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for science and history... what do you do? We've NEVER had luck with history or science curriculums around here and I'm looking for some inspiration. We love to read living books, biographies, and watch documentaries. Unfortunately, with the assignment heavy schedule, there isn't much time left over. I'm daydreaming about ditching the curricula in favor of reading, discussing and watching good films...That thread about a more relaxed homeschool has only encouraged the daydreaming.

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curious how old your kids are

 

2 years ago for world history, i basically used Usborne encyclopedia of world history (they seem to rename it every time they update it, they are all the same i think) as a spine. Well, i actually didnt realize it covered pre-history. We started with the big bang and the universe and evolution, largely with videos and library books. Then we just read 2 pages a day from the encyclopedia, with my older one also reading A Little History (Gombach?), and i brought in various library books and netflix videos when they seemed relevant. I also put up a blank timeline (which i made on excel) on the wall, and occasionally printed out pictures from the web of stuff we studied.

 

Then we switched to US history - we are reading Joy Hakim's History of US - which we just read. I still bring in occasional videos or books, but not as much as there is so much text. I try to read two chapters a day, but its 10 books with 30-40 chapters each (chapters are 2-10 pages). so i dont supplement as much. we only got through 4 books . . i think i supplemented too much!

 

this year for science for my 9 yo, i gathered all the science books we have in the house and bought some more. I put them all together in a bin. every day, he has to pick a book, read it for 20 minutes, and pick one sentence to do as copy work. thats it. I dont care if he learns the same things everyone else is learning - this kid is stubborn and he is totally happy with this arrangement. I am confident that when he's older he will do fine with more rigor, but for now, i believe this is enough.

 

i consider myself relaxed ecclectic, so maybe i'm the wrong person to be on this forum, but i DID at least read the book :001_smile:

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How old are your kids?

Prior to high school, we use a lot of library books, documentaries, online resources, literature, with lots of freedom for the student to explore his own interests.

To me, the goal of science and history education in the logic stage is to create a broad knowledge base. I try to create an overview over historical periods and important events (and the student may dwell on specific topics of his interest as he chooses) and an overview of scientific facts, theories, concepts, topics - without trying to be comprehensive or strictly systematic.

Based on the foundation of this broad knowledge I can then, in high school, do a systematic, formal study of science and a more analytical treatment of history that goes beyond the persons and events, to the reasons, ideas, big developments.

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curious how old your kids are

 

2 years ago for world history, i basically used Usborne encyclopedia of world history (they seem to rename it every time they update it, they are all the same i think) as a spine. Well, i actually didnt realize it covered pre-history. We started with the big bang and the universe and evolution, largely with videos and library books. Then we just read 2 pages a day from the encyclopedia, with my older one also reading A Little History (Gombach?), and i brought in various library books and netflix videos when they seemed relevant. I also put up a blank timeline (which i made on excel) on the wall, and occasionally printed out pictures from the web of stuff we studied.

 

Then we switched to US history - we are reading Joy Hakim's History of US - which we just read. I still bring in occasional videos or books, but not as much as there is so much text. I try to read two chapters a day, but its 10 books with 30-40 chapters each (chapters are 2-10 pages). so i dont supplement as much. we only got through 4 books . . i think i supplemented too much!

 

this year for science for my 9 yo, i gathered all the science books we have in the house and bought some more. I put them all together in a bin. every day, he has to pick a book, read it for 20 minutes, and pick one sentence to do as copy work. thats it. I dont care if he learns the same things everyone else is learning - this kid is stubborn and he is totally happy with this arrangement. I am confident that when he's older he will do fine with more rigor, but for now, i believe this is enough.

 

i consider myself relaxed ecclectic, so maybe i'm the wrong person to be on this forum, but i DID at least read the book :001_smile:

 

Gombrich. :D I'm reading it to my son this year and supplementing with library books and books and resources from around the house. I started out with the free Mosaic outline but that got chucked in favour of just reading a lot.

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How old are your kids?

Prior to high school, we use a lot of library books, documentaries, online resources, literature, with lots of freedom for the student to explore his own interests.

To me, the goal of science and history education in the logic stage is to create a broad knowledge base. I try to create an overview over historical periods and important events (and the student may dwell on specific topics of his interest as he chooses) and an overview of scientific facts, theories, concepts, topics - without trying to be comprehensive or strictly systematic.

Based on the foundation of this broad knowledge I can then, in high school, do a systematic, formal study of science and a more analytical treatment of history that goes beyond the persons and events, to the reasons, ideas, big developments.

 

Kiddos are 11, 4, 2 and 5 mos. I'm not doing anything formal with the 4 yo yet. Lots of read alouds, art and playing. I like the sounds of this for my oldest though. I think he would do well with this sort of approach. We have done unit studies on and off for the past few years. He enjoys being able to explore a topic of interest. I do as well:)

 

Do you require any written assignments based on the history and science reading, or is the goal just to soak it in and enjoy?

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Do you require any written assignments based on the history and science reading, or is the goal just to soak it in and enjoy?

 

I require that my son periodically demonstrates that he learned something - he can make suggestions as to how he wants to do that. He loves giving oral presentations, so he designed power point presentations with pictures and gives a long talk in front of an audience (family and friends) about his current topic of interest. We started this in 6th grade.

Sometimes he is writing a longer report instead. I also assign a few shorter papers, such as biographical sketches.

 

But compared to others, we give relatively few assignments; the majority of the time is spent soaking in information and talking about it. He sometimes spends several months immersing himself in a topic before he is rounding it out with some kind of paper or presentation (I do not give tests.)

He is very visual and retains extremely well from documentaries; so we often just have discussions and he tells us what he learned.

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this year for science for my 9 yo, i gathered all the science books we have in the house and bought some more. I put them all together in a bin. every day, he has to pick a book, read it for 20 minutes, and pick one sentence to do as copy work. thats it. I dont care if he learns the same things everyone else is learning - this kid is stubborn and he is totally happy with this arrangement. I am confident that when he's older he will do fine with more rigor, but for now, i believe this is enough.

 

i consider myself relaxed ecclectic, so maybe i'm the wrong person to be on this forum, but i DID at least read the book :001_smile:

 

I have A TON of science books around here because I am a book junkie...I would love to have ds actually read them. I'm definitely going to try this for science.

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For science (until my student is ready for high school materials), I pick a field of study for the year (Bio, earth/space, chem, physics) and then pick 4 topics for 4 terms (for earth/space science: astronomy, geology, oceanography, meteorology). I choose a number of subtopics within each term (for geology: volcanoes, rock types, crystals, ground water, erosion, etc). Then we go to the library, pick books, and read them. We also watch docos and do a yearly investigation. Here are three posts that detail this approach: posts #62, 64, and 65 on this thread: http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/showthread.php?t=361740&page=7 and the whole thread documents this year's investigation.

 

I do not test knowledge, and my children do not write about what they learn (we use a separate writing curriculum WWS). I do have a few scientific skills that must be learned in the logic stage to allow for success in science. I describe them in detail here: posts #2 and 9 http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/showthread.php?t=412041 and posts #2 and 8 on this thread http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/showthread.php?t=416977

 

I am certainty not and expert on history, but some people have been interested in my approach. I choose an era for the year (early modern), and then choose 9 topics for 9 months (frontier life, revolutions in Am and Europe, technological advancement, asia in early modern etc). Then we read, watch docos, and discuss. (I posted about this on post 15: http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/showthread.php?t=422222&page=2)

 

I am happy to answer questions if you have any,

 

Ruth in NZ

Edited by lewelma
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I require that my son periodically demonstrates that he learned something - he can make suggestions as to how he wants to do that. He loves giving oral presentations, so he designed power point presentations with pictures and gives a long talk in front of an audience (family and friends) about his current topic of interest. We started this in 6th grade.

 

DS loves to talk. LOL He also likes to create videos and edit them. This would be a good way for him to show what he has learned.

 

Ruth- Thank you for your input! You have offered a wealth of information. So very helpful!!

 

I do have a question about the science project. Do you have any requirements for the project or guidelines for your kids to follow? At this point, I think if I were to assign a science project for DS without defining the parameters and holding his hand quite a bit, he would quickly become overwhelmed. How does a non sciencey mom help her child through this process? I've seen some science fair project books at the library, and may even have a couple in the house. Perhaps it would be as simple as picking out a project from one of those books and letting him run with it...

 

I was always intimidated by science as a child. I felt much more comfortable with language classes- English, foreign language, literature, writing, etc. I don't want my children to be weak in science simply because mom is.

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Read books every week from the non-fiction shelves

Research things we come across in daily life

Attend lectures, events, reenactments

Visit museums

Sign up for science classes, naturalist walks, camps

Watch videos

Read science encyclopedias and handbooks

 

I also use history and science topics for writing instruction.

 

I don't organize the topics or spend a lot of time planning it (I don't consider that much different than using a curriculum,) though this year ds and I are reading our way chronologically through the great US history literature. I do that one year with each dc, so that they hit Johnny Tremain and The Cabin Faced West and all of that good stuff. :) That's the one exception.

 

The things that are required for success in upper level math and science - math skills, reading skills, an interest in learning them, etc. - don't even really come from a formal curriculum or plan in the lower grades, imho. They come from spending more time on the skill areas and merging that into a love of history and science built from truly exploring it.

 

See if you can find the "Good to Great" talk by James Taylor over at Circe. It's about books mostly, but it applies here. He talks about a student trying to learn astronomy when they haven't studies the stars on a clear night, or trying to learn anatomy when they haven't played with frogs and other animals. CM did have this one right. The best course for younger dc, imo, is to experience and observe the world (yep, that's classical education at work.) You do that by reading, by looking, by touching... not by comprehension worksheets and contrived experiments.

Edited by angela in ohio
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Read books every week from the non-fiction shelves

Research things we come across in daily life

Attend lectures, events, reenactments

Visit museums

Sign up for science classes, naturalist walks, camps

Watch videos

Read science encyclopedias and handbooks

 

I also use history and science topics for writing instruction.

 

 

 

:iagree: This is what we do.

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For Biology this year, we structure our science weeks this way (we alternate science/math focus weeks with language/history focus weeks, so science can take two hours per day or more (if needed) during the appropriate weeks):

 

Monday: group discussion/mom led lecture

Tuesday: individually assigned readings and outlining

Wednesday: lab

Thursday: additional reading (no outlining; notes/pictures encouraged)

Friday: Each child picks one idea or fact they learned during the week to find out more about. They may use our myriad in-house resources, the Internet, or our Friday library time. It does not need to be on the main topic. They make an outline, take notes, draw a picture, make a PowerPoint, do a project or start an additional experiment, and orally present their new information and why it was exciting to the rest of us.

 

Example: (the kids, 9 and 11, have had chemistry already) this past week, we introduced classification... Kingdom, phylum, class, etc. in order to make classification make sense, I first discussed the idea of a cell, and introduced the most basic cell structures: cell wall, cell membrane, cytoplasm, nucleus. I explained not every cell has each of these, and we would learn more later, but that these were important for today. Short discussion of each. Then discussion of classification and its usefulness (eg bacterial responsiveness to different classes of antibiotics, being able to organize lots of stuff, identifying species). DS9 completed an exercise online where he picked different organisms and walked down the classification system to see how closely related they were. DS11 started with more technical reading on the biochemistry of cell membranes before outlining the classification system. DS9 has to list the six major kingdoms.

 

By Friday, they were both excited about their individual topics. DS11, who has been dreading "icky" biology for a year, could not wait to tell us all about cytoplasm. DS9 was bursting with information about the poison dart frog, one of the animals he had traced on Tuesday.

 

On our 40-42 week school year, we may only hit 20-21 topics in this fashion. However, at ages 9 and 11, my goal is to get them excited and interested, and give them some depth about a broad base of topics in the field. I think this plan will achieve those goals, and we'll have a lot of fun along the way.

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for science and history... what do you do? We've NEVER had luck with history or science curriculums around here and I'm looking for some inspiration. We love to read living books, biographies, and watch documentaries. Unfortunately, with the assignment heavy schedule, there isn't much time left over. I'm daydreaming about ditching the curricula in favor of reading, discussing and watching good films...That thread about a more relaxed homeschool has only encouraged the daydreaming.

 

Yep. That's about what we do.

 

For example, in history, we're reading through a Landmark book on the Wright Brothers. We also watch period movies, and unrelated documentaries, all of which spawn a lot of good conversation. I am thinking about reading to them, just once a week, from a more chronological book, but that is a maybe right now.

 

In science, we watch a lot of documentaries. We're reading The World in a Drop of Water, and spending a lot of time using our microscope. Ds and I are going to read Breakthroughs in Science (Asimov) together. We spend a lot of time outside too - gardening, caring for our pets, taking nature walks/hiking... during all of which we learn about plants, animals, local flora and fauna, etc. ETA: We also read a topical book once a week, and ds reads a correlating section of a science encyclopedia, to go along with BFSU.

 

I tried the history and science curriculum thing, and for us, it just didn't work as well.

Edited by momto2Cs
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My son wanted to study Paleontology, Dinosaurs and Hominids for science this year, and knowing that it would be a great way to tie in the history of science itself, some biology, geology, genetics and historical/cultural changes in belief I decided to go for it.

 

 

Unfortunately he knows everything there is to know about Dinosaurs that is available for preschool through high school, so finding resources has been a bit of a challenge. There is not really a comprehensive resource that combines all the facets needed to learn the material that is age appropriate.

 

I got in touch with the head of the Paleontology department at our state University and also talked to several geologist friends. Once I was comfortable that I was on the right track I am just choosing great informative books on the topics, Using the Intelligo Unit Study on Evolution for grades 6-8, and trying to bring in hands on, and lab type stuff where I can.

 

 

We are studying fossils right now, so I am using the DK book on evolution as a spine, and starting at the beginning with ancient beliefs-18th century, regarding fossils, and how they were the source of many of our myths and legends. And comparing them to modern scientific methods. I have been typing up simple worksheets to help him pick out the main ideas from the pages, and we discuss them each day.

 

I give him the worksheets to fill out as he reads, in hopes it will help him retain, and read for important information rather than getting slogged down in details.

 

 

The plan is to follow the Intelligo set-up roughly, with a large unit on cambrian through paleocene, then stop to study some intro to genetics, Then from paleocene to present.

 

We are also going to do the Human Genome project through Nat Geo. I am adopted so it will be really cool to see that information, and he is just fascinated by it.

 

 

It has been a lot of work on my part, but he is eating it up, and seems to be learning a lot. Today we are visiting the local university's geology museum, and next week I plan to take him to the Osteology museum.

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When my teen was reading

Gombrich.
(thanks!) i made him email me a few sentences about what he read in each chapter. Now he actually reads Zinn's People's history, but that whole book is like 20 chapters? so obviously thats quite spread out across 2 years of US history. But when he DOES read a chapter, he has to write an essay summarizing the chapter, pointing out some things he found interesting or that he didnt already know, and discuss how the coverage in this book differed from what we read in Hakim's book. they are usually fairly short - a page or two max.

 

my 9 yo is not really writing yet. we will be hitting that this year. His LA development is just behind, but once he gets it, he's ready to go with it.

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