Homeschooling should be, if not fun, at least memorable. Fortunately it can be both. I totally believe that hands-on learning is the best thing since Socrates came up with his method. When you connect your bookwork to your hands, ears, mouth, nose, and eyes you build a memory of both information and joy. It makes learning fun.
“What we perform, we remember. And if it’s fun, we’ll want to do it again.” I heard my mom say that many times, and it’s true. Mom had a knack for making things jump out of the book at us and lodge themselves in our memory. Like the time when she was explaining how pressure under volcanoes build while she took a can of soda and started shaking it in front of us. By time she had explained it the soda was about ready to pop. When she got to the word “Eruption” she opened the can and sprayed my brother and I with the super-fizzy can of cola! Today, I can still tell you how volcanoes work. And geysers too, for that matter.
Below are a few of my favorite hands-on, homeschool memories, in no particular order.
We made models.
Once, we made a model of a cell using Jell-O. We put green gelatin in a large, clear bowl. We layered the gelatin, laying in various foodstuffs for the organelles (a hard-boiled Egg nucleus, spaghetti as endoplasmic reticulum, macaroni as mitochondrion, etc.). We made probably 3 or 4 layers, and in the end had a fully edible 3D cell model. It was awesome. It was food. And I still know that endoplasmic reticulum transport proteins and stuff.
We went to museums.
The Franklin Institute and the Baltimore Aquarium were two of our favorites, but there were dozens. I remember seeing all kinds of crazy fish, being fascinated by fog/tornado machines, wandering around a giant heart, testing out toy robots, and watching colonial blacksmiths make nails and tools. It’s been over a year since I went to a museum and I’m feeling the itch to go back again…
We made costumes.
I still have the greek toga from when I was in 2nd grade, although my cloth “chain mail” has vanished. Studying the middle ages is always better when you’re in armor and armed. Fortunately I married someone who loves the middle ages and swords as much as I do. Helen and I have a set of sparring swords in our basement. If we’re going to fight, we do so in style. (Just kidding.)
We blew things up.
Boys + Chemistry = Fire. ‘Nuff said. Also Boys + Magnifying Glasses + Ants = Fire, or really Boys + Anything they can get their hands on = Fire, but you already knew that.
We ate marshmallows.
Mom would quiz us on geography, our literature, and all kinds of topics. If we got the question right, she would throw a marshmallow or chocolate chip half way across the room for us to catch in our mouths. Boys need no further motivation then sugar. (My wife has discovered this is still true.)
There were dozens of other things, but those stood out this morning. What’s a memorable hands-on moment from your homeschool?