Sean is working on a completely child-led experiment. I didn't come up with one thing about it.
He said he wanted to find something that would interact with citric acid, inject it into a tangerine, and see how long it takes for it to decompose. I thought that was a fine idea, and told him to research what that might be.
He didn't come up with anything, so he started to think of things around the house he could use. He mixed vinegar and alcohol together and injected it into two tangerines. He did this yesterday. I started to suggest that he use the scientific method, keep notes, that he measure carefully, etc. and then I stopped myself.
It was late in the day when he began, and first thing this morning he was back at it. I decided to let him go for as long as he wanted on this task, and once in a while I would ask, "So what are you learning from this work?"
He would tell me one or two things that he had learned.
I wanted to give him the freedom to spend as much time doing it as he desired. He wasn't just messing around, he was really working and observing. From the tangerine skin, to the syringes he used, he was exploring all of it, and watching the results as he pumped as much of the liquid into these things as they could hold.
My plan is to review the scientific method with him tomorrow, and see if he can identify anything about the method that would have helped him prior to beginning this experiment.
But the really wonderful thing is that as a homeschooler he can spend all day on one experiment. The only time I stopped him was for lunch, and then again when it was time to go to children's choir. We can spend as much time as we want on a subject, and he can go at his own pace, and I love that about homeschool.