Jump to content

Menu

Who has done science the WTM way over the long haul?


Surfside Academy
 Share

Recommended Posts

I always stress about science even though my boys are only elementary age. We've tried numerous curriculums, tossed them aside and moved onto another but I've never been really satisfied with any. This year, I took SWB (and others) advice and majorly scaled it back. We're reading the Horrible Geography and Horrible Science books about various topics: oceans, rivers, islands, the poles, etc. I'll pick up a few library books to complement whatever topic we're reading about and they're keeping a science notebook and drawing a few illustrations...that's it.

 

The weird thing is that they seem to be learning (and enjoying) science this year. Is it really that simple? Have I been stressing out all these years for nothing? We'll probably move onto the Horrible Chemistry book next semester so I'll add a few experiments from Adventures with Atoms. I'm loving this year but at the same time wondering if it's enough. I know they can't do "real science" without advanced mathematics but I'm hoping I'm laying a good enough foundation. I think I am but there's always the nagging doubts that creep in...Plus, what do I do when we finish all the Horrible books? :scared:

 

I'd love to hear some others feedback!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My husband is a chemist, and every Christmas for decades I've listened to scientists and grad students muse about science education. Nearly all of them say several things:

 

1) Observation is a key skill to acquire over the years. You can't learn this through books alone. You can learn it easily right in your backyard (nature studies, rocks, astronomy, what mud does, how to make dams) or the beach or mountains, etc. It's hard to overemphasize the importance of unstructured messing around in the early years; don't be too eager to guide everything your kids do. But make sure to give them lots of materials to play with and lots of time to get dirty and explore.

 

Or you can learn observation through more formal experiments; this will happen more and more as they approach middle school age.

 

2) Boys, especially middle school boys, like big bangs and flames. They like spectacle. If you can possibly find science shows live in your area, take them (often museums have these). If not, let them watch DVDs or internet stuff. A British study recently claimed that girls were more attracted to science centered on the human body. However, my own dd certainly belies that finding and I suspect many girls are like her, and appreciate the flash-and-crash aspects of science best.

 

3) Most university level students do not have enough lab experience. (I tend to take this one with a grain of salt; as a literature professor I'm used to hearing lit people complain about student writing skills getting worse all the time, yet this sort of complaint has been going on since the 1800s).

 

I think the kind of reading you describe your kids doing sounds wonderful. If they are engaged, they'll learn, and they'll retain. They'll begin to make links with other aspects of things they read about, and with what they observe. Just make sure they continue to get lots of opportunity to do messy science too: build things, make models, invent formulas; experiment with scales, gears, pulleys, bubbles, dry ice; observe animals, natural geographical features, phases of the moon, seasonal changes, etc.; and make up experiments of their own.

 

If you are looking for a structured program that does some of these things for you, in a more guided but not totally teacher-directed way, I adored all the teachers guides from GEMS -- http://www.lawrencehallofscience.org/GEMS

 

These go through middle school only, but they are based in making things and honing observing skills.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't been doing WTM science long-term, and I'm interested in hearing what others say, but I just wanted to make a comment.

 

I had no exposure to chemistry until my senior year in high school. I never even owned a chemistry set. I took AP Chem my senior year, and I adored it. Then I went to college and majored in chemistry. I even did a year of grad school studying organic chemistry, before dd came along.

 

Soo.. I don't think you will ruin your kids forever by not doing rigorous science in elementary school. ;) I think it's more important to make it something they enjoy now, so that they won't be afraid of it later.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I totally agree with KarenAnne!

 

What you are doing is great! We have never been able to find a 'science program' we liked. They take the fun out of things. We mostly do experiments. My kids prefer doing things over reading about them. We do something and then we may read more, and often we watch something related. Both my boys are doing much better in Science than with any other subject area. I am starting to think I should have approached many things a bit more relaxed.

 

Susie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What do you remember of your own elementary science education?

 

Mine goes something like this

 

This really cool week in maybe 1st grade where we got cups full of rolypolys we used for expirements!

Nothing...nothing....nothing....

In fouth grade we disected cow eyeballs!

nothing...nothing...nothing...

In sixth grade we made bridges from straws and saw whose could hold the most books!

 

That's pretty much it from 7 years of school. The big fun things, none of the daily worksheet, lecture, planned lessons.

 

Then some really boring lecture/textbook classes in jr. high. I did enjoy it again by the time I got to high school.

 

I have always loved science. I think it is from my dad who always had us out finding rocks and fossils, growing gardens, catching fish to eat- but also seeing what they had been eating, and on and on. I don't think it was because anyone was making sure I had a complete and organized education in it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:bigear:

 

We are attempting to "do science" using TWTM recommendations and it is surprisingly more engaging for one of my daughters. I am also feeling like this is way too simple and easy and I wonder if my daughters will retain knowledge in this way. I really hope it sticks because curriculum hopping when it comes to science stresses me out!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've always used WTM methods for science. I feel as if it has served my children well. Neither of them are going to be science majors (at least I don't anticipate that at this time), but my older son had no problems doing a dual credit geology class when he was a freshman and then when he went back to a private school the next year, he did biology, chemistry, and physics and made it through all of them okay. He's in a physical anthropology class at college now and doing okay with it, too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love that you asked this question as I've already grown tired with our science curriculum because it's tough doing experiments with my wild 3yo ds running around. My eldest and I end up frustrated, and due to his perfectionist personality, meltdowns occur and it is affecting his learning.

 

In the past 2 weeks, I've reverted to the WTM way, and ds is loving reading books, watching science shows, and going outside to explore his surroundings. It feels incredibly simple, and I'm partially freaking out about it, but he's content, I'm content, and we are getting science done regularly now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Admittedly, we do a science curriculum. However as an engineer, my goals for my kids are two-fold...

 

1) I want my kids comfortable with science language. I don't think it's fair to wait until HS to introduce atom, work, etc...Then they have to learn a foreign language alongside the science concepts

 

2) I want them comfortable in 'the lab'. I was intimidated at first in HS and my sister who is a science teacher concurs that students are often uncomfortable in the laboratory.

 

I expect my kids will go into science or computers so we try to emphasize science. It does also include alot of reading and videos.

 

Brownie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Admittedly, we do a science curriculum. However as an engineer, my goals for my kids are two-fold...

 

1) I want my kids comfortable with science language. I don't think it's fair to wait until HS to introduce atom, work, etc...Then they have to learn a foreign language alongside the science concepts

 

2) I want them comfortable in 'the lab'. I was intimidated at first in HS and my sister who is a science teacher concurs that students are often uncomfortable in the laboratory.

 

I expect my kids will go into science or computers so we try to emphasize science. It does also include alot of reading and videos.

 

Brownie

 

 

 

I do have the same goals you have. I think you can accomplish this doing Science the WTM way. I guess, what I am saying is that just because you don't use a science curriculum doesn't mean that you don't cover science language or labs.

 

When my older ds was in 5th grade last year he was off the chart in two of the categories the state test covers. We did not (and never do) prepare for the test in any way. What we do is a lot of Science -- the fun way! BTW, this particular son will go into a science field, I am pretty sure, a research field no less.

 

Susie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest TheBugsMom

I haven't been doing TWTM way for long...just this year...but I am seeing so much more retention then with any text book we have used (with the exception of Apologia Elementary Science books). Not only retention, but more self directed inquiry.

 

I cannot for the life of me remember any science I did in elementary school, but I do remember the fossils I found in our rock garden and how it lead me to read books on fossils and rocks. I made a whole collection of fossils and rocks, lableling them and studying them. This then lead me down a path to dinosaur studies. My dad brought home a microscope and I was allowed to use it. I learned so much just with a microscope, all self directed and leading me in so many different directions. I remember this science, the stuff they taught me in school I don't remember.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I listened to SWB's science MP3 recently. In it, you are reading about science, observing nature and doing experiments, even in grammar stage. You're just not asking the child to state a hypothesis or write-up the experiment. Mostly, the child is learning observation skills by watching the parent do the experiment. She listed 2-3 science experiments books to use that use household items.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is it really that simple? Have I been stressing out all these years for nothing? I'd love to hear some others feedback!

 

Yes and yes! :D

 

My kids are all very math and science oriented. Out of my oldest 4, 3 want to pursue science careers (well, 1 is almost there) and the 4th has Aspergers and will never live independently, so statistically, he doesn't skew the % to 75%. ;)

 

We do not use textbooks until middle or high school. We do not spend hrs doing hands on science. They read whole books on whatever science topics they want.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm in no way saying you can't accomplish my goals the WTM way (learning the language of science and becoming comfortable with experimentation). For us the WTM way *might* work because my kids do a lot of science reading anyhow, but my kids really do better with structure. As much as I envisioned relaxing homeschool days on the couch, in the yard and doing projects, I have 3 rambunctious boys, 1 who is on the spectrum, and all 3 lose it when we are not highly structured. I'm probably ADD :) and therefore do much better with the structure too.

 

I was just sharing, as a science person, what my goals are for science. I think any plan that accomplishes those goals is a good one.

 

Brownie

Edited by brownie
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do have the same goals you have. I think you can accomplish this doing Science the WTM way. I guess, what I am saying is that just because you don't use a science curriculum doesn't mean that you don't cover science language or labs.

 

When my older ds was in 5th grade last year he was off the chart in two of the categories the state test covers. We did not (and never do) prepare for the test in any way. What we do is a lot of Science -- the fun way! BTW, this particular son will go into a science field, I am pretty sure, a research field no less.

 

Susie

 

:iagree:

 

Originally Posted by brownie

Admittedly, we do a science curriculum. However as an engineer, my goals for my kids are two-fold...

 

1) I want my kids comfortable with science language. I don't think it's fair to wait until HS to introduce atom, work, etc...Then they have to learn a foreign language alongside the science concepts

 

2) I want them comfortable in 'the lab'. I was intimidated at first in HS and my sister who is a science teacher concurs that students are often uncomfortable in the laboratory.

 

I expect my kids will go into science or computers so we try to emphasize science. It does also include alot of reading and videos.

 

Brownie

 

I think it is disingenuous to imply that not using a textbook means that they aren't exposed to scientific vocabulary. Nor does it mean that they will be at all intimidated by a lab.

 

Reading whole books on topics actually means they spend more time going into depth and have a greater concentration on topics than surveys of info as presented in textbooks.

 

Does it leave gaps this way? Absolutely. There are disciplines my kids do not cover.

 

Is it a problem? Hasn't been for any of my kids.

 

They all seem to (have)develop(ed) a strong inductive sense toward science and I believe it is from hrs upon hrs of scientific inquiry that is all interest driven. (My kids read 30-45 mins per day on science topics from the time they are good readers until 7th-9th grade (depends on when they actually go to a textbook).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:iagree:

 

 

 

I think it is disingenuous to imply that not using a textbook means that they aren't exposed to scientific vocabulary. Nor does it mean that they will be at all intimidated by a lab.

 

Reading whole books on topics actually means they spend more time going into depth and have a greater concentration on topics than surveys of info as presented in textbooks.

 

Does it leave gaps this way? Absolutely. There are disciplines my kids do not cover.

 

Is it a problem? Hasn't been for any of my kids.

 

They all seem to (have)develop(ed) a strong inductive sense toward science and I believe it is from hrs upon hrs of scientific inquiry that is all interest driven. (My kids read 30-45 mins per day on science topics from the time they are good readers until 7th-9th grade (depends on when they actually go to a textbook).

 

Just wondering if your kids do anything with the information they read (summaries or other essays, etc.)? I'd love to drop the boring Abeka text my daughter (4th grade) is using, but I like the dependability of a text that covers everything they *should* know at each grade level. How do you know your kids are understanding the material? Do you discuss it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am not 8filltheheart but I'll answer anyway! :)

 

We had a sort of natural progression. It look something like this:

 

1st grade: We would read books, talk about stuff, find things in the yard. Every once in a great while we'd draw something.

Outside of school we'd watch videos like the Magic School bus and documentaries--sometimes related; sometimes not related.

 

2nd grade: We would still read books and we started to do a lot more experiments. Otherwise, it stayed the same as in first.

 

3rd grade: We still read books and did experiments. Now we would write-up a lab page similar to what is stated in the WTM for the grammar stage student. We did not do this every time but slowly more and more often.

 

4th grade: This is where we started to switch a little bit. We did experiments first, wrote a lab report regularly (once a week), then did more reading (but only if we were interested).

 

5th grade: This is were my younger son is now. We start with an experiment, write a lab report, read more on the subject matter. Every once in a while we write a report on what we read. We do a drawing about twice a month (i.e. the heart, or the brain).

 

This is our formal science program. We do not stick with any curriculum but instead choose various books and resources based on our interests. On top of all this we do lots of science which we do not think of as school. To give an example: This is a week off for us. Today we went to the creek because we had a lot of rain yesterday. We wanted to see how deep the water got. We noticed how much the plants have grown because of the sudden water, we found large mushsrooms and brought one home to see if the seeds would fall out, we found a snail with a completely black body, and we brought home some leaves to dry. All of this is science, and all of this causes us to look things up.

Another example: this morning hubby and I discussed chemistry and the elements which led to a conversation about the periodic table and how it came to be. Again, we looked stuff up.

 

We do science during school hours to make sure we dedicate time to it. But we also do a lot of incindental science.

 

Now I am rambling...

 

Susie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sorry - I thought I said the WTM way would work to build vocabulary...it is just not the way we choose to do it at this time. I specifically said that any program that built vocabulary and developed comfort in 'the lab' would fit my personal goals for science. Based on my personal goals, I would find the WTM method to be a valid approach.

 

Of course books build vocabulary. It is likely the best way to build vocabulary. My children (8 and 10) do a significant amount of reading (i.e. 100-200 pages a day) including quite a bit of science reading outside of our curriculum. However we do choose to follow a textbook for science. This is what works best for us at this time. There can be many ways of accomplishing the same goals. I merely need the structure of a curriculum.

 

Brownie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sorry - I thought I said the WTM way would work to build vocabulary...it is just not the way we choose to do it at this time. I specifically said that any program that built vocabulary and developed comfort in 'the lab' would fit my personal goals for science. Based on my personal goals, I would find the WTM method to be a valid approach.

 

Of course books build vocabulary. It is likely the best way to build vocabulary. My children (8 and 10) do a significant amount of reading (i.e. 100-200 pages a day) including quite a bit of science reading outside of our curriculum. However we do choose to follow a textbook for science. This is what works best for us at this time. There can be many ways of accomplishing the same goals. I merely need the structure of a curriculum.

 

Brownie

 

If you don't mind me asking, what curriculum do you use and why?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am not 8filltheheart but I'll answer anyway! :)

 

We had a sort of natural progression. It look something like this:

 

1st grade: We would read books, talk about stuff, find things in the yard. Every once in a great while we'd draw something.

Outside of school we'd watch videos like the Magic School bus and documentaries--sometimes related; sometimes not related.

 

2nd grade: We would still read books and we started to do a lot more experiments. Otherwise, it stayed the same as in first.

 

3rd grade: We still read books and did experiments. Now we would write-up a lab page similar to what is stated in the WTM for the grammar stage student. We did not do this every time but slowly more and more often.

 

4th grade: This is where we started to switch a little bit. We did experiments first, wrote a lab report regularly (once a week), then did more reading (but only if we were interested).

 

5th grade: This is were my younger son is now. We start with an experiment, write a lab report, read more on the subject matter. Every once in a while we write a report on what we read. We do a drawing about twice a month (i.e. the heart, or the brain).

 

This is our formal science program. We do not stick with any curriculum but instead choose various books and resources based on our interests. On top of all this we do lots of science which we do not think of as school. To give an example: This is a week off for us. Today we went to the creek because we had a lot of rain yesterday. We wanted to see how deep the water got. We noticed how much the plants have grown because of the sudden water, we found large mushsrooms and brought one home to see if the seeds would fall out, we found a snail with a completely black body, and we brought home some leaves to dry. All of this is science, and all of this causes us to look things up.

Another example: this morning hubby and I discussed chemistry and the elements which led to a conversation about the periodic table and how it came to be. Again, we looked stuff up.

 

We do science during school hours to make sure we dedicate time to it. But we also do a lot of incindental science.

 

Now I am rambling...

 

Susie

 

I love your ideas! This has already been such a less stressful and more enjoyable year by throwing out the curriculum. It's ironic that I have struggled with science given that I have a Master's in Forensic Science. I just have never found anything that was fun and really excited their interest. This year we're just reading, experimenting, playing and having fun. What a difference!

 

We too are waiting for the rain to end to do a nature hike. It's such a change from So. California's usual October weather. Usually 1/2 the state is on fire by now...but I'm not complaining!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just wondering if your kids do anything with the information they read (summaries or other essays, etc.)? I'd love to drop the boring Abeka text my daughter (4th grade) is using, but I like the dependability of a text that covers everything they *should* know at each grade level. How do you know your kids are understanding the material? Do you discuss it?

 

I do not believe there is such a thing as everything they *should* know at each grade level in terms of science and young kids; I don't believe there is until high school science. (Guess that is why I feel zero stress!! ) My main goal in science for kids is developing a sense of awe on just how amazing creation is. It is an opportunity to explore interests, challenge themselves in their own understanding, and have fun investigating/creating what they studying.

 

Our approach is not even as organized as Susie's. Mostly, they read, read, read. Depending on what they are reading, they observe, record, draw. I do not control what they study. My only criteria is that it is science and they read 30-45 mins/day. (Last yr my then 5th grade dd spent 1/2 the school yr studying birds. She is a budding ornithologist. Why not?)

 

I do assign writing assignments across curricula, so every 2-3 week, I do pull their writing assignments from their science reading.

 

I know it freaks parents out to think that you can teach science this way. But, it has worked very successfully for my kids. They LOVE science. My 3 older kids I referenced in my earlier posts are examples. My oldest is a sr majoring in chemical engineering. My 11th grader is planning on majoring in forensic chemistry. My 9th grader wants to study astrophysics. None of them have struggled with science. They just eat it up. :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do not believe there is such a thing as everything they *should* know at each grade level in terms of science and young kids; I don't believe there is until high school science. (Guess that is why I feel zero stress!! ) My main goal in science for kids is developing a sense of awe on just how amazing creation is. It is an opportunity to explore interests, challenge themselves in their own understanding, and have fun investigating/creating what they studying.

 

Our approach is not even as organized as Susie's. Mostly, they read, read, read. Depending on what they are reading, they observe, record, draw. I do not control what they study. My only criteria is that it is science and they read 30-45 mins/day. (Last yr my then 5th grade dd spent 1/2 the school yr studying birds. She is a budding ornithologist. Why not?)

 

I do assign writing assignments across curricula, so every 2-3 week, I do pull their writing assignments from their science reading.

 

I know it freaks parents out to think that you can teach science this way. But, it has worked very successfully for my kids. They LOVE science. My 3 older kids I referenced in my earlier posts are examples. My oldest is a sr majoring in chemical engineering. My 11th grader is planning on majoring in forensic chemistry. My 9th grader wants to study astrophysics. None of them have struggled with science. They just eat it up. :lol:

I know I'm always begging you to explain more, but I just can't help myself. Lol do they pre-pick what science topics they want to study for the year, or do you just take them to the library weekly and let them choose. I have SL science K, but after having recently read the WTM science section I'm re-thinking. It just sounds much easier, and I'm concerned about covering so many subects so lightly and not going deeper at all. I have to pre-purchase all of our books because we don't have access to a library. Maybe I have to go with SL for that reason?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know I'm always begging you to explain more, but I just can't help myself. Lol do they pre-pick what science topics they want to study for the year, or do you just take them to the library weekly and let them choose. I have SL science K, but after having recently read the WTM science section I'm re-thinking. It just sounds much easier, and I'm concerned about covering so many subects so lightly and not going deeper at all. I have to pre-purchase all of our books because we don't have access to a library. Maybe I have to go with SL for that reason?

 

I've been discussing this with my dh, and he reminded me that Wikipedia has a wealth of info on any subject with the ability to go off on numerous rabbit trails. So, even without a library, you could purchase a science encyclopedia with internet links and be set.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do not believe there is such a thing as everything they *should* know at each grade level in terms of science and young kids; I don't believe there is until high school science. (Guess that is why I feel zero stress!! ) My main goal in science for kids is developing a sense of awe on just how amazing creation is. It is an opportunity to explore interests, challenge themselves in their own understanding, and have fun investigating/creating what they studying.

 

Our approach is not even as organized as Susie's. Mostly, they read, read, read. Depending on what they are reading, they observe, record, draw. I do not control what they study. My only criteria is that it is science and they read 30-45 mins/day. (Last yr my then 5th grade dd spent 1/2 the school yr studying birds. She is a budding ornithologist. Why not?)

 

I do assign writing assignments across curricula, so every 2-3 week, I do pull their writing assignments from their science reading.

 

I know it freaks parents out to think that you can teach science this way. But, it has worked very successfully for my kids. They LOVE science. My 3 older kids I referenced in my earlier posts are examples. My oldest is a sr majoring in chemical engineering. My 11th grader is planning on majoring in forensic chemistry. My 9th grader wants to study astrophysics. None of them have struggled with science. They just eat it up. :lol:

 

Thank you for giving me the motivation to drop the science text! My dd can't get enough of weather (especially tornadoes)! I'm off to the library website to reserve some books. :001_smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have collected a small library's worth of books over the yrs. But, lots of times I don't own books that they are interested in. We do use the library (they select titles via the internet catalog and we just have to swing in and pick them up.) However, topics they are passionate about, I just go ahead and buy. I have no idea how many bird books dd has. My oldest ds was fascinated by all things electrical when he was little (have no clue what made him want to major in chemical engineering. I would have guessed electrical!:confused: :D)

 

But honestly, for a primary age child, I would get some story type science books and read them aloud, follow the rabbit trails, and use the internet for info if you don't have a library. Some of older books are great. The science might be outdated, but I really don't worry about it when they are really little and the goal is to just have exposure. Books like Paddle to the Sea could offer months' worth of exploring for a Ker and a mom with time to sit and guide them.

 

Once they are around 3rd grade, that is the age they start reading non-fiction independently.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been discussing this with my dh, and he reminded me that Wikipedia has a wealth of info on any subject with the ability to go off on numerous rabbit trails. So, even without a library, you could purchase a science encyclopedia with internet links and be set.

 

That's a good point! Thanks for that tip! I wonder if the ency. that WTM suggests have internet links? :confused:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But honestly, for a primary age child, I would get some story type science books and read them aloud, follow the rabbit trails, and use the internet for info if you don't have a library. Some of older books are great. The science might be outdated, but I really don't worry about it when they are really little and the goal is to just have exposure. Books like Paddle to the Sea could offer months' worth of exploring for a Ker and a mom with time to sit and guide them.

 

Once they are around 3rd grade, that is the age they start reading non-fiction independently.

 

Are you talking about books like The Burgess Bird Book or something like that? No actual science books or are you meaning books like the Let's Read and Find Out About Science series?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You might want to check out the high school board to see what families with older students are doing for science if you are developing a long-range plan. There are many mothers on that board who have already prepared students for rigorous science fields. Also, you might want to look at the RC thread. The six Robinson children have all earned (or are earning) doctorates in science, and science for their early years was much like 8FillTheHeart. Read, read, read, and follow their interests. They lived on a farm, so they raised animals, and they were outdoors. When they completed calculus, they worked through chemistry and physics textbooks, and they studied/passed all the AP science tests.

Edited by 1Togo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you don't mind me asking, what curriculum do you use and why?

 

First, I want to apologize if I was anything but supportive of the OP. It was my intent to be so, from the perspective of a science person, though I do not myself use the WTM method for science. I think accomplishing your objectives is much more important than going through the motions of whatever curriculum (or non-curriculum) you choose.

 

Last year we used RS4K level 1 chem because we love chemistry. This year we are using CPO Life Science because we've done a lot of incidental physics along the way and I struggled to find physical science I liked at an appropriate level, so it was time to fit in some life science (which is not the top choice of my kids).

 

Admittedly it is a lot of work and even here where we love science, hard to fit in the schedule. But like I said, my kids don't respond well to the days I will call 'relaxed' for lack of a better term. Yesterday for example, I wanted to pull my hair out! We did math (fine), followed by a field trip to the nature center for 2 hours (ds10 couldn't have looked more bored and all 3 wanted to leave during the lesson component), followed by an afternoon building lego robotics and programming. Sounds fun right? But the kids were arguing, whining, etc...the whole way through. It frustrates me, but they just seem happier sitting at a table with a textbook in front of them!

 

Brownie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Admittedly it is a lot of work and even here where we love science, hard to fit in the schedule. But like I said, my kids don't respond well to the days I will call 'relaxed' for lack of a better term. Yesterday for example, I wanted to pull my hair out! We did math (fine), followed by a field trip to the nature center for 2 hours (ds10 couldn't have looked more bored and all 3 wanted to leave during the lesson component), followed by an afternoon building lego robotics and programming. Sounds fun right? But the kids were arguing, whining, etc...the whole way through. It frustrates me, but they just seem happier sitting at a table with a textbook in front of them!

 

 

Brownie,

 

Your post cracks me up! My kids do the same thing when we do formal fieldtrips. I think the problem is that they can do many things much faster than they are allowed to on such trips. The lesson components are very schoolish which we find boring. I find them boring, too. That's why we go on informal field trips. In other words, we pick not only where we are going but also how long we are staying, which part WE think is important or interesting, and what else (if anything) we are doing with that information. My boys (like yours) will choose to stay home and do math (their least favorite subject) instead of going on any structured fieldtrip.

 

I think John Holt mentioned in one of his books why kids like certain things in school but not outside of school. Fieldtrips is one of those things. In school a fieldtrip is the better (more fun) choice for most kids; at home this is not necessarily so.

 

Susie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You might want to check out the high school board to see what families with older students are doing for science if you are developing a long-range plan. There are many mothers on that board who have already prepared students for rigorous science fields. Also, you might want to look at the RC thread. The six Robinson children have all earned (or are earning) doctorates in science, and science for their early years was much like 8FillTheHeart. Read, read, read, and follow their interests. They lived on a farm, so they raised animals, and they were outdoors. When they completed calculus, they worked through chemistry and physics textbooks, and they studied/passed all the AP science tests.

 

Thanks for sharing! I'm going to search for it. :auto:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Brownie,

 

Your post cracks me up! My kids do the same thing when we do formal fieldtrips. I think the problem is that they can do many things much faster than they are allowed to on such trips. The lesson components are very schoolish which we find boring. I find them boring, too. That's why we go on informal field trips. In other words, we pick not only where we are going but also how long we are staying, which part WE think is important or interesting, and what else (if anything) we are doing with that information. My boys (like yours) will choose to stay home and do math (their least favorite subject) instead of going on any structured fieldtrip.

 

I think John Holt mentioned in one of his books why kids like certain things in school but not outside of school. Fieldtrips is one of those things. In school a fieldtrip is the better (more fun) choice for most kids; at home this is not necessarily so.

 

Susie

 

 

This makes sense to me....I was scratching my head here b/c my dc LOVE science-y field trips. We have never ever done any formal trips though...yeah, my dc would balk and moan and probably even cry if they were told they couldn't go do (the thing they are truly interested in) b/c the rest of the group is doing (the thing the adult chose). OTOH, if my 7yo had the attention of a naturalist for an hour (and had the freedom to ask 101 questions:tongue_smilie:) he would never want to go back home. We took them to a big science center several weeks ago and the only 'tude we got was when it was time to go home...BUT, we (the parents) followed them around instead of the other way around. There was lots of "Oh, look...remember when we read about the______...can we try it?" (and on to the next thing when interest waned)

 

:bigear: to this thread b/c I am inclined to let them follow their interests, read, do, and write. They do a bunch of science in their play and I make sure a good portion of our read alouds are science exposure. Why drag them away from building catapults in the backyard to make them do a canned "experiment" and fill in a worksheet on simple machines??? kwim.

 

 

 

Mine are young though...I'm still :bigear:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, I think what is needed evolves as the kids get older. When my kids were ages 3-9ish, just following their interest, doing experiments in their area of interest worked really well. Now as my kids are getting older, I'm finding that might not be enough. They start asking questions in biology for instance and I realize they need to know some chemistry to understand it or physics etc.

 

But textbooks can serve their purpose. My boys loved the RS4K textbooks. They'd just sit and read it or we'd all read it together and then do experiments. It was a great, fun, and easy way to give them the chemistry foundation they needed.

 

This year we're trying CPO Life Science and will see how it goes using a more structured approach. Yesterday we were discussing asking questions, formulating hypotheses, theories etc when carnivorous plants came up. I asked a question and formulated a hypothesis. DS10 put forth a different hypothesis. We can't readily test them but he agreed to research the issue and report back to us. So we're not constrained by the textbook but rather use it as a springboard, roadmap of the area we need to cover but not the actual roads we have to take to get there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are you talking about books like The Burgess Bird Book or something like that? No actual science books or are you meaning books like the Let's Read and Find Out About Science series?

 

I don't know anything about any of the titles you listed. But, I can share that I detest books like Usborne books. They make me feel ADD.....too many pictures, too many things on a page. I prefer books that are written like chapter books with only the odd picture or diagram in them. :tongue_smilie:

 

Holling C. Holling books are more like stories that offer lots of bunny trails to follow both in history and science. Burgess's stories are another great source for science (a great lead into nature studies) I have never seen his bird book, though.

 

I have used Anne Comstock's book before, but I find it easier to create something on our own using our own sources/field guides than her book.

 

I don't like anything presented in kiddie language or kiddie level. I typically never use anything written below a 4th-5th grade level. There are tons of great articles and sources available online to supplement a "bunny trail" approach for the primary grades. (I typically search the topic + for kids to find sources)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not sure exactly how this philosophy lines up with WTM, but they have been doing it over the long haul

***************************************************************************

 

Science

 

happy.gifWonder and curiosity about the natural world lead to observation, classification, and ultimately to science and technology. It is best for the child to be led into the world of science through these same steps.

 

The traditional elementary science curriculum includes topics which are also naturalist hobbies - bird, tree, and wildflower identification, butterflies, insects, bees, and star-gazing. Students learn much about science (morphology, physiology, classification, habitats, etc.) through the detailed study of stars, bugs, birds, and trees.

 

The lower school science curriculum also includes the study of the Latin roots of scientific names, as well as a beautiful anthology of English nature poetry. Students in grades K-6 learn to take delight in nature through reading Nature Readers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I expect my kids will go into science or computers so we try to emphasize science. It does also include alot of reading and videos.

 

What kinds of videos for science do you all use for upper elementary and middle school?

 

My boys love Mythbusters and Time Warp (when it was on), but don't watch much else. Though I must say that they learn TONS from Mythbusters, including how to plan experiements, how things don't always go as planned, and how to revisit experiments to further pursue the question. Of course, their favorite parts have to do with flash, bang, and kaboom! LOL!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

we do choose to follow a textbook for science. This is what works best for us at this time. There can be many ways of accomplishing the same goals. I merely need the structure of a curriculum.

 

:iagree:

 

My boys are 7th-graders, and after trying to use all "living books" the first 9 weeks of school for "middle school physics", I am finding that we prefer a textbook as our "sprine" or "anchor" for science. It gives us a framework to use and branch off from for other readings and interests.

 

So we just started this week with a Science Explorer module/book that I picked up from eBay, and we will still supplement with plenty of other books, biographies, and of course, we are doing at least 1-2 "labs" each week. The next thing I have in store for them is to start keeping a science lab notebook that contains everything they are doing during their lab time and for collecting their data. We are not, for various reasons, up to the point of doing a formal lab report every week, but that is the direction I am heading.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know anything about any of the titles you listed. But, I can share that I detest books like Usborne books. They make me feel ADD.....too many pictures, too many things on a page. I prefer books that are written like chapter books with only the odd picture or diagram in them. :tongue_smilie:

 

 

THANK YOU! I thought that I was the only one who felt this way about those books. I hated that I was missing out on the love, but I couldn't get past all the jumble of images.

 

(What a relief!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know anything about any of the titles you listed. But, I can share that I detest books like Usborne books. They make me feel ADD.....too many pictures, too many things on a page. I prefer books that are written like chapter books with only the odd picture or diagram in them. :tongue_smilie:

 

Holling C. Holling books are more like stories that offer lots of bunny trails to follow both in history and science. Burgess's stories are another great source for science (a great lead into nature studies) I have never seen his bird book, though.

 

I have used Anne Comstock's book before, but I find it easier to create something on our own using our own sources/field guides than her book.

 

I don't like anything presented in kiddie language or kiddie level. I typically never use anything written below a 4th-5th grade level. There are tons of great articles and sources available online to supplement a "bunny trail" approach for the primary grades. (I typically search the topic + for kids to find sources)

 

Okay, so we're talking about non-fiction science or animal literature- chapter books. I think I've got it now. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I found the Robinson Curriculum thread if that is what you are referring to. However, I went and searched for Robinson currciulum on the www and I think that would be more helpful. Here is their website:

 

http://www.robinsoncurriculum.com/

 

I haven't had enough time to really research it, yet.

 

Thanks. I didn't know what "RC" meant, but you obviously did. I was "tailgating" your little car guy to see what you found out LOL!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not sure exactly how this philosophy lines up with WTM, but they have been doing it over the long haul

***************************************************************************

 

Science

 

happy.gifWonder and curiosity about the natural world lead to observation, classification, and ultimately to science and technology. It is best for the child to be led into the world of science through these same steps.

 

The traditional elementary science curriculum includes topics which are also naturalist hobbies - bird, tree, and wildflower identification, butterflies, insects, bees, and star-gazing. Students learn much about science (morphology, physiology, classification, habitats, etc.) through the detailed study of stars, bugs, birds, and trees.

 

The lower school science curriculum also includes the study of the Latin roots of scientific names, as well as a beautiful anthology of English nature poetry. Students in grades K-6 learn to take delight in nature through reading Nature Readers.

 

Thank you for sharing!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...