Friday, September 07, 2007

Hands-On Geology ~ or "1 More Reason Why My Kids LOVE Homeschooling"

Our trip to Craters of the Moon

Atop one of the guided trails. It was so hot! In the air it was 97 F, on those black rocks, it was well over 115 F !!

The vast stretches of lava ~ I cannot imagine how anything lives out here, and yet it does!

Case in point, this lovely little fern does remarkably well.

Atop yet another peak. It was REALLY HOT!

The kids earned their ~Jr. Ranger~ badges & certificates, and were sworn in as official Jr. Rangers. I encourage all homeschooling parents to look into the Jr. Ranger programs available at all of the National Parks. They also have a Jr. Rangers Online :

as well as for individual parks:

You can register and earn badges, patches, and certificates, there are activites, tests, and fun, environmentally aware programs & information for the children. Any age child can participate.

This is one of the curriculum books I am using for geology this yr. It is filled with fun activities for people of all ages, and will definitely cement complex concepts in simple ways. The activites can be expounded upon for older kids, and used simply as presented for the younger set. Think plate tectonics using graham crackers & icing, making a mini ice glacier, chip mining with chocolate chip cookies, an edible mini-earth model..... tons of fun!!

Here is another excellent book for earth science. My kids have all enjoyed taking part in these activities as well.

As some of you know, this is my 3 youngest kids' first year of full-on homeschooling, and to be quite honest, my 12 yr old was NOT thrilled with the prospect. However, as the summer & year have progressed, she has become more & more excited about it. She is finally beginning to realize the opportunities available to her that simply would have been out of the question in a public school environment.

Just today she came home utterly THRILLED about her photography class. Photography is something she has always wanted to explore, but has never had the time for. Now, however, she is able to study this at length. (In a couple of days, I will post a few of the pictures she shot of our neighbor's yard. )

In fact, my two oldest are sometimes quite wistful about homeschooling, as they head off to their Jefferson Education charter school classes. Naturally, they are welcome to homeschool as well, however, they are convinced that they must go for social interaction, and I allow them this, as I believe they are mature enough to make many important decisions.

I like to allow my children the opportunities to do for themselves what they are able to do, even if it sometimes means not getting it right the first few times; in this way, they can experience both failure & success in the home, and have the proper support for both. Naturally, both we & they try our best to make INFORMED choices. Along with choices come responsibilities, and my children also know that there are always consequences, whether good or bad. I believe this instills self-reliance & independence, as well as self-confidence, gained with successes; especially if the success follows previous failure. In this way, they also learn endurance & fortitude.


Kim Ayres said...

By the age of 11 I knew how to read, write and use a pocket calculator. I don't think I learned anything in High school of any real value. I think it's fantastic that you're homeschooling

redhead83402 said...

Kim ~ Thank you! I am constantly amazed by how much fun it is to watch my children grasp ahold of some new concept or idea. At first, I doubted my ability to stay the task, but now, this is not an issue. I have realized that, like you, they have already learned some of the most important concepts, and now it's mainly just "fun stuff". I have always thought that public school does itself a disservice by making learning boring and lacking in fun.