October 30, 2013 Edition 

How Do I Do Science Labs At Home?         

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Gena Suarez

Hey Mama,


For our homeschool, the kitchen is usually our science "lab."  After all, cooking is basically a series of chemical reactions. Plus the kitchen is usually the best room in the house for experiments and the messes that go with them. Here are some articles with ideas for your budding scientists, "Kitchen Lab: Edible Experiments and Other Mad Scientist Recipes" or "Ultra-Cool Science Experiments to Mystify Your Kids."  If you're looking for something less messy, Andy Harris tells how to build a virtual science lab with free resources in his article "Build a Virtual Science Lab With PhET.


Now here's a quick message, I want to share with you. It's ironic. I don't know; I just found it funny and had to tell you.

You know how you have been kinda down on yourself about certain things lately? You look at your friends (and then in the mirror) and feel inferior. They can homeschool better, you say. They have a cleaner home, you lament. But guess what? You are going to crack up when you hear this . . . .

Just as you are looking to them as some sort of model or something, they are looking at YOU because they feel the same way--only in different areas. Some envy the relationship you have with your husband (they don't tell you this, but they struggle). They long for the same looks you two share; it is so obvious you guys are in love after all these years. Not only that, they can't understand how you can cook SO well, so much diversity there! (When they still feel like they are basic level "chefs.")

I guess it's kind of like that passage in God's word about various members of the body doing their part (what God created each one to do) and how we all work together like a puzzle, complementing each other. Envy is the wrong action point, Mama. Don't ever envy anyone else again. (And I'm gonna admonish your friends to quit focusing on YOU as the model, too; they need to stop that already). Christ is our model, and He has given each of us gifts. Let's use them to glorify Him. Take ourselves off the throne and elevate Him today.

Romans 12:4: "For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another." (NASB)

We are members of Christ's church, and we are all different. God did not create you to be your best friend's clone. Sure, she is better with teaching grammar (or science), but so what. Does it really matter in the end?

Raise those kids up in the Lord; you are doing awesome, Mama (and man, keep cooking all that yummy stuff you come up with; it's amazing.).


~ gena


Red Wagon Tutorials
Specializing in Apologia-based live-feed, online recorded, DVD, flash drive, and E-Notebook 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. www.redwagontutorials.com
Sponsor Article

Why Do Science Experiments?


By Rachael Yunis

Director of Apologia Science


Science is crazy, like the praying mantis that eats its mate. Science is awe inspiring, like the fusion that lights the stars across the universe. Science is beneficial, like the new medical breakthroughs that eradicate disease.


Unfortunately, for many students, science is the doldrums, as in textbooks that read, "Pressure can be used in place of concentration for gases in equilibrium calculations."


But it doesn't have to be this way. Scientific experimentation helps students link collections of isolated facts to the realities of the natural world. Heartfelt curiosity is good, and discovery feels even better.


While textbooks are necessary to help students learn scientific fact, it is essential that students actively participate in the scientific process of discovery to gain true knowledge. Life experience is personal-it cannot be taught, only learned.


How wonderful to be wise, to analyze and interpret things.

Ecclesiastes 8:1, NLT


When students make a personal connection with the wonders of the world around them, science is no longer just another course to be crammed into an already chaotic schedule. Instead, science becomes a means to understanding and appreciating the mysteries of God's creation.


A personal encounter with science brings a child closer to the Creator, helping the child to truly grow to love and understand all that creation has to offer by recognizing God's signature throughout all creation.


Make Science Happen in Your Home

You and your children can easily experiment anywhere if you properly organize:
  • Pick a science curriculum with experiments designed for homeschoolers.
  • Decide how experiment(s) will fit into your schedule and where to do them.
  • Gather the required items ahead of time.
  • Follow safe experimental processes at all times.
  • Don't be afraid to try different things--failure brings knowledge.
  • Document procedures and findings in a lab notebook.

About Apologia Science:
believes that students' educations should prepare them for eternity, not just a semester. Our award-winning science curriculums teach elementary, junior high, and high school students to recognize, appreciate, and understand the wonders of Creation. By writing our texts in a conversational tone, challenging science concepts are presented in a personalized format.


Each of our creation-based, award-winning science curriculums have experiments that require only readily available materials, online resources that expand textbook concepts, and access to Apologia instructors through the Apologia helpline. Visit Apologia.com.


A division of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine 
Did you know? Every class is INCLUDED for members! No limits!


Getting your kids hooked on science at home is easy with SchoolhouseTeachers.com! Every week, Jason Lindsey has new 60-second videos with science experiments for your family. Most can be done with everyday household items and will bring a smile to kids' faces and questions to their minds.


And, coming in November, watch for Everyday Epistles debuting November 4th and Kinetic Connections debuting November 11th. Join us on the Dailies menu as we become walking epistles and memorize the entire book of Philippians in 28 weeks. Then stop by Kinetic Connections for printables and tips on how to use a hands-on approach with your courses--from math to geography.


Join today your first month is just $3. After that, $12.95 a month gives your entire family access to the complete site. Or save by purchasing a yearly membership: just $99 (until Nov.1)
Hurry and join now!
Price goes back up to $139 Nov. 1.

Click Video above to see a sample of the Everyday Epistles video series on SchoolhouseTeachers.com.

The Familyman 

When the question, "How do I do science labs at home?" is asked, I want to answer, "Home IS a science lab."


My children do real science labs all the time. They may have never used a Bunsen burner, a Petrie dish, or a giant beaker, but on any given week, one of them will use a mig welder, a measuring cup, or an air compressor.


I just don't get the pressure to make our homes into science labs. After all, your children will need the skills to handle themselves in their homes way more than they will ever need them in a lab. I'm pretty sure many  home skills would transfer into a lab. I'm not sure if lab skills transfer into the home.


And so end my thoughts--I've got an important experiment going on right now in parenting that I've got to get back to. 


Be real,



Sneakin' In Science
Science at home is easy with a subscription to Sneakin' in Science. Each month a new science kit will be delivered to your door!  Each kit contains everything needed to do an exciting experiment, plus an information sheet, ideas for other experiments, career information, and more!


Science Without Excuse

Written, directed, and produced by homeschoolers
Without Excuse is a humorous, family-oriented examination
of the beginning of life and the controversy that surrounds it.


Specializing in Apologia-based live-feed, online recorded, DVD, flash drive, and E-Notebook 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. www.redwagontutorials.com
Education Reformation
Wonder what the Bible says about educating your children? Find out in the E-Book, Education Reformation.In this E-Book you'll find a gospel-centered, Biblical case against public education. Discover why as a Christian parent you should abandon the public school. For a limited time, get your free copy here.


Relational Homeschooling    
Diana Waring
Dear Friends, 
There are moments when our normal, everyday life stops and the big experiences of life appear: births, marriages, deaths. It is a time when family comes together and shares in the rejoicing or grief--sometimes both at the same time. And that is what I want to talk about today.

Last week, one of my favorite relatives in all the world died. Aunt Mary was one of those people who made you feel safe, loved, and valued. When you walked into the room, her eyes would light up, her face would crinkle into a huge smile, and her huge Texan heart would welcome you in a way that instantly made you feel like you were precious to her. She was one of the most wonderfully relational people I have ever known.

Listening to the stories of Aunt Mary this past week, I was struck by how much influence this wife/mother/aunt/grandmother/sister/nurse-turned-teacher-turned-elementary-school-principal/church-goer had in the lives of those closest to her. Statements like, "She always brought out the best in me," and "She made me feel like I really WAS smart," went far beyond the normal comments one hears at a funeral, because everyone making the statement had a gently surprised expression on their face.

It was in this setting that I remembered a pivotal conversation I had shared years ago with Aunt Mary. She had driven down to the Dallas airport to pick me up, shortly after I had begun traveling to speak at homeschool conventions. I was more than a little nervous to be in the car with her for the long drive back to her home, because she had her master's degree in education and was the principal of an elementary school--and I was a relatively inexperienced homeschool mom, who was hoping that this experiment with my kids was going to turn out okay in the end!!

As we settled into the car, Aunt Mary turned to me, and in her gentle Texas drawl said, "Now, Diana, your mother has told me that you homeschool your children. I am SO interested to know more about that. . . Can you describe to me what your normal day is like?" With her kindness enveloping me, I began to share the ups and downs, the ins and outs, of teaching three little kids (9, 7, 5). I talked about books we read aloud, nature walks, M&Ms (math manipulatives!) marching around the house singing "Yankee Doodle" and making play-dough sculptures. There was nothing in this conversation about academic prowess, or skipping grades, or studying Greek. Instead, it was the fairly commonplace experience that we homeschoolers share.

It was at this moment that my aunt's remarkable approach became pivotal for me. She turned to me and said, "Diana, what you are describing is a GIFTED program. EVERY child should be educated in this way! What a wonderful thing you are doing for your children . . . I am so proud of you!!"  Aunt Mary went on to describe to me that, due to the lack of school funding, there was only a limited amount of "gifted" education available for her students once a week, and she would have loved to give each of them what I was giving to my children all day, every day.

Right then, something changed in me. I went from nervously hoping that I wasn't ruining my children's opportunity for education, for careers, for life (as my mother kept insisting I was doing) to confidently homeschooling my children with delight, laughter, and creative exploration. Every time a fear of failure would attack me--from that moment until they graduated from high school--I would remember that, according to one of the best school principals in North Texas, I was giving my children a gifted program every moment of every day--and that EVERY child should learn this way!

Aunt Mary's pivotal words to me--one of the many pivotal conversations that she had with many people--has not only impacted my life and the lives of my children, but continues to impact the lives of homeschooling families around the world as they read the homeschooling books I've written or use the homeschooling curriculum I created.

And I just wanted to share a bit of her life and legacy with you.

Remember, stay relational!




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Find tips on creating a chart that will organize your thoughts.

TOS Article
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The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.


Creation Revolution
"Meet the Alpine Swift. Like other swifts, the Alpine swift has long narrow wings that taper to a point. It is larger than many swifts with a wingspan of 22 inches and body length of 8 inches."

Contest Corner 

For the month of October, 2013   


The Verbal Math Lesson, Levels 1 and 2 


The Verbal Math Lesson is one of those books I wish I'd had earlier in the homeschooling process. As its name implies, it is a verbal program. Level One is addressed to ages 4-7, and Level Two is addressed to ages 7-8. In Level One the first lesson is titled "Working with Nothing" (the concept of zero). The last lesson (31 in all) is "Subtracting double-digit numbers ending in 0". The range between is implied and is pretty thorough. In Level Two, instruction begins with "Operations with numbers ending in 0" and wraps up with "Multiplication and division by 9." Level Two also does a good job of covering--in 29 lessons--the material between, including addition and subtraction of double-digit numbers. The website indicates that Level 1 can be used with elementary students and Level 2 with Middle School students. It seems that the material is therefore less targeted to grade-level or age than to skill sets.


The authors rightly state in their introduction, "Verbal math, also called mental math, is a practical and time-honored method of solving mathematical problems. Math done with worksheets often slows children down. Shortcuts and computational tricks learned by doing math mentally allow children to bypass much of the tediousness they experience with written math." (. . .)


(To read the rest of the review, click HERE.)


TO ENTER: Email Heather with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "Verbal Math" for a chance to win* the book for your homeschool!



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