My memories of Science at school are few and far between. I remember sparks of fascination and interest: learning the rudiments of circuitry was exciting. But the continuous tests and escalating levels of difficulty before I had fully grasped the basics extinguished the sparks. Experiments were exciting in theory only. Mostly my memories are of bunson burner experiments gone awry; primary school experiments which consisted of thirty kids gathered around the front desk – at a safe distance away – watching the teacher carefully mixing chemicals; and… The Dreaded Exam Practical. A project or two were fun, I’m sure. But none were memorable. While I enjoyed the natural sciences more, I felt like I was always on the cusp of "getting it" in my physical science classes just when the class moved on to the next thing. Science was the first subject I dropped in high school.
It’s not surprising, then, that no one was more surprised than I to discover when I started home schooling that … I loved Science! And I discovered that my kids loved it. And that we loved experiments. That projects were self-driven and interesting. Fun even! That my two younger kids, now almost 3- and 5-year old, are even asking to watch our Discover and Do science DVDs over and above Thomas the Tank Engine or even our beloved Colin Buchanan.
Then I began noticing a trend – home schooling parents were saying the same thing over and over: "I never knew that I loved Science". From forum posts to blog posts; from one friend’s couch to another; from catalogue to email to home school guide – overwhelmingly, families were enjoying the sciences in a way they never had expected. Which leaves me wondering – why? Why did I grow to hate Science in school, but love it now? Why do my kids love Science in a way I never did as a child?
I can’t speak for other families. I can speak only for my own. And for me. My own schooling experience of Science was of a dry subject that never seemed relevant. It was about writing tests and passing exams. It meant memorising difficult concepts. It meant sticking to the curriculum and the time table – which often meant speeding past an interesting section, or labouring through a boring one. On the contrary, our home schooling experience has been rich and very relevant. We’ve had impromptu lessons in all sorts of science related things – exciting moments of life learning – from how a tuning fork works, when our friendly piano tuner visited last year, to the aerodynamics of a paper plane, with dad showing the kids how to build a really cool paper plane. We’ve enjoyed hands on, fun experiments galore – magnets, colour and light, the science of air, science of oil and water, science of acids and bases, plants and seeds, science in the kitchen and even volcanoes (to name a few). And our science stories and experiments have paved the way for creative fun like designing a game for market day, making nature journals and painting up a rain forest. Of course it’s not all rosy, creative and consistent. We’ve not done a Science experiment in for-EV-er and some days the kids eyes glass over at the stuff we are learning about. But, mostly, Science is fun, fun, fun!
And, while I can’t speak for other home schooling families, they can speak for themselves. This week’s South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers focuses on the Science and Natural Science in the homeschool. SACH bloggers across South Africa are enjoying the Sciences too. Click on any of these links to enjoy the homeschooling Science experiences of other South African families.
South African Homeschooling Science Blog Posts:
- Trys of Trixie’s Homeschool Academy shares her Science Resources Page along with the fun experiences she had at the Sci Bono Discovery Centre, including the Dialogue in the Dark exhibit.
- Karen over at Karen’s Clan is just as excited about the science fun they’re having. She’s written a post entitled Scintillating Science. It’s packed with experiments and fun stuff to do at home.
- Nadene of Practical Pages and her children enjoyed nature journaling last Spring – this involved spending time observing nature, drawing and recording what is seen and enjoying the sunshine, the beauty and the time together. Their family got to observe a baby robin in its nest. What a joy!
- Donette and the kids at The Journey had fun making raisins dance with a simple experiment using common kitchen ingredients. Read her hilarious account of what happens when experiments go awry and the lessons learned along the way.
- Wendy’s family at Loving Learning enjoyed an outdoor hour putting their Charlotte Mason techniques to practise. They had a wonderful hour outdoors learning more about the nasturtium plant. If you want to learn more about what nature journaling looks like, head to this well documented post.
- Linnie of Back to Ancient Ways has a wealth of experience in home schooling children from birth to 17 years old! She shares about the important role Science plays in their home school journey and let’s us have a glimpse of the Science curriculum she uses.
- Nikki blogs over at Our Journey in Him. She and her two little ones spend loads of time outside enjoying nature and all the many learning opportunities. She writes about an adventure in the wetlands and how she learnt how creative children can be given free reign of their imaginations. When the weather doesn’t allow for outdoor learning, science experiments indoors is a great alternative. Nikki’s family learned about the phases of the moon and phases of water, plus an extra fun experiment – mixing water and oil, and breaking the suspension with a little bit of liquid soap.
This week’s carnival highlights learning about Science and Natural Sciences in the home school environment. While each home is different and approaches vary, we all have experiences worth sharing. Who knows – perhaps you’ll pick up some ideas for your own family or even classroom? If you do see an inspiring or interesting post, please drop a note on that person’s blog. It’s always encouraging to hear from readers and I’m sure our carnival bloggers will be thrilled to know that you stopped by!
In the meantime, here is a quick link list to the Science and Natural Science relevant blog posts mentioned in this week’s carnival post.
- phases of the moon
- phases of water
- oil, water and liquid soap
- plants and seeds
- dancing raisins
- Scintillating Science
- colour and light
- paper planes
- science in the kitchen
- science of air
- science of oil and water
- science of acids and bases with a 4 and 6 year old
Science: Life Learning and Resources:
- adventure in the wetlands
- nature journaling – baby robins in a nest
- nature journaling – the nasturtium plant
- science resources page
- sci bono discovery centre
- dialogue in the dark
- market day with magnets
- life learning
- piano tuning
- mtn science centre
- rain forests
- nature journaling
- science curricula: Apologia Series
- science Question of the Week: Lues family win!