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  1. While I adore BFSU, I'm finding we aren't doing science as much as we should this year because of the extensive amount of planning it requires on my part. I'm hoping to switch to a secular science program that is a little more open and go for third grade (2022-23). We are still in Volume 1 and Scientific Connections Through Inquiry isn't releasing the level we need until Spring 2023, which is too late or that would be my choice. Initially, I was interested in Science Fusion, but the homeschool packages are no longer available, and it looks like all the components I would need to purchase will add up to a very costly curriculum. Someone on FB mentioned Elevate Science, and it looks perfect and costs only $68, but I can't find any reviews. Has anyone used this program? What are your thoughts? Could you give me the good, the bad, and the ugly?
  2. I love the idea of using interactive notebooks, especially for science. I also have found that my kids like BFSU books the best out of what we've tried. SO............. does anyone have any experience combining the two? Any tips? Thanks in advance!!
  3. I recently heard about Mystery Science (K-8 online science curriculum) on another thread. It was compared favorably to BFSU. Has anyone used this? Care to share a detailed review? What I like about it on first glance: it uses inquiry questions (mysteries) as the introduction to a topic; the computer doesn't teach the lesson, the teacher does; it includes high-quality videos, discussion questions, a hands-on activity, and additional reading on the topic all right in the lesson- no need to search out a BrainPop video, look up an 'experiment', or search out age-appropriate explanations of concepts. I'd love to hear your BTDT thoughts. If anyone is aware of another thread on which it has been discussed, I'd love a link. I can never seem to find anything on here.
  4. If there are other BFSU "graduates" out there, please chime in, but I wanted to let everyone know how my kids have done since BFSU. My 2 dds were doing BFSU together. We did all 3 volumes, and we finished last spring. We spent the summer doing the thought experiments in Thinking Physics by Lewis Carroll Epstein for fun. Now my older daughter is a freshman and taking AP Chemistry from PA Homschoolers. My younger daughter in 7th grade is taking the Well Trained Mind Academy high school biology course. Both have transitioned to their upper level science classes smoothly and feel they are well-prepared. Hope that helps! My BFSU memories are starting to fade already, but I'm happy to answer any BFSU related questions. It was a great ride, and I'm sorry it's over.
  5. My dd12 is finished with BFSU3, and I need 2 more years of science for the rest of middle school. DD picks up science concepts quickly and is just starting geometry and is very solid on algebra. I'd like to do some pre-AP level physics or chemistry or biology. We are finishing up the year using Thinking Physics by Lewis Carroll Epstein, and will probably continue with his Relativity Visualized this summer. My questions for 7th and 8th grade science: What subjects? What secular curriculum for a slightly accelerated science student? What else that's out of the box should we be considering for science the next 2 years?
  6. I'm doing planning for next year and was trying to think about how I can make BFSU more user friendly, and I was wondering if there was a kit anywhere out there? Volume 1 if it matters. Also, any advice on making BFSU more streamlined? I found the list of all items needed for each lesson which is helpful and plan on doing as much in advance as possible, like making various notecards and gathering items. Any other advice for a BFSU newbie?
  7. I am looking for an order for this-I don't really "get" his flowchart LOL.... I know there are lots of sequences out there for Vol. 1 but haven't seen any for Vol. 2......
  8. I have a rising first, fourth, and sixth grader next year - which conveniently places them in BFSU vol 1, 2, and 3. I own vol 1, but don't have a way to look at the other 2 before purchasing. Is the material covered in the last 2 books different, or would it be possible to work off of Vol 1 (or 2) and scale the reading for the other kids? My main concern isn't really cost as the books aren't terribly expensive; I just would rather not be planning entirely separate science for each kid. We struggle just to get science 'done' already!
  9. We just finished the biological sciences thread and are about to return to the chemistry thread, acids/bases. I think so far it's been generally good. I like the reproduction part...from meiosis to ecosystem populations. Maybe I didn't execute correctly, but I felt a great deal of time was spent on viruses, but not a comparable amount of time on bacteria. Since vaccines were grouped with viruses, I felt like I had to sneak in the fact that there are these things called "bacteria" and some vaccines help with bacterial diseases, too. I also feel the lack of a textbook for the student is a greater problem at this level. I'm still able to find lots of supplementary texts, but it's more difficult now for some topics, like most recently, ecosystem populations. I wish he would write one for the student, illustrated in color. Still, I'm loving his "relentlessly big picture" approach to science. He won't let us see those trees until we understand we're in a forest, too! I'm eager to hear what others have to say.
  10. Just thought I'd share in case anyone else found this helpful--I have two girls 1.5 years apart, and had originally planned to wait until my younger dd was old enough to do it with us before starting BFSU with my oldest so I could keep them together for science. I've since scrapped that plan, because my oldest is such a science lover that I don't want to slow her down to her little sister's pace. However, as I was feeling overwhelmed at the thought of potentially doing BFSU at three or four different places with different kids simultaneously, it occurred to me that it didn't have to be all or nothing. BFSU's flexible "flow chart" organization makes it possible to do science partially combined for kids a year or two apart. I wrote up a possible schedule for this where I focus mainly on one or two threads when starting with the first kid, doing only required prerequisites from the others. Then when the second kid is ready for BFSU, doing just the prereqs to get started in a previously neglected thread with 2nd child, then combining the two kids for those lessons that the first hasn't yet done. After that, they split again while the 1st goes on to the culminating lessons of the book and then to Volume II and the 2nd does the threads that the first did before they began. I guess that makes it sound kind of complicated, but it winds up with the kids being combined about half the time. If anyone else is interested, I can post my schedule.
  11. My 4yo DS (turning 5 in November) will be attending a Montessori preschool 5 half-days a week in the fall. I'm planning to let the school handle reading and math progression (except playing RS Math Card Games and doing some AAS), but I'd like to afterschool history, art/music, and science. I pretty much have a good idea of what I want to do with history (SotW) and art (Drawing with Children), but I'm having trouble with planning something for science. I very much like the idea of following WTM's science progression and studying biology, anatomy, and botany this year, but it feels like the first year science ideas are a bit simplistic. My DS would definitely not go for just reading about animals and coloring pictures for half a year. (He shares his mother's disinterest in animals in general.) So I've been looking at a few options. In order of preference: BSFU: I like the depth I perceive in this curriculum--that it uses actual science terms and doesn't dumb things down for kids too much. The Socratic method and lack of worksheets are fun. It seems like it might be a good level for DS, but I don't like the spirally nature of it. DS and I are both systematizers, so the idea of studying one area at a time from beginning to end really appeals to me. It's not that I mind the cross-connections; it's just not what I want to emphasize. Is it possible to rearrange this curriculum to follow only one strand at a time? I've seen the charts that show which lessons depend on what, but how dependent are they really? Could I teach the Life Science strand this year without covering anything else? Or should I really just suck it up and go spirally? I'm also concerned about the prep time involved. I've read online that people feel like this curriculum involves too much work on the parental part. Am I going to find this overwhelming? Thoughts? RS4K: I like how systematic this curriculum is, but it seems a bit simplistic. Is it? Could I skip the elementary level and go straight to the middle school curriculum, assuming I help out with writing things? Or is there too much math that needs to be mastered first? And of course, this curriculum is short. Only 10 lessons? What can you do to stretch that out to fill a whole year? Any suggested supplements? Any experience starting with Biology instead of Chemistry? Winging it: I have enough science background that I could wing it from living books. The organization for anatomy/human body section seems straightforward, but I'm having some trouble with how to deal with the biology/zoology/botany part. The systematizer in me would love to use some simplified form of classification, probably deemphasizing microscopic creatures but still covering them, maybe starting with a short section on what a cell is. Any good resources at an upper elementary level on classification? On the other hand, I find the idea of organizing by different biomes very appealing: I could use the documentary "Planet Earth" as a spine, watch an episode and then talk about the plant and animal life in each biome for a few weeks. Anyone else done it this way? On the third hand, I love the idea of doing a nature studies approach for this year and focusing on our local wildlife and plants here in the Pacific Northwest. However, I feel less confident about this approach since my identification of plants is limited to tulips versus roses, and like I said, not a big animal fan. Maybe I would do a systematic study for 20 weeks in the fall, and do nature study for 10 weeks in the spring. What are some good, unintimidating nature study resources for a beginner? Sorry for so many questions in one post. I just see a lot of different ways to go and am having difficulty choosing between them. Feel free to suggest other curriculums as these are the main ones I've looked at. More info about DS's abilities if that's helpful: began reading at age 2, fluent reader at 3rd grade level currently, has the stamina to read about one section of SotW by himself at a time. Writing is pretty much no go, but I'm hoping Montessori will help that. Mathwise, he loves addition and subtraction, thinks negative numbers are hilarious, and is trying to puzzle out multiplication, can do with powers of ten (ie 10x10=100, 10x100=1000, 10x7=70, etc). Very interested in facts, actively dislikes "fiction" right now, very fact hungry kid who keeps bringing me StoW for bedtime stories of his own volition, not particularly showing any science precocity. Not interested in coloring and crafty activities AT ALL (neither am I). More info about me: I have a chemistry minor (almost majored in it, but hit the wall in Physical Chem, so I went back to my true love, English) and love science. I feel totally confident teaching science at this level; I just don't want to assemble my own curriculum from scratch if I don't have to, especially since we have a new baby coming in about 10 days. :D Oh, and while I am religious, I prefer secular curriculum. I can provide my own personal religious views on the subject without messing up the evidence with them. Another plus for RS4K.
  12. I am curious if anyone here pairs BFSU and RSO...? I plan to use BFSU as a framework and to ensure we hit the important points but pairing our lessons with RSO. Since BFSU is so planning intensive I feel like RSO will help us to stay on track especially during times when I do not have time to request library books, have materials, and pre-read the BFSU lesson. Thoughts?
  13. My 4th, 2nd, and K kids are wrapping up BFSU this year. We LOVED it (yes, it was a beat down to prep all year, but I was thrilled with how well the kids did with it.). I considered it pretty high level thinking for the K and 2nd grader. So I would love feedback from anyone who has completed year 2....would you recommend it for a 1st and 3rd grader, or will it be over their heads? They are both very interested in science, but are at or slightly above grade level. Thanks!
  14. I'm using (and loving) BFSU vol 1 with my eldest child. I was realizing that for the 2014-2015 school year (when my son is in his last year of vol 1), my older daughter will be starting Kindergarten. I know that I can't just fold her into where her brother is currently at, as she hasn't sat in on very many of the topics we've covered. And then I have at least one more child after that--which would lead to me having to teach at three different levels, sometimes in all three of the volumes, at a time! So how does one teach BFSU to multiple children who are all at different levels?
  15. How many and which threads did you cover in your kindergarten year?
  16. Are there any all-in-one kits or other science programs that would go well with BFSU for K/1st grade?
  17. Anyone use these together? We are using BFSU and love it. I'm drooling over all things BF, the History of Science looks especially good. I would use it as a supplement throughout elementary not as a 1 year course. Anyone want to talk me out of it or encourage me to go with it?
  18. I think I came up with a (maybe) really useful idea for all of us BFSU (Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding) users -- I created a Pinterest board for each thread, plus a "general resources" board, that I hope many users will collaborate on to find pins that relate to the BFSU lessons. I find one of the big weaknesses of BFSU to be the lack of printables and the fact that there are no visual aids at all that come with the curriculum. I thought if various users add to the pinboards with the lesson code (C-7, D-8 etc) in the Pin description, it would be so helpful for everyone! Here's my Pinterest page (BFSU boards start in the second row of boards). Message me with your pinterest username or leave a comment on a Pin if you want to be added to be able to add pins. Anyone (with or without a pinterest account) should be able to view the boards. Hoping this is a helpful resource for BFSU Users...Others may find this useful as well to find science ideas!
  19. Hunter posted this recently on K-8, and said I could copy it here. It's a template that provides guidance for a science experiment or project, and could easily be used to give some writing/research structure to inquiry work. I adore it b/c it starts with observations, not hypotheses. I don't imagine many folks are finding themselves in need of this right this moment, but wanted to get it out in the WTM cloud. Please add any tags that seem useful so it's search-friendly, if you think of any.
  20. Does anyone have any experience doing this?? if not experience, then good ideas how I can do it?? I want to combine my three (will be K, 2nd, 5th) for science as much as possible. Oldest used BFSU in K, then we were in public school and back to HS last year. I tried another curriculum, which I liked but required too much writing and not enough "thinking" - so we are back to using BFSU this fall. BUT, I want to move oldest into BFSU II and allow 2nd grader to join when interested. I don't have a copy of II yet. So, I have this nebulous idea about working the curriculum in tandem - maybe all doing work on a concept from I and then going farther/deeper with older DD in II, in some graceful continuation. I don't want it to be too laborious to set-up/plan - hive mind help much appreciated!
  21. I'm getting ready for next year (at least philosophically speaking :)), and I came upon the idea to combine ds9 and dd5 at least in a few subjects, such as Picture Study, Composer Study, Nature Study, and Science (we call it Natural Science here for fun). However, ds is going to be using BFSU 2, and dd BFSU 1. I know some subjects are similar, and the lessons build upon each other, but has anyone already correlated the two? TIA!
  22. I am not a conservative Christian, don't embrace a literal 6-24 hr day-creation, and am not easily offended by a secular POV. But. I got BFSU today. I skimmed the first couple of chapters and am (almost) speechless by what I read: In the section "Baloney Detection Kit" he writes: "2. Every effect has a rational cause. This concept is so embedded in adult thinking that it needs little supporting argument. We automatically assume that there must be a rational cause for a crash, a fire, a disease. But emphasis should be placed on the word rational. Rational cause means that is is amenable to our understanding in terms of real things and/or processes that, in turn will lend themselves to investigation and understanding. For example, up until the early 1800s, many people believed that evil spirits were responsible for disease. Disease was treated by means that were presumed to rid the body of evil spirits. Such treatments were uniformly ineffective and some (e.g., bleeding the patient) undoubtedly did more harm than good. It was only as disease began to be understood in terms of rational causes, namely bacteria and viruses, that real progress began in combating disease. We certainly do not fully or even partially understand the causes of all events or phenomena. Still, the belief in rational causes is more responsible for the advancement of understanding than any other single idea. It invites us to carry on systematic investigations until we find that cause. The very fact that investigations are continually unveiling increased understanding gives validity to the concept itself. On the other hand, beliefs in supernatural causes have not yielded any such increase in understanding. Therefore, beliefs in the supernatural are uniformly without merit." He just labeled all belief systems that involve any acceptance of the supernatural "without merit." So, um, if we can't use the scientific method to study it then it must not exist? Gotcha. And, people wonder why some parents of faith object *so strongly* to how science is taught in the public realm. It's because the instruction sometimes goes beyond the scope of what can be addressed by the scientific method. Stick to science and leave issues of religion and the supernatural to the parents and clergy, 'k? Thanks. Oh, what's kind of funny is that the #1 point in his "Baloney Detection Kit" is "Forceful declarations do not substantiate facts or truth.... Students should learn that some people promote their own particular prejudice, opinion, or mistaken belief by forcefully declaring it to be fact or the truth or labeling it as something "everyone knows." I couldn't agree more. So WHY does he contradict himself in #2 when he says "This concept [rational cause for everything at all times, no exceptions ever] is so embedded in adult thinking that it needs little supporting argument." IOW, "everyone knows" this. REALLY? Seriously, friend, be consistent. Either (a) support your argument with some evidence (not stereotypes, not misunderstood history but real evidence). I'll evaluate it and make up my mind from there. But even if I still disagree with you, I'll certainly have more respect for you than I do right now. Or (b) stop making absolute statements about subjects that you do not understand or even want to understand. </vent> On the bright side, I borrowed this book so at least I'm not out any money.
  23. I found out about Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding through this WTM forum and am wondering if there is anyone out there who tried it and didn't like it. If so, what didn't you like? My reason for asking: as I did for spelling, when I wasn't finding anything for science that taught the material in the kind of step-by-step logical fashion that I was looking for (a lot seem to use a more shot-gun approach without a very deep exploration of the science behind the experiments), I developed my own materials (with the help of my dh, the scientist). I used them in our co-op with a lot of success and was wondering if there was any need for something of this sort at the upper elem level (3rd-6th) within the broader homeschool community. I am just now reading through the BFSU materials since it appears (from WTM comments I've read) to be the sort of thing I was looking for, but I am wondering how it has worked for people who have tested it out.
  24. I am so confused with science. I think part of the reason is that I have a degree in science and I currently teach science. I just want a good, solid, challenging program for my future K'er and 2nd grader. I have looked at Noeo, RS4K, Mr. Q., BFSU, and Singapore Earlybird. I just haven't been able decide which direction to go. I've also thought about putting something together to go along with SOTW 1, such as a study of scientists, inventions, and scientific discoveries of ancient times. Any insight or advice from those of you who have been doing this for a while would be greatly appreciated!
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