Thursday, August 23, 2007

Why Homeschooling Works

Abigail has finished the first of ten science units for the year. In this unit, she has been studying plants. She's had to memorize vocabulary, plant parts, etc. We took this a little farther and did an impromptu experiment this afternoon.

Abigail and I took a little walk outside and gathered a lily, and a lily bud. We brought them back in for some dissection. Yes, she's in 4th grade, and we dissected a flower this afternoon. This brought all that she has learned in this unit to life. It's one thing to see a diagram in a book, and another to see the parts of a flower first hand.

Now, Collin is learning about famous scientists at the moment, and Autumn is learning about electricity. We called Collin in for the experiment, and he happily learned(reviewed what he already knew) right along side of us. After the experiment was over, we asked Autumn to come take a look, and Abigail explained the entire thing to her. Then, Grandma came out, and Abigail explained it all AGAIN. She was so thrilled to be "teaching" those whom are older than she is. And she learned. Alot!

This was a simple diagram describing the parts of a flower, and the lily that we were about to dissect.

I (not Abigail) very carefully cut the flower open with a razor knife. I gently pulled the flower apart to let her examine the inside.

She was able to locate all of the parts on the diagram.

Next, we (I) sliced the bud open. She was again able to identify the parts from a different diagram.

click to enlarge the picture
Can you see the ovary?

We then took things a step further. In the text, it told how the ovary held the growing seeds, and the anthers held pollen sacs, that upon bursting produce pollen on the anther. I carefully sliced the anther, and we looked at the pollen sacs under a microscope. It was amazing to behold what couldn't be seen with the naked eye.

I know this picture is blurry, but it's difficult to take a picture through a microscope lens! It was VERY clear in real life.

Finally, I split the ovary. With our naked eyes, it was very tiny, and appeared slightly white in the middle. After looking at it with a microscope, we could clearly see the seeds. There were MANY!

After the experiment, Abigail and I began working on a lapbook to review the unit. We'll finish it tomorrow. Here's what we've done so far:

I know that she won't forget what she learned today. And neither will I!

This is the pocket microscope that we used today. It's a great little tool, and is sometimes handier than dragging out the big microscope. You can view just about anything with this as you just set it on top of what you want to view. If you are interested, you can find one like it here.


Mom of Five said...

I love your blogs and your pictures are amazing. I found you by going to "homeschooling". It is a small world when you can go online and be encouraged by believers you don't even know!! God bless you and you made me excited to start homeschooling after labor day.! Susan T

Karen said...

Tracy, I'm so impressed with this post. I also love to learn right along with Alaina!

Kelli said...

What a perfect flower to do the experiment with!! It sounds like a great learning day at your house. I love the lapbook and I'm going to have to look into the pocket neat is that?!


Anonymous said...

This is the first time since El graduated that I've experienced a pang of regret that I'm done home-schooling. wow..didn't expect that.

Abigail's expirament was a success! Very interesting. By teaching others she certainly learned more herself, hm? Wonderful start on her lapbook too!

Are you in need of a dissection tool-kit? If so, I'm happy to give you ours which is in pristine condition. Let me know. :o)

Beck said...

That's a wonderful day of learning! I'm really thinking about homeschooling The Boy but feel INCREDIBLY inadequate to the task - there is almost no homeschooling community in Canada.

randi---i have to say said...

This is great!

I didn't know that if you slice open a flower you would find eggs. I learned something new by reading this post!

Tracy said...

Ooops, Randi. I did say egss the second time. Ovaries/eggs/seeds! I MEANT TO SAY SEEDS!

Jen in MS said...

Awesome post! I share your enthusiasm!!
Thanks for sharing!

Have a great weekend!

Lynette said...

What a neat day you had, I love when learning is hands on for the kids.

Christy said...

This is what I look forward to!

I love learning and taking things to the next level-the idea that I can focus on whatever interests us at that moment, and that we can do experiments, go to the library, museums ect... just to explore a topic is exciting!

Your lesson looked like a lot of fun!

Ruth said...

Now that was a GREAT lesson!! I am impressed.

weavermom said...

Fun, fun! What encouragement to keep at this homeschool thing at least one more week. He he. :)