Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I just can't get enough!

I never really enjoyed science when I was in school, and I think there were a lot of reasons for that. First, the textbooks were dreadfully boring. I'm not a big fan of standard text books as it is, but it seemed like the older I got, the worse the books got. The coolest pictures were always on the front cover, but you only got to look at them for a day before being required to cover it up with a paper book cover. Second, it seemed like the material was rarely ever relevant to everyday life. Of course there were always a few experiments that had that amazing "WOW!" factor where it didn't matter if you were never going to use that information a day in your life, but those were few and far between. I never saw the point of being able to identify the smell of an obscure mineral after it's been set on fire. Third, but most importantly, I don't believe in evolution, so much of what I was being taught just seemed flat out stupid. Sure there were a few important things that I learned, but it was never a subject I looked forward to. My college chemistry class really changed my views on science. I had a great instructor that knew how to relate the information to everyday life. Sure the text book was still about as exciting as watching paint dry, but the teacher was fun and funny. The experiments were actually interesting (for one of them we removed the fat from potato chips..... really makes you think twice when you can actually SEE the fat you are eating), and a couple of the experiments were things that a person might actually do in everyday life. (like making soap) That class made me realize that science doesn't have to make you feel like you want to sit under your desk and cry out of sheer boredom. Now that I'm homeschooling, I want to make learning exciting for the kids whenever possible. Of course there are times when they have to buckle down and do work that they don't really want to do, but I want them to find joy in learning. Science has been my favorite subject to explore with my kids, hands down. There is so much cool stuff to discover in the world, it's hard to even know where to start. Aside from good books and consumables (crayons, paper, markers, etc.....), I LOVE to buy science stuff for the kids! If I had an unlimited amount of money to spend, I could EASILY spends hundreds and hundreds of dollars on science stuff every year. Sadly, that is not the case, so I try my best to just buy stuff that focuses and their current interests knowing that we'll get to the other stuff later. Currently they love learning about animals and plants. Genna is fascinated with birds, Elijah is obsessed with jungle animals, and Bella wants nothing more than to plant a garden. I found some books on our science shelf for Genna (Usborne Pocket Nature, One Small Square: Woods, and the story of John James Audobon), and after pouring over them for a couple of days, she pulled out an empty spiral notebook and made her own bird journal. She drew pictures of all kinds of birds, and took time to color them very carefully. Elijah has been creating his own story books about jungle animals, and yesterday at the Dollar Tree I found some great books on Zebras, Lions, Elephants, and Giraffes. They have great photos, and very simple text. He spent HOURS looking at them yesterday and drawing pictures like the photos. For Bella I found cute little starter plant pots with Sunflowers and Daisies in the dollar section at Target. I've also got a few plant books on our shelf already from our NOEO Biology 1 set that I purchased 2 years ago when we first decided on homeschooling. Currently though, I've got my eye the Apologia Zoology books, the Answers in Genesis books, and the Planet Earth DVD series. I'm starting to figure out what I'm going to need for next year so I won't have to think about it and be looking for stuff with a new baby. I really don't need too much for next year since I've built up a pretty good stock of supplies over the past couple years. However, I know that if I keep looking at science stuff I'm just going to want all of it; I cannot get enough! I suppose most homeschooling families feel that way about one subject or another, after all, we wouldn't be doing this if we didn't love learning. If anyone knows where to get great science stuff at good prices, please feel free to share. I think it's safe to say this is one addiction you shouldn't feel bad about enabling!

No comments: