When Shez and I first talked about organizing a science fair for homeschooled kids, we were actually sitting in a bowling alley. Our kids were in a homeschool league, which they loved, and we were suffering through waiting out the bowling, which we did not love. Being the supportive homeschooling moms that we are, we drove the kids to bowling on a weekly basis, and as we sat there, nodding and smiling and not really looking up when one of the kids would say "I got a spare!" we hatched this idea for the science fair.
On Monday, November 9th, my children, and Shez's children, and about sixty-five other children, were again engaged in something they really love. The cool thing is, it was something that I love too: thinking, questioning, reasoning, testing, finding out. In short, science! So instead of being the nice supportive mom and nodding mildly while the kid scores a point in sparring, or draws a comic, or climbs a pole, I can listen to my five-year-old talking about her control group, my nine-year-old defining his constants and variables, and let me tell you, *that* is something that gets me excited as a homeschooling mom!
Here's Sadie talking to the judges:
Here's Benny, very proud of his work:
A lot of people have thanked us for doing the work that went into turning out the science fair this year. It was a lot of work, but the excitement in our own kids' faces, and in all the other kids' faces, as they were rushing around from the classes to the judging to the movie, standing proudly beside their projects and explaining their work so articulately to the judges, chattering to each other about the details of their work... made it very worthwhile. Some people are inspired by athletes, artists, musicians. Of course, I'm inspired by those things too. However, I find myself getting really choked up, emotionally touched, at spelling bees, geography bees, and science fairs, than at anything else. The earnest, uncensored nerdiness; the fact that these kids are oblivious to the fact that their interest in science might be considered nerdy; the degree to which these really young children have immersed in their ideas... is very awesome to see!
That being true, I have to say, we absolutely loved every minute of the science fair! We were very lucky to have over a dozen excellent judges, both museum docents and community volunteers, the hospitality of Virginia Air and Space Center staff, who set up really engaging classes and a very cool movie, and generous sponsors who provided great rewards to the kids.
Here's a look at the third and fourth grade projects, as seen from above:
Here are some links where you can find out more:
Our updated web site, where you can find all the results, pictures, links, and info you can handle: GUESS Homeschool Science Fair.
Our Flickr photo pool, where you can see pictures from all angles, from five different moms. GUESS pictures on Flickr.
Green Olive Tree
Book Exchange Norfolk
Mad Science of Hampton Roads
Norfolk Karate Academy
The Happy Scientist
Virginia Air and Space Center
There will be many ways that you can help us bring about GUESS 2010, so stay tuned on the web site and on our blogs for more information.