Exploration - the foundation of science. But how do we invite the magic of exploration into our homeschools? In this episode, I'll share three tips to help you roll out the discovery-welcome-mat!
Welcome to season 6 of the Tips for Homeschool Science Show where we are breaking down one of the lofty ideals of teaching science into three building blocks you can use in your homeschool.
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Every child loves to create things and mine are no exception. I’m always amazed at the different things they create when they have time to let their imaginations loose.
But if I’m honest, sometimes I get frustrated by all the mess, but I have to remind myself that they are learning. You see, exploration is the purest form of learning, especially for learning science.
I can tell my child that there needs to be at least three sides to make a strong building and that a roof helps to give that building more strength. She might even listen to me, but without some hands-on practice, she will easily forget.
However, if that child sits down and tries to put together a building on her own, she learns through trial and error what gives her creation the strength it needs to stand. She internalizes this information. The next time she tries to build a house, she’ll remember what she has learned and apply it to her latest project.
This is the main reason I am so big on the importance of hands-on science. But just doing set experiments doesn’t really allow our kiddos imaginations to run wild. And that’s where we need to invite the magic of exploration into your homeschool.
This shouldn’t be one more thing to check off on the list, rather inviting exploration should flow naturally into the empty spaces of the child’s day.
With that in mind, how do we as parents encourage exploration as a form of learning? Here are three tips to help you get started…
I keep a box of maker-materials, stuff like masking tape, paper, cardstock, paper clips, rubber bands, pencils, and so on. (Here are a few science supply ideas.) Our children know that they can take things from this box without asking at any time and I won’t be upset unless they don’t clean up.
I also entertain all requests for other materials they might need. For example, when our daughter asked to borrow my plastic bowl and several chopsticks. I asked what she wanted them for. She replied that she wanted them for a bridge for Littlest Pets. So, I said that it was fine, knowing that I probably wouldn’t get my chopsticks back.
That day she built a bridge for her Littlest Pet Shop animal figurines to go across. She learned which way to place to chopsticks so that they would hold the weight of her animals as they crossed. She learned firsthand about the principles of physics and bridge-building. For me, it was worth losing a few chopsticks in the process.
Providing your kids with materials they can freely use to bring life to their imagined creations definitely invites exploration into your homeschool.
We regularly watched Mythbusters. We also let our kiddos watch YouTubers that explore science, ones like Mark Rober or King of Random. These shows have been fodder for many an exploration idea in our house.
We also use a science program that encourages experimentation and often these hands-on science moments led to ideas that our kiddos explore later on.
We also read a lot of books, which are great sources of inspiration. For example, the book Castle Diary inspired our daughter to build her own castle out of construction paper and masking tape. A book about Batman, inspired our son to make his own grappling hook. The list goes on and on.
Filling your kid’s minds with ideas provides an environment in which they can be inspired to delve into the topics more and this is a great way to invite exploration into your homeschool.
When your child asks, mom how does this work? Don’t be afraid to say I don’t know, let’s try to figure it out. Let your children see that you can still dream up ideas and create from your imagination.
When you sit down with your child to figure out how something works, it sends a clear message to them that you think it’s worth the time to figure it out. This time together will serve to build their interest in discovery and tinkering.
Modeling exploration for our children will most definitely invite exploration into your homeschool.
It’s so valuable to give our children the opportunity to stretch their imagination and to try out their ideas through exploration. And we can invite this by providing the materials, by filling their minds with ideas, and by modeling exploration for them.
After all, many of the great scientists discovered their love of science by exploring the things around them. You never know what your child’s future holds!
Thanks for listening and I hope you have a great week playing with science!
We have done a few Zoom sessions over the past month and we thought you all might have the same questions the attendees did. Click "Read More" to listen to the Q & A sections from those calls.
This past month I shared a Zoom session with a charter school that I thought you all would enjoy listening in on. It's all about how to teach science at home - click "Read More" to start listening.
Is there a way to skip an experiment, but still have your students learn something? Yes! Click "Read More" to find out how to do it.