Thursday, 24 February 2011


Sometimes I wonder if our relaxed approach to homeschooling is really sufficient, and worry that perhaps I ought to be starting more formal studies with my oldest son, who is six years old.  But more often, I remind myself that Elijah has really learned quite a lot just through every day living: exploring and reading and thinking and talking to me and to other trusted adults.  Not only do I think that there is no need for formal studies at this point, I think that it would really be better to postpone them.  At this point I'm planning to start more formal schooling this fall.

The other day, my sister and her husband Mark stopped in for a few minutes.  Elijah climbed up into Uncle Mark's lap, and Uncle Mark asked him, "So, Elijah, how was your day today?  Did you do any school?"

"School?!?" Elijah asked with an astonished and alarmed expression.

I had to laugh.  No, Elijah had not "done school" that day.  Instead, he had done the following:

Read a book about Eli Whitney (inventor of the cotton gin)
Drew pictures, using the encyclopedia for inspiration
Read a book about various astronomers
Made a flag with cardboard, paper, crayons, and tape
Read a book about various explorers
Built various things out of legos
Read a counting book to his brother (who is three)
Read a book about the planets to his brother
Discussed why the book about planets was outdated in that it called Pluto a planet, and reviewed the three qualifications that make a planet a planet
Read a fiction book about a horse named Lightning
Reviewed 1 John 2:12-29, which he plans to recite in catechism class the coming Lord's Day
Observed and discussed mockingbirds courting outside the dining room window
Drew a racetrack on the driveway with sidewalk chalk, and had bicycle/tricycle races with his brother
Observed his uncle working on the brakes on his car

He may not have "done school" that day but I think he had a productive day of learning, don't you?

Friday, 4 February 2011

Things of a very vaguely scientific nature

Cross posted from my blog-apologies to anyone who has already read this.

Youngest daughter keeps asking to do "experiments".  Recently, we investigated ice and melting using an idea from a DK science book, "In the Garden".

I've been really impressed by some of the ideas in the book but this idea around freezing and melting was particularly good-home ingredients, little mess and results that were fun to observe.

We half filled a muffin tray with water. We used tap water although the book suggests rain water. I didn't know how long I would have to wait for rain. We then put in pieces of flower and leaves in the water and a loop of string in each hole.

The flowers have strange tints as they were previously used to look at transport in plants, using coloured water.

The muffin container went in the freezer for half a day, we took out the finished product and hung it outside and talked about how long it would take to melt.

This current interest, probably stemmed from our cell model using jelly for cytoplasm, a truffle for the nucleus and various other sweets for other organelles. Thank you to Apologia for this idea.