Thursday, April 12, 2007

science during Easter break

We homeschool year round. This allows us to take lots of small breaks throughout the year, and right now we are on our Easter break. I hate to call it a "break" from school though, because homeschooling is such a lifestyle and our days and routine stay pretty much the same whether we are having a "school day" or not. The main difference is that we avoid deskwork on days that we are on a "break". We use Mother of Divine Grace, a Catholic classical curriculum that is very mom-friendly, very gentle on young children, and leaves lots of time for the Charlotte Mason type of learning I am so fond of. On days that we are on a break, we will spend our desk time outside on nature walks, doing science and art projects, liturgical year projects, extra read alouds,,,whatever suits our fancy. Occasionally life circumstances combine to give you a great learning opportunity, and when that happens, break or not, desk time is set aside. Yesterday, we researched how to protect young trees from cold nighttime temperatures. We took a trip to the city compost to buy some mulch and got to see the remains of our yard waste in different stages of breakdown. We planted our young dogwood trees and found many earthworms in the soil, which lead to a discussion from a recent science chapter about how important earthworms are to the yard and garden. Today, we built a flowerbed around the trees. The kids named "their" trees, drew them in their nature journals, and measured them. We saved Kain's for when he was home from school so he could get in on the fun as well. You can barely make out Kain's tree in the picture, but it is there! :)

Then we ended up throwing maple tree seeds into the air and watching them spiral to the ground, which lead to an impromptu experiment from the upstairs deck to see which sized seeds fell the fastest and furthest.

I love it when learning happens so naturally. It makes me want to switch to doing Charlotte Mason "full time". But really, I know that I need more structure than that, especially as Maria gets older. Still, just keeping your mind open to the methods and looking for opportunities is something.

When the nights get (and stay) a bit warmer we will plant some flowers around our baby trees.

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