One thing I love about homeschooling: Learning truly happens at all hours of the day.
One evening at bedtime, Mr. Inventor was busy working on his math lesson for the next day. He likes to do his math after dark, when it’s harder to work outside, so that he can have more daylight hours for doing his own things outside. He asked me a question about what he was doing, and I suddenly had an inspiration for a way to teach him something he had been struggling with for a long time! He was not understanding the difference between perimeter, area, and volume, and when to use a plain unit (such as inch) and when to add a superscript to indicate square or cubed units. To illustrate, I asked him if he had a string in his pocket, and being a boy he did. I took the string, a piece of paper, and a wooden block that was laying on the floor, and illustrated the different dimensions. It was so fun to see his face light up as he got it! He actually understood a concept that he hadn’t grasped before.
Another evening, as I was cooking dinner, Mr. Diligence came along and asked if there was a way to tell if something was heavier than water. We had just read Archimedes and the Door of Science, and one chapter talked about how Archimedes figured out that the king’s crown was not pure gold. I told him that if something floated in water it was not as heavy as water, but if it sank it was heavier. He grabbed a cup of water and started dropping things in to test them—mustard, ketchup, honey, a raisin—all sorts of things! He would guess if they would sink or float, and then check his guess. When one of his brothers showed up, he had great fun getting him to guess, too! I loved that informal science lesson. The picture isn’t very clear, but there are a lot of bits of things at the bottom of the water in that jar—things that are heavier than water!