When it comes to homeschooling, I tend to be very relaxed and unstructured. The kids have to do some reading, writing and math every day, but otherwise we study whatever strikes our fancy. From the outside, it can look like we're not doing anything at all. But E writing a book about superheroes? That's homeschool. Building a city out of cardboard boxes for his cars? Homeschool. Little Miss C's obsession with colonial days? That totally counts as homeschool.

However, a few weeks ago, I saw one of those 'build your own solar system' kits at the craft store, and having always wanted to make one, bought it on a whim. A trip to the library followed and I checked out a whole pile of books on the sun, planets, comets, gravity, et cetera. This led to some of the most structured schooling we've ever had.

I decided to cover one celestial body per day. We started with the Sun-- reading books, looking up facts online, drawing pictures, writing down our favorite discoveries and building a sun dial. 

With Mercury, we learned all about iron, gravity {you would weigh less on Mercury!} and the Greek and Roman mythology surrounding the naming of the planets. 

Venus, which we studied on Friday, proved to be the most exciting thus far. Its days are longer than its years! The sun rises in the West instead of the East! Its hot, noxious atmosphere melts all our probes! Discussing the atmosphere on Venus necessitated an introduction to the Greenhouse Effect, which we illustrated with an experiment.

We let the two bowls of water sit out all day and night. The next morning, the Earth bowl contained cool water, whereas the glass cloche on Venus was foggy with condensation, and the water was hot!

Today we study Earth, which E has been itching to do since we started our little foray into the solar system. :) Homeschool is awesome. 


The Dragonfly said...

I've always wondered, so now I'll ask: what led you to homeschool your children? I'm curious because I know I don't have enough patience to school my own kids without going nutso.

h. said...

For supplemental learning, check out NASA'a site. They just recently put a satellite (messenger) into orbit around mercury, and are filling in all the blanks on their maps from previous fly-bys. New information is streaming in every day. I was pretty excited when the first images came back.

This makes me want to come over and study with you guys. Fun stuff:)

Apis Melliflora said...

I had a friend in college who was home schooled (unusual back in the 80s) and she was incredibly bright and articulate.

It seems homeschooling is so diverse now. With many homeschooling parents pooling their time, talents and resources and all the amazing stuff on the internet, homeschooling seems to be in its golden era.

Can you go to a planetarium show this week? Field trip!

Crys said...

I can't wait to teach this stuff to C. You are such an inspiring mom.

LisAway said...

How awesome! I have wondered how you do homeschooling. I think if I were to do it I would approach it more like you do. But I would have to force at least a bit of structure because I'm seriously so lazy and unorganized. Ugh. But I loved reading about your exploration of the solar system!

cnine said...

Super cool! My friend created a space simulator called Universe Sandbox www.universesandbox.com. If your kiddos stay interested, this might be worth exploring as they can manipulate the universe and see the affects.

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