It’s NOT Science, Mommy… It’s CANDY SCIENCE!

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We have long been in “love” with Loralee Leavitt’s, Candy Experiments book.  We have used it to blow-up Peeps, float “s”‘s off of Skittles – you will never look at one again with the same ardor – study color, chemical bonds, saturation, breaking and making molecules, etc.  WELL… Loralee sent me her second book, Candy Experiments 2.  It does not fail.  There is bashing.  There is rock salt.  There is sugar.  There is heat.  There are oooohhh’s and ahhhh’s.  And there is the end of the dreaded…. dah dah dah…. (yes – cue music)… PEEP!  Prior to her books, we used her website http://www.candyexperiments.com for free ideas for candy fun.  I often used it to reinforce something or make it more fun, connected, and tangible.  Extensions rock.  Contrived extensions.  Not so much.  Loralee has TONS of experiments broken down for the “non-science” mom by topic.  Afterschool, homeschool, or just kid/parent or kid/kid fun.  Oh, I’m the blow-it-up, eewie gooey science mom.  Yep… bring on the frog guts and chemical explosions.  Rid us of the PEEPS!

Sidenote:  Do I seem to have Peep-ish issues?  Hmm.  Why doth Laffy Taffy not bring out the guttural rage that Peeps do?  I think it has something to do with the crunch of the sugar, the list of unreadable ingredients, the commercialism… not t.v., but in the store.  Really?  Does everything have to be “cutsie” Peeps?  “Mommy, look at the cute little Minion peeps.”  “Oh, Mommy they made the Peep a new color of pink…” (that doesn’t exist in nature).  Or, “Oh me, oh my.  Peeps super-sized dipped in chocolate!”  I’m just saying.  Perhaps I’ve tied it to McD’s french fries never degrading.  You find those buggers under seats and they NEVER mold.  Well, the same is true with Peeps.  Put them away.  Pull them out.  Same as ever.  And the tee shirts with the Peeps and the sweet eyes.  Kill me now!


So, the idea to DESTROY, force jousting, shatter, force to dance, and KILL PEEPS makes me giddy with joy!  There is one up.  If we load them into St. Nicholas shoes or Christmas stockings, I am guaranteed NEVER to eat the candy.  I’ll take that.  Hmm.  I might post that on THM.  Good sugar avoidance strategy.


“Candy is more than a sugary snack.  With candy, you can become a scientific detective.  You can test candy for secret ingredients (PEEEEPS), peel the skin off candy corn, or float an “M” from M&M’s.”  That is on the first Candy Experiments book, and boy is it an understatement!  We decided to focus on one candy… cotton candy.  My hopes:  the children will not want a cotton candy maker for Christmas.  Ha!  As if!  We took two experiments – one from each book.  One focusing on chemistry and polymers.  The other focusing on viscosity and sugar crystals.  Oh, and JJ just yelled that we have to buy every sticky candy so he can make candy art.  Loralee… your next idea.  We are doing sticky candy science experiment – which is the most sticky.  It’s art, too.  I pray no one plans on ingesting that, but now we have my “toss out food” hang-up.  More to come….

Off to the Dollar Store to find cotton candy and every sticky candy.  Field trips are fun!


No go and kill those Peeps… sorry Lord.  St. Michael, the Archangel… I’m praying…





When I Dropped the “Reins” and Let Learning Flourish

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Left-brained, right-brained…. paths to learning… modalities… learning styles.  We are so many of all of these.  Do we actually know what our kids will do when we drop the controls and let them go?  I learned the other day and it was LIBERATING.

Several weeks ago (uhhemm… I say to my “bad blogger” self), we received a huge box of SWAG!  See all that color and art?  See the learning launchpads spilling all over my counter?  See the shrieking and jumping children?  Oh, no… that would be hearing and you can’t blog that.  Well.  Trust me.  They were shrieking.

Immediately dividing us said “swag,” my kids began to tear into spelling, field trip plans, journals… and we were off to the library at 7 pm for “Nine books for each of us MOM!”  And I was under strict orders to zip-it.  I have no problem zipping it.  We reached the library and every child took off like a swirling dervish, which actually makes me a little anxious.  Books are precious things, People.  My children ingest them.  Two hours and 9 x 3 (plus an additional 23) books later, we were loading up the roller cart – you must have one of those in the car for trips to the library, too.  We’ve broken 3.  Home, again, home, again… jiggity jig.

9:30 until I fell asleep and Rocky came home – we have a MILD Rocky thing going on in my marriage -Yo, Adrianne!  Love that man!  Anywhoo… kids, books, pencils, pens, paint, tape, stuff… everywhere.  Hmm… lack of sleep was going to effect our “official lesson plans for the next day involving soil and American history.”  Quick prayer.  Oh well.  I awoke at 8 AM to 3 sleeping bodies amidst a vast array of creative debris.  Yes, debris makes me anxious, too.  I drank some kombucha and started the day.

As I looked around my AM house, the kids were RIGHT BACK AT IT.  And now, somehow Snap Circuits, Legos, oil pastels (eek), books, kids, everywhere.  I just remembered to breathe and let go.  Somewhere my frontal lobe was shouting… hmm… more learning going on here.  Child and delight directed.  Schemas.  Scaffolding.  Meaningful.  Purposeful.  “Mom – kinetic energy is a lit match.  Potential is when you are just holding it.”  “Mommy, did you know that SLAVES built the White House?  Twice?  For free?”  “Mom – when I join the photojournalists, I am going to need a good writing book.  Do you know what I can use to check myself?  Book not Internet.  Remember… Google is a company not a verb!”

WHAM.  Ok.  Let them go, says my frontal lobe.  Let them create.  Let them put it all together with tape and it may look ugly but it’s true and uncontrived learning.  I didn’t print a math game, contrive to complete a objective.  It was ALL THEIRS… and in the end … who owns it?

I never really held the “reins” on my kids’ learning.  That was just a fantasy… but I sure did have the amazing grace to watch it flourish!  Thank you, The Thinking Tree (Dyslexia Games).  I have another journal for mom and son on my Santa list!  “6 to 9 Fun Schooling!”  That is a topper on JJ’s list!  The mom one looks good, too!



Thank you, Sarah Janisse Brown!  You have given us a true gift.  And we are all the better for it.



Where Did Erosion GO?

OK. Circa 1971 to 2000 – imagine the Star Wars words falling back into the distance – In a galaxy far, far away… a third year old child learned about erosion and the earth’s surface. Rocks wore down. Erosion. Water, wind, ice. Yadda. NOW – the Empire is in DIRE straits. Three young learners are studying earth science. Mom has no idea what to do with all of the concepts she didn’t learn while she WAS learning to sit in a desk, eat quietly, and run quickly at recess. Oh, and to walk in a line silently. AHHH!

SO – she pulls out Brain Pop, Ed Tube, Teacher Tube…… AND MYSTERY SCIENCE! If you have not been there… go there. NOW! A teacher life-saver. Fast, succinct, engaging, in no way contrived. And the experiments are easy and cheap… oh and make sense. So do the worksheets. Completely purposeful… and we detest worksheets and workbooks.

Oh… and discussion… and brainstorming with sticky’s. No bad ideas. All ideas are a spark!

We EVEN had tons of time to extend – read I was yelled at to keep going by my kids in unison – to landslides, Luray and Skyline Drive – which is right near us… FIELD TRIP. Rock falls, Mayan temples, and on and on. The extensions are rich and well-thought thru. The age ranges are spot on.

Here’s a peek: http://mysteryscience.com/animals/habitats-heredity-change-over-time

Depending on your homeschooling method of teaching science, a family could easily use this as a core science or they could add it to another program like Nancy Larson. Mystery_Science-Stacked-Small

Tell them Sam at Homeschooling The Journey Not the Destination sent you!