Sunday, October 16, 2011

Observing Biology

It had to happen. Eventually I would have to start blogging about homeschooling. After all, I spend most of my week planning, teaching, and whining about homeschooling.

No, not really whining. Truth be told, other than a few times per week when I want to go off, and as my sister says, become a potato farmer so I can be by myself, I really do enjoy homeschooling.

"Home educating". That has a much nicer term.

A little less Children of the Corn image-inducing.

I happen to find other home educators blogs very informative when I need suggestions for a project or teaching technique, so I've decided to add into cyberspace my own tiny tidbits of teaching tricks.

That, by the way, is an alliteration, when all of the beginning letters of a sentence are the same.

In case you wanted to know.

Our co-op meets once per week for classes. For our bi-weekly "core" classes, I teach the 8+ years old experimental science class. For our first class, I wanted to really get the kids attention, get them excited to come to co-op, do science, and enjoy homeschooling.

In other words, I wanted to bribe them. No, entice. I wanted to entice them.

What is the weirdest thing you've ever had on your table?

For me, it was 15 Mason jars full of goldfish.

Yep. Real, live goldfish. These swimmers were a whopping 38¢ from Wal-Mart. My plan was to teach the scientific method using these fish, testing what type of food they would eat; flake or pellet.

They also learned the difference between subjective and objective observations. (Subjective observations are based on opinions. "The fish is cute. It is small." An objective observation is based on measurable data. "The fish is 3.2 cm long. The color of the fish is orange with a wavelength of 625 nm.")

So the night before our first class, I had to sort the goldfish into individual glass Mason jars filled with distilled water, poke a hole into the tops for ventilation, and dish out 15 travel cups full of fish food so the kids could feed their fish when they took them home.

Yes, the kids got to bring their fish home. I made some temporary mom enemies that day.

"WHAT? REAL FISH? I thought when you asked if they could take goldfish home, you were talking about snack cracker Goldfish?"

Don't look at me like that, fish. It's not my fault you and all of your friends died within 2 weeks only to be replaced with other goldfish that also died within two weeks.

After this, I had to promise not to send the kids home with anything alive again.


Anything explosive?