Monday, November 2, 2009

Promoting Happy Scientists

The Science Fair is nearly upon us. On Monday, 9 November, close on a hundred homeschooled students descend on the Virginia Air and Space Museum to show off their scientific prowess.

We have really great sponsors this year.

Robert Krampf, The Happy Scientist has donated 10 memberships to his website. We've been members of his website for a few years. My kids love nothing better than to spend an afternoon surfing his website. He makes science come alive in his videos and his experiments are easy for the children to do. Best of all, they don't require any special materials. The kids don't need me to run around buying obscure items, they just raid the pantry and cleaning supplies to make science magic. Our annual subscription of $20 is some of the best money I spend for our homeschool.

My favorite used book store, The Book Exchange in Norfolk is repeat sponsor. I've found homeschooling gems in this store. My entire library of books on American government and American history was bought at the Book Exchange for a fraction of the retail value. Everyone at this store understands homeschoolers and their needs. They go out of their way to help us. One of my deepest wishes is that every homeschooler in Norfolk would recycle their homeschooling materials and libraries through the Book Exchange which would make it an even better resource to our community.

Another repeat sponsor is Mad Science of Hampton Roads. These guys are a hoot. They are all about the drama of science while still providing instruction. One of the neatest things they do is to come into your home and do a scientific presentation with drama and flare at your children's birthday parties. What's not to love about an organization that entertains while it teaches?

e-Science labs is once again providing science kits to our winners. If you are looking for the best hands-on science kits available at the middle school, high school or college levels, e-Science labs is your best bet.

Their hands-on science kits are designed to fit with any curriculum or teaching style. Engaging online content is provided to supplement a complete series of hands-on labs and to reinforce key concepts.

Their kits are designed to be safer for students and friendly for the environment. Each kit is complete and contains everything a student needs to perform all of the experiments. Their PhD-level educators and scientists have written manuals that are clear, concise and easy to follow.

In both their hands-on and online content, they show how fundamental scientific concepts play a role in our daily lives. By making science relevant, they engage students and enable them to better understand the world around them.

Norfolk Karate Academy provides the best karate instruction in Norfolk. Mr Odom understands that squirrelly young children need gentle care to keep them focussed but at the same time, he allows no misbehavior. His karate classes provide the perfect mind/body balance by exhausting the young homeschoolers while at the same time teaching them mental discipline. I promised my kids that they could start karate with the Norfolk Karate Academy in the fall but life has conspired against us. I've had to swear on my life that as soon as we return from Key Largo in December, that they can sign up for Monday and Wednesday classes. It's going to be good for Mr Ben. He needs another male teacher in his life, especially one who takes no crap from bright young boys.

I count myself very lucky to live in Norfolk. We have many of the facilities you find in a large city without the stress of living in a large city. One of the biggest draws, for me, is that we have such a large, active and diverse homeschooling community. Best of all, we have our very own homeschooling bookstore, Moore Expressions.

I've had reason to thank them twice in the last few months. I needed to change both our math and our English curricula. I did tons of research online, but that only helped me narrow the list down to 2 contenders for each category. I can't tell you how much it helped me to be able to tootle off to Moore Expressions and page through my options. It particularly helped me to be able to page through many Singapore Math books as I couldn't work out where to place Ben and Shira. I ended up buying books two levels too low because we had not covered everything Singapore did. We spent a week barreling through the work and then when we were done, i took the books back to Moore Expressions where they gave me a store credit and sold them on to another homeschool family.

This is one store that Ben and Shira don't mind tagging along to as Moore Expressions has a great children's play space and they always meet fellow homeschooled children when we go there.

Puppets have always played a huge part in my children's creative play. Our favorite puppets are those from Folkmanis. I'm always blown away by how realistic and CUTE their puppets are. These puppets are in a world of their own. You want to hug and stroke their puppets instead of giving them to the kids to play with. I've lost count of the number of naps I've had while snuggling a Folkmanispuppet.

There are going to be more than a few happy children at the Science Fair as Folkmanis has again donated puppets as prizes for the younger set.

Are you looking for petri dishes, pipettes, tubing, test tubes or any other lab equipment? Look no further than SKS Science, yet another returning science fair sponsor. Their website helpfully allows you to search for equipment by scientific field. It's a little late for this year's entrants, but SKS Science has an entire section on their website devoted to science fair projects. I truly appreciate doing business with a company that is not just out to make a quick buck. They provide info for free to the community.

We have great museums in the Norfolk area. One of my favorites is the Mariner's Museum. I love spending time looking at the beautiful replicas of small craft from around the world. Their homeschool days are well worth it. Read all about the last one I attended over here.

Fellow homeschoolers Jon and Julia Berry are the owners of Green Olive Tree a web hosting and internet services company. They offer web hosting, dedicated servers, virtual private servers, enterprise anti-spam solutions, VoIP servers, hosted exchange, and server administration and security.

They also provide consulting for companies with complex infrastructure needs. Jon has been working in the Internet Industry for over six years and has the expertise to evaluate your needs and come up with the most cost effective solution possible.

Another returning sponsor is Brooks Systems. Brooks Systems has been a provider of cutting-edge technology for the residential finance industry for over 20 years. Brooks Systems has serviced and supported over 10,000 clients in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Canada.

They offer products that help maintain TILA and Predatory Lending Compliance. Customized solution programming is also available to solve many additional lending problems.

To all our sponsors, a great big thank you. Our children thank you for helping make this science fair possible.

No comments: