The Homeschool Science Fair
Today was the much-anticipated Homeschool Science Fair. In fact, it’s been anticipated since well over a year ago, when we discovered we would be out of town for the 2008 fair.
I admit, I was ambivalent. After all, wasn’t this the kind of thing that we avoided by not doing school? Wasn’t it likely to feel a lot like homework? And wasn’t a lot of the making-it-happen going to fall on me?
So, no big surprise, I dropped the ball. I didn’t sign up in time, and then there weren’t enough spots. Then a spot became available, but I didn’t send in the form. What a shock when last week I got a call from the organizer confirming our participation! I took a deep breath, talked it over with Maggie, and forged ahead. Maggie was determined to get a project ready in time, so I felt like it was important to honor this.
At first, Maggie suggested an elaborate (if somewhat vague) project involving paint and wood and soaking and drying. We talked it over, and I asked her what she would think about doing a project on building strong and stable structures–since, in fact, this has been what she has spent many hours working on over the past few weeks. Everything from cuisinaire rods to pipe cleaners to popsicle sticks have been used in her creations. She thought about it, and agreed that this was a good plan.
Well, guess what? It was easy, and it was fun. Maggie had a great time working on the project, and so did I. We read in our favorite building book about triangles and space frames and Alexander Graham Bell (did you know that he built a kite big enough to fly a person?), and she dictated summaries of the information to me as I typed. We looked at fonts and Maggie picked her favorite. We printed pictures off the internet and cut and pasted and glued. We organized her building projects and added a few more; she explained her thoughts and conclusions and I wrote them down.
And finally, the day arrived.
It was great fun seeing all the different projects that the kids had put together. Part of what’s so wonderful about an event like this is that because it’s voluntary, the kids only participate if they’re really interested in what they’re doing.
Of course, for Maggie, I think the best part was hanging out with friends and talking about their projects together.
Not to mention the really cool chemistry demonstrations. And the door prize she won. And the good snacks. And the time to play afterwards with friends and then with Mom–all to herself.
She’s already planning next year’s project.