Homeschooling S.T.E.A.M.: Fruit – Melon

Homeschooling is a lot of work, but it does leave room for a great deal of creativity and flexibility in catering to the interests of the kids. While we use set curricula for math and history, I create fun unit studies to cover literature, writing, science, and art. So when we finished up our science unit on farm animals, I let the kids vote on the next theme that we would use. I did not expect them to choose, of all things, fruit! I figured books would be easy to find, but science and art? Well, I told them they could pick, and I wanted to keep my word, so I started to delve into the world of fruit. This week: melons! Okay, so they really wanted cantaloupe, but books for kids about cantaloupe were very hard to find. So it became melons in general. Nobody complained. Kids really are pretty understanding.

We started out with our books:
The Antelope Who Loved Cantaloupe by Celeste Halata, Anansi and the Talking Melon as retold by Eric Kimmel, The Cantaloupe Cat by Jan Yager, and The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli. The kiddos really liked the Anansi book, which gave me the chance to talk about how he shows up in other traditional tales. The top pick, though, was definitely The Watermelon Seed. They just howled with laughter…and walked around burping for the next half hour. That’s boys for you!

After we finished our reading, we worked on melon-themed haiku, which is a new poetry form for us.
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Okay. It might need a little polishing. But it wasn’t too shabby for a first try! And counting out the syllables was good practice.

Next, we moved along to the science portion of the lesson. Today’s experiment? Cantaloupe Sorbet! We used this recipe, and it came out beautifully. As one of the boys said, “It tastes like summer!” And it really did. Perfect, since the thermometer outside was inching toward triple digits! As part of the process, we practiced measuring with the little ones and discussed solutions and ice crystal formation with the older ones. It froze up beautifully but didn’t last very long! I barely had a chance to snap a picture!
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If there had been any left, I would have popped it in the freezer to harden a bit, but it never made it that far. Oh, well. At least I got a bite before it was gone!

Overall, it was a fun and satisfying lesson. Next week: blueberries!

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