Homeschooling Day 2: Forays into Science


We could feel the isolation slowly becoming the norm today. Of course, I do anticipate days coming up where we get frustrated. However, today felt strangely peaceful. With the lockdown effective starting today, the situation felt oddly stable at least for the next few hours, a feeling we hadn’t felt in several days.

A started off her day with what felt familiar to her – working on language and math, as she would in school. I was very proud of her for independently doing her work as she would in school, asking for help where she needed it.

After lunch and some downtime, we decided to work on something new – Science! Now, A is a preschooler due to start kindergarten in the fall, and while they do a lot of experiments and learn a lot of life skills in school and otherwise, she hadn’t yet come across the word “Science”. A little background about A and Science – while she didn’t know the word Science, she has been performing science experiments and scientific activities for years now, such as:

  1. Baking chocolate chip cookies – she has been baking with me for years, which is a great lesson in chemistry.
  2. Star-gazing on clear nights – she loves looking for Venus and Mars on a clear night, and isn’t this astronomy at its best?
  3. Nature hikes – observing birds, learning about different flora and fauna, these are perfect examples of zoology and botany!

Today, we started formalizing her science education, by building her science vocabulary. The words we learnt today were:

  • Science – the study of the world around us!
  • Experiment – an activity used to answer a question.
    A couple of days ago, she asked me “What are bones?” and “What would happen if our body had no bones?” In order to explain better to her, we performed a simple experiment of filling a plastic bag with a marker and propping the bag up to stand. From this experiment, she learnt that “without bones, we will not be able to stand!” (her words!). Today, we recollected the activity with the plastic bag and marker and I explained to her that that was an experiment!
  • Data – the information we learn from the experiment.
    In the experiment about bones, the data she gained was that without bones, we cannot stand up.
  • Observe – use our senses to notice things.
    We went through our five senses and discussed smell, see, touch, hear and taste. We used simple objects around the room and A told me what she observed about each of them – how the eraser felt, how the water bottle sounded when she shook it, and how the marker looked.
  • Predict – say what we think will happen.
    We made predictions about the world around us, such as predicting what would happen when it gets cloudy outside, or what would happen when we mix yellow and blue.
  • Compare – observe what is same and different about two objects.
    We took two objects – a blue crayon and a yellow marker, and observed what is same and different about each of them.
    

These were all relatively new words for intuitive concepts for A. We spent the rest of the evening working on our science vocabulary by including them in our conversation, such as using our senses to make observations about the food we prepared for dinner. We are looking forward to asking a lot of questions, and developing and performing science experiments to get answers!

The times we live in!

As I open this blog (yes I know it’s been years!) I’m overcome with a feeling of writing a diary. A diary cataloging our experiences during the interesting times we live in. I mean, the first thing I want to say is that it’s 2020, and Planet Earth has been overcome by a pandemic known as COVID-19! While this sounds like the opening lines of a post-apocalyptic thriller, this is just our life as we now know it.

Well, enough of the drama and on to reality. My daughter A, now past the 4.5 age mark, is at home for the foreseeable future. Since the last time I posted here, she has grown to be a friendly, kind, social girl who loves going to school to learn and play with her friends. On Friday, 2 days ago, her school made the decision to remain open through the pandemic, while requesting parents who could manage childcare to support them by keeping their children home. So, tomorrow will mark Day 1 of homeschooling. The libraries and community centers have shutdown as well, and with several days of rain forecast, we’re going to have to get very creative very quickly with my homeschooling efforts.

In addition, our family has started practicing social distancing. In recent days, we slowly but surely cut back social interactions. Today marked the first day of many spent in complete isolation, with just me, A and her dad. To get some fresh air and movement, we chose to go to a park for a walk, and were amazed, and perhaps even a little spooked by how empty the place was. In hindsight, however, I am glad to see how ghost town-life places were; it leads me to believe that more and more people are practicing social distancing as well.

In the following days, I’ll be using this space to chronicle our days of isolation. I’ll share some resources that help us, lessons I’m doing with my daughter, activities, games, routines, you name it, I’ll try and document it. I’d also love to her from all of you, as to what you’re doing with your kids.

Take care of yourself and your loved ones, be mindful of the times we live in and enjoy your time with your family!