There are several upsides to our home schooling adventure, but there are also downsides. The main one, and the one that causes me the most amount of guilt, is the lack of facilities available in our 1200 square foot apartment. We are limited by space, not surprisingly, and our “classroom” is the dining table. It’s a set up that works for the basics – spelling, reading, writing, maths etc – but doesn’t offer us much flexibility for hands on activities, especially science. Ultimately we just don’t have the space, or the storage, for everything that the kids would be exposed to in the best of schools. Whilst this isn’t a problem right now in terms of the subject matter they’re learning (what three year old needs a bunsen burner, really?!), it does leave me with the problem of not being able to expose them to a wide range of subjects and to ignite some sort of passion in them. All those early learning experiences I talked about in my last blog post, my kids won’t have. They don’t know what they’re missing out on of course, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing at all (in fact home schooling is the better option for us in Singapore), but those first memories can set a child up for their future. The guilt at knowing my kids are potentially missing out on that is…unbearable.
Fortunately for me, and for them, there is a solution (to the science part anyway).
Newton Show got in contact to let me know they were offering FREE shows at Port of Lost Wonder during the March holidays, and invited us all along to go and see what they do. Even though the shows were taking place alongside the pirate ship (for any non-Singapore based folks, the pirate ship is THE best water playground I’ve ever seen), the audience of kids were having to sit two to a seat it was so popular. Not only that, but they stayed for the duration of the almost 45 minute show despite being at the hottest point of the day and with a giant water playground right behind them. Oh, and the level of enthusiasm and engagement from the kids was the stuff of dreams for most school teachers.
It’s important to note that the work of Newton Show is pure scientific entertainment- they’re not lessons and don’t follow any particular curriculum. Also, important to note that the “Professors” are actors, however the experiments they conduct with the kids are all real. I can’t comment on the value of this for older kids, but for primary aged kiddies it’s the perfect introduction to science with just the right amount of learning through wide-eyed wonder.
As well as one off shows, Newton Show offers regular workshops, holiday camps and birthday party entertainment. We went along to one of the workshops aimed at kiddies aged between three and six years old and I have to say, it was BRILLIANT. Professor Neon had the little one’s captivated, and there was just the right amount of new information for them to take in mixed with a lot of (seriously) hands on led scientific discovery. I came home with a bag of fake snow and two children who spent the entire journey chatting about polymers. As every three and five year old does, right?!
In fact, we are so impressed by what Newton Show offer kids in terms of getting them LOVING science, we’re looking at which of the week long summer camps to send Finn to (but with a “Mad Science” camp, a “Spy” science camp, a “Detective” science camp and a “Space” science camp to choose from, we’re a bit spoiled for choice!). Clara has to wait until next year as the holiday camps are for age five plus, just going to stop any comments about getting girls into science, fairness, equality etc etc before they start (and given that her Mum is the one with the science background, I don’t think it’s going to be a problem anyway).