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How do you use Ellen McHenry Science?


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#1 Ailey

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 01:56 AM

Somehow, I hadn't heard of Ellen McHenry's science curriculum until yesterday. The great reviews I've read on here, along with a quick peek at her samples, have me convinced and very interested in using several of the programs next year (and possibly the following year) with my oldest. We've been studying physics and astronomy this year using way too many bits and pieces, and I'm hoping to streamline a little.

I'm curious about how other people have been using the Ellen McHenry units. Do you go through them quickly, then move on to the next one? On to something else? Or do you spread them out alongside another curriculum? I'm considering ACS Middle School Chemistry, Real Science 4 Kids or continuing with Glencoe textbooks and lots of books, but would love to hear other suggestions.

Ds is at the point right now where we could move on to high school textbooks, but I'd like to keep science from being "work" for another couple of years. He isn't really interested in chemistry (yet!), so there is definitely plenty of new material in both The Elements and Carbon Chemistry, and I'm sure we'll find lots in The Brain and Cells as well. He does tend to fly through material when he gets into it, so I usually like to make a year-long plan, then make adjustments or add on at the end if we have time.

Any more advice/experiences with these programs would be very much appreciated!

#2 mumto2

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 05:41 AM

There is definately plenty in the elements and carbon chemistry. We just did the units in order. Not alot of supplements which odd for us. We also did Christian Kids explore Physics the same year. We did some extra experiments without really coordinating. Just a separate experiment book for fun. We loved Ellen McHenry's courses. I wish we had done more!

#3 Staceyshoe

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:14 AM

Last year we did The Elements combined with ACS Middle School Chemistry and the lessons and lapbook available for free on HS Share. After The Elements, we went through Carbon Chemistry. Honestly, ACS was a waste of time. The Elements was far more indepth than ACS. If your child has absolutely no prior knowledge of chemistry, then ACS might be worthwhile if you do it before The Elements as an introduction. (It is a decent program just very very basic. Some of the multi-media aspects and videos were worthwhile, but overall it was a time waster for us because ds didn't learn anything. He had already read quite a bit about chemistry on his own beforehand.)

We are finishing up the last chapter of Cells now and will then move on to The Brain. I have ds read the chapter one day, we check out Ellen McHenry's Basement Workshop channel on Youtube another day. (She has videos organized by curricula and chapter there.) Ds completes the end-of-the-chapter quiz a 3rd day. And we do the experiments or games another day. I found some library books to coincide with Cells and The Brain. Ds will choose to read them on his own time or not. It's not something I assign.

We'll be finishing the last of Ellen McHenry's science programs this schoolyear. So sad. I'm really not sure what we'll do next. These have been the perfect fit for my hard-to-fit sciency kid. Enjoy them! Her science programs are truly fantastic!

#4 kiwik

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 03:24 AM

I think it says on her website that she designed them for use with a once a week (with reading and prep at home)co-op class over a couple of months.

#5 PachiSusan

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 03:54 AM

I just heard about these as well yesterday from two independent sources, so I figure I should check them out. Does anyone have a website address?

#6 Staceyshoe

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 11:12 AM

Does anyone have a website address?


Here is where she sells her curriculum. Be sure to check out her free downloads too. Her Youtube channel is here.

#7 PachiSusan

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 01:04 PM

Here is where she sells her curriculum. Be sure to check out her free downloads too. Her Youtube channel is here.


Thank you - I will check it out!!

#8 Ailey

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 12:52 AM

Thank you so much for the responses!

I've taken a closer look through all four units and decided that we will definitely use the two chemistry programs next year. If he gets antsy over the summer we might take a look at The Brain, but otherwise we'll leave that for the next year.

Stacyshoe - Thanks for the youtube link and your thoughts on ACS. It looks like sticking with what we know might be a better choice at this point. :)

#9 Pod's mum

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 02:00 AM

We did The Elements with a group of 20 kids (when all were there), ranging in age from about 6 to 15.
We met once a week.There were so many group activities and games that this worked really well for us.
We'd read through together and then break up into 2 groups, smalls and bigs, for most of the activities.
I would print out and laminate the activities beforehand. My dd re-read the book heaps and has learned far more than me.
Some of the elder kids were studying Chemistry independantly as well. This tied in well.

#10 AimeeM

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:50 AM

We use it daily. We read a chapter, answer the questions, and then once or twice a week we do an activity from the teacher resources. We are doing The Brain right now; last year we did The Elements.
I constantly stray from McHenry, but always come back. It's the one science that gets done with me. I love it, she loves it. Next year we will be finishing up what Ellen McHenry offers. It'll be a bitter sweet year for us. Lol. Each course only lasts us about 10 weeks - we'll do Elements again, Carbon Chem, and Cells. We aren't interested in Botany. We'll also be using her Excavating English and Mapping The World With Art.
I wish I could clone Mrs. McHenry so she could write a physics unit and anatomy unit or two... or three... lol. Oh, and maybe an Earth and Space unit... hmm.

#11 Ailey

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:22 PM

Thanks again!

It does sound super fun to do with a group, but I think we'll have to settle for having his younger siblings join in. :)

#12 dovrar

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 11:28 AM

We use it daily. We read a chapter, answer the questions, and then once or twice a week we do an activity from the teacher resources. We are doing The Brain right now; last year we did The Elements.
I constantly stray from McHenry, but always come back. It's the one science that gets done with me. I love it, she loves it. Next year we will be finishing up what Ellen McHenry offers. It'll be a bitter sweet year for us. Lol. Each course only lasts us about 10 weeks - we'll do Elements again, Carbon Chem, and Cells. We aren't interested in Botany. We'll also be using her Excavating English and Mapping The World With Art.
I wish I could clone Mrs. McHenry so she could write a physics unit and anatomy unit or two... or three... lol. Oh, and maybe an Earth and Space unit... hmm.


AimeeM, have you seen the fairly recent physics unit that Ellen McHenry added to her free downloads section?

#13 Halcyon

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 02:40 PM

We are adding the Cells unit to our Life Science curriculum. I dont wuite know how we are going to fit it all in......


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