Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Science Lessons

On of the tough things about homeschooling in Malawi is science.  More specifically shopping for science lessons.  Basic things like balloons or modeling clay are either impossible to find or ridiculously expensive.  We needed balloons for something, I forget what, but we went to 5 different stores before I found balloons.  I was all excited and grabbed the package.  Dave stood there looking at the price, until finally he asked slowly, "Are you really going to pay 10 dollars for a bag of balloons?"  Sigh.  I guess not when you put it that way.

Anyway, the two older boys have started working out of their chemistry book, yes I have both boys working out of the same book even though they are different grades.  I don't remember much from junior high science, do you?  I have yet to be able to find everything needed for any of the experiments, and the boys and I were getting really frustrated.  Yes we have been able to watch the experiments performed on Brain Pop or Discovery Streaming, but it really isn't the same as doing the experiments yourself.

Finally I had an epiphany! Last Christmas Colin got a super-duper huge electronics set complete with teachers manuals and student learning guides.  Out with chemistry, in with electricity.  Looking at the first few lessons had me trying desperately to remember the difference between series and parallel circuits. I know one of those is the reason when one Christmas light goes out on the tree they all flipping go out, but I don't know which or why, and actually I don't much care. I finally asked Dave for help.  Mr."I-did-advance-electronics-in-the-navy"  has taken over the science lessons for the Alonzo and Colin. Yay!!

Now I am sitting here with my feet up listening to him drone on and on about protons and electrons, charged particles and switches.  The boys are totally enraptured.  They're happy they are learning "real" science. Dad's happy to be involved in the homeschooling and teaching something he likes.  I am happy.  I'm relaxing with a beer.  Now all I have to do is find someone who wants to teach the boys reading, or math, or writing.


Monica said...

i love the last sentence. i am not smarter than a middle schooler - or an elementary schooler for that matter. so, alas, it will never be me. ;o) malcolm is totally into making explosions - most notably with vinegar and baking soda? something. anyway. vinegar finds it's way onto my shopping list weekly...written in ugly handwriting.

Shannon said...

Has he figured out that you can put the vinegar in the bottle then take a sheet of tissue paper lay it across the top, tuck it in slightly to make a pocket then fill it with baking soda and screw the lid on? Then when you throw it the two mis and the bottle explodes. Colin has and vinegar is expensive, like $5 a bottle here.

So far he hasn't figured out that you could do that with mentos and my diet soda so that when I open it I will get covered in coke. When he does I promise you that you will hear the screams all the way across the ocean.

Earlier this week he found something in an old science fair experiment book on how to use vinegar, a penny and a nail to electroplate the nail with copper. Again with the vinegar. Now I have bunches of ruined pennies and copper colored screws and nails.

LeesOnTheGo said...

You know...you do have friends in Nairobi where balloons and clay are somewhat easy to come by. Well, maybe not clay. I think our science dept orders it from the US b/c the stuff here is bad. Anyway, I'd be happy to help you get that experiment started.

Let me know if you want me to send some on to you.


Shannon said...

Thanks Naoma, but we are heading home to the states in 3 weeks. Home for the holidays for the first time in 7 years! I am so excited to spend Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years with family.

SInce we can't go 2 months without school we will be homeschooling in the states. I will be shopping for school supplies while there and taking advantage of the fact my mom is a bigger science geek than me and using her equipment (triple beam balance, microscope, test tubes, ect...) while we are staying with her. hoping she will help with lessons too. Chemistry is more her thing than mine. I am a geology/earth science kinda girl.

Just US said...

That is the best way to survive, I mean study science! Does Dave want to come over here when he is done? We could swap for writing, reading, or math lessons?