Couldn't resist. I recently watched part of "Braveheart" with my oldest son, who called it "the most romantic movie of all time". This, just prior to the scene in which the Wallace is publicly disemboweled. Then again, he (my son) is supposedly descended from Genghis Khan. Ah, medieval justice. Would there be fewer crimes today if the death penalty meant being drawn and quartered? But I digress...
Freedom, the cattle call of homeschoolers, is one of the many benefits of this choice of lifestyle. I do purchase a complete curriculum which I really like and seems to be extremely effective with my son. I especially like that it leaves room for us to use many of the excellent supplements and enrichment materials that I come across in my wanderings. Santa brought some science materials this year that are just too good to leave on the shelf for playtime. So in between our studies of plants, animals, the universe, and health and nutrition, we will take some detours to study volcanoes, environmental science and geology.
Our first detour: Volcanoes.
The Volcano Making Kit, by KidzLabs Fun Science Projects, www.4M-IND.com, comes with everything needed to complete the project except vinegar and baking soda (and water to mix the plaster). My son easily mixed, poured and painted the volcano with little help from me. I mostly took pictures. To make the volcano erupt, I showed him how to do the vinegar and baking soda the first time and he did it thereafter. Caution: keep lots of newspapers handy for the assembly and use of the volcano. The original volcano can be used over and over, and the mold can be reused to make more volcanoes, simply get more plaster mix.
As a prelude to assembling and observing the volcano, we read the section on Earthquakes and Volcanoes from the book "How the Earth Works, 64 fun activities for exploring volcanoes, fossils, earthquakes and more", by Michelle O'Brien-Palmer. Later, in a discussion with and elderly friend, my 8 year old son started spouting facts about volcanoes that left me speechless, but proud.
This month, we will return briefly to the subject of volcanoes, as we are studying Italy, home to Mount Etna and Mount Vesuvius. This time we will peruse a short unit study I have been saving from The Simple Homeschool called All About Volcanoes. This inexpensive, downloadable, printable unit study is packed with info and activities about volcanoes for 6-12 year olds for only 99 cents!
Now it's back to our regular science book to study more about plants, habitats and food chains, then maybe another detour to take on Environmental Science with Earth Labs, before we get into anatomy.