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For those of you that have created your own Science curriculum...


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Can you please give me a headstart? I would like to use some living books. I am not really sure what I want to study? Right now we are finishing up Apologia Botany. My children haven't retained much from it so I really need to try another route. I would love some ideas for living books and kits that are good that I could purchase. How do you go about making your own science curriculum?

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I'll try to give you an example of what I have planned for this semester...


Our theme is physics.


My kids are going to use DK Visual Encyclopedia of Science as a spine. I'm thinking about buying this one: http://www.amazon.com/Visual-Encyclopedia-Science-DK-Publishing/dp/0756607000/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1324551337&sr=8-1


(This is kinda WTM logic stage science in reverse.) It looks like each topic is a couple of pages in length, so we're going to read a topic together and maybe include some sketches or notes in their science notebooks. Then, we'll determine if there's an experiment or project we could do to go along with the topic. On Day 2, the kids will work on their experiment/project/model. On Day 3, the 10 yro and 9 yro are going to do a very short lab write-up (page 388 of TWTM).


I also have projects/labs planned that are not from the spine.


My son wants to try the Tekton Plaza Architecture kit. I'm going to have the older ones show the 7 yro how to use Snap Circuits. There is a book called Amazing da Vinci Inventions... http://www.amazon.com/Amazing-Leonardo-Vinci-Inventions-Yourself/dp/0974934429/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1324552085&sr=1-1 We're going to try that and see if we can work thru some of those projects. I have some physics science kits - like an optics kit...a kit on simple machines...etc


Also, I'm going to ask the kids, "What projects do you want to do?" My son has been begging to build a solar car, so I'm going to look for a kit or plans or something for that.


That's just our example.




BTW: my kids finished Apologia Botany in November. :D That was one difficult text to get through. I mean, sheesh! I have a Bachelor of Science in biology and (shamefully) I learned SO much. There is no way that is an elementary-aged text. :svengo: I doubt my kids retained the terminology...but just from the experiments/projects, I think they understand a lot more about plants than they did when we started the book. Kids remember much more than we think. :tongue_smilie:

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I keep it pretty simple - decide what you would like to study, choose a "spine" or a handful of books to read through on the subject, spreading the reading out over whatever length of time you've arranged for the study. I haven't used many kits (a few Magic School Bus kits which were okay) but I get a pile of science experiment books from the library and just buy all the supplies I don't have around the house and keep them in a box for use during science class.


If you're having trouble deciding on a topic, you could ask the kids what they would like to study and go from there.

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How religious was this? Thanks :)


Hmmm... Do you have a homeschool store where you live? It would be better if you were able to flip through it. Apologia's website has some samples on there, too.




I don't have a YE viewpoint and I'm always scared to mix religion and science (I have a degree in science and that seemed to be a huge no-no). But, I really like the Apologia Fulbright books. The Botany textbook didn't seem to have an overwhelming amount of religious reference in it. It will say stuff like, "God gave these plants these adaptations to survive...", etc. Also, each chapter has a Creation Confirmation section, which might be half a page of linking the concept to religion. Sometimes this section will talk about evolutionary theories and even YE theories (but this seemed more in the zoology books). I guess you could always skip that section.


I'm flipping through it now and it doesn't seem overly religious. On pg 85, there is a project that tells a bible story about Jesus (from Matthew). Page 125 has a paragraph that talks about "role of trees in Creation".


I wish you could see it at the store and flip through it. That would be the best way to see if it's a good fit for your homeschool.


We've used a lot of CLE, but we're not Mennonite. I'm used to skipping over things that I don't agree with...and I don't mind debating a little with my kids (if I don't agree with something).


Not sure if I helped you at all! :lol:

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Thanks for all the ideas! I'm going to check out the books on Amazon now. Would still love to see more ideas coming!





BTW, as far as what we are going to study, this is where the problem lies. My DD is extremely bored learning Botany. She was enjoying it in the beginning, but now I think it's becoming too much for her. My DS picked it at the beginning of the year and I already had it laying around. I just had to purchase the experiment kit. My son is still enjoying it, but he is using the regular notebook at 7 years old because they haven't made the Junior one yet. It is just too much writing for him. Im sure they are retaining some, but not a ton which is fine. My DD wants to study animals and DS wants to move on to physics. Ugh! There is no one subject they both agree upon. It makes it difficult.

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What I usually do first is pick which topics I want to study for the year. I generally aim for 36 topics, one per week of our school year. Then I look for a book or two, like a science encyclopedia, that will give us an overview of each topic. Then I look for living books that relate to each topic, and a few fun read-alouds that may be only loosely connected but will spark some interest. For example, I might choose "The Enormous Egg" when studying prehistory. It's a story of a boy whose chicken laid a huge egg, out of which hatches a triceratops, and much chaos ensues. There is absolutely nothing factual in the story, but it's delightful and helps the kids connect with the subject on an imaginative level. And I choose one or more science activity books or kits that relate to the topics we'll be studying.


Then I make a chart, with the weeks of the school year and their topics listed down the left hand side. Across the top I have columns for each of the spine books (science encyclopedia, etc.), a column for living books, and a read-aloud column. I correlate the books with the topics, so that if I look at the "Week 1: Weather" (or whatever) column I can see that pages 23-27 of X encyclopedia covers that topic, that such and such a library book is available on the subject, and that "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" would be a fun read-aloud. I can also see that I've purchased a weather station kit we can put together to learn about rain gauges and how to tell the temperature, etc. (It might also be helpful to have a column for videos, web resources, lapbook or notebook pages available, etc.--whatever fits for your situation)


At the beginning of each week I can check the chart and see what the science topic is for that week and what my available "buffet" of options for learning about it would be. Then I mull over how much time we will have, what with whatever else is going on in school, and just in the family that week, and I set three science "targets". 1) What is the minimum we need to do for my kids to have "learned about" topic X. Usually it's the spine reading, and maybe a written response of some kind. 2) How much do I reasonably think we will actually be able to accomplish in the allotted time? I try to aim for reading, writing, and doing (though not necessarily in that order) 3) If we have extra time, what would make some fun add-ons or opportunities for deeper exploration? That way I have some flexibility built in (my kids can be a little unpredictable). As long as we accomplish the minimum goal I can consider it a job well done, leave all the rest, and move on to the next topic the next week. We've "done" science, even if it was only me reading at them for 10 minutes at the dinner table and encouraging a little family dinner discussion about it (I try very hard to do more than this, but it's at least something, and on a "bad" week with lots of meltdowns and interruptions it feels good to be able to check off science on the list and get on with life). Any living books or read alouds I buy that we don't get to can just go in the general home library for future free reading time, and it's all good.


Anyway, that works at our house. :)


I haven't compiled a comprehensive list of books, but if you could give us an idea of what topics you're thinking of studying (once you decide) I could probably pitch a few ideas.


Good luck!

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We're doing Earth Science this year. I started with PH and that went over like a lead balloon. CPO not much better so now we're doing our own thing. Here's our schedule

We use Usborne World Geography (I-L) as a spine and bring in some Rader's Geography4Kids also. I occasionally use my Smithsonian "Earth" book for info as well.


Tuesdays- we read 2-4 pages from Ecyclopedia

Do outline

Wednesday- we do a project/lab

take notes

Thursday- Is a video or more reading from "living" books


as for the particular books? Just what we can find at the library that applies.

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I used a thin text that Rainbow Resource sells on Marine Biology for my 12 year old. At best it would only take half the year, but then I used a combination of books we already had and a few books I found to go with the text. I did a pretty simple alternate weeks plan. One week he would read the text and do the activity. The next week he would read stuff I had found on the same general topic.


I love these folks: http://www.acornnaturalists.com/ I started the year with having him read Under the Sea Wind that they carry. I never would have found it if not for them.

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I don't know that I'd call this creating my own science curric, but we have been studying Earth Science the fall quarter with Story of Rocks and Minerals by H. Fairbanks, which was a free resource from GoogleBooks.

I ran it past my BIL who is a geologist with USGS for content, because it is an older book, and he said that while the dating might be lacking due to the age of the book, the mineral content and identification of the rocks and discussions of past uses of the minerals was quite good for the age I was working with (my boys are in second grade.) I typically use the resource with a good rock kit, supplemented by findings at gems and minerals shows and what we find. We've done some field trips for rock collection, and I have taken some fossil finds for identification.

As far as a lot of experiments, we don't do them as much as we just go out and find things. I will burn specimens or test them with weak acids per the book, and I also have had them memorize compositions of rocks, the names of ores for certain metals, where certain metals can be found, etc.

They seem to enjoy it. And they actually like spouting off their facts and identifying the rocks.

I have not been pleased with most of the science curricula available for a lot of things. I find it more interesting to plan the course of study and find books that fit, rather than try to make the study conform to a book. But I don't know if that is really designing a science curriculum. (I tend to say that it's the response of a person that is just really hard to please!)

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