Homeschool learning.

I have been inspired by the blogs of Julie,
Cindy and Maria.

I enjoyed their sharing of homeschool learning.

I thought I’d share our homeschool learning – burned popcorn ! I will try to post some pics.

A chemistry experiment that failed. I burned the microwave popcorn ~ we were experimenting with different methods of cooking popcorn. The effect of heat.

Well , cooking is certainly not my forte ( I haven’t found my forte yet).

But – mistakes and burned popcorn are learning experiences.

Homeschool learning.

Julie’ s blog describes relaxed homeschooling.

She writes – The chief difference between home education and school is the word “home.” School happens in a building with teachers and dozens of other age-mates who must work through a set curriculum for each subject so that the school system can measure its effectiveness in achieving goals and standards of education. Fair enough.

Home is a whole other animal and that’s why we have such difficulty figuring out if what we’re doing is working, or whether or not we are producing comparable results to school. Let’s just admit right up front: we don’t do a good job of duplicating what school does. In point of fact, we signed up for this homeschool gig in order to not produce all the things school does.

But that admission needs to make us brave, not cowards. If the conditions of education at home are not the same as school, then Pysch Reseach 101 teaches us that the results will be different.

Read all of Julie’s post. It is a good discussion of what homeschool learning can be. Is.

Then read these other blogs.

Cindy shares her history learning with her sons.

Maria writes about classical unschooling in her home.

And, apart from burning popcorn, what sort of learning experiences are going on here in our home?

The popcorn was inspired by our attendance at Group Learning today. We have been undertaking activities in Chemistry with the other Group Learners ( homeschoolers) this term. Our focus has been kitchen or food chemistry.

Today, I am working with the Juniors ( ages 6-11). The topic is Eggs and Starches.

We are looking at the denaturation of the protein in eggs and making meringues ( which I will probably burn! lol! Typically, my meringues turn out to be shapeless blobs of an alien nature).

We are looking at the moisture content of carbohydrates and making popcorn. The reason for the (burnt) experiments above.

Here are my notes, in case you’d like to try these activities yourself. Hopefully, your food chemistry activities will not set off smoke alarms.

Meringue and the properties of egg whites

*To demonstrate how the protein in egg white can be denatured by mechanical energy.

*Observe the egg white in different stages of preparation, with and without sugar.

4 egg whites
pinch salt
250g. caster sugar
1 1/2 dessertspoons cornflour
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar


1.Pre-heat oven to 130deg.C. Lightly grease biscuit trays and then
dust with cornflour – shake off excess.

2.Beat egg whites and salt until frothy (at the mouth). Gradually add sugar, a spoonful at a time, until all the sugar is incorporated and the granules
have dissolved – test by rubbing a small amount of mixture between thumb
and forefinger. Add cornflour and vinegar and beat to mix in.

3.Using a spoon, place small amounts of mixture
on the prepared trays. Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Turn oven off and leave door ajar until the oven is cool.

1. Egg white is made of water and protein.
2. When the egg is whipped, the structure of the protein is changed by the beating.
3. Is it possible for the egg white to return to its non whipped state? No, when protein is denatured, it is a permanent state of change.
4. How else can protein be denatured? By heat – cooking meringues, cooking meat or eggs.

Popcorn and the effect of moisture on seeds.

To determine the effect of moisture content on the ability of popcorn to pop.

1. Observe the difference between wet and dry popcorn.
2. Observe the difference between cooked and uncooked popcorn
3. Why is some popped corn big and some small? It depends on the differences in moisture content in the kernels.
4. What happens to water when you boil it? The liquid will convert to steam and the steam takes up more space than the liquid. So, the liquid or moisture content of the popcorn helps the corn to rise and pop.
5. Moisture inside the seeds affects the size of the popped corn.
6. The application of heat also causes the corn to pop.
7. Carbohydrate in popcorn helps the corn to expand.

½ cup popcorn
A bit less than ¼ cup canola oil
In a mixing bowl, add canola oil and popping corn.
Rest a paper plate on top of bowl (it is fine if it is resting in the bowl on the corn, it will rise up with the popping and keep kernels from going everywhere). NOTE: put the plate right side-up or upside-down depending on how it is resting in/on the bowl. The idea is to avoid dripping oil steam in your microwave if you can.

The tricky bit is how long to microwave. Set it for about 5 minutes ( probably less, in my experience!) and listen for the popping to slow. Add more time if needed. If you go too long then you get some burning. ( Some burning? )

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