For some reason the Science Centre is the kind of place that homeschooler’s tend to visit on “excursion” with a large group…at least in our experience. But, also in our experience, it’s just not the ideal situation at all. In a large group the children are distracted, overly excited and those that aren’t are rushed through the exhibits by those that are. Plus the mums are busy chatting with each other rather than interacting with (or supervising) their children. It just doesn’t work well.
Last year we purchased an annual pass (the Science Centre calls them “Mindbender Passes”) and it has been wonderful! We’ll be purchasing another this year as the annual pass for us is the secret of getting the most out of our Science Centre visits.
If you only visit the Science Centre once the children seem to rush through “experiencing” everything like a kid in a candy store. It doesn’t seem to matter if you go with a group or not. They don’t really learn much at all. They just have a whole lot of fun, which is great but not if you wanted the kids to actually learn and remember something. I’ve discovered with an annual pass that after a few visits the “candy shop” thrill passes and the kids begin to engage more with each exhibit, actually READING the explanations that accompany each display.
This isn’t to say that we only ever go to the Science Centre alone. We often invite friends to visit with us, and yes they go through the same “candy shop” phenomena, but something slightly different happens to my boys when they bring guests. Because they are so familiar with the exhibits they enjoy demonstrating and explaining their favourite exhibits to their friends. They also like working collaboratively on tasks. And inviting one family to share your trip is nothing like following along with an excursion crowd. It’s intimate and much more beneficial for the children. At the end of the day you aren’t frazzled and exhausted. A trip with friends is delightful. A day out with the mob is awful. Hehehe.
This year our Science Centre has a visiting exhibition called Mega Watt, all about…you guessed it….electricity. As we are just about to start a unit on electricity this is perfect for us. In fact the Science Centre was most obliging last year in arranging a Physics exhibition when we needed it also (How did they know?!).
Yesterday, when we were close by at the Art Gallery, we popped into the Science Centre to check out Mega Watt. It was fantastic! But I expected nothing less from the Science Centre.
(Yes, yesterday was a HUGE day for us. With the morning at GOMA, the early afternoon at the Science Centre, add in the trip there and back both in slow traffic, and the late afternoon at the library and doing the grocery shopping – well suffice it to say I slept like a baby last night and so did the boys!)
So I’ll leave you with a visual tour of our visit in case you were looking for a little nudge to check it out:
Tempted to visit??
Hmmm…me too. I might have to organise a return visit sooner than I have envisaged. 🙂