(It's all good. I promise.)
Homeschooling. Some days are delightfully ordinary. Lots of books, some real-life math and writing, also games, walks, crafts, art, and the work of life – cooking and cleaning. But other days you will find us (or some of us anyway) extracting DNA from vegetables; looking at skin cells, compost slime, and crystals with the microscope; making silly putty from scratch; and yes, even lighting things on fire. So. Much. Fun. Not a shabby deal I've got myself here, hanging with my kids all day making mindful-mischief.
The glop pictured above is Sage's latest science foray. Polymers. There are dozens of recipes for homemade goo, flubber, and silly putty all over the internet. My kids were partial to the gorilla video we found on Instructables. We tried several recipes and made all sorts of disgusting creations. Amazing what a nine year old can create with a little glue, starch, and borax.
We've recently purchased a few simple science books for Sage. We looked at several chemistry sets and curriculum but ultimately decided on this book (which looked fun to both of us) and this one which seemed to make buying a chemistry set unnecessary for the time being. We both liked that. (While this book looks fascinating to us we decided to wait on it for a while, considering that the experiments in it might actually kill us.)
Sage is mildly obsessed with chemistry and experiments. I'm enjoying watching his interest and knowledge deepen and am grateful that we have the time and space to let him learn this way. There is no question that he has a inextinguishable love of learning. And as unschoolers we see that as the primary goal of education – to help grow adults with a passion for learning. (Yes, more so than learning what an acid-base reaction is.)
As for fire, there is plenty of that around here too. Sage and Pete attempted to make glass out of sand today (with a butane torch and a shovel of sand from the sandbox). They succeeded in making red hot sand but it did not turn to glass. This "failure" led them to a chemistry book researching glass, elements, and alchemy-versus-science for an hour.
And then there were the flaming bananas. This the kids look forward to February 2 straight on through January. They count down to it like others do to Christmas. It is a part of (okay, most of) our annual Bridgid celebration, a day most of you know better as "Groundhog Day".
Groundhog Day, like so many of the holidays we celebrate in our culture is a modern interpretation of an ancient Pagan holiday. February 2 marks the half-way point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox and was traditionally a fire celebration as the sun grew stronger and the days grew longer. It is a day to dream and hope and plan – a day to focus on what is yet to come in the days ahead and celebrate the return of the warmth. We talk at lenghth of what the new seasons will bring. It is a new year of sorts.
Pagan traditions aside, I say – what is a holiday without dessert? So every year we make homemade ice cream (a modification of my Gram's vanilla custard recipe), and Bananas Foster. Sage always throws in the match. (And thankfully, this year Pete's arm hair was spared!)
So there you go. Glop and fire. Welcome to my kitchen. My messy, crazy, adventuresome kitchen.