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The learning lifestyle: spinning and mixing

My friend Heddi of the Educational Resource Center likes to talk about “living the learning lifestyle,” and what that means for families. (She also has a new blog here!) We had a good example of it the other day.

Centripetal force!

My daughter saw that one of her favorite things was in at the Resource Center. They are two plastic bowls called Bilibos, the perfect size for a kid to sit in. They spin really fast. They’re very strong and you can stand on them. They make really funny hats.

So my daughter checked them out and spent a couple of joyous days spinning and marching around with them on her head. Her babies took baths in them. Her ten-year-old brother, keeper of all knowledge and arbiter of all that is correct, turned up his nose.

“So how are those educational?” he asked me one morning.

Sometimes the universe (and 6-year-old sisters) gives you what you need. I come downstairs to find that my daughter has peeled kernels of dried corn off an ear of Indian corn sitting on our table. She has placed the kernels in the Bilibo, and is spinning it really fast.

“Wow, Mom,” she said. “Look how they stick to the side when I spin it really fast! And look how they fall back down to the bottom when it slows down.”

By chance, the book How Science Works was sitting on the table next to the ear of corn, a sugar pie pumpkin waiting to be cooked for Thanksgiving (I did, and it was good), and an interesting gourd we’d found. I looked up “centrifugal force” and was disappointed to see that there was no diagram. So I grabbed a piece of paper and drew the diagram of how the force radiates outward. My daughter took the gourd and stuck it in the bowl and spun that. Even cooler! The heavy gourd positively stuck to the side of the spinning bowl.

So there, Mr. Ten-year-old! It’s educational!

Chemistry drama

Later that day, I remembered about a cool experiment that I’d been planning to do. My daughter likes excitement, my son likes magic. And this promised to have a little bit of both. I diluted some red grape juice from our fridge so that it was cherry-colored. Then we added one tablespoon of acid (white vinegar) to one bowl, left the middle bowl alone, and added one tablespoon of base (ammonia) to the bowl on the right.

Alchemy! The cherry-colored juice plus that yellowish ammonia cleaner should have gone light orange. Instead it went instantly and dramatically dark green. Sometimes the science experiments you try at home aren’t as dramatic as the description implies. Sometimes they’re cooler than you imagined. We found some blackberries in the freezer. Same experiment, same results.

We plan to try a number of colored fruits and vegetables: red cabbage, red onion, beets. Apparently some of them will be indicators for acid, some for base. All are indicators for fun, and for living the learning lifestyle.

education children homeschool homeschooling parenting resources school learning science

Posted in Education, Homeschooling, Parenting.


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Continuing the Discussion

  1. Unschooling School – Avant Parenting linked to this post on August 19, 2013

    […] I would fall down on the job, she found ways to teach herself what she needed to know. (See “Spinning and Mixing” and “Swinging and Multiplying“.) I have never followed any rigid homeschooling […]



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