The Bird Count is Coming – Mark Your Calendars!

GBBCblogbutton_En_1_2014The Great Backyard Bird Count begins in just under a month.    This is an awesome opportunity for your homeschoolers to make an impact on science!
Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time.

The bird count is easy, fun and is an excellent foundation for a unit study on birds!  We will feature many resources to help you plan and build an exciting and interesting nature study for your children.   Visit The Backyard Bird Count site to learn more and get started with this great project!

2014 Adventist Agricultural Conference

An interesting learning opportunity starts tomorrow: the 2014 Adventist Agricultural Conference – Returning to our “Roots”.

Close-up mid section of woman holding soilThis conference will be live-streamed Nov. 12-16th.  One of the seminars sounds like it may be of interest to many AHE readers: “Back to School: The ABCs of Agriculture in Childhood Education” presented by Joshua White.

To find out more and sign up for the free livestream of this conference, click HERE.



The Best-Laid Plans…

…don’t always turn out to be the best unit studies.  The topic for my 3rd grader’s unit study this month was trees & leaves.   I collected stacks of library books and filled a 3 prong folder with interesting information and  activities.  We were going to have a good time!    Although we did collect leaves and acorns, and set up two science experiments – the unit study was a dud.  We both just couldn’t get into it.

Our chromatography experiment with various colored leaves.

You know what?  In 11 years of homeschooling, this is not the first time this has happened.  Nor will it be the last.   Not every lesson I plan is going to result in academic fireworks.   When I realized that his interest was flagging, I didn’t push the subject, I just let it go.  Why force an 8yo boy to learn about trees?  Because it’s written in ink on my plan book?  Nah, it’s not that serious.  Really, it isn’t.    I’m quite sure the topic will come up again in the future.   There’s so much in the world to learn about, why drag our heels in simple and compound leaves?

New homeschooling parents, I share this especially because I want you to know it is okay to fail sometimes.  To have lessons that don’t work out.  You are not a lousy homeschooling parent and the world will not collapse.  It is really is okay.   So we didn’t learn as much about tree rings as I had planned,  BUT we did discover a few pecans on our tree that the squirrels missed,  and which oak in our yard has the largest acorns.  Best of all, we learned that time spent nature together is never wasted.

Partial Solar Eclipse on October 23rd

A partial solar eclipse viewable in most of North America will occur on Thursday, October 23rd.  How much of the eclipse that you will be able to see will depend on whether you are on the western or eastern side of North America.   This ScienceAtNasa video explains:

Those of you outside of North America- don’t feel left out- a total solar eclipse visible from Greenland, Iceland, Europe, North Africa, and northwestern Asia will occur on March 20, 2015.



A Great Month for Skywatching Homeschoolers!

Get your telescopes and binoculars out!  There will be a total lunar eclipse on October 8th and a partial solar eclipse on October 23rd.  Let’s think about the lunar eclipse first.  Here’s a short video from NASA telling what to expect.

According to NASA, various skywatchers around the world will be able to see all or parts of this lunar eclipse :

“The entire October 08 eclipse is visible from the Pacific Ocean and regions immediately bordering it. The northwestern 1/3 of North America also witnesses all stages. Farther east, various phases occur after moonset. For instance, the Moon sets during totality from eastern Canada and the USA. Observers in South America also experience moonset during the early stages of the eclipse. All phases are visible from New Zealand and eastern 1/4 of Australia – the Moon rises during the early partial phases from Australia’s west coast. Most of Japan and easternmost Asia catch the entire eclipse as well. Farther west in Asia, various stages of the eclipse occur before moonrise. None of the eclipse is visible from Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.”

We’ll be sure to remind you about the partial solar eclipse happening later this month.

Wish Books for Science-Minded Homeschoolers

I see youWhen I was young, I looked forward to the arrival of the fall department store catalogs in the mail.  I would spend hours poring over the ‘wish books’ making lists of things that I wanted to save up to buy.

I consider these science catalogs are the equivalent of wish books for science-minded homeschoolers.  We love to get all four of these catalogs in the mail!   My children have marked the pages with kits or equipment that looks exciting to them and made lists of items to save up to purchase.  I’ll readily admit that I’ve marked up these science catalogs as well, with all the science curriculum kits, materialsscience 3 and supplements that I’d like to use.    I have ordered curriculum materials, lab equipment, microscope slides, dissections sets, etc. from these companies as well and have been nothing but satisfied.

I’ve linked to the catalog request portion of each site, but these companies also have online catalogs as well for immediate browsing.

Nasco  Science Resources

Home Science Tools

Nature’s Workshop Plus!

Carolina Biological