Friday, January 4, 2013

Homeschool Science: Snow Stick

What a lovely break I've had from blogging! It's been years since I took a break for that long. And in fact, we're coming up on my ten year anniversary of blogging. But that's a story for a different post.

It's time to get back, to keep writing all the little stories that some day will spark happy memories for my children, that will remind me of all The Little Things we do each day that make life special. So I'm back.


And what better way than to start off with a homeschool post?

We've taken about a month off of school. We do every December, taking time to enjoy the holidays, to play in the snow and bake and craft. But even during a month off, little bits of school seem to just happen.

Some weeks ago, I discovered Shining Dawn books, a fantastic resource for reasonably priced nature study e-books. If you are a homeschooler, or just a parent looking for a bit of guidance when you're enjoying the outdoors, run to this website and check them out. We'll be spending the next two months of Nature Study using their Snow and Ice book, it's so chock full of activity ideas and information.

Our first little project, inspired by the book, was making and using a Snow Stick.

Simple stuff - a three foot long dowel on which we marked off every inch. (That means this is math, too!) Then the girls picked a few colors of acrylic paint and painted each inch a different color. (And art! And patience and understanding, if you consider how frustrating it was for The Oldest when she realized how imperfectly her five year old sister paints.) Then we used a Sharpie to number the inches up the stick. 

Then we donned our snow gear and headed outside with the Snow Stick and a pad of paper. We walked around to different areas of the property where we we could find snow that wasn't yet trampled, and we stuck the snow in the ground to measure it.

We discussed why there was ten inches of snow on the dirt road, but only six inches on the concrete steps (that's science!) and measured snow in six different places. (I was excited to find that, even with a few warmish days, we still have a good ten inches of snow on the ground in most places.)

Once we finished measuring and noting the snow depths, we came inside to fill out the Measure of Snow chart provided in our book:
A bar graph depicting the snow levels of the different areas.

Activities like this make me happy - fitting a few different subjects into one little study, therefore feeling like we accomplished a bit more school for just a little effort.

And then the Snow Stick became part of creative play - it apparently makes a lovely (if somewhat dangerous) sword for a child riding a toy horse and pretending she is a knight. :-)


Our new school term kicks off on January 7th. Fresh new math books, Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream, garden planning, the Reformation, chemistry, and plenty of reading and creative writing. After such a long break, I think we're all looking forward to it!

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