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Talk to me about Science Curr.


carrie_irene
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So before I had kids, I taught Science in the public middle schools. I love love love science. BUT....the idea of teaching my young kids science is foreign (not scary though) to me. My son will be somewhere in the 1/2 grade level, and my daughter in the K/1 level, with two more littles behind them.

 

There seems to be alot of science stuff out there....and I don't plan on doing it everyday at this point. I like somd hands-on...but I also want them to GET IT....not just do things that are cool. Make sense?

 

So what do YOU like for this age. And with a mom and dad that both love math and science.

 

Thanks!

Carrie

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Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding and R.E.A.L Science Odyssey Life Science. We're doing both. We started BFSU in K, but started it over in 1st (because I had a baby and we didn't get much formal science done, so I wanted to start back at the beginning). We do science on Thursdays and do a lesson from each one that day.

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I'm kind of in the same place you are. I taught middle school science in Christian schools for 11 years. I loved it. We did all sorts of experiments pertaining to Newton's Laws, built weather stations, did rocketry, had this electricity unit that was a blast - did this huge project with circuits using aluminum foil and Christmas tree lights (I taught at a Christian school, had no budget, but we did some fantastic activities). But, here I am teaching my 1st & 2nd grader science and not really like it all that much. We're doing science the way TWTM recommends, using Usborne materials. We haven't really enjoyed anything until the past couple weeks. We started astronomy after CHristmas and the boys have really really gotten into the space race and rockets. So, we've been studying rockets (from books) for the last couple of weeks and that's been fun. THe hardest part is that they are young, so experiments are difficult and don't always work and I get mad and they get in trouble and what could have been a fun time turns into me yelling and sending everyone to their rooms while I clean up the mess.:001_smile:

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Krissi...your thoughts pretty much sums up exactly what I was thinking! I know that I will be all gung-ho, then get bummed when DS doesn't get it, or doesn't love it, or loves it too much and gets crazy and breaks something! =) I think sometimes the hardest subjects to teach are the ones you love the most because you have such high expectations that they will love it as much as you do!

 

I will look into the others mentioned. I had come across Nancy Larson's....and would love to hear more thoughts on her stuff. I am doing Saxon 1 and 2 now, and I really like her methodical, incremental approach to math. So I am interested in her science as well.

 

I was thinking about Apologia - maybe astronomy (which I love!), but again, don't want my expectations to be so high that my kiddos don't have a chance! :tongue_smilie:

 

Carrie

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We've been using R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Life, and have been enjoying it. That is for my peace of mind, so that I don't feel I'm missing something critical.

 

My science-minded kiddo (1st grade) would just die if we limited it to only Life this year though, so we follow a lot of rabbit trails. Lots of library visits and online searches to find interesting info and experiments.

 

We check out every discovery type museum we find when traveling, too, which has been a lot of fun.

 

We also supplement with Lentil Science - which was quite an experience to set up, but now that we have it all together it's a great activity.

 

And, of course, we have the "science bin" full of safe science exploration tools - accessible all day.

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We love Nancy Larson Science, but I am not talented in the science department so it might be more than what you would need. My 2nd and K boys are doing level 1 together and love it and are learning a lot!

 

I second this!!! This is so perfect for the age of your kids...they would LOVE it

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I second the recommendation of Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding.

 

Also, not a curriculum but fun and informative for those ages - Let's Read and Find Out Science. There are over 100 titles in two series aimed at children pre-k through grade 2. Many of the titles include simple experiments.

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I had come across Nancy Larson's....and would love to hear more thoughts on her stuff.Carrie

 

This is what I like about the NL science.

 

1) it is ALL included...everything you would need. The materials for the experiements, some books and picture cards and even real life x-rays for the human body chapter and a butterfly hatchery.

 

2) it is all scripted out for you in the TE. Some like that, other's don't...but just because it is all there, doesn't mean you have to read all of it word for word...but if you want to, it's there.

 

3) she reviews previous concepts learned throughout the program.

 

4) the customer service is the best I have ever encountered. My kids ranch from 6-10 and they have helped me put together enrichment activities for my older 2, so that my younger one may benefit from this program.

 

5) the language is easy to understand, the written work is helpful and not busy work. My olders don't even complain that it's boring...even though it is a little easy for them (we are doing #1 becasue I wanted them to get used to her way of doing things before going on to harder ideas...plus I didn't want them to miss the butterfly hatchery and the x-rays.)

 

I am sold on this program and I have tried others. The ones I have tried mostly flopped with me becasue I had to find the materials needed and living in a rural area (45 minutes away from the nearest Wal-mart type store) gathering supplies NEVER happened. Plus, I really wanted more information printed out and she does that.

 

If you have more questions about it, I would be happy to answer them for you.

 

Kathy

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This is my first year teaching my science loving second grader. He loves anything involving animals so I chose the Apologia zoology books. He loves them! He begs me to read them. The experiments are very simple and easy to do and they relate well to the subject being studied. Also, my dad was a middle school science teacher for 40 years and he told me, "That book is great. It has so much information in it. My school would never let me use a book like that (even if it wasn't Christian based) because they would say that it has too much information for middle school students to learn." I like how it's written in a conversational style to the student and my son likes going a little more indepth on a subject.

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I've had a number of different science curriculum and all of them fall flat at our house. I've had the best luck with having lots of science based books around and from the library (we always have a science read aloud going - right now rocks and minerals). We have science kits - physics, snap circuits, crystals, etc. And then we use our 2 local science museums, nature centers, classes, the zoo, and summer camps. My oldest still tests well ahead of grade level in science.

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For the OP, NL is probably overkill (don't need the scripting and presumably comfortable gathering materials, though NL looks esp great for a non-sci parent). It is a bit pricey compared to other options.

 

REAL Science is a solid secular option by Pandia Press and you can download the first several lessons for free to try out.

 

I love BFSU -- really grounded and spot on in terms of core of what science is and isn't. It interleaves the different threads of science (chem, physics, biology) so you won't get bored doing a year of one subject, though his flowchart makes me chuckle. He also has a 2nd book out for 3-5 grade as a $5 ebook.

 

There's also a 4 year elementary science curriculum put out by an 8th grade science teacher (Edit: first year is FREE):

http://www.eequalsmcq.com/classicsciinfo.htm

 

Once you get to MS age, there's some other great resources, many of which are free.

Edited by ChandlerMom
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There seems to be alot of science stuff out there....and I don't plan on doing it everyday at this point. I like somd hands-on...but I also want them to GET IT....not just do things that are cool. Make sense?

 

 

Yes - complete sense. I think something like BFSU is good. I don't go in for the 4-year science cycle like WTM suggests. I used to teach middle school science too ;-), and I LOVE science. Mostly, I try help my kids build the fundamentals of science process: observations, questions, curiosity, setting up an experiment to test their hypothesis (with good understanding of controlled and manipulated variables), and analysis. We supplement with content area they are interested in (volcanoes, dinosaurs, anatomy, whatever) with some great trade books and reference books. My philosophy is the content and the process have to be studied together, and with a higher emphasis on process in the early years so that they can understand content (and WHY/HOW that content was discovered) more thoroughly later. Building those process skills is setting them up to not only understand, but *do* good science.

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We love Nancy Larson Science, but I am not talented in the science department so it might be more than what you would need. My 2nd and K boys are doing level 1 together and love it and are learning a lot!

 

Just looked into this on their website, but while it looks like it would be fun, the cost is.....WOW! :ohmy:

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Just looked into this on their website, but while it looks like it would be fun, the cost is.....WOW! :ohmy:

 

That was my first thought too. But when I factored in that I was using this for two children, $150/child didn't seem that unreasonable. (And that number will be even lower per chidl if I use it for my young boys too, which I intend to do.) Pretty much everything is included, and I found that when I attempted another science program last year we had to buy a lot of items (even though they were supposedly "household" items, we never seemed to have them around our house). The bottom line for me is that this is a curriculum that we actually use each and every day, making it worth every cent because this is a subject that I mostly was avoiding until we began using NL.

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Another vote for Real Science Odyssey or Real Science 4 Kids. Both are excellent, IMO.

 

Ds is using Odyssey Life this year and used RS4K Chemistry Pre-Level 1 last year. RS4K isn't a whole year long, though.

 

I haven't used it yet, but I really wanted to try the Christian Kids Explore series, so ds will be using their Earth and Space next year.

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For the OP, NL is probably overkill (don't need the scripting and presumably comfortable gathering materials, though NL looks esp great for a non-sci parent). It is a bit pricey compared to other options.

 

This was my thought, too, for the OP. I think you'd be able to pull off NL without all the expense and hand-holding.

 

Personally, I'm using Elemental Science now, which follows the WTM cycles, and we are really enjoying it. However, we used Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding for K, and I highly, highly recommend it for you. The way he suggests thinking about science will probably resonate. Someone else posted a thread with info, so I won't go too in-depth. But we never had any yelling or disasters with the experiments or the lessons (and that's something I worried about, too :D).

 

I think a good experiment book that's age-appropriate will go a long way for you, too. Elemental Science uses Janice VanCleave books, and we have enjoyed those, even though the explanations are written above a 1st grade level. We also own 365 Simple Science Experiments and often check out different experiment books from the library.

 

Good luck finding something that fits.

 

Ooooh, another idea to consider would be the Singapore My Pals Are Here series. I don't remember for sure at what age it starts, but I believe there is something for K and 1st.

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We tried to do a "Science Curriculum" and it nearly bored us to tears! We tried Apologia, Science Explorer, and a few others. I really, really, really disliked them. Finally it dawned on me that I hated textbooks. :glare: I now use textbooks for Math and Grammar/Spelling but everything else we do in a more CM way.

 

I am loosely following Ambleside Online's Science form. We have always been the "living Science everyday kind of family" and AO falls more into our lifestyle. With me having a degree in Biology and my husband being a Mechanic..... Science opportunities just seem to find us. My advice to someone who loves science is to put down the textbook and "Take chances, Get messy, make mistakes!"

 

I will say........ I have just started using these books we saw used on AO......... A Physics lab in your home ---series. We love them and will do some experiments from them today. :)

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Another vote for BFSU. For us, it hasn't been too involved as far as planning. I skim over the chapter the week before so I know what is coming up. The entire program is discussions with your child and experiments. I keep the book open and refer to it as we talk about the subject. That way I don't feel pressured to have all the answers. Ds doesn't mind. In fact, he's been known to pull the book toward him to read it for himself. We're still just starting, but so far the experiments have been simple, easy, and very effective in illustrating the point. I always get extra living books from the library about the topic too.

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There seems to be alot of science stuff out there....and I don't plan on doing it everyday at this point. I like somd hands-on...but I also want them to GET IT....not just do things that are cool. Make sense?

 

Sorry, I don't have time to write more or to read PP comments, but from what you asked it sounds like Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding (BFSU) would be perfect for you!

 

There is also an Yahoo group for the book that the author is active on, which is a useful resource.

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My kids loved reading a section from the encyclopedia and then narrate a passage back to me. They would draw a picture and then I would write their narration on the page. We would find books at the library on their favorite subject and read, read, read.

 

I also included nature study and LOVE this site, handbookofnaturestudy.blogspot.com. She gives all the information needed to do nature study, along with print outs to fill out. My kids still love this and for 5 years now we do weekly nature walks and keep a nature journal.

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