April 5, 2013

Homeschooling, working, and SCIENCE!

Holy cow! Zoe has been home with me for a month!! Over a month! It's hard to believe - I was honestly terrified at the thought of turning both our lives upside down. You know...stopping my own fledgling writing career for a few months, taking Zoe away from school and friends until kindergarten starts in August. It felt overwhelming.

A month in, I still get overwhelmed sometimes, but things are going well overall. And this week? Well, it's been a highlight. Zoe wanted to learn about liquids (still not sure where that came from, but whatever), and I expanded that into solids, liquids, and gasses, and then decided to do a week of science experiments!

Why not, right? I wasn't all that into science as a kid, but I always loved science lab. Some of my fondest high school memories are of AP Biology, and our fruit fly and fetal pig experiments.  I found some cool web sites with suggestions for kids, and we rolled with it.

So far, we've put vinegar and baking soda in a bottle to blow up a balloon. We've made a lava lamp with water, food coloring, oil, and Alka-Seltzer. We've made a tornado in a bottle. We also learned that cool things happen when you dip a Q-tip covered in dish soap into a shallow bowl of milk with drops of food coloring. 

It's been fun, especially for this girl, who never participated in a science fair at school.

Today we'll cap things off with some real fun: Mentos and Diet Coke in the backyard, and a baking soda/vinegar volcano inside. Seriously. These are things I've always wanted to do.

Zoe told me yesterday that science is her favorite thing ever, and that experiments are super-cool. If nothing else, since I don't do a great job of explaining the "why" behind many of these reactions, I hope I'm giving her base knowledge of how cool science can be. Since girls are traditionally falling behind in math and science, if I can make her love science before she even gets to kindergarten, I'll feel good about our time at home.

Anyway, this isn't a homeschooling blog, that's for sure. But if you want to do science-time at home with your kids, here are a couple cool resources. 

Science Kids web site: From here, we got many of our simple experiments. Want to bend water with static electricity? Make a homemade lava lamp? This is a great place for you.

The Steve Spangler Science channel on YouTube: I am madly in love with this. He's a Colorado-based science teacher who does COOL STUFF with science! We supplemented our own experiments by watching many of his. And since he explains the "why" behind the science, it's a great resource for kids AND adults.

Anyway, that's a wrap of Science Week...after our volcano and geyser, of course. 

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