Friday, 5 March 2010

Mini-blog 2: How to learn Chemistry without blowing up

I understand from the APPG meeting on March 2nd that Baroness Deech thinks that a home educating youngster cannot learn Chemistry.

I suppose I can comprehend the problem. I learned a lot of Chemistry in High School in a course cunningly called Industrial Chemistry. It was brilliant. The course consisted of a manual, a lab and chemicals. We had a few moments of instruction about blazingly obvious things like 'You shouldn't run in a lab' and 'Please don't sniff the amonia or we might have to rush you to hospital' and the rest was an hour or so a week of doing the experiments and analysing the results which were then written up in the manual.

I got 100% for my term work. I loved it. Wonderful. No sitting taking boring old notes while waiting to start the real stuff. That was learning; that was exciting. I can still remember the buzz of experiments and the flutter of finding out which residue was on the filter paper.


Eldest has expressed an interest in the subject. So we got some books out of the library, we amassed some great websites, we bought a Chemistry kit and we're all ready to go. Now, if I can just wrestle her away some time from Law and Japanese and music and Chinese History that consume her at the moment, thunderbirds will be a go.

Can't wait!

That's how you learn Chemistry, Baroness Deech. When you're interested, you'll find a way because you want to. If it doesn't ring your particular chimes, then nothing anyone can do will light the Bunsen Burner of passion for Chemistry.

I'm off to do some Chemie now. Where's that GCSE Chemistry book that I got from another lovely home educating Mum? Ah, yes, just where it should be - next to the Chemistry set.

All set now.

Atoms away!

Note to Insoi: Burning wood or leaves is indeed a chemical reaction. One of my brightest memories was a day in summer when our family went outside on the driveway to use a magnifying glass and hold it over some twigs/leaves. Y evidenced great joy in the transformation. It was a delight to behold.


  1. For some reason I feel inspired to burn leaves again after reading this. I doubt that's chemistry, but what the heck.

  2. Tsk, Baroness Deech - lots of schooled youngsters these days (in state schools, that is, not the elite girls' schools some people get invited to speak at) never get their hands on actual experiments! Even if their schools had the money for labs, they'd still have Health And Safety to contend with. Far safer to tell the pupils about the experiments and then have them watch a film of someone else doing it on YouTube. Guess what - home eddors can do that too with no trouble, though many of them prefer the old-fashioned hands-on way.