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Children learning and living naturally... at home and in the community.
formerly Homeschool Australia and Unschool Australia

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Since 1989 Beverley Paine has steadfastly promoted and supported home education as an educational choice for Australia families. Her books and websites aim to demystify education, gently deschooling families so that they may meet their children's individual and unique educational and developmental needs. Her honesty, insights and wealth of experience continues to bring hope, reassurance and confidence to families.

Home education is a legal alternative to school education in Australia. State and Territory governments are responsible for regulating home education and have different requirements, however home educating families are able to develop curriculum and learning programs to suit the individual needs of their children.

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Projects and Unit Studies

Homeschoolers and unschoolers do most of their learning by doing projects and fun activities: it's a creative way to learn! Perhaps you've done a project that you'd like to share with others? You can write and tell us about it if you like, or if you've developed a webpage we can create a link to it...

Science projects and experiments, history projects, art and craft projects - we'd love to publish or link to any type of project! See the submission guidelines to find out how to have your project, fun activity or unit completed unit study published in our Kids Pages.

See the full list of projects, fun activities and unit studies!

Why is the sky and sea blue
and clouds white?
and other questions answered by Johnathon

Snow is white for a reason. But I don't know it. Does anyone? The sea is blue because it reflects the sky. Why doesn't snow reflect the sky. And why are plants mostly green? Is it because chlorophyll reflects only green and absorbs the other colours in the light spectrum? White and black aren't
colours, are they? So does that mean that snow reflects all the colours of the spectrum? Is that why clouds are white? Why are some clouds white and others grey, and others dark grey?"

Peter Adderley, http://www.abc.net.au/science/io/faqsm.htm , wrote: Although I'm no expert, I think snow appears white because, like clouds and steam, we see it on a macro scale. I think also that if you could look at a snowflake at a microscopic scale, you would see not only reflections of ambient light but also myriads of tiny rainbows from internal refractions from the crystalised water. But what colour is snow on a dark moonless night?

White clouds are white when they are lit directly by the sun. Grey clouds are such when they are in the shade of other clouds. It's much the same as those little road reflectors. Without direct illumination, they appear just white (or whatever colour), but when hit by direct illumination, they really shine. The sea is blue, yes, but the reflection is much more direct, that is from the sky above. Snow or clouds are reflecting light from up, down, and all around. What I don't understand is why the sea is SO blue. Even on a cloudy day, it can still appear much more blue than the sky, so there's probably another better explanation out there.

Black/White - GREAT question. Although it's technically correct to say black and white are not colours, I reckon it's very misleading. White is composed of light of every colour (or frequency), whereas black is the absence of light. Sort of all or nothing. It's confusing to say that black and white aren't colours, because artists,  photographers, printers, and most of the rest of us do so in daily life.
They're descriptive terms which have common understanding in our world, and our language.

The green question is pretty much on track. Sorry if this is coming in at an over simplistic level, but I take it your are looking for analogies to pass on to kids', always brilliant, questions. Wonderful line of questions. But so many questions about colour, it prompts me to suggest a book I found many years ago. It's called: "Colour - why the world isn't grey", by Hazel Rossotti, published by Pelican (as a paperback) ISBN 0 14 02.2201.4 It's a lay book, written in clear, technically correct, and reasonably
simple terms, but certainly not a kids book. If you're home teaching and have at least secondary education you'll find it a fascinating read. Quite illuminating in fact ;-)

Interesting to note the difference between the RGB and CMYK colour systems. The RGB (red, green, blue) in display systems such as TV and computer screens where the three coloured light beams ADD together to produce all other colours. Thus to produce white, the three colours are combined - to produce black, they turn the beams off. Of course remembering that the unlit screen is black (or close to it). The CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) system is used for printing colours onto white paper. Therefore you need an extra "colour" of black to produce darker shades. But in this system the coloured inks are used SUBTRACTIVELY; that is, just like when you mix artist's paints. But a little searching on the net will find some much more graphic examples of the above.

Podargus, http://www.abc.net.au/science/io/faqsm.htm , wrote: The sea is not blue from reflection. The sea is blue because water is blue, and there is a lot of it in the sea. Water is blue because it absorbs light at red and yellow wavelengths, but reflects blue. The ocean is normally bluest in deep water away from land. This is because it is generally cleanest in such areas. Other colours of  the ocean are from 'pollutants of one kind or another. I.e. Green from chlorophyll, both from phyto plankton and leakage of same from them into the water; turquoise from coccolithophores. To see blue water in the comfort of your own home. Obtain 1 WHITE bucket. Fill with CLEAN water. If your local water supply is not clean enough wait for rain and collect in a clean manner. Snow, frozen water, is also blue. However clean snow reflects all wavelengths. Like other water it can be 'contaminated' by micro organisms such as algae etc.


 

Teresa's Testing Suncscreens Science Experiment

Materials needed: Sun print paper, 3 sunscreens, transparent plastic or glass, dark cover sheet.

Testing actual products is a fun way to learn science with a practical application. Ever put on sunscreen then wondered why you burned anyway? They loose their effectiveness after about 1 year. So if you intend to use your leftovers from last year, you're taking a chance on not getting the protection you need. For this experiment, you can do two different tests. You can test 2 of the same brand of sunscreen, one purchased over a year ago and a new one or you can use it to test 3 good, not out of date sunscreens. I suggest you borrow from other families and choose some that was purchased during the summer or near the end of it, since this stuff is expensive and looses it's effectiveness. You will need to purchase sunprint paper.  This paper fades quickly in sunlight leaving designs where you cover it. Be sure not to remove the paper from it's dark covering when it arrives. I was able to find a set on the internet (google=sun print paper) that gives you plenty for cheap, large sheets and lots left over to play with for only $11.

Then when you're finished with the follow up on this, here's some craft ideas for art work you can make with the left over sunprint paper.

You'll also need a clear plastic sheet like a transparency film sheet. You can also use clear plastic sheet covers, the pockets that go in notebooks, just make sure they are perfectly clear, not opaque. OR you can use glass, like something from a cheapo picture frame from the thrift store for 50 cents. You will also need a piece of paper that is dark and is the same size as your print paper. Most packages come with one.

Lastly you need sunscreens. Make sure you test a store or no-name brand.

Procedure:

1.First have your child guess which one will work best.

Set up:


2.Cut your plastic sheet to the same size as your paper or in a dark room, cut your photo paper to fit your glass. Determine the size then have one of your children measure and cut to match that size. If your package didn't come with a cover sheet, make one to fit using cardboard or black construction paper.
3.Use a permanent (sunscreens will smear it if not) marker to divide the plastic or glass into four equal parts and label (in corner, very small) each with a letter, A,B,C,D. Then label your sunscreens each
with a letter, B,C,D. "A" will be your control and will be fully exposed to the sun.
4.Place a very thin film of suncreen onto the plastic or glass from bottle B into square B. Be sure it covers it but is still transparent. Repeat for the others.
5.Cover it with your cover sheet.
6.Pull out a sheet of sunprint paper (indoors). Make sure you know which side is active and place that face up, under the plastic or glass so that your sunscreens are sitting on top of it then your cover sheet on top of that.
7. Time to test. Read the directions and see how long your paper needs to bake. Usually it's between 10 and 20 minutes. Take your set up outside, remove the cover sheet and set a timer or watch. Wait.
8. After the allotted time, cover your project with the cover sheet and head indoors. You'll need to wait about 10 minutes before you can check your results.
9.CAUTION: If you remove your plastic or glass cover and toss it aside, you'll not know where on the print paper, each sunscreen is. So before you toss your plastic or glass aside, use a pen to mark on
the sun paper, your A,B,C and D.

Follow-up questions (depending on their ages)
1. Why did we place a cover sheet on our experiment? (process, logic)
2. Why did we use all four at once and not test them one at a time? (process, logic)
3. What would we look for to see if a sunscreen worked, lighter area or darker area? (process,logic)
4. Why did we have to use no sunscreen on block A? (experiment design)
5. Which sunscreen worked best? (analyzing data)
6. Did the experiment go as planned? (forming conclusions)
7. If you were to do this again, how would you do it differently? (forming conclusions)

This and other experiments and activities are archived
on Teresa's site at www.steelcreek.com


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Welcome to the world of home education - learning without school! We officially began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were each born! I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
Beverley Paine

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