Great Lesson One


We decided to begin the new year with something exciting: the first Great Lesson!
I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks. I read a couple of other people’s ideas God with no hands and Great Lessons. Then I put together my own story and experiments.
I was worried that the experiments would all be pretty familiar to the boys. Having so many experiments altogether was very exciting, though.
We talked about there being nothing, not even time. Then I popped a balloon and the boys asked if that was The Big Bang.
So, I forgot to light my candle.
We talked about the first tiny particles forming and I poured water into a dish then added scraps of yellow paper, which moved about and grouped themselves into clusters. The children all liked that a lot!
I showed them our orary and talked about the solar system. Then I finally lit our candle. I did a bit of simple maths before hand and had a pin that is roughly the right size to represent the size of the earth in comparison to the candle-sun. Since the candle is pretty small, I could show the children roughly how far away the Earth and the Sun are in our living room. They did seem slightly impressed. Unfortunately, Eldest was distracted by trying to work out how tiny he would have to be to fit on my teensy pin-earth.
I told them how fast light travels. And showed them our globe. We then got a bit distracted by Eldest trying to tell everyone that Spain is the biggest country (I don’t know why, either, but felt obliged to discuss) and that there are a million people in China. He was very angry when we disagreed and stomped off to find his book. So we had to talk a bit about reading big numbers. It’s times like this when I realise why school didn’t really work for him.
With only three children, we can cope with the odd tangent and pause for a quick tantrum. We sorted out the population of China and got back to the Great Lesson.
We talked about the earth cooling and solids, liquids and gasses. I showed them some water and a stone. I intended to spray air freshener, but managed to break the nozzle.
I poured some molasses into water and it dropped down very satisfactorily. Then I poured in oil, which settled on the top. The children really liked that bit.
I talked a bit about molecules and showed them a bowl of marbles. We all put our hands in and felt the marbles accommodate us, just like water molecules do.
I finished by telling them that the early earth had lots of volcanic activity and poured coloured vinegar into a little volcano full of bicarbonate of soda.
Even though we have done a lot of model volcanoes before, they were still thrilled and wanted me to do it again immediately.
At the end, the boys helped tidy up. Then they stirred up the water-mollasses-oil mixture and watched it settle. That and the volcano were their favourite bits.
They then played with the marbles for a bit.
We had a chat over lunch about what they remembered and what they enjoyed. Middly said that he really liked the paper floating around on the water. Both boys talked about volcanoes.
Tomorrow I intend to steer the boys towards choosing their first research projects. They both spent a quite a bit of the Great Lesson trying to tell me everything they knew, so I hope they will enjoy an opportunity to put together reports of their own. I suspect they will complain about being asked to write, though!


5 thoughts on “Great Lesson One

  1. This sounds really exciting! 🙂 – I have been reading through your posts …. they are all amazing. I can only see part of your story, but from what I see you are a great mother and a fascinating writer! A very Happy New Year to you!

    • Thank you for reading and replying! I am finding home educating very exciting. Having so much time with the boys is giving me far more chances to create good moments together.

  2. Pingback: First Research Project | frogotter's Blog

  3. Pingback: National Space Centre trip | frogotter's Blog

  4. Pingback: Great Lesson Five – the story of Writing. | frogotter's Blog

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