Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Science for the Verbal Set- Curriculum Choices pt. 2

Since the curriculum giveaway ends tonight (hint, hint), let's talk learnin'.

As you might remember, if you memorize my every move as you should and don't ever, not ever, get me mixed up with one of those other Catholic homeschooling moms who blog (I mean, how many of us can there be?), I got most of my curriculum recommendations for this year from Angelicum Academy.

Among the many things I like about them is that I don't need to buy the entire curriculum as a set- I can pick and choose based on my children's needs and strengths and go with something else for a certain subject if I see fit.

Which I absolutely did when it came to Science.  Their recommended science text was the kind of book that weighs 30 pounds and talks a little bit about everything a kid possibly ought to know but never really expects anyone to be very interested in what they're learning.  No thanks.

So I hopped onto Cathy Duffy Reviews (which, by the way, is a fantastic resource for selecting books and materials for your homeschool) and started to dig.

Because I wanted to try a multi-grade level approach and thought it would be nice to have something that would definitely interest the 5 year old boy, I ended up choosing the Great Science Adventure series for this year.  Yes, despite the fact that it requires "high" parent/teacher instruction.  See, I figured if this was the one multi-level subject we'd be doing, then I could force myself to be involved despite my inclination to throw worksheets at the reading-able children and tell them not to bother me unless I've accidentally given them a sheet with instructions in Swahili.

So far, we're all enjoying this book (the books are divided by topic, so you do an in-depth study a specific topic before moving on to a new one rather than a cursory overview of a bunch of different things), which is more than I can say for any science class I ever had growing up.

Putting the little booklets together for each lesson might be a pain for some people, but I find it doesn't take me that long and I have older kids who can help.  Doing the hands-on portion of this book is really going to help my tactile and visual learners retain the information, and doing just a teeny bit every day makes it really manageable.

But my very most favorite part is the optional activities section at the end of each lesson.  There you'll find suggestions for projects, reading exercises, and research for all different ability levels which you can perform as written or which can act as springboards for your kids to come up with their own activities.

And that is exactly what happened last week.

We're studying fish (They're the largest class of vertebrates.  Did you know that???) and two of the research project suggestions were to identify the top five fishing countries in the world and the populations of the top five fresh-water fish in your region.  The boy, being 5, drew a picture of fish.  Well, no, that's not true.  He drew a picture of a car.  And then I said "How about a fish?" so he drew a small car driving the big car and said that the small car was a fish.  Perhaps he needs the remedial science program....


My big girls took those two ideas and expanded on them- Katy taking the first one and finding out how many tons of fish are produced by the top countries and locating them on a map, Lizzy finding the largest populations of fresh-water fish in our region and comparing the size of each, converting them all into ounces to do so.

Once they got their data, I showed them how to plug the numbers into Excel and make snazzy bar graphs with just a few clicky clicks of the mouse...


And there it is: science + geography + math + computer class in one fell swoop, made possible by a jump start from Great Science Adventures.

Don't forget this day, friends.  It's probably the most schooly schoolyish moment we're going to have this entire year, so I'm gonna revel in it!

If you homeschool, what do you use for the science portion of your week?

p.s. for some more of our curriculum choices, check out the blog's fan page, where I've been posting things on off days...

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  1. We've tried Seton science, which I'd rather not talk about.
    This year we're back at CHC, using the "Behold and See" texts. They're visually beautiful, and that's about all I can say about them right now, since the kids aren't even a chapter in.

    This isn't a very helpful comment is it?

    Oh, I've also tried the Apologia science texts (we have swimming creatures of the whatever day) and it was fine, but then I realized the series espouses young-earth theory, so we switched.

    Still not very helpful, is this?

  2. My kids read ZooBooks and NatGeo for Kids til about 4th grade, LOL. We called that science. Seemed to work fine though until middle school anyway.


    1. Yes! I love that! I'm totally stressed that the big ones are in 5th and 6th- starting to feel like something little more structured is "expected" of me and I'm not good at that at all, no ma'am...

  3. It just so happens that just last night I wrote a long blog post about our science curriculum which we love, Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding, a Science Curriculum for K-2. It's a great DIY sort of curriculum, very cheap-- $25 for Vol I which covers K-2-- and easy to use. It assumes no special knowledge on the part of the teacher and requires almost no special materials. It does introduce a lot of topics but is not at all a scattershot approach and does not replace depth with breadth. Rather, it also allows you to spend as much time digging deeply as you want. It starts the the premise that kids are interested in the world, always begins with what they already know and leads them to new ideas and new information by asking questions and helping them make connections.

  4. you should look up science olympiad and do some of those fun hands on activities on the side. You could do a science olympiad right in your house. here are some events -

  5. I'm excited to hear how science continues to go for you this year! Right now I'm really doing science with just one kid, my 2nd grader. My younger son is my kinder, and he tags along for the fun experimenty stuff, but I don't require much of him. We also use Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding and overall I really love it. However, I don't think it is going to lend itself well to multi-level teaching. As in, when my little man is a slightly bigger little man, I don't know if I want to teach two different science topics to my two boys. And when my little Miss grows up a few more years - well then it's really gonna be crazy! I really love the philosophy and approach that BFSU uses, but I'm not sure how well it will serve us in the coming years. So that's a really long winded way of saying - I'm excited to learn about a science curriculum that can work for multiple ages and I'm looking forward to hearing how you've liked it over the course of the year! :)

  6. We just found out (from another homeschooling family) about NOEO Science. I'm doing Biology II with my 4th grader, and the 2nd grader is just doing the reading (aloud, with me). You buy it as a package and it has EVERYTHING in it. That's my favorite kind of science package. So far, we really like it, and it's not too time consuming.

  7. We're doing Apologia Astronomy this year. It is very fun so far!


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