I’m not going to lie, one of my favourite things about homeschooling is how much interaction we get with others. We can easily fill our days with play-dates or excursions to child filled activities, where my kids get to play, interact and learn from so many people of different ages. Of course, this means that during crazy weather seasons, where we can sometimes experience all four seasons in a day, and our immune systems are little less than stellar, we end up getting sick more often. While this is great for developing and strengthening our immune systems, it can sometimes be a little tough on morale and motivation.
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You see, my kids do not lose energy when sick. Instead, they become grumpy little energy balls of mucous, and during the winter, they become extra hyper little grumpy balls of mucous, as we tend to stay close to home to avoid spreading our germs. Add me getting sick into the mix, and you’re not going to have a fun time.
So this was a rough week.
The week started off with the kids getting over their colds. Nathaniel was pretty well good to go by Tuesday and Sophia Friday. Unfortunately, the virus got the better of me and took me out Thursday. This meant that we hung out at home pretty much all week and were housebound by the bug and the crazy ice storm that is still reeking havoc in our part of town.
Nevertheless, despite too much TV and apps, we still got some learning many of the everyday learning experiences that happen organically in life (see last week’s post for some ideas) and from a really wonderful science kit I picked up on clearance at Michaels.
This Underwater Volcano kit ended up being a blast and lead to so many other learning opportunities.
There was a great information poster included in the kit, but since the kit is geared towards older kids, I had to simplify and summarize many of the facts to make them more accessible for my littles. Nevertheless, the concept of submarine and the meaning (under water) stuck in Nathaniel’s head and he had a great time discussing other things that are submarine.
The kit was pretty easy to put together, and basically is a red bath bomb that you set off inside a plastic volcano in water. The kids enjoyed watching it fizz and it had a pretty neat effect. It’s also pretty cool that it can be reused, although I do think the novelty of it wore off after one “explosion”.
After the volcano exploded, I remember that there was an Octonauts episode where the animals go into a submarine volcano and learn about Blobfish (see the video here). So I pulled up Youtube and we watched it, followed by the episode of Water Bears, where the Octonauts explore lava tunnels (see it here).
Of course the kids love Octonauts, so while they watched, I popped on the computer and printed out some colouring pages of Blobfish (from coloringpagessf.com), Water Bears (from nicecoloringpages.org), volcanos (from leri.co) and of course, just the Octonauts (from getcoloringpages.com).
Once the Octonaut episodes were over, we talked a bit about the two different animals and how the Water Bears just go to sleep when it gets to hot. I asked if they wanted to learn more about Blobfish and Water Bears, and since they did, I did a quick Youtube search and we watched a few real life videos about them. I had never heard of Blobfish before this and found them to be incredibly interesting – I love learning with my kids!
Then we did some colouring!When Dan got home, the kids were super excited to tell him all about the volcano erupting, Water Bears and Blobfish. It was a great opportunity to review many of the concepts and facts with them, as they loved sharing what they learned with their dad.
After they had their sharing time, we finished on the fact that when submarine volcanoes erupt they form islands. With that note, I remembered that one of our favourite books, Our Family Tree, discusses this very thing, as it traces human evolution. So, we pulled out the book and had another read, taking the time to point out that connection when it came up. Do I expect them to remember all of the things we discussed? Of course not. I won’t even remember most of it, but it was so fun to just do a little experiment and then see where the tangents would lead us. When I was in the regular classroom, I always struggled with not going off on tangents about things, simply because there was so much to cover and I had to keep some 30ish students focused on whatever topic/task. I really love that homeschooling my own children gives me the opportunity to go off and explore their questions and curiosities (and my own) without having to worry about not having enough time to cover all the material. It’s truly a breath of fresh air.