Daisy and Maisy invite you to celebrate Earth Day!

It was a sunny spring day in Connecticut. Daisy was intently looking out the door at the outside world. There were birds enjoying seeds in the bird feeders, breezes moving the grass, and bees buzzing in the flower garden.
Surely, this would keep Daisy busy, but not our Curious Science Cat. Daisy calls Maisy to come and join her and plan their next mission.
While they look out the window, Maisy says to Daisy 'Hey! You know that Earth Day is coming soon.' Daisy replies, 'Yes! That’s it!'
Daisy crawls up into Nancy’s arms. She has her right where she wants her.
Daisy purrs into Nancy’s ear, 'Earth Day is coming on April 22. It will be the 40th Earth Day. Let’s make it special. We want to help children learn about protecting and preserving the Earth. What can we do, Nancy?'

Nancy had just the answer. “We’ll give all the homeschool children our Earth Day lessons from Science 1, 2, and 3. Their families can learn about Earth Day together.”

“Purrrfect!” thought Daisy and Maisy.

Earth Day is April 22. Enjoy these Earth Day lessons from Nancy Larson® Science.

Midwest Homeschool Expo at Cincinnati, Ohio

We had a terrific time meeting homeschool families in Cincinnati at the Midwest Expo, April 8–10. Arielle Corcoran, who was the chairperson of the Expo, said approximately 10,000 homeschoolers attended that weekend. Others said the Expo was fifty per cent bigger than last year. I’m not sure about the exact figures. I do know we had a steady stream of visitors all weekend. It was a great time!

Madon Dailey and Kathy Tabor
Kathy Tabor joined me at the Nancy Larson Publishers’ booth. Kathy lives near Columbus, Ohio.
Kathy taught for many years and has personal success stories using the strategies Nancy has written into the science programs.
We had a very special guest, Patty Betounes, a homeschool mom from Hebron, Ohio. Patty is using Science 3 with her eleven-year-old son. She called our office and shared how much she enjoys teaching Nancy Larson® Science.
Patty then volunteered to visit with other parents and tell them her story. It was so exciting to hear her tell about the success her son is having using our program. We were thrilled that she joined us in Cincinnati.
Our Nancy Larson® Science program is age appropriate for children 5–11. Nancy chose the topics for each program around a child’s natural curiosity. Homeschooling parents can group their children in the program. It’s easier, takes less time to teach, and frees parents to handle other needs.

Our next homeschool conference is in Kansas City, Missouri at the KCI Expo. I hope we get to “Meet & Greet” you there!

–-Madon Dailey
Madon Dailey

Critical Thinking – Anthony & McDonalds

Critical thinking gets a lot of attention in the homeschooling world. You can find all kinds of workbooks, dealing exclusively with teaching critical thinking. Maybe one of the problems I have with these is the way critical thinking is isolated from all other thinking and learning. It’s really a part of everyday living.

Last Friday, little Anthony decided to join me running an errand. Anthony will turn four this month, and he’s just beginning to really start conversations and tell us what he’s thinking. I told him we could go out for lunch when we finished, and asked him where he’d like to go.

“McDonalds” jumped out of his mouth.

“Why McDonalds?” I asked.

“It’s my eating place.” It was hard to suppress my laughter, “My eating place,” where do they come up with these?

“What do you like about McDonalds?”

There was this wide-eyed, awe struck, “deer in the headlights” look coming from the backseat.

“Why is McDonalds your eating place?”

More wide-eyed awe, with an open mouth added. Nothing came back as a response.

Then I had one of those “Aha!” moments. I was asking Anthony to make an evaluation, to engage in critical thinking, without any basic knowledge and analysis. These are absolutely necessary steps.

“Anthony, what’s one food you like at McDonalds?”

“Chick Nuggets”

What’s another food you like to get at McDonalds?”

“Apples”

“I know you like juice or milk to drink. Which do you like best?”

“Chocolate Milk”

Now we’ve laid the groundwork. I’ve allowed him to identify three foods he likes, and make a choice on drinks.

“Anthony, you like chicken nuggets, apples, and chocolate milk at McDonalds. Which one makes McDonalds your eating place?”

“Apples.”

“Okay. That’s a good reason.”

And just like that, Anthony was making critical decisions and evaluations. At almost four, he’s critically thinking. Is he unique? Not at all—critical thinking is part of life at all ages. It seems to me that often in our conversations with children we don’t provide them the structure, the questions to guide them to these higher levels of thinking; and, we haven’t labeled it. Anthony had already decided he liked McDonalds, but he didn’t know why. When I asked him open-ended questions (Why McDonalds?) he didn’t know. It’s like asking your spouse, “What do you want for dinner?”

“Don’t know. Don’t care. You choose.” There are too many options. If you narrow the choices, chicken or pizza, peas or corn, potatoes or rice; then, people make choices. They do critical thinking. Inside of each choice, there’s a flurry of mental activity before they say “Chicken.”

“What did I have for lunch? I’m having pizza tomorrow. Pizza is expensive. Chicken rice casserole is budget friendly. I like the color of peas with rice.”

What ever these thoughts were, they happened in a flash. It’s more like a micro-flash, so fast we aren’t consciously aware of what’s going on up there in the gray matter. A fascinating book of the subject of flash decisions is Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. I find his writing and research intriguing, and Blink is an amazing study of human behavior on decision making (critical thinking at its upmost).

Back to Anthony and all the other young learners: it’s easy to teach critical thinking. Just think and ask them simple questions that build up to more complex conclusions. Gather basic information or facts from them. Then review and let them analyze the information. Finally, they can make a decision, think critically and evaluate.

Here’s something to try with your young thinkers. Let’s say you’re at the local grocery and you need laundry detergent. Let one (or more) of the children decide which one to buy. Perhaps you set guidelines, like price “Nothing over $6.00” or size, “Nothing over 64 ounces.” If the child understands the unit price of detergent, ask them to make that one of the decision-making factors. Ask them to consider at least four detergents. Also tell them beforehand that you want to know what they were thinking and the decisions they made during the process. Then when they return with 64 ounces of lavender vanilla Sun detergent, have the conversation. And, guide the conversation. Their choice may give you clues. Is the bottle a favorite color, or perhaps the fragrance is special? You know your children.

Be aware of the small decisions we make everyday. Talk with your children about these. They will become experts at critical thinking and being able to explain their process. You’ll smile and feel that warm proud-parent glow. They will be blooming!

–-Madon Dailey
Madon Dailey

Welcome!

Blooming Scientists is our homeschooling parent community where you’ll find suggestions to increase your child’s learning, ideas to get more out of your science lessons, and ways to build unit studies for other subjects from science lessons.

Why use science as the basis for other subjects? Science is all around us, in every invention and everything we see. It is us. Science is also what children naturally love doing: collecting bugs, planting flowers, watching clouds, training a puppy, or looking at rainbows. Our natural curiosity motivates us to learn about science. That motivation will move through other subjects, creating greater learning opportunities and making teaching easier. Isn’t that what we all want?

Over the next few months, you’ll see our community grow. The foundation is learning: understanding how children learn, how to increase creativity, adapt for learning styles, and develop critical thinking.

We believe the Nancy Larson® Science programs are the best homeschool curricula available for children 5–11. The programs provide both solid science content and reading strategies, with engaging activities. That’s the basis for developing other curricula areas. Why should each subject be isolated and separate? Our lives and world are integrated. We multi-task our learning and experiences everyday. So, we’ll create integrated learning for each science lesson.

Every community needs a town crier to announce the news, and Blooming Scientists is ours. We’ll let you know where you can meet us. Over the next six months, we’ll be exhibiting at many homeschool conferences. We’d love to visit with you at these. Please check the dates and locations.

With spring, Nancy’s Garden comes alive with color and fragrance. If you’d like help getting your garden blooming, let us know. The master gardener that created Nancy’s Garden is available to help.

Daisy and Maisy are our Cool and Curious Science Cats, full of ideas, knowledge and mischief. They are always in the middle of everything science. If you need specific science information or help understanding a concept, let the Science Cats help.

Great ideas bloom everywhere. We’d like to know what you’ve done. It’s all about sharing. Give someone a flower, they feel good. Give someone a great idea, and their children will bloom! We want to increase blooms and Blooming Scientists everywhere.

The architects of this community are the authors, scientists, teachers, and home school parents of Nancy Larson Publishers—the people who create Nancy Larson® Science programs. We want to build this community for you and with you. Good architects listen to the client. We want to listen to you. We invite your questions and your ideas. So please let us know how we can help your “blooming scientists.”

—Madon Dailey

Madon Dailey

Where Homeschool Parents Share Nancy Larson Science