Finally, the Carnival of Cool Homeschoolers is back. I promise that it will become a regular feature from now on.
We kick off with a post from Greg Laden which reviews Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture (DIY Science) by Robert Thomson. In his post Laden and Thomson bewail the loss of the chemistry sets that those of us who are of a certain age grew up with. I only recently realized that I cannot buy my children a chemistry set like the one I had when I was a child. I can't tell you how bummed I am. I want Ben and Shira to experience the many hundreds of hours of fun I experienced as a kid experimenting with my chemistry set. It looks like this book will help me provide a credible alternative. Thomson shows you how to set up your own home chemistry lab and where to buy the supplies.
Laden writes: "The Illustrated Guide is suitable for the serious hobbyist but it is also suitable for the Home Schooler. In fact, Thompson provides a very handy concordance indicating how one should use the lab sequence presented in the book to match various High School curricula, including AP Chemistry. In the process of writing and developing lab manuals, I have reviewed all the major College chemistry labs (as well as life science labs) and I have to say that the layout and presentation, do-ability and clarity of the labs in this book is unsurpassed overall."
Silvia from Po Moyemu writes about Kids and Knives. She writes: "But I guess the point was supposed to be that if children are familiar with knives, as tools, as they are in the kitchen, then they grow up comfortable with using them. Nobody wants their child to be hurt, especially if it could have been prevented. But I don't think sheltering kids from an opportunity to learn a skill, a new tool, is a good thing. In the book the Continuum Concept, by Jean Liedloff, children as young as maybe 3 are using large knives regularly."
She wonders: when you were a child, when did you first receive a knife to use, if you even did, and if you have children now, do they have knives, what age did they get them, or do you plan to wait for some reason
My father's philosophy was that if you taught children how to use tools safely and trusted them, they would live up to your expectations, so that's how he treated me. I was using knives by the time I was six. I bought Ben and Shira pen knives for their 7th birthday but Marc begged me not to give the knives to the children. I demurred and instead started working with the children with paring knives and cutting blades. The children plan on entering pop-up books in the Book Arts Bash and since I want the children to do all the work themselves, I thought it behooved me to teach them how to safely use cutting knives. So far the children are living up to my expectations and are treating this sharp tool with the respect it deserves. I still plan on being present whenever they use the cutting knives, but I do trust them to use the knives safely.
The Vogel family are attempting to ride their bikes from Alaska to Argentina. What a magnificent homeschooling opportunity. It makes my dream of RV schooling while we see the US seem rather tame. Nancy writes:There are a couple of major other things happening in conjunction with this trip as well: a quest for a world record, and an attempt to bring the world to kids in classrooms. Upon completion of this journey, Davy and Daryl will be awarded the title of "Youngest Person to Cycle the Pan-American Highway" by Guinness World Records. They are really excited about that one!
The other major part of this journey that our boys aren't all that excited about, but John and I are, is the educational side. One of our frustrations on our last journey was the fact that an incredible educational opportunity was being largely wasted. Sure, there were a few kids who were learning from our experiences, but not many. We kept thinking that, if we could somehow get connected with classrooms, kids around the globe could learn from our adventures. As soon as we arrived into Boise we started searching around trying to figure out how to make that a reality.
Jake Riley of Free Magic Tricks provides some light relief when he teaches a Magic Trick. I've been collecting instructional online videos for a while now as I plan a little treat for the children this winter. I'm going to include a weekly lesson on magic tricks.
Kim over at Kim's Play Space reviews The Story of Science: Aristotle Leads the Way by Joy Hakim. She writes: Quick take: It's a very in-depth history from pre-history until The Age of Discovery. The author brings up a lot of interesting points (in the search for knowledge-for-knowledge's sake versus the practical use of knowledge, she points out that both are important--though I think both are practical in the end). The histories of numbers and the calendar are also presented. It's written for teenagers, so the writing style is quite casual. This is a history book, not a science book, so there are hardly any equations, or experiments. The author does talk about the dominant philosophies that lead to the beginning of science and it's banishment during the Dark Ages.
To help your children gain mastery of those math facts, Maria of Homeschool Math generously offers free math worksheet makers. She offers worksheets from from basic operations to fractions, decimals, factoring, and square roots.
Mary Nix of The Informed Parent writes about a podcast on The Social History of Cattle:"The cave paintings in northern Spain and France depict the close ties of prehistoric people and wild cattle. From that time to the present cattle raising has been an essential human activity. Laurie Winn Carlson explains how cattle have influenced everything from human language to modern medicine."
Kathy Barbro writes one of my all time favorite blogs, Art Projects for Kids. Her mission is to:"offer these classroom-tested projects to any educator or parent who, like me, refuses to deny our students and children the chance to develop their own unique creativity." The Rousseau Tiger Drawing is on our list of things to do for this week. Last week we had fun making fauve portraits. This is a blog I definitely recommend including in your reader as it makes the art component of our homeschools so easy.
Another art blog that I highly recommend for all homeschoolers is Barb's Harmony Art Mom. Barb has written a series of posts on how to adapt Mona Brooks' book, Drawing with children, to work in your nature journal. I need to take out my copy and again and read it in the light of Barb's posts. When I first read it I was totally overwhelmed and intimidated by it.
Don't forget Sketch Tuesday. Every week, Barb invites children to submit a drawing on a particular theme, then she publishes the pictures on her blog. This week's assignment is to sketch something in your garden. By sheer coincidence, my children's art teacher is planning on teaching them how to draw flowers tomorrow. We'll be submitting those drawings for Sketch Tuesday.
Deb and Laura from Mariposario have launched a review of family board games. I've lost count of the number of board games we've bought because the blurb on the box looked interesting, only to find that we hated playing the game or that the game made no sense at all. Ben loves playing board games and I am always looking for reviews that I can trust.
Christine of The Thinking Mother writes a review of “From Crayons to Condoms: The Ugly Truth about America’s Public Schools”" writing; This book has two authors (Steve Baldwin and Karen Holgate) but most of the writings are from educators, parents and students sharing their real life experiences. These are not vague stories. They are well-written and although some contain strong opinions it is well-founded, these are not just dramatic ramblings based on imagined scenarios. The stories clearly outline what the student was exposed to or what the teacher was being forced to teach, naming curriculums, programs and books. In the cases where students complained or the parents got involved to complain and try to make changes those stories are explained as well. Those stories then become an explanation of how many times concerns of parents (and teachers, and students) fall on deaf ears and how hard it is to make changes (or to even get the school administrators to comply with laws).
The book is not just a book of complaints and scary stories. The last chapter (nine pages) gives an action plan for parents to want to make changes. This information is meaty and has information I’ve never known about such as how to write up issues with the laws, where to read the laws, and how to do a Freedom of Information request.