07 January 2011

homeschooling: forensic science

Abby Sciuto, look out.  Dr. Hodgins, be wary. Today we begin forensic science training at The Shoe!

One of the homeschooling freedoms I love is the ability to choose curriculum based on the interests of my own family.  The older kids and I are huge NCIS fans; and mysteries top my list of favorite fiction genres.  Being the geeky girl I am, the more science in the show or novel, the bettah.  I want to feel smug with understanding as I enjoy the story because I understand not only what those blood spatters, fingerprints, urine analysis results might mean but also HOW they get that data. (My readers have probably guessed that I am as excited about this curriculum as my children. I say, "Why shouldn't I choose curriculum that gets everyone, including the teacher, excited about learning?")

Crime Scene Investigations: Real-Life Science Labs For Grades 6-12
Enter Crime Scene Investigations: Real-Life Science Labs For Grades 6-12. Gavin, Sirena, Madelyn and I are planning to dive into forensics with a passion. With a large family, I am always thankful for curricula that allows me to reach several grades at once.

This book covers an amazing array of investigative techniques: handwriting analysis, chromatography, urinalysis (using an included recipe for fake urine), identifying unknown powders, entomology, soil analysis, mummification...the fabulous list goes on and on.  Each lesson is followed by at least one lab so the students can experience the technique they have just read about.  

Some of the materials required are a bit unusual.  For example, in the Examination of Glass Fractures Lab, you are supposed to provide "window glass containing 3 bullet holes".  Lab chemicals (methylene blue) and equipment (beakers, scales, petri dishes) are also required on occasion.  This is definitely not an ordinary, household item type curriculum.  Normally, I avoid curricula that requires obscure items, but the interest level at our house is high enough to warrant the extra time and expense.  

I want my children to know how to learn as much as I want them to learn the presented subject.  I want them to delight in exploring new ideas, even if the exploration requires time, money and effort. And I want to build memories of shared exploration with my precious children.  

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