torso

Skeleton:

85cm – From Zart Art (product code TQ770) (page 49 of their Play-based Learning catalogue)

Wire:

Coloured craft wire – From Zart Art (page 40 of their Play-based Learning catalogue)

iPad App:

Build a Body by Spongelab Interactive (free)

The Human Body by Tinybop ($3.99): I also really like the look of this one but our old iPad doesn’t support it unfortunately

Pinterest:

And here’s my Science – Human Body board

24 Replies to “Studying The Human Body”

  1. This post was really helpful. I was wanting to start doing some study of the human body but wasn’t sure where to start. The links are very helpful!

    1. You’re welcome Channon. What parts of the human body are your little ones interested in at the moment?

      1. channonsworldchannon says:

        The little ones seem fascinated by skeletons, and the older ones are trying to figure out the organs and their functions.

        1. Sounds like our house at the moment πŸ™‚ Jack’s physiotherapist got a lovely detailed explanation of our organs today during therapy πŸ™‚

  2. Beautiful. I love the skeleton wrapped with Jack’s representation of muscle. His quote on writing is very sweet, perhaps you could explain that it might be helpful for others? I think it’s great that you’re encouraging without forcefulness though.

    1. I loved it too. He worked really hard on it too even though there doesn’t look like there is a lot of wire on there. Sarah tried some too πŸ™‚

      I’ve tried explaining that other people might like to understand his drawings but mostly he is pretty adamant that his drawings are clear enough and that if they ask he’ll just tell them πŸ™‚

      I think it’s me mostly. He’ll write, it’s not like he has an aversion to it, it’s just that he doesn’t often see the point in the writing experiences I’m offering him so I need to think a little more.

  3. Check out the book Moebius Noodles for maths ideas which are entirely environmental or play-based. Actually I came across a fascinating essay recently on what maths education should be all about – play – http://www.maa.org/sites/default/files/pdf/devlin/LockhartsLament.pdf

    Lovely to see the interest in the human body and your great hands-on materials. It is interesting how they move from one specific to another. My daughter was interested in how the blood cells worked to heal the body – forget about the five sense typical preschool stuff!

    1. It is interesting, isn’t it? I have a friend whose little one started kindergarten this year and for science they were exploring the 5 senses…no chance of that happening here! Today Jack was playing babies. He’d made a blanket cubby which was the uterus and was pretending being born out the *ahem πŸ™‚ Love these little people

      And thanks for the link to Moebius Noodles. I downloaded the pdf and am looking forward to having a better look through it. It looks really great so far.

  4. You sounds so much like me. I have a five year old and 1.5 year old. It feels funny saying that I’ve been homeschooling for years, when my oldest is five, but I knew we were going to homeschool so I just had that mindset. And I’ve tried just about everything. I tried laying out projects, I’ve made sensory bins, I’ve bought way too many manipulatives, and I’ve even gone partway through a Montessori training (dropped out). None of those worked for us. My older daughter just does not learn like that. And more importantly does not learn like I do. So when I read about Montessori and thought how wonderful! I should have though more about my daughter. Project based homeschool/unschooling is where we are at right now. My daughter is five and does not know the names of all her letters. She forgot what a seven looked like. Sometimes she calls our city Oregon (that’s our state). This might freak some people out, like other parents I know who like to compare their kids abilities to others non stop (which is crazy, and I know it, and yet still sometimes fall into that trap). But what my daughter WANTS to know she knows, when she WANTS to find out more information she can, and she knows how. Today when she wanted to write a seven she came and asked me, so I showed her. While we were walking to the library we started a silly game listing things that started with a “w”, only I said the w-sound because she doesn’t know it’s called a “double u” and that is fine with me. I think I will revisit areas when she is older and can wrap her head around why she may need to know things she doesn’t want to know (maybe when she’s high school age?). It’s much easier on the mama teacher when they teach themselves anyway (as you mentioned all day learning is exhausting if they need your help all the time!) For now I keep telling myself to go with the flow. Good luck, it’s sounds like you’re on the right track!

  5. Just a thought – you could ask Jack if he was interested in writing a few sentences to his dad each afternoon to tell him what he did that day? I have no idea if that is child-led or not but he might be interested? I think there could be ways you could suggest writing, but of course no forcing. I need to turn my teacher brain off too sometimes, it’s hard isn’t it?

    1. I think that might be something he would be interested in doing. We used to have a journal which Jack wrote in every night but as his interest in drawing grew he wanted to write less and draw more until he eventually stopped writing. We didn’t want to force it like you said.

      I’ve been thinking about it a lot this week and I think Jack would like a journal or even some blank books to write stories. I might see if he is interested this week.

  6. lydia purple says:

    Just an idea for play and writing. What about writing words in a doctor play setting? Like writing down a diagnosis or prescription… but then again, if you suggest that he will probably know and not wanting to do it. It’s a tricky thing to create meaningful opportunities for writing. But i think jack is on the right track, he is writing when it has meaning for him. How boring to think somebody would make me write down shopping lists just to practise my handwriting or spelling. Why would anyone want to do this?

    1. It is tricky, isn’t it? And you really have said it perfectly – how boring to write out words for the sake of it. I know of other children who really love writing and so will write words because they really enjoy forming the letters, constructing the words and seeing them on the page. But Jack just doesn’t have that same interest and so making him write to practice I think is going to have a negative influence on his attitude towards writing.

      He does write while he plays doctors which like you said is something he initiated and so is interested in doing. πŸ™‚

  7. Your son sounds like my boys. They resist any direct teaching, too. It is a hard balance I am doing with them.

  8. Thank you so much for the time you put into adding resources. My daughter (4.5 years) is very interested in the human body and how it works. She is always playing doctor, but will often stop mid-play to ask me questions, like “Mom, what is blood? What does it have in it to make it red?”
    I really enjoy your writing. I had a Reggio-inspired child care for several years. Now I’m home with my two little ones, and your blog is both encouraging and resourceful!

    1. Jack asks really great questions too. I love them but often don’t know the answers :/ Those books get a lot of use!

      And what a wonderful wealth of experience you must bring to the experiences you set up for your little people. I only had a very short experience in a Reggio-inspired setting but it really did just change my entire approach to children and learning.

  9. Love your activities and just wanted to share another one on the human body – creating a wearable shirt featuring the internal organs. I’ve done this with my own children, as well as with my students in school. Visit ScienceWear.net and you will find the shirts (or aprons if you prefer). I have other wearable science projects as well. Happy creating.

    1. I think my son would really like something like this. Thank you for sharing.

      1. You are welcome. My designs are printed by Sports Wear Graphics in Fort Worth. I’ve worked with SWG for 18 years. Extremely reliable! If you do any of the projects, I would love to get your assessment, as well as any photos you would care to share. πŸ™‚

  10. Your kids are so lucky. xx

    1. Thanks Danya. I feel so fortunate that we have this opportunity to spend our days together.

  11. Hi Kate, I just thought, maybe if you had a pen pal for him he might want to write labels for the pictures as his pen pal might not know what rib cage is! By the way, as well as reading your new stuff I am slowly reading through all your archives. I wish I had a print version! It’s just such lovely stuff. We are in the UK and I have son who just turned 4 and a daughter who is 19 months. I love being a few steps behind you. I’ve adopted you as my teacher and guide.

    1. Thank you Sarah. That is so sweet of you to say. We would love a pen pal πŸ™‚ Jack has been really interested in letter writing lately.

  12. Kate, Have you checked out the anatomy shirts at http://sciencewear.net/guts.html ? I think you and your children would LOVE them!

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