Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Science Corner: The science of exploration

Every child loves to create things and my daughter is no exception. I'm always amazed at the different things she creates. Sometimes I get frustrated by all the mess (I know that I'm not the only one who feels this way!). I have to remind myself that she's learning. Exploration is the purest form of learning. I can tell her that she needs to have at least three sides for a building and that the roof helps to give the building more strength and she might even listen to me :), but chance are she will forget. But when she sits down and tries to put it together on her own, she learns through trial and error what gives her building the strength it needs to stand. She internalizes this information and the next time she tries to build a castle, she'll remember what she has learned and apply it to her latest creation.
So how do we as parents encourage exploration as a form of learning?
  1. Provide them the materials: I keep a box of school stuff, such as masking tape, paper, card-stock, paper clips, rubber bands, pencils and so on. She knows that she can take things from this box without asking at any time and I won't be upset (unless she doesn't clean up :)). I also entertain all requests for other materials she needs. For example, when she asked to borrow my plastic bowl and several chopsticks. I asked what she wanted them for; she said for a project. So I said that it was fine, knowing that I probably wouldnt get my chopsticks back. That day she build a bridge for her Littlest Pet Shop animals to go across. She learned which way to place to chopsticks so that they would hold the weight of her animals as they crossed. That day she learned firsthand about the principles of physics. For me, it was worth losing a few chopsticks.
  2. Fill their minds with ideas: We regularly watch Mythbusters which has been fodder for many a project! We use a science program that encourages experimentation and exploration. We also read a lot of books, both fiction and non-fiction. Books are great sources for inspiration. The book Castle Diary inspired my daughter to build her own castle out of construction paper and masking tape. A book on minerals inspired her to grow her own crystals and the list goes on and on. The point is to provide an environment in which they can be inspired to explore the topics more.

  3. Explore things yourself: When your child asks, mom how does this work? Don't be afraid to say I don't know, let's try to figure it out.
It's so important to give our children the opportunity to stretch their imagination and to try out their ideas through exploration.

Monday, July 26, 2010

What happens...

when two chemists find the street with all the science supplies on it?

They come home with a microscope...

and pH paper...

and more than I can show here!

One of the benefits of living overseas is that we have places like cell phone street, plumbing supply street, wood boards street and science supply street! You'd be amazed (or maybe a little horrified) at what we can get. It's a dream for a chemist!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Weekly Report Week 1-7 of 3rd grade

Yep, you read that right, weeks 1-7! I can't believe that we have already finished that much school. I thought instead of listing what we've done over the last 7 weeks, I'd share what we are using and what I think of it so far, so here it goes...

Bible: We've been using plans that I wrote for a survey of the New Testament. Last year we did the Old Testament and made several lapbooks to go along with our study. This year princess was tired of lapbooking so we have been making mini books instead. So far, so good. This won't take us all year, so I'm still researching what we will use next.

Math: We've continued on with Singapore Math. Every year we use this program I fall more and more in love with it! I'm so impressed with how it teaches a student the language of math. We have also been having game day Friday where we play the games suggested in the HIG for the week. It's been fun!

Language Arts: Our readers and read-alouds are going well, princess has enjoyed them so far. We've continued with Spelling Workout and now that we are on lesson 23 I'm finally starting to see some progress in her spelling. This series is not the most fun, but it gets the job done and that was what I was looking for. We've started Prima Latina and princess is enjoying learning Latin. I know that this series sometimes gets a bad rap as being boring, but we are thoroughly enjoying our introduction to Latin. Finally, we added Classical Writing Aesop A this year. We are doing the Analysis & Imitation one week and the writing project the next week. So far, we both really enjoy this program. It took me several times of reading through the Core book to really get how to teach it, but I really thing that CW is making me a better writing teacher. I really have no complaints about this program. We do plan to start adding in KISS grammar over the next several weeks as I feel princess needs some more concentrated work in grammar.

Science: We are using Chemistry for the Grammar Stage this year. I have to admit that I was a bit worried since Chemistry is my favorite, I really wanted princess to love it as well. I happy to report that she has caught the Chemistry bug!

History: We are using Story of the World 3 this year (you can see our plans for this under the free stuff tab). I love this series! Every year I wonder if I have it in me to plan it all out again and I begin to look for something different. I always come back to SOTW and the AG because it's just that good. So far princess has really enjoyed this volume as well.

Electives: We are continuing on with Art Adventures at Home, our third year with it. This is a simple yet effective art curriculum and I can see the progress princess has made over the years. We also started the Usborne Book of the Recorder and finally music instruction is getting done! I'm trying to fit in artist composer studies, but with the addition of little man, it's just not getting done.

Well, that's how our year has been so far, thanks for reading and if you want to see what other homeschoolers are planning for 2010-2011, check this out.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

So where have I been...

Well, my old computer died and it takes awhile to get a new one to here. So in the meantime I haven't had access to blogger, but never fear the new computer is here! We've been doing school all this time, so I'll post more about that in a bit. For now I'm off to play ( out how this thing works) with my new computer!