Week 6 – Day 39 of Homeschooling in the Middle East – Scared of Science!

Welcome to my first readers from Qatar! It’s great to have you visit, I really hope to hear from you through any comments you might like to share!

I’ve been a bit worried about teaching/mentoring science. When I read homeschooling blogs, I read stories about how excited the kids are to do ‘kitchen table’ experiments and how great homeschooling is because a bell isn’t going to ring just when you want to explore more, that you can spend all afternoon enjoying exploding volcanoes or whatever. Whenever I feel like trying an experiment, I feel like I’ll want a bell to go off! I just can’t face it. I’ve looked at a few science books with things to make and do and it leaves me about as cold as crafts book do, or cooking books.

Doing science experiments is a bit like cooking or crafts or building things – get together these ‘ingredients’, put this here, that there and hey presto! Except my cake or paper necklace or rocket never tastes or looks anything like it’s supposed to! Don’t misunderstand me, I would LOVE to get excited by cook books, craft books or science experiment books but it’s just not me! Oh no! I’m a terrible home educating mother!  So, I’ve been looking up DVDs. There look like some great ones. I really want to watch and learn from them! But how to get them to Bahrain? And they are really expensive. I wish we lived in America!!!! Because all the coolest stuff is there with cheap postage for locals 😉

So you can imagine my absolute delight when I read in the local paper that Bahrain is opening a new Science Centre that looks really cool – hands-on and interactive! It isn’t meant to be open to the public until June but they are receiving some small school groups. So I got straight in touch with the journalist, asking for contact details of somebody there (there is nothing on the internet yet), she kindly passed them on and I called and set up a homeschoolers visit this week! I feel so pleased with myself! Other than my son, it’s pity the other homeschoolers aren’t older than 3, but I’m grateful to these little ones for making this event happen, I’m not sure the Science Centre would have bothered with only 2 children – mine!

It’s been quite the science day today. Edward got so bored this afternoon (boredom=creativity and after that willingness to be introduced to just about anything that might be interesting) with no friends around to play with that he asked to watch the only science DVD that we have – a ‘Rock N Learn’ one about the human body. He was very canny. He wanted company so he asked me to ‘take notes about the things we should really remember’. This required me to concentrate and I really did learn something, which I love! Homeschooling blogs all say they use a ton of DVDs for learning. I can see why. They really do make everything seem so much more fun. If only we had a DVD lending library L

After looking at mouthwatering science DVDs, I went over to one of my favourite websites (more homeschooling science lovers!) and found links to lots of science stuff – http://www.guesthollow.com/homeschool/links/linksscience.html

We’ll check the links out over the next few days. What I’m hoping is that I’m going to learn to love doing science, alongside Edward and Petra. We’ll be exploring everything together. Maybe there’s some fun stuff on the net that can compensate for a lack of DVDs. Anyone have any suggestions? DVDs, websites or even books? All suggestions are most welcome!

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About homeschoolingpenny

Hi and welcome! My name is Penny and I used to live in Bahrain but In November 2012 moved to Dubai and now we live in Granada, Spain! If you want to contact me my email is pjmontford@hotmail.com. I recommend you start my blog on 'Day 1' but please enjoy whatever you dip into. 23 February 2012 marked the first day of no more school FOREVER for my two kids. Edward, who is nearly 10 had attended a variety of schools since he was very little. Petra, who is now 6, has never gone to school. On this date we decided Edward was never going back to school and Petra never would go to school. We hope to successfully homeschool from this day forward, although we would consider an alternative school as an option- if there was some amazing Sudbury or other really alternative school. Actually, I prefer the term 'home learning' than 'homeschool' because I don't like to think of school coming into our home. In fact, I hope to go further and guide/learn alongside, rather than teach, my kids using the 'unschooling' philosophy to instill a lifelong love of learning in them. We lived in the Middle East and now Spain all of which are very challenging places to home educate. This is an exciting journey that I used to blog about regularly, at first it was on an almost daily basis. Please join me on our travels and I hope we might be able to help each other out along the way. I certainly hope I can be a source of support and comfort and, in time, knowledge to all potential/presently participating homeschoolers/home educators/unschoolers. Good luck to us all! If you want to read about why I started home educating, why I pulled my son out of a 'very good' private school mid-term, how I felt at the very start and how my philosophy has evolved, please start from 'Day 1' of the blog. Please do post comments at the end of any days that you read. Your opinion is valuable and it's great to start up debate amongst other people commenting too, however old the post. Thank you for visiting homeschoolingmiddleeast.
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4 Responses to Week 6 – Day 39 of Homeschooling in the Middle East – Scared of Science!

  1. Jade says:

    Hey Penny,
    I think that you are being WAY too hard on yourself! Rather than starting with massive experiments (volcanoes etc.) think every day stuff you can do with E and P. Today Jonathan needed to complete some work on Solids and Liquids for Science. As I type, he is going through the fridge and determining what is solid and what is liquid (not a simple as it would seem … what is jam, yougurt etc.) which he and his dad are happily debating. Fortunately for us, packaging here in Canada is all bilingual, so he is learning the names of his favourite foods in his second language as well without us actively forcing him to think in either language … which I think is pretty cool! Jonathan is now busy telling us why something is a liquid by demonstrating for us things in the sink (e.g. water (liquid) takes the shape of the sink, but his pencil stays the shape of a pencil when placed in the sink (solid). It would seem pretty basic stuff, but what Jonathan really is learning about is Matter, a huge building block of science! The fact that he is keen to explore the fridge to do this particular assignment is fine by me. It is also leading to more questions … why are soy milk and regular milk different? How does a soya bean produce milk? And so on …

    As for “failed” science, craft, cooking experiments … remember … ALL results in science are valid! The learning can come from finding out why something didn’t turn out the way you thought it would. The Scientific Method can also be explored even with results that turn out contrary to what you expect … at its very basics: Predict (make a prediction), Hypothesis (why/what you think is going to happen), Procedure (How you are going to do the experiment), Observations (What did you see, hear, smell, taste, touch …. use your common sense … don’t stick your hands in acid!), Conclusions (what really happened and why you think it happened). In school this would be done in a notebook, at home it can be through conversation and the kids can draw pictures too (especially if there is a half blown up volcano all over the kitchen).

    Another idea, use a digital camera and have you kids shoot at stuff they find interesting and then do their own research about what they have seen. It can be as basic as a flower or as complex as a skyscraper.

    When in doubt, try goop!

    Remember to have fun!!

    • Wow, Jade. Great suggestions, as ever. I love the link you posted. It does look ‘do-able’. I’ve just put a few things on my shopping list, like cornflour, metamucil, food colour, corn starch and condensed milk!! Never thought that would lead to experiments, but I guess it does, and opportunities for creativity too. I think Petra will especially love the jewellery clay! I loved your photo of your ‘animation studio’ on your FB. That looks like great fun! Thanks again and I hope many people can enjoy the link and your suggestions too!

  2. shaema imam says:

    I like the Sid the Science Kid DVDs. My husband picked them up at one of the duty free airports in the region. I wish we had that kind of school around… Sid asks a question in the morning, eg why did the banana he left under his bed get brown and when he asks his teacher that morning she magically has all the materials and a rotting pumpkin in her lab next door! I identify with your calling yourself a relaxed eclectic home educator. How would it work with unschooling, one would have to have materials and info all onhand for as soon as the child shows an interest!

What do you think? Please do let me know. I would love to hear your opinion!

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