Monday, October 13, 2008

Relearning Chemistry

Heat equals mass times specific heat times change in temperature.

Colorimetry. Calories. Joules. Atoms. Molecules.


My nightly ritual after work and dinner is to write up daily schedules for the next day of schooling, correct the kids’ assignments, grade tests – and then sit up and read Chemistry. Yes, Chemistry. I get out my highlighter, mark the important text, memorize the formulas, then using my paper and pencil, I figure out the examples and assigned problems.

Why am I relearning Chemistry?

We have a tutor for math. Another for French. A friend teaches them Spanish. And a music teacher gives them piano lessons. These are subjects I cannot teach my kids. But I was a science major in college – granted, in Biology, not Chemistry – and I can teach the science myself.

Oh, I thought I could hand off the book – Aplogia’s Exploring Creation With Chemistry – to the kids and have them teach themselves. I even found help on the Internet for scheduling the course. I thought they would read the small chunks of material, follow the examples, work out the problems, and learn Chemistry on their own.

But they got stuck in chapter 2. The only way to help them is to read the material myself. If I tutored Chemistry in college, I know I can relearn this stuff. So night after night, after the kids are in bed, I read my Chemistry, work out the problems, and follow along so I can explain the problems, the math, the concepts.

I hope that one day the kids will appreciate what I am going through to teach them at home because frankly, I’d rather be gardening or reading novels than relearning Chemistry. But one thing I’ll say about this: my brain is getting a workout, so I’ll be keeping Alzheimer’s at bay for a while!


Diamond to Be said...

Me too. Bio major, chem minor. Re-learning chem. I am amazed at how much I have forgotten, but why? I was one of those study-to-the-test kind of students and most of the info has left me. If I had known back then that I was going to be homeschooling, I might have learned chemistry purposefully. But probably not, lol.
~ From another reluctant homeschooler :o)

The Reluctant Homeschooler said...

Even if you learned it well, you'd be rusty unless you use it for your job. But once you learn it, it does come back... with effort!

Good luck to you, Diamont to be. I'm certainly struggling with it, but staying half a step ahead of my kids.

What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
— Albert Pike, Scottish Rite Freemason (1809-1891)