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To all of our East Coast friends and family:  we wish you safety during Hurricane Irene.  A very diligent husband and dad has provided us a dry basement and, luckily, we’ve had minimal impact so far.

Our family has made a difficult decision that I would like to share because the topic, especially at the start of a new school year, will be infused into my posts going forward.

We have chosen to discontinue conventional education for our daughter and homeschool.

Whoa! You say. Did that come out of left field? You might think so after two years at a wonderful pre-school and Kindergarten – a school that I took every opportunity to boast about to all our friends and neighbors.  A school where my daughter made countless friends, and I made wonderful friends as well.  We really did love that school.

Homeschooling was never really considered by me prior to the end of 2010 (although my husband has an entirely different position; he has preferred it for years).  After all, six years ago we bought a house in a great town and highly respected school district (with “great test scores”)…all with the plans that our children would attend school here.  (I can’t say that they never will.  We will reevaluate the situation each year before school starts to ensure we are making the best decision at the time for each child.)

However, after visits with many schools – both public and private –  on the basis of philosophical reasons (too many to mention) we have decided to school our children in our home and with other families who have decided to do the same.  If you know me personally,  this probably comes as no surprise to you as I have always had that “do it myself” approach to nearly everything.

So, to jumpstart our new life as homeschoolers we started with a science experiment a couple weeks ago using key lime soda (leftover from a party two years ago) and some raisins.  Both kids nearly fell jumping up into their chairs, so excited to watch the raisins “dance” as the experiment promised.

look at that enthusiasm!

I was happy I found this experiment because I really wanted to use up this leftover soda.  We don’t typically drink soda (the kids never do) and even though it was a no-high fructose corn syrup variety, the amount of sugar per serving was alarming! A win-win all around…

The experiment we did was from the book The Everything Kids’ EASY Science Experiments book.  We have done a couple experiments from this book thus far.  My five (almost six) year old loves them and so I would say this book is perfect for ages 5 and up (the publisher states 9, but, with parent involvement, younger kids can enjoy, too!).  We recently picked up the older version of the book with different experiments called the Everything Kids’ Science Experiments at our local Borders going out of business sale (I am SO sad to see Borders close shop.  We had so many fun years hanging out in their kids section at storytime – and of course I memorized the cookbooks section just as long as they didn’t move things around).

This experiment showed how the carbon dioxide in soda created bubbles on the raisins which made them float to the top of the soda, then fall down “dancing” after the bubbles popped.  It was really fun and even I enjoyed it!

see the raisins “dancing”?

As we approach a new school year (some of you may have already started school), from our family to yours, we wish you many fun-filled days ahead.

If you have used these books, what was your favorite experiment? Do you have another science experiment book that your kids love to use?

For any homeschool mom or dad readers, what advice would you give this homeschool newbie?

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