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super dorky question

(23 Posts)
loosinas Sat 22-Oct-11 09:50:54

this is a real naff question but i have been thinking about helping my son and being in the best position to do that. in a museum recently i was really jealous to hear some mums and dads explaining the exhibits using knowledge i do not posess! so basically is there a good way for me to fill in my missing knowledge in science and generalknowledge that would benefit my child. books to read? websites? anything that might help ? thanks !

DownbytheRiverside Sat 22-Oct-11 09:57:31

How old is your child?

RunningAllDay Sat 22-Oct-11 09:58:42

There are loads of popular science (it is science you're after?) books out there; our local (tiny) WHSmiths even has a shelf of them.

Two that I believe would be a good intro are Bill Bryson's 'A Short History of Nearly Everything' and Richard Dawkins 'The Magic of Reality'. Flick through them and see if they are to your taste!

I also loved Jared Diamond's 'Guns, Germs and Steel' which is really a history of humanity, and why the world is the way it is (developed and developing).

Have fun!

RunningAllDay Sat 22-Oct-11 09:59:43

X-posted - I assume they were for you to read and digest, rather than your child? What I have suggested suits adults.

loosinas Sat 22-Oct-11 10:01:48

yes hes nearly 6 and i want to be able to answer his questions better ! thanks

DownbytheRiverside Sat 22-Oct-11 10:02:24


I love Jared Diamond's stuff too.
Seriously OP, I'm learning along with my two, and as a teacher I'm constantly having to find out about new things I haven't taught before, so it's a continuous learning experience.
There are a lot of good revision guides out there, DK publish some good guides and BBC Bitesize cover the basics online.

DownbytheRiverside Sat 22-Oct-11 10:05:50

These are good guides, clear explanations with images and key points.
It's great that you are doing things with your DS, experiences and discussions. smile

DownbytheRiverside Sat 22-Oct-11 10:06:16

Some gremlin ate my link:

loosinas Sat 22-Oct-11 10:10:00

ive ordered the science cgp one and the jared diamond one too thanks guys !

PootlingAndDoodling Sat 22-Oct-11 10:12:23

British History for Dummies is great - not patronising at all - the World History one is good too.

loosinas Sat 22-Oct-11 10:14:57

oh my word here goes my bank balance on amazon ! thanksso much guys! i thought everyone wouldjust laugh at this question!

DownbytheRiverside Sat 22-Oct-11 10:16:51

It's a lovely post to read, your son is asking questions and you want to help him find out the answers so that he can enjoy what he's seeing and understand why. That's a fantastic attitude for a parent to have.

sarahfreck Sat 22-Oct-11 16:14:11

You know - you may actually be in a better place than others who have all the information at their finger-tips. Why? - because if your son asks you a question, you can say "You know, that's a fantastic question and I'm really not sure of the answer. Let's look it up in a book/on the internet etc and find out the answer together." Then your son not only gets to find out the answer but also gets practice in how to look up information and also gets to realise you don't have to just "know" everything but can take steps to find out!

If he is asking at all times and in places when it isn't easy or convenient to do the research, perhaps you could start a "questions" book where you write the questions down and find a time during the week where you could find out the answers together. Use a mixture of children's and adult's books and webpages and as your son progresses with reading, you could get him to read some of the information too. It could be a great parent and child activity, especially if you let it be led by his interests and questions. You could make scrap books to show some of the things you have found out too!

It is so great that you are interested in your son's learning and want to take part in it! Children respond so positively when adults get along side them and do things with them; they love the positive attention and of course they learn loads too!

RosemaryandThyme Sat 22-Oct-11 16:15:49

This might be a bit of a cheat but I phone venues that we are going to the day before our trip and ask if a member of staff might be available to spend a little time expalining an item to my oldest son (6) while I supervise my younger two.
Staff have been amazingly helpful, The Iron Age Museum pulled out lots of hands on Roman items and my lad sat with an elderly volunteer curator for two hours - nattered away, The Museum of Army Flying sent two aircraft engineers from the base next door to the museum to explain the development of war-planes and modern-day fighter-plane technology, The Science Museum timetabled him into two short guided tours, Marwell Zoo printed a list of feeding times which helped us plot a route around that meant we stoped and listed to the keepers, Longleat House (Lord Bath murals) agreed to let him tour round with an adult group while I waited outside.
Lots more I can think of - is this something you might like to do ?

strandednomore Sat 22-Oct-11 16:19:24

This is really embarrassing but I am learning loads from those Usborne lift the flap books - look under the sea, look inside castles etc. We have a new one called Look Underground (I think) and I've found out all sorts of things about drainage and sewerage etc! The Look Inside Your Body is also especially good. Perhaps if he has a birthday coming up you could ask for them for presents, then you don't need to admit you don't know things, just read it along with him!

startail Sat 22-Oct-11 16:33:07

Yes usborne do some good books.
If your going to a museum or historical house, read its Web site the night before.
The ss Great Britain, the Mary Rose and various Roman sites have loads of information (much pilfered for homeworksmile). I'm sure others do too, especially if they take school trips.
Much easier to mug up first than try to read the museum labels with DCs.
Don't be embarrassed, I have a science degree, but I have to learn history one step ahead of the children and they both know more French than I ever will.

popadop Sat 22-Oct-11 16:34:19

Also another way is to jot down questions and then research the answers together, either in books or on line.

nickelbabe Sat 22-Oct-11 16:36:05

I wouldn't go for Adults' popular science books, i'd advise you to buy a chiodlren's general science encyclopaedia or just buy a book for the relevant age group (usborne beginners is a fab series for 6yo) each time a question comes up.

Never underestimate the value of looking up stuff together (your DS doesn't need to know that you don't already know) - it's great practice fo when he has to do projects at school.

nickelbabe Sat 22-Oct-11 16:37:05

oh, yes stranded - those Usborne lift the flap books are very good! (See Inside would be the best for 6yo, i think)

schroeder Sat 22-Oct-11 16:39:10

Don't forget your local library-no need to run up a huge bill on amazon.

They'll have some good non fiction titles for children too.

AndiMac Sat 22-Oct-11 16:45:50

I'm with Sarahfreck. Don't worry too much about reading books, as the questions will come from everywhere and trying to cover it in advance will be nearly impossible. I agree, be up front that you aren't sure and then look up the answers with him. For online I have these recommendataions:

Wikipedia is great for explanations of things. YouTube is great for showing examples of things - from volcanoes exploding to octopuses swimming and shooting ink to Morris dancing. Google Image search is also good for finding pictures, but MAKE SURE TO SET SAFE SEARCH TO HIGH!! Very scary the images that a simple innocent search can sometimes lead to...

rebl Sat 22-Oct-11 17:36:06

I use google a lot now a days grin.

piprabbit Sat 22-Oct-11 17:41:12

We had some Tesco Vouchers due to expire, it was a bit of rush so we decided to get a subscription to National Geographic magazine. Makes a change and there are always a few brand new ideas to mull over.

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