It was an interesting day. Daughter, who was at a 5th grade "magnet" school, and placed in all advanced classes (Math, Language, etc) does the 6th grade math worksheet I gave her. She comes in, pleased as punch, because she's "done her hour of math."
"Hour of math?" No, that was 15-minutes of math. And she gets two more worksheets. In 45-minutes she's done with all three. And complaining:
Life. Is. Not. Fair.
After all, she did, with the first work-sheet, an "hours worth" of work. At least if it were in her math class at school. You know, with attendance, speeches, exhortations to "work faithfully," following procedures, pointless (sometimes confusing) instruction she didn't need and all the other time-wasters and distractions.
I think the part where I told her home-schooling would be "twice as much work in one-half the time" was truncated to "one-half the time." Oh well. Life is not fair. We are not the "life is fair" family. We are the "life is not fair, get over it" family.
Today, we do the potato. 4-hours of minimally guided research, writing and an oral presentation on the potato.
Why the potato? Well, not only is it one of the most important agricultural crops (top-5) in the world, but my understanding in direct human consumption, (i.e. not indirectly through animal feed, converted to liquor or used in other industrial uses) it's the #1 food crop in the world. It's the crop that broke the very common cycle of famine in most European countries during the 1700's. It's featured in English literature. Poems and odes to the potato have been written. It's one of the most important ingredients in classic cuisine.
Potatoes come in many varieties for many purposes. Potatoes are an incredible food source, having very close to an ideal balance of complex (slow release) carbohydrates and protein. A five-ounce baked potato has as much vitamin C as half cup of tomato juice. It has seven times the iron of a glass of mild, as much thiamine and eight times as much niacin. They're cholesterol free and 99% fat free.
In short, it is a very broad subject from which the child can learn to develop research skills and interests.