muslim homeschoolers on PBS

“A growing number of Muslim families in America are home-schooling their children because they want them to get a more holistic education than a public school can provide.”

the segment presents a pretty balanced view of homeschooling,
but i must take a small issue with “the professional educator” interviewed
who makes several claims like
muslims homeschool because of prejudice;
and that because sibling relationships are not like peer relationships
homeschoolers may not develop the necessary the skills,
like the ability share, negotiate and resolve conflicts;
and that homeschooling parents need training,
e.g. social, cognitive, and biological development of children and classroom management.

prejudice is the least of the reasons why we homeschool.
how about protecting and nurturing our children’s natural sense of curiosity about the world,
providing holistic learning experiences,
taking advantage of teachable moments that can happen at any time,
teaching values and morals that are true regardless of religion,
and addressing the vital life skills
like financial acumen, home management, personal health, personal development
that teachers can’t get to (or shouldn’t even be responsible for)?

communities, large and small, are based on the family unit.
families are the building blocks of societies, cultures and countries.
it is in the home where children get their start
in learning how to share, negotiate and resolve conflicts.
if you don’t value yourself and your family
why would you care for anyone else?

although being a teacher is important work
that requires a special type of person
— just start with patience, empathy and sincere concern for others —
you don’t have to be a brain surgeon or a rocket scientist, as the sayings go.
yes, it does take preparation, knowledge and skill
which all can be had without a formal or college education.

but i guess i’m just biased.

spring fever: gotta get outside

national museum of natural history

a mammal has hair, milk and special earbones

sensorial overload at the national museum of natural history -- and we just explored the hall of mammals!

our local pond

checking up on our amphibious friends at the local lake
we found a few frogs that made the journey from tadpole-hood

earth day at the US national arboretum

taking inspiration from the azalea garden at the arboretum...
...they painted pictures on a nearby bench while nature provided the soundtrack. peaceful.

bladensburg waterfront park

our guide and pontoon driver pointed out an osprey, cormorrants, canada geese, mallards, turtles, a crane, and barn swallows
life jackets so we can be safe
we forgot how cool it can get on the water. next time we'll bring jackets.
the pontoon ride is a great companion to Crinkleroot's Guide to Knowing the Birds
after the pontoon ride, a nearby historical train made a great playhouse

science with janice vanCleave

we’ve been doing science experiments once a week
working from Janice VanCleave’s Play and Find Out About Science : Easy Experiments for Young Children.

i’ve looked at several of these type of books.
my assessment of this one: excellent!

we try to do each experiment using the scientific method:

  • observing the environment and asking a question.
  • making a hypothesis or guess.
  • testing our hypothesis by doing an experiment.
  • examining the data or results.
  • refining or improving our hypothesis.

every experiment begins with a thought-provoking question often asked by children,
and ends with a simple, clear explanation.
most of the supplies can be found around the house or purchased easily and inexpensively.

we’ve had much fun and success with these experiments so far:

i wonder…is there a way to catch air?

the air in the cup prevents the paper towel from getting wet. cool!

catching air in plastic bags. you can feel the air in the bag.

i wonder…why are some pennies shinier than others?

soaking pennies in vinegar and salt solution. leftover pennies act as the control. (see our scientific gargon!)

removing pennies from weak acid. gotta be careful.
the acidic solution removed the dull copper giving most of the pennies a new shine.
part 2: we left a new paper clip and a few pennies in the acid overnight...
...the copper the acid removed from the pennies became attached to the paper clip. ( a new paper clip is shown for comparison.)

i wonder…what holds up a parachute?

parachute is made from paper, string, paper clips, tape with a ball of clay as a weight.

setting the parachute up at maximum height...
...for a gentle descent.

in part 2, we investigated what would happen when the clay weights are different sizes or completely removed.

not-at-home homeschool

i couldn’t motivate them to come to our homeschool room
— i think it’s a spring thing —
so we went to the mall.
the national mall, that is.

president lincoln looks much bigger than the picture on the penny!
feeding the ducks at the reflecting pool
letting fingers gently run over the images of faces in the korean war veterans memorial
watching crew fight the wind and waves. the ducks made it look easy.
the last of the cherry blossoms

april work

working with tangrams
making her own designs with tangrams
after matching all the color tablets, she made her own game. i would call out a color and she would tiptoe to it like a little old-school typewriter.
exploring geometric shapes
a benefit of multi-age learning: she doesn't know multiplication, but she got to experience the concentration it takes to do the multiplication bead board. she put every individual bead in its little hole. all 100!
the hundreds board requires much patience and concentration
four-digit addition using the addition stamp game
hand-made, one-of-a-kind mask and crown. sometimes a little creative art...
...makes it easier to concentrate on work: table setting exercises. getting prepared for an outing at a fancy restaurant.
practising cursive on lined paper. after she completes a line, she picks which letter she likes best.
reviewing arabic using the CDs
exploring multiplication with the multiplication bead board
grammar work: introducing conjuctions