Friday, February 4, 2011

Science Friday

Since arriving from Ethiopia in May I have been tutoring Boy O from home.  His birth date missed the cutoff for kindergarten and I stopped investigating preschools when I saw a teacher texting as I was looking through the visitor window (yes, it was the only one I visited, but was enough to give me serious pause). 

So he's stuck.  With me.

The first few months were all about language acquisition and so called 'lessons' involved lots and lots of games.  Candy land was a great game for learning colors, hide-and-seek was great for practicing counting, a deck of cards was used for memory, war, crazy eights etc... I call it the Mommy O curriculum.  With one on one attention Boy O has blossomed.

Our pace continues to progress and although we still play games, Boy O has moved on to reading simple books and completing basic math skills on par with kindergarten and now a first grade curriculum. At 9 a.m, when Baby O goes down for his morning nap, we run down the stairs, I read a book of his choosing and then get down to business.  My focus has mainly concentrated on reading, writing and arithmetic and now that Boy O has a good grasp, I've added some new material: Science.  Oh happy day-this is exciting for me, because it is not much different than a game-very hands on, lots of new vocabulary and best of all teaching one of Family O's favorite subjects. 

In accordance with the season, planting a mini indoor spice garden was a great introduction to botany.  Of course Boy O wasn't all that excited about basil, sage, and chives etc...-so I did let him pick out beets and carrots (his favorite veggies) with the promise of planting them outside as soon as weather permitted.   Planting the various spices allowed us to get our hands dirty, introduce several new terms (seed, soil, germination) and establish the good habit of recording data-in our case, the presence or absence of plants.

Here are a few pictures over the last couple of weeks documenting our first science project.

Yes, Boy O is still into capes.  Can you see it peeking beneath his coat?

Can you hear what I'm saying?  Careful, slowly, careful, slowly.....

Creating the small depression for the seeds-as it turns out, this was the hardest part-he really enjoyed making something that was much more akin to what I would describe as long tunnel.

One week later and voila! spices aplenty.  In this picture, he is busy counting the oregano.

Baby O can't help himself-he wants to do everything his big brother is doing. I think he's trying to help find the sage sprouts.

Just a picture with a tad more perspective and the spice garden out of reach.

I couldn't resist this one.  Two peas in a pod.


  1. Texting in the workplace is common and pretty digusting. What's worse is you see moms at the playgrounds texting away while the kids are playing all alone. To me that was a sign you needed to teach boy O at home after you saw that. I am amazed what you already taught him. I wonder though with the pace he is going if he is going to be bored in Kindergarten? Ha they might put him straight in first grade. The one good thing that they do in my kids' school though is that they pull the kids out of class and put them in 4 different reading groups. So at least boy O's intelligence can be put into place there.

  2. Yeah, I'm not to sure where he's going to be, but we are going to see how kindergarten works out in the fall-he seems to be right at the social level of all the other boys his age in the neighborhood and if I'm not satisfied with the curriculum I can either supplement it or look into other options. I think it will also be completely different from one on one teaching-with me, I have the opportunity to give directions in many different ways if he doesn't understand it due to lack of language. If he doesn't respond well to one method, I have the time to try another. I think that would be very hard for a teacher with a classroom of 20 plus kids. It will be interesting to see how he responds in a classroom environment-and we'll take it from there!