On Wednesday morning I had nothing planned.
Keeping somewhat in line with the Unschool method and Project Based Homeschooling (while borrowing also from Montessori, Charlotte Mason, and more traditional school methods) I decided to structure their time but not their curriculum.
Mondays and Thursdays would be humanities days, and Wednesdays and Fridays would be Science and Math days.
The girls woke up to a cheerful table and “First day of Homeschool” scribbled on a piece of construction paper. I had organized a few educational books on a shelf within reach. The sections are:
- Crafts & Projects
- Language & Literature (dictionaries are in this pile)
- Geography & History
- Math, Science, & Nature
- Theology (Bible, prayer books, devotionals, etc.)
We ate breakfast, prayed together, and I let the girls read anything they want for 20 minutes from the “Theology” book stack.
While reading together in the morning, we spotted a young mockingbird in our Dogwood tree in the front yard. I remembered that I had just bought new bird seed, so for science we filled the bird feeders and talked about how the birds’ different beaks have adapted for survival.
While outside, Sera discovered a bizarre worm sliding (or sliming, rather) across the sidewalk. It was very long and it looked like the front of its head was flat. We came inside and did a little research and learned that it the worm is a “Land Planarian.”
These worms have traveled to the U.S. from China via potted plants. They are earthworm predators and therefore harmful in the garden. A single planarian can devastate a significant portion of an earthworm colony in just a few hours.
Here’s where I like to believe God dropped a little nugget of supernatural grace from heaven to seal the homeschool deal (and so I might not regret my decision within the first 12 hours).
On a ten minute snack break, Sera (9) designed and constructed 8 catapults out of craft sticks and pipe cleaners and began to ask questions like, “I wonder if how tall they are makes them launch farther.”
I silently scanned all the possible subjects we could cover with this one project:
Math, Science, Physics, Engineering.
*I felt triumphant and a teeny bit smug.
Meanwhile, Amelie broke out the math cubes and some word problem books I had bought and began to work quietly at the table.
I decided to help Sera learn how to conduct a science experiment with the catapults. We lined them all up, taped them to the floor, and began.
- She used a tiny ball of pipe cleaner and a lego for ammunition.
- She launched each type of ammunition from each catapult and measured the distance.
- She repeated the experiment.
- She had been entering the data into a table in her notebook, and I taught her how to average the results.
- She then figured out which catapult performed the best (on average) and which performed the worst.
Later that night, Josh taught her how to graph the data on her iPad using Numbers (the Mac version of Excel), which was probably the highlight of her day.
Amelie wanted to teach me a science experiment she had done in 1st grade, so I tried to figure it out as she told me the things we would need: Food coloring, hot water, and cold water. I figured out that the project most likely had to do with diffusion and osmosis and kinetic energy. Chemistry!
As expected, the food coloring diffused more quickly in hot water than cold, and we talked about the reason for this: there is more energy in the hot water to move the food color molecules around more quickly.
At the end of the afternoon I had the girls journal about their day while I sat with them and journaled as well. We ate lunch at noon, and just like that, the “school day” was done. Success!
*Pay attention to the two images below. Do you notice anything strange?
But only after posting a picture of our sign on Facebook, hashtag “homeschool.”