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Does anyone have experience withOM Science for middle school? I am mainly looking at Basic Life and Basic Physics (6th and 8th grade courses). This for my very sciency son. How easy was it to find supplies? Depth okay? Would Rainbow Science be a better (though more $$$) choice? Just basically anything and everything you can tell me.

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I haven't used 8th yet. Using 6th now. While I like it, and my daughter likes it, I hesitate to say that YOU (as a mom on a classical education board speaking of a "very sciency son") would find the depth to be enough. You've used OM before, right? You know how it is, some people find it to be a bit "light" as it is because it's not real textbookish/workbookish, which doesn't really bother me, because I really like the curriculum as a whole and can appreciate its philosophy, integration, hands on stuff, the way it doesn't bore my kids and so on, especially with the English/Social studies. But if you're looking for real in depth science for a kid really into science I don't know that you'd find it to be enough.


Some of the stuff they have us doing is stuff that some may consider to be for younger elementary kids, different plant experiments and stuff. Put a plant into a dark cabinet for five days and note what happens/record your observations. Put a plastic bag over a plant for a few hours and note what happens. Put celery in water with food coloring and note what happens. Grow different seedlings and periodically dig them up and sketch them, chart their growth, etc. Cut different vegetables and fruits in half, look inside them, draw what you see. Draw and label a picture depicting photosynthesis. Play rock music for this plant and classical music for that plant and see if one grows faster. Weigh a pound of spinach, place it in the oven on the lowest setting you can for two hours, let it cool then weigh it again. Record the new weight, describe the change in appearance, explain the reason for the changes and finally compute the weight of the water in the fresh spinach by subtracting the ending weight from the beginning weight. Etc.


There are brief reading assignments for each lesson in the syllabus written to the student, sometimes they do writing assignments, sometimes they draw pictures, they get choices of projects and activities which can vary quite a bit in nature. For example, on the lesson on "Stems and Trasnportation" and "Leaves," at the end of the lesson for that lesson's project they could either choose to do:


1. Leaf art (gather leaves, compare intricate webbing vein systems, draw the leaves, notice the texture, paint the underside of the leaf and press it onto paper, make leaf rubbings and so on)


2. Make rainbow flowers (this involved getting white flowers such as carnations or daisies and splitting their stems into like four parts about halfway up and putting each piece of split stem into cups with food coloring and water attached to a stick with a piece of tape and setting in sunny spot so that the stem would transfer the colored water up each piece of split stem and turn the white flower rainbow colors)


3. Study stems of all sorts (Before going outside think about the different characteristics that you know stems have and write them down. Example: rough, smooth, coarse, prickly, hairy). Then go outside and look for stems with the characteristics you have listed and add any new ones you discover. Think about the benefits the different stem types have for the plant. Write one benefit next to each characteristic on your list. do any characteristics have similar benefits?


4. Study leaves. Take six stems of celery with their leaves still attached. Take three of the stems and cut off the leaves entirely. Par the celery stems so each pair has one piece of celery w/leaves and one w/o. Put each pair of stalks in a diff environment for about an hour. For example, one could go in the refrigerator, one in a glass of water, and one by the window. Which stalk in each set seems strongest and is less wilted? Are all of the stalks w/leaves less wilted or was it diff for each set? Can you draw any conclusions?


...Still other lessons might include a creative writing assignment or a drawing or more of a crafty type thing or interviewing somebody or researching something as one of their project choices, so they can vary a lot.


Granted this is an older version of the curriculum and we're not ridiculously far into it because we're splitting our sixth grade year up into two years so not sure what else we may end up doing later on (we just finished lesson 9). I mean I know it eventually goes into animals and people and not just plants but for now we're just doing plant type stuff.


Anyway, hopefully this gives you a better idea of what it is like.

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Is it all planned out for you? Can a child do most of it on their own? I am thinking of using OM next year for 7th and 9th grades. I need something that is already planned out so the girls (and mom) know what to do each day.


Well, I have a 1998 edition of Oak Meadow 6 and it's basically a short lesson written to the student that they read (2-5 pages usually), and then it tells them a few things they are supposed to do that week and it's up to you guys how you break that down over the week.


So for example in lesson 7 she had to read a couple of pages on soil and nutrients, fertilizers, bacteria and compost.


Then there were several numbered assignments for that lesson.


1. Do you have a plant or vegetable garden? If the answer is yes, answer the following questions. If the answer is no, your exercise will take the form of an interview. Find a friend or neighbor that has a garden. Write down this person's name and relationship to you. If you can find neither a friend or neighbor who gardens, you may call a local nursery and interview a worker or manager there. Answer the following questions.

a. What kinds of plants or vegetables do you grow?

b. What are the uses of these plants or vegetables? Do you water them? How often?

c. Do you use fertilizers? If so, what types are used? How often are they used?

d. Do you compost your kitchen wastes? If so, what types of things do you put into your compost?


2. Take one of your cups that has seedlings in it and using a pair of scissors, cut the cup down one side so that you can look at the soil inside. Examine it closely. Identify as many different things in it as you can. Determine as best you can how much of each thing makes up the total composition of the soil. You can use either fractions or percentages. What things are also in the soil that you cannot see?


3. Carefully remove one of each type of seedling from each of the other seed pots. Draw a picture of each of them and label each of their different parts.


4. Go to a local garden center and find three different types of fertilizers. List each of them and for each, research and write down the following:

a. recommended uses

b. types of minerals in each

c. how and how much should be applied

d. price


...so how that is split up and applied over the week is up to you. And then there's a choice of projects to also complete for the lesson. And for that lesson the choices were: create compost, grow your own soil-less narcissus, invent your own soil-less plant environment, and seek soil squirmers. For each of those things, they gave you tips and/or instructions on how to go about each thing.


That's about the extent of how it is 'laid out.'


So sometimes it's having you get things from a grocery store, sometimes it's having you do hands on stuff, sometimes it's suggesting you go to a store (and sometimes we do so, other times we may decide to go online instead)...

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I haven't seen OM life science or physics, but I have extensively reviewed OM earth science. I would not recommend it as anything other than a supplement to a sciency child (or even any child really). There is way too little information in the syllabus (which is supposed to serve as a main text) and some of the information is actually incorrect. The book looks like it has been produced in someone's basement, with highly pixillated images that have obviously been pulled off the internet. For the amount of money they're charging, I would think that they would have hired a decent illustrator.


Now, all that said, as a supplement, it could work really well. Some of the assignments are pretty interesting.

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My dd is using OM 6 Life Science this year. Though she enjoys it and it is independent, I feel like it doesn't touch back on lessons already learned. There is really no "review" or constant review on scientific terms.

But, a solution for that would be to make up your own review for x amount of lessons discussed already, having them take notes on key terms and main ideas while reading(outlining), and I've added in Lyrical Life science songs and worksheets to beef it up.

I'm actually contemplating on using OM Earth Science or starting Rainbow Science for my dd for 7th.

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