Sunday, September 16, 2012

Homeschool Happens

Today is Sunday. It is not a "school day" and we don't have our usual "school time". No math, or science, or literature studies.

But really?

Brother-Bug is helping Papa-Bug brew a beer - a nice, dark stout for the colder days of fall and winter. Sister-Bug is helping too of course, but she is more of a spectator.

In the past hour or two we have covered volume measurements: how many quarts in a gallon? How can we measure that? How many gallons in a carboy? (5-7, depending on the carboy.) We watched a thermometer carefully until our heating water reached 167 degrees. Also, along with this math is a fair bit of cooking process - pouring carefully, awareness of hot stoves, etc.

As it turns out, there are 4 quarts in a gallon, and an accurate measuring device is a better choice than a bottle that looks close.

What about learning a little science on a Sunday? Right now Papa-Bug is explaining how the barley in the beer will convert its starch into sugar to make the sugars to feed yeast. We have also covered energy and thermodynamics in heating water, what is specific gravity and how to test for it using our brewing/scientific equipment, and now we are covering the conversion of yeast to alcohol in more depth.

We aren't sitting and "learning", but that doesn't prevent plenty of on the fly lessons that present themselves. I was just interrupted to hear the "first law of "propane dye-hammocks" - which he got right (thermodynamics- you can't create energy and you can't destroy energy).

I paused writing to get a batch of bread going, and now we have moved on to the intriguing question: "If we had 100,000 jelly beans and had to eat them in one year, how many jelly beans would we have to eat every day?" This was followed by the more philosophical question: "Can you have too many jelly beans?"

We have (almost) daily school time and I think that half-hour or so is important. We learn routine, sitting and focusing even if we don't always want to, and other valuable skills. The beauty of being out and about in the world with homeschooling is just that - seeing the entire world as a learning opportunity. You never know what lesson is coming your way or what question is about to be asked. So I don't worry at all when our structured school plans go askew, because often a bigger and better lesson is just about to fall in our laps and we can learn all about propane dye-hammocks.

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