How we turned a dog walk into a science lesson

As a working, homeschooling, gymnastics mom, time is limited. When I can turn necessary tasks into natural learning time, it’s a huge bonus. Recently, squeezing in a dog walk during sister’s dance class turned into quite the science lesson. Natural interest based learning can be the best. So here’s how we turned a dog walk into a science lesson. Also, check my post on some benefits (and challenges) of owning a dog with ADHD.

Make an effort to connect when behaviors are hard

On our recent walk, if I’m honest, my tired mom brain just wanted to zone out. But, I made the choice to be intentional and make a connection with my ADHD kiddo whose behavior indicated she needed it. Kids commonly act out when their need for connection isn’t being met. With all the demands on my time, I am guilty of zoning out on my phone or computer. I might be communicating with coaches, researching learning opportunities, or other things that benefit my kiddos. However, they still need my attention. When I start to get frustrated with behavior, I try to remind myself they may be lacking connection.

Observe everything

We are blessed in Colorado with paved trails throughout the city and suburbs. Even in the city, there is often a path near a creek or with some untamed vegetation. On this familiar walk, I started asking Little Bit if she could hear the different bird calls in the evening air. We pondered which birds might be making each sound. I was recently clued into this Seek app for plant identification by a horseback guide. She shared so much knowledge, and I love having extra guidance to answer the many questions my girls have that exceed my knowledge.

Soon there was an airplane in the sky. Little Bit commented on the noise from the jet. I mentioned how the sound may be delayed due to the distance. This progressed to a conversation about thunder and lightening, which can be a cause for anxiety. We discussed how sound travels through air, and how to determine approximately how close lightening is during a storm. Discussion about safety measures during a storm naturally followed.

Opportunities for social skills

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Proper trail etiquette is important in all kinds of situations to keep everyone safe. Little Bit has been a little shy when biking about announcing to strangers when she’s passing. However, being on the trail as pedestrians with our dogs provides a perfect example of why it is important. Passing bikers provide plenty of good or poor examples of what to do or not to do. Despite these conversations, I make sure my kiddos have one of these bells installed on their bike when they are timid about announcing their presence verbally.

Proper dog training

I love these harnesses for our dogs. They have extra padding for the sensitive skin of my super short haired dogs. I’d love to say that we trained them consistently from puppies, and our dogs were always obedient. However, that isn’t the case. Life has gotten in the way so many times, and they have required additional work to get our young dogs back on track. Using the harnesses which can fasten the leash in front of the chest has made it easier to handle when the dogs forget their manners on leash. The mechanism of pulling from the chest naturally forces the dog to turn if they pull too hard. This makes it easier even for my tiny Little Bit to handle. We previously loved these harnesses for prior dogs with thicker hair to protect their skin.

With the harnesses as proper tools, it helps my girls participate in training the dogs. There are safety lessons when interacting with others and the environment. Understanding animal behaviors as part of the training process introduces vocations such as veterinary science.

Homeschooling through life

There are life experiences all around us that can provide valuable, first hand lessons. Follow along our journey of incorporating learning into all aspects of life. Make the most of your time as a busy working homeschooling parent. Learn how you can learn beyond the books even with limited time.

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The content in this post is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  It is merely opinion based on personal research and experience.

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