For my science loving kid, I purchased a large interactive poster of the periodic table. We also have Usborne’s Lift-the-Flap Periodic table book and Smithsonian’s The Elements Book. We have spent countless hours exploring each individual element over the last couple of years. My son is an avid rock collector so we often order rocks containing the elements we study provided they aren’t toxic. We even have a board game called Periodyx and have recently put periodic table playing cards on our Christmas list. Several times a week, we look through the books and pick an element. My son then finds it on the poster and we read everything about where it comes from and what its uses are. We also enjoy watching Nova’s Hunting the Elements. There is so much to learn, I believe we could spend the rest of our lives studying the elements and I don’t think either of us would mind one bit.
Another of my son’s passions is space and recently he’s developed an interest in astrophysics after reading Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Astrophysics for Young People in a Hurry. We follow up what we learned from that book by watching the author’s show Cosmos and looking through the Smithsonian Space! book. We try to keep up with night sky events and are looking into getting a telescope. We even use the Smithsonian book in art lessons and practice painting the suns and planets. He loved Tyson’s book so much, we chose it as our first book of the year for homeschool middle school book club which we host every month. We contacted a local astrophysicist by the name of Manavi Jadhav whom I found by doing a google search. She specializes in planetary science and cosmochemistry. She agreed to do a Zoom call with the kids during our book club meeting and I was overwhelmed with how much she connected with the kids. She even connected with my son’s love for rocks and the elements and told us she combined her love of astrophysics and geology by studying rocks in space. We all learned a lot talking with her. She told us about an incredible program called Skype a Scientist and we are so excited to utilize it for all our science interests. I also signed my son up for an out-school class called Space Science: Astrophysics to Exobiology which meets via zoom for one hour, once a week for six weeks. I can and probably will cover a lot more on the topic of space and how we explore it. I’m excited to continue our adventures in that area.
This past weekend, we decided to spend some time together as a family, just the three of us, and explore some local history. History is one of my favorite topics and my excitement seems to draw in the kids a lot. We found The Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site in Saint Martinville and spent the morning browsing the indoor museum and walking the grounds. I told them about Longfellow’s poem and we talked about how the Acadiens arrived in Louisiana, what their lives were like and how they lived. We toured the Maison Olivier house and all over the property. There were beautiful oak trees, gardens and a trail with signs giving lots of information about the importance of native plants and insects and which plants were invasive. We immediately fell in love and definitely plan to return.
I’m a homeschool mom of two, ages 11 and 5. We’ve been homeschooling from the beginning for 6 years and our preferred method is unschooling with a Charlotte Mason twist. I love homeschooling for the freedom it gives us and because I enjoy learning alongside my kids. Our favorite ways to indulge our interests are by exploring the world around us, doing experiments and activities, talking to people who are passionate about their fields, and reading well written books. I believe so much in what we do, I’ve kept it through divorce and now working full time from home. It’s my hope to continue our journey until college or whatever next step my kids choose to take.
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