Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Rocks for Brains!

A strength of the homeschooling community is information sharing. People tend to post events they know about on message boards, newsgroups and forward stuff via email. People often ask me how I find out about the activities the boys participate in - it is usually something I have come across, or something someone else has and shared. The sense of community is nice with everyone working together and it also means often running into other homeschoolers, which is always nice. There is never a shortage of opportunities for outings, classes, meetups, involvement in co-ops, playdates, game days, and more. Thanks for the info!  

Rutgers, the state college, hosted their 44th Annual Rutger's Geology Museum's Open House. It included a rock and mineral sale, the Geology Museum being open for viewing their exhibits, and lots of classes for adults and kids alike.

There were rows and rows of rocks and minerals exhibited by multiple collectors/sales people. One of the thing the boys latched onto quickly was the conversations that people were having. They learned a lot by eavesdropping! Of course, they each made a small purchase of a new treasure.

One of the classes offered was "Skeleton Detective". It involved taking skull measurements, as well as making subjective decisions about the shapes of structures on the skull. The kids also had a chance to measure a femur and using standarized charts, decide what gender, race and height the skeleton was in life.  It looks like it is setting off an interest in Gavin for further 'forensic' investigations.

Another class was called "Drilling for Oil". The mission was to use the provided grid maps of rock, water and other attributes to produce a new map, based on overlaying the original maps. The final map 'should' give the kids an idea of where to drill for oil.

With the help of the map, and a grid on the 'drill site', the boys succeeded in finding two oil collections and failed at others. When our group was done, they all agreed to take apart the 'drill site' to see how it was set up for them to find oil. They were very intrigued.

The boys opted not to attend a third class in the afternoon. I believe they should be free to make their own choice about taking a class or not. I truly don't believe that 'making them' sit through anything they are not interested in or did not choose yields anything positive. I heard several parents trying to convince their children that a certain class looked 'so cool' and telling them that 'it will be really fun'. Once you are at that point, you've lost them and it is then a waste of everyone's time. You can sit them in a class, but you can't 'make' them learn!

The museum was tiny, but packed full of interesting exhibits, many of which related directly to NJ. We also found out about other events that will be conducted in the future. Why read about things when you can go see them, touch them, and experience them?

Get out - and get your hands on MORE STUFF!

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