Why Are Snakes In Our House? (Episode 154)
If you've been following our family Instagram, you've seen how snakes have entered our lives in a big way. As part of our unschooling journey with the girls, we've opened the door to those things which delight them, and, in the case of my eldest daughter, Clara, that means we've learned a lot about snakes!
Functional Education goes beyond a classroom, grade level, or score.
It is a lifelong approach to learning where the world is our school, and everyone is our teacher.
Listen to this episode on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, TuneIn, YouTube, iHeartRadio or your RSS Feed *Now also on the Pandora app and Radio.com!
If you haven't yet listened to the podcast season on Functional Education we did, there are many links below to podcast episodes where we dig into education and how we teach.
In our unschooling model, we really look at the whole world as a school, and every person we come across as a potential teacher. If we learn nothing else but what NOT to be/do, we're still learning something!
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Don't have a Reader?
It's okay, at one point I wondered if my children would ever read. None of mine were early readers, and my 7 and 10 year old still struggle. Clara didn't really build confidence with reading until around 10, and her first book was Ask and It Is Given - an adult book on manifestation.
As we talked about on the podcast episode, the biggest factor for us is looking for our children's internal motivation - when she got tired of the inconvenience of not knowing how to read, and when she had an interest in learning about something, that was the biggest driver for her reading, and it was incredible to see how quickly it clicked then - she didn't have to start with a board book - she had the maturity of a 10-year-old to connect the dots in a way that she wouldn't have been able to do as a 5-year-old.
Kids definitely learn at their own pace, and if you can both open the door to spark their curiosity and give them the space to pursue it, you'll find they retain and learn at a much faster rate than by force.
An Interview with 3 Lifelong Learners:
This video was back when Clara was 10, and we interviewed each girl with how we unschool and what they were learning about:
You give them anything they want to learn about...right?
Um, no. Actually, this is a critical aspect of why it's so important to have internal motivation. We believe our kids should have some "skin in the game" with what we pursue! While we don't expect a child without a job to pay for everything, there is definitely an investment process as we learn together.
Our kids are required to do their own research - so, for example, here are just a few things that Clara researched and educated me on before we got any snakes:
- How do you care for a snake?
- What do snakes eat?
- What is the best snake to get? What is local in what area?
- How do you keep snakes from escaping?
- How much does it cost to keep a snake?
- What all is needed for a snake?
- Where can you get a snake? What does vet care look like?
- How long do snakes live?
- How do you interact with a snake, what are their defense mechanisms, are they venomous, etc?
Not only did she cover all these bases, but in the process, that opened up the door to how many different subjects?? Math, reading, writing, marketing, economics, social skills, biology, zoology, herpetology...so many things!
Insights into the future
Not only does Clara do her due diligence with research. She also is learning about how people are making money working with snakes, and she's created various entrepreneurial endeavors to support her interests so she can buy her own supplies as well.
She's getting a taste of what it costs to take care of an animal, and using her own money to pay for an AskAVet service to learn more about her snakes. She's supporting her snake vloggers on Patreon that have taught her everything. And, she's learning how to be a good steward of her own finances in the process, determining what's worth spending money on, and how much she needs set aside for hard costs to create more products to sell, etc.
a few fun snake facts
So here are a few fun snake facts that Clara shared on the podcast:
- When a snake eats, their esophagus is up near the front of their mouth, so they can actually push it up and move it over to the side so they can still breathe, even if they have a whole pig in their mouth. (Crazy)!
- There are also different types of snakes - colubrids, elapids, pit vipers, boas and pythons. No boas or pythons have fangs (they are constrictors). The elapids have front fangs that are smaller (like Mambas and Cobras), and pit vipers have very large front fangs (like Rattlesnakes). Colubrids, for the most part, are non-venomous, but if they are venomous, they are rear-fanged, and their venom isn't as strong as the others.
- Snakes have many defense mechanisms beyond striking/biting. A hognose snake, for example, will fan out their heads to look like a cobra, puff up their bodies and hiss, and even play dead (which is so crazy looking!)
Want to learn more about snakes? Here is what Clara recommends checking out:
- Clint's Reptiles
- Snake Discovery
- As far as websites go, it's often a google search where she will pull things up from various sites. Our policy is to always fact-check what we learn by finding at least 3 sites that confirm it.
Don't Tunnel Vision
Be careful, when your child shows an interest, to not hyperfocus so much on one aspect that it tunnels you strictly just to this. What I mean is that this journey of snakes has not been one that just stuck to snakes. It started with a desire to get a fish, which led to her learning about all things betta fish, which then opened the door to the amphibian world, which led her to the reptile world.
And in this fascination, she's now grown an interest in geneology beyond snakes, she's come out of her shell more in her excitement to share what she knows with others who are interested, and she's stretched herself so far beyond snakes, creating full business plans for exotic pet boarding resorts and more.
You can find Clara here...
Clara has her own website, Redbubble store, and Instagram. Now this could be a whole other podcast episode on when we allow our kids to have what - but suffice it to say, my studious introvert loves to share knowledge and gain knowledge, and that is the main focus of anything she's doing online. You can find her:
Some additional resources for you
- What is Functional Education? (Video)
- My Child Will Never Read
- Learn more about DISC Personality Styles
- Life Long Learners Come In All Personality Styles
- How can I be both teacher and student? Reach for the sun yourself! (Episode 74)
- Homeschool Rebuttals (Episode 61)
- History in a Distillery and other opportunities for learning (Episode 47)
- What is your internal motivation? (Episode 44)
- Your Credibility as Lead Explorer, Not A Teacher (Episode 42)
- What Type Of Thinker Are You? (Episode 43)
- Embrace The Struggle (Episode 41)
- Are You A Different Drummer? (Episode 39)
- Deschooling and the Myths of Education (Episode 40)
Your Weekly Challenge:
Talk to your children about what they are interested in. Can you elaborate on it? Can you open the door beyond the actual thing to more? For example, could an interest in unicorns open the door to learning about horses, or flying?
Our lives are not compartmentalized. Open the door more broad than a simple interest, and see what may develop. A simple love of unicorns could lead to an interest in aviation. An introvert's love of animals may lead them from dogs to looking at herpetology as a profession. We are each unique with different interests, and if we open the door to learn and grow together, we truly honor how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us. Namaste
Questions or comments?
Personality styles, marriage/intimacy, parenting, education, minimalism or travel - what is pressing on your mind?
Or, hop on over to the Mama Says Namaste or Unschooling Families FB groups and ask your question there!