There are many resources out there that are good in their own ways, but I am specifically looking for those that meet the following criteria:
- experiments that are fun, easy to do, and use easy-to-find materials;
- the rational behind the experiment results are explained (that was one shortfall of the science book we had used in the summer -- it had many experiments but no scientific explanations of the hows and whys);
- makes a connection between theory and everyday applicability;
- follows the topics set out by The Well-Trained Mind.
This series is good for experiments and explanation, but they are not workbooks with spaces for the student to write or record any observations in. Even though these are 'extras' in our science area, I would still like to see Tiger being more involved in the learning, recording and thinking of the experiments than to just have passively have the answers presented to him (via the books). Therefore, we will be using the Drawing and Notes/Definitions page, and the Experiment page from here along with each experiment. Since Tiger is not too keen on writing just yet, I expect I will be writing down Tiger's narrations for these science sessions, which is the same approach as we have been using for other subject areas such as history and writing so far. Gradually, towards the end of next spring, Tiger will be expected to take over the writing for himself.
And when will we do all this, on top of our main curriculum? Since these are fun topics and extras, we will just spend an hour or so per week on them. I am not planning on completing each book by the end of next summer. The idea is to do one or two experiments from each book at our weekly 'extra science' session.
In addition, Tiger has been begging to do a Science Fair. I think he got that idea from The Berestain Bears. I have never been to a Science Fair, much less participate in one! But, can anyone say no to a child who begs to have a go at doing science? I can't.
Luckily Janice VanCleave has a Guide to the Best Science Fair Projects that I think would suit beginners like us. I had a quick glance through the book when it arrived. Tiger is probably still too young to write the project reports and to provide a full blown scientific explanation but we have to start somewhere, don't we? Looks like this is yet another area in which both of us will learn together, since the whole idea of Science Fair is new to me as well. We will take this slowly by taking on one project each month.
This leaves us time to build our skills alongside our portfolio of projects, so that when an opportunity for open-minded, real learning and friendly exchange of knowledge comes up in the future, Tiger will be ready to showcase his work.