Homeschooling Science Fair

We’ve been homeschooling for a very long time, long enough that my oldest is now in college. As the years have gone by we have become more and more relaxed with what we do and expect from the kids. We were pretty relaxed to start with so you can maybe imagine how loose things have gotten. Some would call it unschooling but we’re not quite there yet, I’m not able to completely set aside my worries and embrace the unschooling philosophy 100%. I still have that nagging voice in the back of my head that they need to do math everyday (even that has been dropped as this year has progressed, but the voice is still there.)

Benign neglect is a phrase I read in Homeschooling Magazine years ago that has always stuck with me. The kids don’t need me interfering in everything they do. Jokingly I described our type of homeschooling as negligent homeschooling when talking to a friend recently. I did say it in jest and I don’t say it negatively, a lot of good things can happen when kids are given the freedom to explore life and create on their own. Or a lot of time can be wasted, which is a rut we often get stuck in.

All that to say we have been participating in an interest/ science fair for as long as I can remember. My kids have put together a variety of displays in the past;

Last year we had just returned from a trip to St. Louis so Thomas did a display board about the St. Louis Arch.

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A few years ago, after Dan had his back surgery and Beth had a couple surgeries and lots of x-rays, Beth & Thomas worked together on a board about x-rays.

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This is the actual X-ray from Dan’s back with the bolts & rods that are holding it all together. ewww!

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While Daniel put together a hands on experiment and board about magnets. He had been working on a hands on cart for COSI on magnets so he used the supplies he had been putting together for that.

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Then there was this year; we had a 2 week trip to Seattle (Thomas had planned on doing a board about the Space Needle) and my nephew came home with us so the kids still think they’re on vacation. Which means the only research getting done around here was how to get to the next level of whatever video game the boys may be playing.

And while Beth started out the year with intentions of creating and sewing a line of clothes then presenting a fashion show, only later to give up on that idea. She then thought she would present a book making booth with skills she learned from a book making class we had been taking, which was scrapped due to ambivalence. Then finally deciding to bring her sewing machine and work on some sewing projects during the fair, ultimately forgetting to even do that.

So what did my 2 kids plus their nephew do at the science fair? Thomas & BJ taught kids how to play Texas Hold’em while Beth hula hooped.

It was very sad for me to lose this piece of our previous homeschooling life. In my mind I say next year will be different, we will find something they are excited about and we will work together to research it. I hope that is what happens, I hope this year was a fluke and not a new precedent.

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BJ was videotaping Beth running in circles while hula-hooping. This was after Beth briefly attempted to break the world record for hula hooping, while hooping she was looking up the record on my phone. Unfortunately, the record was 72 hours, so unless we left her at the church for 4 days that was just not going to happen. She did make it 11 minutes before someone came and grabbed her hoop.


Bethany has a flock of little girls following her where ever she goes.


Then all the kids went outside for a game of kickball to celebrate the end of another school year.

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Kick ball is a great way to end the year and welcome summer. Hopefully, we will be rejuvenated over the summer and next year will be a bit more productive.


2 thoughts on “Homeschooling Science Fair

  1. This is by far my favorite blog! Our lives are very similar…who knew?! “Negligent homeschooling.” Maybe more child led from children who are trying to take more of the lead and discover their interests/passions? (That has been my hope this year.) I’m not sure my children took any kind of lead, but learning DID occur! One child has read literally hundreds of fabulous books, another has learned to read, enjoys learning of all sorts, but mostly science. Another still struggles with his learning, but his confidence in who he is as a person has strengthened because being book smart doesn’t mean your a GOOD, COMPASSIONATE PERSON. A child learned the meaning of true friendship and trust – a valuable, life lesson. Two more are discovering work effort = performance and grades and the peacefulness in daily prayer. Another is growing into a wonderful young man, who can care for and respect a person and knows the value of hard work. They have all learned how to love one another and serve others. I’m certain, you can easily come up with a list of “accomplishments” for your year as well, they just don’t display well on a board! They’re found in the being of the people and YOU are teaching some wonderful people!

    Well done!

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