Sunday, April 24, 2011

Confessions of a Serial Curriculum Checker Outer

I must confess I had an epiphany last week.

In regards to curriculum for our soon to be 4th grader, I need to do a lot less looking and a lot more doing!

Intentions don't equate to learning.

Great ideas without implementation don't equate to learning.

Unused curriculum doesn't work either.

I'm all about getting new ideas to keep things exciting, however lately I've been spending much too much time looking through options for next year.  I am distracted from the business of finishing 3rd grade.

So much of this homeschool thing is so deliberate and takes such willpower.  I suppose it's time to grow up and try on some of that maturity my years on this earth were supposed to give me.

It is time for me to focus on the job at hand.

I am putting myself on a curriculum research time out.

Starting now.

Poor T.  Her holiday is over.

Happy Monday to her!!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Energy-rific Science Unit

For 3rd grade we are going about science our own way.

Last year was our first year homeschooling and we followed our state standards (California) and used the same curriculum that our local schools use.  We slept through the year.  Ho hum.

It took me a little while to realize that homeschool doesn't mean doing the same thing as a class of 35 kids, just at home.

I'm learning.


For science this year, we chose to focus on three big units.  Each unit would focus on Physical Science, Earth Science, or Life Science.

We studied moons, planets, stars, and galaxies during the first bit of the year for Earth Science.  Now we have just finished studying different forms of energy for Physical Science.  Next we will dive into the human body for Life Science.
For our Energy Unit we focused on sound, light, electrical, and thermal energy.  T ended up with a folder full of notebook pages of all of our different experiments and a paragraph or two.  She was super proud to show it to our charter school teacher.
  • For SOUND energy we learned about air, echos, and sound waves  
    • We played Marco Polo as a form of our own echo location  
    • We made our own instruments with cardboard boxes and different sizes of rubberbands  
    • We made our cup and string telephones and T experimented with hanging different objects on the string 
  • For LIGHT energy we learned about the visible spectrum and tried to sing the rainbow song with "indigo" and "violet" instead of "purple" (we weren't very successful)
    • We did one of Mr. Q's labs with a glue stick and a flashlight to talk more about why the sky is blue (have I mentioned how fun Mr. Q's labs are...well they are F U N!)
    • She also found out how our radiometer works.  Doesn't everyone have a radiometer?  No clue as to why we have one.
  • For ELECTRICAL energy we learned a lot about static electricity (I mean this is 3rd grade)
    • We did some Science in a Nutshell experiments with acrylic rods and rubber rods.  Most of the experiments revolved around charging the rods with different types of material. Sort of fun.  It was priceless, though, in preparing us for....
    • The Ben Franklin Exhibit at our local museum.  Now that was fun.  At least the static electricity exhibit was fun.  We got to see a bunch of middle schoolers shock each other and scream and fall to the ground with all of the drama they could muster.  It was nice to see T's understanding of the exhibit
    • T put together one of those light bulb kits exploring circuits...then she added a sensor so it would only turn on when it was dark (she wasn't 100% successful on that last bit, but she tried, and she learned A LOT about circuitry).
  • For THERMAL energy we did a bunch of experimenting
T and I have had soooo much more fun with science this year.  The added bonus is that I feel as that even though we may not be covering as many subjects each year, we are digging deeper into the subjects we are studying.

I am so thankful for the encouragement I have found online to encourage my science-minded daughter.  I officially tip my hat to Susan at Toddler Planet as I continue to follow my daughter's lead (and sometimes even encourage her) to explore the sciences.  Science is not my natural affinity, however I appreciate the creativity and level-headedness that T exhibits while she investigates her interests.  This year science has gone from least-favorite-just-get-it-done to The. Best. Subject. Ever.

How about you?  What do you do for science in your homeschool?  Is science looked forward to in your homeschool week or is it the dreaded subject?