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March 27, 2013 


Make Your Kitchen a Science Lab



Deborah's  Picture
Deborah Wuehler 
and family


I make lots of edible experiments in the lab called my kitchen--and sometimes we have them for dinner and sometimes the dogs get them. But seriously, there is so much more than cooking going on; there is a lot of learning and life happening in the kitchen.


There is math going on, clean-up skills and the character building that chores bring; there is the serving of family, amazing science experiments, and the making of healthy foods. But for me, most importantly, these everyday moments in our own home spent together doing these things will become some of my best memories of motherhood, and the place my children's memories of childhood will someday dwell.


I have learned to say "yes" to children who want to do something productive whether it is cooking, building, planting, or creating. Messy, yes, but these are the times they are most like their Creator. The messes are just a sign of the beauty of creativity and the best kind of hands-on learning.


I think the real joy of it all is that we have our own children in our own homes under our own feet in our own kitchens and around our own tables. Our "school" has the best classroom ever. It has couches and comfy chairs and even beds and trees for reading in; it even has an awesome kitchen where we can either do fun experiments or make yummy snacks or cook and clean together. Who else has a school like that? And our kids are free to go to the kitchen without a permission slip and to the restroom without a hall pass and they are free to plant a garden in the spring just because they want to and they are free to paint a masterpiece if the fancy hits them. They are free to sing praises in the living room and dance in the dining room and laugh in the bedrooms because they are free to be home where they belong.


Yes, learning happens in the kitchen, but it also happens all over the house. We are more than blessed to have our children here where we are free to give them hugs and kisses throughout the day, and pray with them and speak about the mighty wonders of God with them . . . when we sit in the house, when we walk by the way, when we lie down, and when we rise up* . . . and even in the kitchen.



TOS Senior Editor  


 *Deuteronomy 6:4-7

Specializing in Apologia-based live-feed, online recorded, DVD, flash drive, and eBook science courses.  According to Dr. Jay L. Wile, "This program is run by the most gifted teacher with whom I have ever worked."  Provided are 32 video lessons and over 500 web site links to extended course information. 

Sponsor Article

 Kids Learn Science by Experiencing Science


Got the homeschool science blues? You're not alone. Homeschool teachers often complain that their students "just aren't getting it." Why is that?  


Most of us want to teach science the way we think we learned science: from a textbook. Really? Do you remember all the facts you memorized in fourth grade? Kids today are no different. Chances are, you've watched your students' eyes glaze over a time or two. Don't worry. According to the National Science Foundation, that's normal.


In a recent report called Surrounded by Science, NSF researchers concluded that the average person learns science from their experience, not from a textbook. That's good news. Because knowing it helps us move forward and design science education that better fits the way our students learn. How do we do that? By adding visual learning, conversational learning, and hands-on experience to reinforce the concepts from the text.

  • Visual Learning--Yep. Go ahead and plop in a DVD, but beware: long videos work like textbooks (see the glazed-over eyes above). The YouTube age has taught us that bite-sized is better. Break it up into 10 minutes or less  . . . then talk about what they saw.
  • Conversational Learning--Students learn by talking it out. Don't make them recite facts. Ask them to brainstorm a solution to a problem or explain a natural phenomenon in their own words.
  • Hands-on Experience--We're not just talking baking soda volcanoes, here. There is an exercise to fit every science lesson. If the curriculum doesn't provide it, you have to find it. Having trouble? Visit and post a science topic. Their experts will be excited to design a kitchen experiment just for you.

Experience is the key to science learning. Think outside the textbook and watch those homeschool science blues melt away. 


XTREME SCIENCE: Elementary Astronomy was designed around these principles of experiencing science. Stealth pilot Jim Hannibal and teen co-host Ashton teach astronomy from a Christian worldview. This is a comprehensive DVD study that compliments any curriculum or stands on its own with:

  • 10 engaging, bite-sized lessons with eye-catching 3D graphics
  • On-screen labs taught by homeschool kids
  • 100 printable pages of illustrated Teacher Notes with worksheets, posters, lab instructions, and discussion questions

You can order XTREME SCIENCE: Elementary Astronomy today by going to Use the coupon code KIDLABS at checkout to get a twenty percent discount on your entire order.



Take a fun and interesting look at The Story of Energy and Its Exciting Future with a free E-Book unit study. Students will explore energy production and consumption in the U.S. Simply email for your FREE copy and also to learn how to get potential discounts/savings on your energy bills.


The Familyman

Just to let you know, I'm supposed to be getting the Familyman Mobile ready today. It's supposed to be spring with warm temperatures, sunshine, and daffodils pushing their way through the ground. Instead, it's 34 degrees with 6 inches of fresh snow on the ground, and the Familyman Mobile is staying wrapped up for a couple more days. So, I'm not a very perky homeschool writer today.


In fact, when I saw the topic at hand, "Make Your Kitchen a Science Lab," I thought cynically, "Why do I have to make my kitchen a science lab anyway?" But after I thought about it, I realized that it's not so much about making it a science lab as it is taking the time to let my kids explore in the kitchen. It's about my wife allowing my kids to help with what she's making and including them in everyday life that takes place in the kitchen. Yes, things will take longer, but real learning takes place in a natural, everyday type of way. So, yeah, I guess the kitchen does become a science lab naturally when you let your kids add the food coloring or the baking soda or when they get to melt the butter or bake the cookies.


The key isn't to turn your kitchen into a science lab; it's to enjoy your children while you're working in it. Don't shoo them out of your way. Let them be involved. That's the best kind of learning, when it's right alongside of us. They want to help; let them. So, use this cold, snowy, non-RV-readying-day to bake warm cookies with your kids, and then enjoy them with a steaming cup of hot chocolate . . . and without even realizing it, your kitchen will have been a science lab.


I think I need a timeout.


Be real,



PS. Want a fun Easter story to demonstrate the impact of Jesus' death on the cross to your children? We've teamed up with master storyteller Jim Hodges to produce a wonderful MP3 download of "The Night Jesus Took My Place in the Easter Pageant." Your kids are going to love it and listen to it over and over. Get it now. 


PPS. Feel like your children are being consumed by the Techno-Beast but don't know what to do? Well, have I got good news for you. We are pleased to announce that our Taming the Techno-Beast is now available in a student workbook and you can get it now. I'll tell you more about it next week.





A Great Homeschool Convention! Don't Miss the MidWest Homeschool Convention, April 4-6, 2013 at the Duke Energy Convention Center, Cincinnati, OH. Encouraging and informative workshops! Huge exhibit hall! Amazing featured speakers! Comedian--Tim Hawkins! Abortion Survivor--Gianna Jessen! MidWest Only--Dr. Ron Paul!   




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2013 Print Book

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over 275 pages in this full color one-of-a-kind print magazine for homeschoolers, by homeschoolers. 

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Diana Waring
Diana Waring

Relational Homeschooling 


Dear Friends,


Happy Easter to you all! May the reality of the Resurrection be realized afresh in your family this week.


Before I share thoughts on today's topic, I need to first tell you that I love to cook. I mean, really love it. In the early days of our marriage, I thought seriously about starting a catering business . . . and I taught gourmet cooking classes in our little community. YUM!


So, when I talk about doing anything in the kitchen, you need to understand that for me, it's a comforting, creative place. Now, obviously, that's not the case for everyone, is it? For some, the kitchen is a place to shun, the site of burnt offerings, the mysterious, Macbeth-ish spot of swirling smoke and odors. If that cuts close, then my hats off to you for unswerving perseverance in feeding your family!!!


The point of making your kitchen a place of learning--whatever the subject--is to open yourself to the possibility of mess, mixtures, and even melodramas. Believe me, those will perk up even the most mundane day of homeschooling!


For instance, I remember the day when my daughter, her friend, and I were planning to make lye soap from scratch. We had purchased a soap-making kit from Maine, which included the essential lye. (You can't buy this in stores anymore, because it can be used to blow things up!) We worked diligently in the kitchen to get everything set up for the soap, but, fortunately, we decided to put the ingredients together outside. I say "fortunately" because, without the slightest warning, the container suddenly exploded! After seeing that we had all survived, we laughed and laughed and laughed.


As I mentioned, these kinds of incidents certainly perk up the mundane everydayness of homeschooling.


The kitchen is a fabulous place for enticing your students into a love of history, geography, literature, mathematics, science, or art. Consider these possibilities:


History--Make Chicken Marengo as you study Napoleon

Geography--Make Pesto Pizza as you learn about Italy

Literature--Make Hasty Pudding as you read the Little House books

Mathematics--Triple a cookie recipe while practicing fractions

Science--Start vegetable seeds and watch them develop and grow

Art--Make homemade playdough and create a sculpture


Whether the kitchen is a place you love or hate, for your children it is a door into new adventures and delightful learning!


Remember, stay relational.



P.S. If you or your kids LOVE to have learning come alive through the kitchen, be sure to check out my curriculum. I have a fascinating and fabulous recipe ( historical or geographical) in each chapter!   



Schoolhouse Freebie

This week's free resource is Syllable Worksheet. You'll find a wide variety of lessons, activities, and printable pages in


Raising Real Men 

Hal & Melanie Young


When we read, "Make your kitchen a science lab," we think, "So, isn't it already?" When you homeschool, where else are you going to do all that messy stuff? Seriously, the kitchen is the perfect place for science: well-lit, hard surfaces, a source of heat and one of cold, and a sink right there. Just be very sure you wash up well! After all, human experimentation is just not a good idea!


Once you've got your boys in the kitchen, though, invite them to stay. One of our teens said the other day, "You know, it's sad, but I'm a way better cook than most of the girls I know." That's because with all boys for the first 15 years, we had to get them working around the house and since Melanie loves to cook, they've grown up in the kitchen. You can get your guys to enjoy cooking, too.


Try bulk-cooking. Boys just love the industrial vibe of huge pots and cooking gallons at a time. Boys who resist cooking will jump right in when you're making ten lasagnas instead of just one.


Get out of the kitchen. Boys love to feel responsible for things. If you can hand off supper and let them handle it themselves, you'll be surprised at how well they'll do--and how proud they'll be of their accomplishments.


Allow some experimentation. Around 11 or 12 years old, boys seem to love to innovate. This can turn out great (like the portabella quiche one of ours made at twelve) or not-so-great (not even gonna talk about the candy in the chicken wraps!), but they're more likely to turn out great if you say, "Hey, why don't you find a recipe you'd like to try," and let them at it. It's hard to let go, but it's great to see what happens when you do. Hey, if you end up with Skittles™ stew, at least you'll have a great story to tell on them!


As it often is, it's all in the marketing. Call the chore "Chef of the Day" and encourage them to take on the responsibility. One day they might just bring you an omelet for breakfast like one of ours did today--and that's way more exciting than even science is.


Yours in the battle,

Hal & Melanie


We just started a new session of Boot Camp 9-12: Getting Geared Up for the Teen Years, our LIVE interactive webinar series exclusively for parents of nine to twelve year old boys, and it's not too late to join up. Check it out here





Coming in April 2013 . . .


Preparation, and Peace

Featuring Kendra Fletcher 



If you need a boost of encouragement and some fresh ideas for gaining peace in your homeschool this coming school year, then join Kendra as she shares from her home where eight children reside.


Kendra Fletcher is the homeschooling mother of eight, ages 20 down to 4. She has never home schooled without the presence of preschoolers, and loves to encourage other moms beginning their homeschool journeys with little ones underfoot. She is the preschool columnist for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and the author of a popular E-book about creating a Circle Time for your homeschool. Her homeschooling website and blog can be found at, and her personal author blog can be found at


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Creation Revolution      


"Butterflies are vibrant and colorful insects, with colorations designed to deflect predators." . . . 

Who designed their color patterns if they don't believe in a Creator?"  Read more in the article . . . Evolutionist: "Butterflies . . . Colorations Designed to Deflect Predators"


You will also like the article, Grandma--"What Big Eyes You Have"

Growing Young Scientists 
in the garden 
Gardening and Scientific Method 


in the latest issue of

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.
Contest Corner 

For the month of March, 2013  


A+ Interactive Math from A+ TutorSoft, Inc.


I received the A+ TutorSoft Inc. CD software for 1st grade to review. The CD software is for A+ Interactive Math for 1st grade. They also offer an online version of the CD software.


Before I tell you about this product, I want to share a discount code that the company is offering. Through the end of March you can receive 50% off by using coupon code SPOFFER50! Wow! ( . . .)


I have to admit, when I signed up to review this I thought we would be using it with my oldest daughter. Instead her little brother decided that this was his new favorite thing in the world! He's always liked math and is actually very good at it.  He's 6 years old and ahead of his 8-year-old sister!


My son sat at the computer the first day he used this course and did three lessons. He listened and interacted during the "talking" or lecture portion and then did the questions that went along with the lesson. After he finished the first lesson, I was going to shut it down until the next day but he begged to do another! When a child begs to do school, well it's normally best to allow it! So I let him do a second lesson and second question set. He then decided on his own to go to the third and was well into it before I realized he had even begun! (. . .)


The A+ Tutorsoft Interactive Math program was very easy to install. We simply put the disc in the computer and followed the instructions. It allows you to set up a parent account as well as multiple children accounts. We received the premium edition on CD which retails at $124.99. If that seems a bit pricey make sure to remember the coupon code for 50% off that I shared earlier. I think the cost is reasonable considering you have a full years' worth of math for your child, you can use it (CD version) for more than one child, and it has extra worksheets you can print off. 


Read the full text of this review here.


Product review by Erin Slocum, blogging for the Schoolhouse Review Crew at For Him and My Family.



Email Heather with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "A+ Interactive MATH" for a chance to win* the CD OR online version of this math program for your homeschool!
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Magazine, LLC ("Company") is sponsoring the March Contest Corner contest running from March 1, 2013, to March 31, 2013. You must be 18 years of age or older and follow all rules to participate. Entering the contest constitutes full and complete acceptance of, and a warranty that the entrant has read, understands and agrees to, all contest terms and conditions, including without limitation all of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC Contest Rules ("Official Rules") and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Writer Guidelines and Terms and Conditions for Submitting Queries. All Official Rules apply. Entry also constitutes full consent and unlimited permission for Company to print, publish, broadcast and use all intellectual property and personal information submitted as part of the Contest entry on the Internet and in any and all Company publications in accordance with the Rules. Entries become the sole property of Company and will not be returned. Employees and independent contractors of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, Contest sponsors, individuals or entities furnishing Contest prizes and their family members may not participate in this contest. Company reserves the sole, discretionary right to determine contest winners and to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the contest or the Rules at any time with or without notice or cause, subject to applicable law. See Official Rules for details.

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