Saturday, March 2, 2013

Unexpected Learning

As a homeschooling mom, I am sensitive to the fact that my boys will have a different experience than most of the population. They will not eat school lunches or have a locker. They won't listen for a bell or pass notes in class. But every once in awhile I get a beautiful reminder of exactly why I am taking this path.

We were reading about a school today during our school time and much of it was very foreign to him. They were describing the gym teacher and the science teacher and after school activities. I decided to ask him what things seemed different to him about this school. "It's a really big building," he began, "with lots and lots of kids."

"Yes, that's true," I told him. "What things are the same?"

"We do science!" he said. "Let's do a science experiment!"

And so we did. I gave him a wonderful book that my friend recently bought for us called "6 Minute Science Experiments" and told him to pick out which one he wanted to do. All of them involve kitchen experiments so there wasn't any worry about having the right stuff. He found one that involved making molding clay. He grabbed the ingredients and we set about mixing everything.

I let him measure and my little one pour to keep everyone involved. 

 The next step was to take three samples and shape them.  We would weigh them then bake one, microwave another and leave the last one out to dry.  We decided on Easter shapes and we worked together to roll out the dough and cut out eggs, bunnies and crosses.  We talked about water evaporating and I asked him which would be the fastest way to dry them out. "The microwave!" he said.  We tried it and he was right. I told him how important it is to have a guess beforehand so that you can test your hypothesis.  We weighed them once they were done and saw that they were now lighter because the water was gone.  

In school, the teacher simply couldn't have jumped from reading to science in three minutes flat. He or she would have 25 other students to think about. But I can. I can follow the trail of learning wherever it leads whether it happens to be the kitchen or the library or the airport...anywhere. Even though his school experience will be quite different, I hope and pray that in the end, he will see what a joy it is to discover new things.

Here is the recipe for the molding clay in case you want to try it!

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