Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Research takes a turn, and it's a beautiful thing

I've been feeling like we're falling "behind" in a way. We are behind according to my lesson plan schedule, which only means just that.

We took a week off for our Disney World vacation. Then we took off a few days for Thanksgiving. (There was no way I could do any prep for homeschool and prep in the kitchen for hosting 12 guests.)

I was ready to dive back into homeschool yesterday and pound it out, but Sean got sick and spent yesterday lounging until his math instructor arrived.

So today I was determined to get him back in the groove of work plans, materials, and pencils and paper. But he slept most of the day again, and I wasn't feeling well either.

When he finally got up I went over the schedule for the week with him and said since he has chosen Thursday as our science day he needed to do some research ahead of time. I wanted him to look up information on Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. He was free to use the computer today because we couldn't get to the library, since we were both not feeling well.

I've found some wonderful science projects for him to choose from, but before we begin those I want him to understand the science behind them. I've got nine science projects printed off and they include some work on friction and gravity, and how light travels.

He pulled out his note cards and was getting information about Isaac Newton, then something happened and he left the room. I was busy looking through photos of our trip to Florida. He came over and spotted a picture of a spider that we took at Disney World. As we were walking along one of the bridges he spied it on its web suspended between two tall bushes. I almost couldn't see it. He wanted a picture of it so bad, but it wasn't showing up well in the picture until I positioned the camera so that the background was the sky. We both had worked hard to get a good picture of it.  It was different than any spiders we have seen here, and had spikes on it's back.

That picture sparked his interest and he wanted to try to find out what kind of spider it is. And that led to another page with a different spider called a Yellow Sac Spider. He decided he wanted to do a report on venomous spiders. He worked for quite some time writing down all of the information about the Yellow Sac Spider on his note cards, and presented his information to Chuck when he arrived home from work.

As he was doing his research, he was reading some of it out loud to me. He came across the words necrotic lesion. I asked what does that mean? Sounding as genuine as possible. He gave a guess, and I said can you click on the magnifying glass in the corner of the screen and type in dictionary. Then type in that word for me, necrotic. He did it, and read off what it said. Then on his own he typed in lesion. And he put those meanings together and realized that would be one horrible spider bite. (On top of that it is associated with MRSA.)

It turns out we have those spiders in the Pacific Northwest.

So, although he didn't get the Isaac Newton work finished today, I decided to follow the child, and let him work on something that has been his passion for a long time. He does love arachnids. I was reminded of how engrossed in his work he will get when it is something he has chosen.

This work gave him some new vocabulary words, and he practiced writing a report and presenting it.

But we will get to Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. I just have to find a way to get him to choose the work.

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