BY ALL ACCOUNTS, THE RECENTLY CONCLUDED HOMESCHOOL SCIENCE FAIR WAS A ROARING SUCCESS. The crowd was encouragingly large and supportive. If you follow the conversation on Facebook as well as the photos uploaded, you will get a pretty good picture of what an enthusiastic bunch of parents and kids can do when given the opportunity.
The fact that most of the participants at the Fair were children under 12 years speaks volumes! These are kids who are educated at home, unschoolers from various backgrounds, whose parents are ordinary Malaysians (and blessed with extraordinary passion and conviction). Thank you Florence and Martha, for organising this outstanding event. Well done, all of you – organisers and homeschooling parents and kids.
FLORENCE WONG (Co-organiser)
I have been homeschooling for more than 6 years. Our son Reese loves science, but I noticed there were hardly any science activities among homeschoolers. So 2 years ago, I set up a science co-op. Then I met Martha who felt we should both organise a Homeschool Science Fair, and as they say, the rest is history.
Over 12 projects were exhibited, from forensic science to astronomy. Our children learned many invaluable skills working on their projects for the fair. Besides increasing their interest in science, they learned project management, presentation skills, and how to interact with visitors. Some enterprising homeschoolers made science kits for sale too. Most participating parents felt that it was a worthwhile effort as it encouraged our children to explore science more seriously. I hope to make this fair an annual event besides developing other science related activities for our community of homeschoolers.
AMY DELPH (Participating parent)
My daughter Katelynn participated in the Homeschool Science Fair with her topic on crystals and how they grow. It was a very powerful experience that I feel allows for a more meaningful and integrated approach to learning that stretches a child’s abilities in a fun and exhilarating way.
Besides science and public speaking, there’s writing reports and informative text, you learn how to do research, graphing results and calculating costs and expenditure, how to make eye-catching information displays, and how to attract people to your stall to try the activities and buy your merchandise.
And then the opportunities – requests for more crystal merchandise and crystal making workshops. Katelynn could probably start a business! To be honest, we did very little of anything beyond this project those six weeks leading to the Fair. Looking back at all the skills we were learning (and I’m sure I’ve left out many more) I don’t think we needed to!
AMY WAN-RATOS (Parent, visitor)
I went to the Homeschool Science Fair with my two children and we had a great time! We did the whole works – from reading all the research boards, heated Q & A with the exhibitors, shopping for science merchandise. Lea was most fascinated with the DNA display (she’s a fan of NCIS), while Mayern loved the crystals. Meeting familiar homeschool moms and their children gave us some good contacts to follow up. My children definitely want to be participants and exhibitors next year!