We went to the Tech Museum in San Jose a few weeks ago. This is a really neat museum! There were very few other people there so the kids pretty much got the run of it. Everything was hands on and included things from interactive globes that showed the effects of recent disasters, design stations for robots and roller coasters (the kids then got to ride a simulation of the roller coaster they designed). It had a room on earthquakes with a simulator, a computer/shadow interactive wall, where you could catch the shadows which would then interact with your shadow, a wall of music, etc.
Here is Aubrey using a pulley and ramp in tandem with other children who used various other simple machines in a system they set up and designed to get a ball from one place to another. She and Brennen spent over an hour on this exhibit alone.
Brennen is using a remote control to guide an underwater robot, which is similar to one that might take pictures of the ocean floor. In another part of the museum he used a computer to build six different robots for different purposes, such as deep sea, outer space etc. That was the exhibit he was most absorbed in.
Logan is next to the jet pack simulator. To be honest I can't remember what this one was=). It is a cross section of something that goes into space and the kids could climb in, that's all I remember of this one.
Kamron is working in the green energy room here. He had to tweak solar panels so that the maximum amount of energy could be gathered from the sun. In that room the kids also built windmills, placed them in wind tunnels and watched the gauges to see how much energy they could get from them. They also had to build water wheel type things to be placed in a dam that when the maximum amount of energy was produced it would light a tower all the way to the top. So much of this had to do with angles of the various things that it was a nice tie-in to what he is studying in math also.
I had an interesting question I had never had before as a homeschooling Mom. I was talking to a mom and when she found out I was pregnant with my sixth and I homeschooled she asked, "So are you just hoping they turn out?" As always the perfect answer didn't come right then, I said something about not going on a hope, but I was pretty sure everything would turn out alright. As I thought about it later I have to wonder who is going more on hope-the parent who turns the child over to another adult, because that is the adult assigned to them and that adult is supposed to follow somebodies goals-not the parent's goals, not the adult's goals-just somebodies that have come down to the adult in some almost unknown fashion, and doing this six hours a day, nine months a year is what will help make these kids alright. Hopefully. Or is the child more likely to turn out alright when under the direction of a self-sacrificing parent who is constantly monitoring the growth of character, knowledge and skills and tieing them into the goals the parent has for that child and the goals that child has for himself? The second scenario may have hope involved, but it certainly has more hard work and careful thought than the first. In either case there are no guarantees, but I think in most cases the degree of parental involvement and child's ability to have a say in where he wants to go in life will bring more growth towards positive ends than another scenario.