Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Science, homeschool style...

I get frustrated with myself, you know?

I'm just not doing enough. Or doing it right.

And I prayed about it with the boys this morning. I prayed, knowing that not everything is fun, and some things we just have to do anyway. But I asked God to help me find ways to make school more fun for the boys.

Science is one of my biggest frustrations. Probably because they love it the most! As long as it's something they can get their hands on. Since we're "supposed" to be studying Weather right now, well... they can't grab hold of it the way they'd like.

We talked about clouds today - something we see plenty of of here. And we looked at pictures of different kinds of clouds and started learning their names. And we rushed through labeling a sheet of clouds I'd printed from a kids' website. We were kind of in a hurry because Tate and I needed to meet with his Deaf/HoH teacher right after lunch.

Decided to walk, since it's not raining. In fact, the sun is shining and the temp is all the way up to 51 degrees... which means there were college boys in the park, playing volleyball with their shirts off. Because, you know, it's so hot out. (Eyes roll.) But we're not studying human biology, (much less mating behaviors... sheesh.)

Anyway, on the way home I mentioned to Tate that we should keep our eyes peeled (pealed?) for little creatures out sunning themselves. Of course, telling Tate to look for animals is the very definition of redundant. Did I mention he came home from his PTO day with both a frog and a salamander in a bucket? Finally released them, since he couldn't catch enough bugs to feed them and I had no time to go buy crickets.

Believe it or not, I spotted this little guy first, but Tate caught him. It's a Northern Alligator Lizard. I think they're pretty common around here. Tate has him in a terrarium and was thrilled to see that he's in the process of shedding his skin. He has already brought me the skin from the tail - thoughtfully enclosed in a ziplock bag - to keep in the school room.

And I've just read that he'll eat insects, millipedes, spiders, and snails, so we might be able to keep him awhile.


So that was an answer to prayer :0)


The Squirrel said...

Cute scaly little guy! The trouble with lizards is they can't learn to play fetch...

Weather, huh? Are you using Michael Ord? Loved his work on the post-Flood ice age!


Herding Grasshoppers said...

Were you peeking in my school room?

Yep. I have the Michael Oard book. His information is great, but there's not enough in the way of hands-on experiment type stuff, so I'm supplementing from 'hither and thither'. (Not Dan's blog, but you know what I mean!)

Michael Oard's "Weather" is part of a series of science books by various authors. I really like the Geology book, by John Morris. :0)

Deborah said...

Despite the fact that we're on a no pet motto here, that little lizard would be one seriously cool science project. How awesome to get him when he's shedding yet too!

When we did weather, I used a book by Stephanie Finke from the And God Created Science series called Exploring Weather. It had lots of fun and simple experiments that helped make the abstract understandable. I have absolutely no clue where I got the book though. Maybe Christian Book Distributors??

Oh, and I'm positive every homeschooling mom wonders if we're doing enough or doing it right. That's why I'm really struggling about what to do for highschool. Eeek!

The Squirrel said...

Yes, I knew oard had written a text book, I've never read it, but, like I said, I've enjoyed his ice age stuff.

So, other than measuring rainfall and temperature and observing the sky, what kind of hands-on weather experiments are we talking about? Hum? Nothing world-dominating, I hope?


Herding Grasshoppers said...


He's a temporary pet! :0)

Mr. Squirrel,

We don't have anything sinister in mind. One project we're doing is tracking the weather forecasts and seeing how they compare to the weather we actually get... comparing the forecast for tomorrow's weather, as well as 5 days ahead and 9 days ahead, to see what will be most accurate.

The kids are also going to make dioramas illustrating different weather conditions and their effects. Anything with clay and little props is right up their alley :0)


Connor's Mom said...

When in doubt, you can always fall back on the "tornado in a bottle" experiment. It was pretty much the standard activity for any weather-related school unit I remember growing up.

Cool lizard.



Hi! I saw your post from the Deaf Village website. I have a deaf son with cochlear implants. We also homeschool our children (9 and counting).
I just wanted to tell you that when you finish with weather, we have an excellent book on earth science that is fun, entertaining, and very educational called "How Does God Do That?" by Paul and Danielle Harris. It is published by Coffee House Publishers, roadsearching.com. My daughter recently did a post on her website about the sun, if you'd like a small sample. (sendingoutarrows.blogspot.com)
Hope your family continues to enjoy science!

leah said...

Looks like an alligator lizard to me! We don't seem to have any lizards in Western NY, though we do have salamanders. And snakes. And lots of frogs!