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Favorite Science for mixed ages and interests?


Paige
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Why is choosing a science program always so hard? I don't even really think they need to learn the facts of most science curricula in lower elementary but I still feel so much pressure to get a great program that we will love and, more importantly, do. I will have a 4th grader who is very interested in science and wants to go as deep into a topic as he can and who wants to go into a science related field when he grows up. He's very bright and motivated. I want to nurture his interests and make sure he is given all the tools he needs to excel and to be prepared for higher level sciences in high school and college. I also have 2 upcoming 2nd graders who are not self motivated and not super interested in science and would not be able to follow along with something written primarily for upper elementary kids.

 

We are doing Winter Promise science for the older and he loves it. It is way too hard for the youngers. The girls are doing Singapore Early Bird which they enjoy but is way too easy for the older student. My son's science takes up so much time that I either put it off until I am done with the girls' school and the day lasts forever, or I am not really paying as much attention to the girls as I should because I'm doing science with DS. I want something next year that I can have them all do most of it together and that we can do 2 days a week in large chunks rather than a little every day. We've also done kits from the Young Scientists' Club which were nice but too expensive and too scattered. I also will have a 4yr old who would like to tag along. With my son's science right now, it is so far over her head that mostly I have to tell her to go do something else if she comes over when we are doing it.

 

I think what I want is something that has the same text and experiments for multiple ages but then has different worksheets and lab reports by grade level. Does that exist? I'm picturing all of us discussing the topic, doing an experiment together, and then the kids will write it up and answer questions separately on their own paper with all of it planned out for me. I will not beef something up for my older child. I'm just being honest with myself- it won't happen. I may assign books on the topic for him but it won't go beyond that. I won't be able to happily skip things for my younger students either. I'm a box checker and it will keep me up at night if we don't finish something. I'm more concerned with a rigorous process that teaches scientific thinking than content. I do not want a science that pushes creationism. I am fine with Christian texts with a creationist bias but I don't want one that acts as if there is only one "right" opinion on the creationsim/evolution/old earth/young earth debate. Similarly, I don't want something that harps on evolution being a fact all the time either. I'd prefer something that doesn't even get into it unless the topic requires taking a position (like in geology) and that if a position is taken, the authors don't feel the need to defend their position all day. I want to teach them that educated people have different opinions on this and that they can remain undecided or take either position.

 

Does anything fit what I want? I've spent hours reading reviews and looking at choices online and it's hard to tell whether something would work or not without actually flipping through the books. The sciences are so expensive too that I am scared to make the wrong choice and be stuck with something we don't use or that we only do out of duty and not wanting to waste money.

 

For those of you who combine everyone for science, what have you loved and would you recommend it?

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