Jump to content

Menu

How to Do Reading-Centric Content?


Recommended Posts

What is a simple, read the next page and go to the next level program for Science and History? The boys are solid readers and we read as a group too so the reading level isn't an issue. I just want to get systematic exposure and information to them. I'm not looking for coloring pages, model kits, or a bunch of expansion kits. I just want to keep this clean and simple so that it actually gets done on a constant basis. I don't mind starting at a lower level and moving faster as needed. I'm not picky about religious/political bent either because we just discuss stuff as it comes when it comes to content.

 

I'm liking Story of the World vol 1 well enough, so we will probably continue with that. May even cycle through them 2 or 3 times, engaging the text more and more with each reading...for now we are just reading the text.

 

What about Science? Is there an open-and-read options out there? Discussion questions or a chapter/unit summary will be nice. A lab manual, project kit and/or test bank is not at all necessary.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kingfisher seems to be pretty popular for middle school history. Usborne works for slightly younger kids. DS1 uses the Usborne Encyclopedia and SOTW together for history.

 

There is also Story of Mankind for middle schoolers. DD didn't really care for it though. She does like k12's Human Odyssey, though. That plus Kingfisher is working for her for history. Oh, and there is also Hillyer's Child's History of the World. It's narrative like SOTW, but DS1 found it to be too repetitive with SOTW together.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

SWB wrote the History of the World to be like SOTW but up to high school level. There are also some spines and supplementary primary source readings suggested in the Well-Trained Mind -- I have the National Geographic Almanac of World History and we use its readings sometimes to supplement Gombrich's Little History of the World.

 

Reading-centric science is an interesting concern. I like BFSU for coherence and completeness but it's more of a supplementary sources and conversations and activities kind of program. Someone recently linked to a bunch of books by Isaac Asimov, we'll be using those on an interest-led basis from here on.

Edited by Alison1
Advocating use of pirated materials is NOT OK.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Love your homeschool name!

Thanks! I picked it myself. I wish we could get shirts made...it would be great if I were able to gush: "Oh, the boys are attending GEAR this year. You've never heard of it? Well it is a small private school. Very exclusive and they rarely take on new students but they managed to both land a spot in their 1st grade class. We are oh, so happy with the school! Its a charter school that lets kids work at their own pace and feeds into a fantastic STEM Middle school! Its great!" Or some such posh sounding thing.

 

Have you done any US history? Not yet, I am still figuring it all out but I'm thinking of just doing US History once we finish the first pass through SoTW. How about something like Story of US?  My 12 year old is starting that one soon.  We already read the first volume and enjoyed it.

Thats the one by Joy Hakim, right? I am eying it (and her science books) for down the road. We are starting with SoTW because it is at the library and available to us and highly accessible to the boys as is. Just open the book, read several pages, close the book...repeat every 18-30 hours and your done.

For science you might like something like Galore Park.

https://www.galorepark.co.uk/Product?Product=9781902984216

This looks fantastic! I will do some more research! If it works out, we'll jump to this when we are done with the 6th McGraw Hill science books I linked earlier this morning. We're not going to be doing all those lab manuals and workbooks that go with McGraw Hill so it should only take us several months to get through all of the texts.

You can sometimes find those at Book Depository and even used on Amazon. I see they have some on Amazon right now:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Really-Want-Learn-Science-Book/dp/1902984218/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399733683&sr=8-1&keywords=9781902984216

Aaagh! I love the smell of amazon links in the morning. Thanks for this.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My kids have always read whole books on science topics (trade books, not textbooks or even "science curriculum" books) until they are ready for high school science credits.

 

 

Some favorites for my younger kids are books like Scientists in the Field http://www.amazon.com/Scientists-in-the-Field-series/lm/R3A3S0UL197O1U

 

view from the Oak http://www.amazon.com/View-Oak-Private-Worlds-Creatures/dp/1565846362/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399735550&sr=8-1&keywords=View+from+the+oak

 

Library of Subatomic Particles http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Subatomic+particles+Bortz%27s

 

The Wonderbook of Chemistry by Fabre (this is free online in several places http://www.mainlesson.com/display.php?author=fabre&book=chemistry&story=_contents )

 

The Storybook of Science by Fabre (we own the book. I have never listened to theese audits, so no idea how they are https://archive.org/details/the_story_book_of_science_1308_librivox )

 

Out of print books on physics and electronics by Morgan like A Boy's First Book on Radio and Electronics http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Powell_Morgan

I love this article

http://spectrum.ieee.org/geek-life/hands-on/the-first-book-of-electronics

 

I have literally 100s of science books on my book shelves that my kids have read over the yrs. You can buy used, free online or from the library (many of the Scientists in the Field books are available as ebooks from the library), or just library books, etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Speaking of "write a bit", you probably don't want to completely neglect output. Big juicy conversations are terrific, but organizing your thoughts coherently enough to put them in a logical written format is an important skill that needs to be built over time. You can scribe for them, and you probably don't want to over do it, but practicing a few times a month to take a summary from some of their history and science doesn't seem like it would hurt. My son keeps a Book of Knowledge where he draws pictures and does copywork or dictates a paragraph for me to write now and again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kingfisher seems to be pretty popular for middle school history. Usborne works for slightly younger kids. DS1 uses the Usborne Encyclopedia and SOTW together for history.

Great, I'll take a look at them from the library and pick the one we need.

There is also Story of Mankind for middle schoolers. DD didn't really care for it though. She does like k12's Human Odyssey, though. That plus Kingfisher is working for her for history. Oh, and there is also Hillyer's Child's History of the World. It's narrative like SOTW, but DS1 found it to be too repetitive with SOTW together. At this point in time, repetitive isn't too much of an issue, but I don't want to just beat a dead horse either so thanks for that feedback. Honestly, it will not break my heart if the boys don't know history inside and out. *I* barely know any history so this will be a learning experience for all 3 of us.

 

 

SWB wrote the History of the World to be like SOTW but up to high school level. There are also some spines and supplementary primary source readings suggested in the Well-Trained Mind -- I have the National Geographic Almanac of World History and we use its readings sometimes to supplement Gombrich's Little History of the World.

Thanks, if all goes well with SoTW, I'll check into HoTW in a couple of years.

Reading-centric science is an interesting concern. Yeah, I like to think that we are pioneering a classically infused Git-er-Done Methodology. If my kids come out looking even remotely educated or well rounded (yes, I said and meant 'or') then I'll probably write a guide called "The Highly Caffeinated Mind: A Guide to Suitable Education for the Desperate" I'll dedicate the tome to this forum.

I like BFSU for coherence and completeness but it's more of a supplementary sources and conversations and activities kind of program. Someone recently linked to a bunch of books by Isaac Asimov, we'll be using those on an interest-led basis from here on.

Thanks! I'm probably going to wind up investing in a couple of eReaders for the boys within the next 20 months or so, so these are great.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My kids have always read whole books on science topics (trade books, not textbooks or even "science curriculum" books) until they are ready for high school science credits.

....*snip*...

I have literally 100s of science books on my book shelves that my kids have read over the yrs. You can buy used, free online or from the library (many of the Scientists in the Field books are available as ebooks from the library), or just library books, etc.

I would love to see your bookshelf! I've been trying to get the boys more into reading science non-fiction but so far they've remained largely indifferent. We have taken to SoTW a little better and they still love their "literary junk food" (aka random picture books). I fully intend to keep bringing home the NF Science readers, but having something measured, progressive and regular will probably work better for us. I don't want to spend a bunch of time on it but I want it to get done. The boys have crazy good memories for what we read, so I'll be using that to my advantage.

 

Speaking of "write a bit", you probably don't want to completely neglect output. Big juicy conversations are terrific, but organizing your thoughts coherently enough to put them in a logical written format is an important skill that needs to be built over time. You can scribe for them, and you probably don't want to over do it, but practicing a few times a month to take a summary from some of their history and science doesn't seem like it would hurt. My son keeps a Book of Knowledge where he draws pictures and does copywork or dictates a paragraph for me to write now and again.

Yeah, I definitely need to get something formal going for writing--I swear its a top priority for next year. They have been doing (almost) weekly presentations for a bit now and those are working pretty well with helping them to organize their thoughts and share their experience or findings--and to speak clearly and enunciate when talking to a group (an ongoing battle).

 

For their presentations they've been using the magnetic whiteboards as display surfaces. They draw, use images, their own notes and even blocks of printed text to create their discussion board. This summer the boys are going to be writing 1pg a week minimum on a topic of choice. I think we are going to continue the presentations though, because they really struggle with the speaking part and its good exercise for them.

 

I really just want to get in systematic exposure to science and history for the next 18-30 months. I'm going to try and let them go as deep and broad as they want into their favorite subjects but I want to keep it balanced with other things. I'm scheduling in more physical work, an extra curricular and once I finish my degree we'll probably need to over haul our schedule again anyway.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OUP Ancient Times series: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0195222423?pc_redir=1399631637&robot_redir=1

 

Hakim's Story of Science: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1588341607?pc_redir=1399420547&robot_redir=1

 

Both might appeal to you.

 

I research things to death and build my own science and history, but will be using both those series in addition to lots of assigned reading and read-a-louds.

 

Before starting ancient times, we are spending months doing what is most similar to Big History but I am creating it myself pulling in resources from all sorts of places.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The SOTW are I think designed so they increase in difficulty as you go. The first Mr Q is free and mu kids quite liked just reading it with me. The experiments/demonstrations/wordsearches etc could be skipped or replaced with utube demos. At 7 though I have noticed my eldest quite likes word searches. I remember liking them too though I have doubts about their usefulness.

 

or you could just make a list of topics to cover and get them library books. You would then touch on each subject you want but not do busywork.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My kids have always read whole books on science topics (trade books, not textbooks or even "science curriculum" books) until they are ready for high school science credits.

I've been trying to get the boys more into reading science non-fiction but so far they've remained largely indifferent..... I fully intend to keep bringing home the NF Science readers, but having something measured, progressive and regular will probably work better for us. I don't want to spend a bunch of time on it but I want it to get done. The boys have crazy good memories for what we read, so I'll be using that to my advantage.

Gil, we do it like 8fill does.  We use 'trade books' because they are more engaging than textbooks, especially in the younger years. If you are willing to read to them, you will see a dramatic difference between elementary/middle school textbooks and nonfiction trade books.  If they are reading science 'readers', then all the books are pretty bad IYKWIM.  It is very easy to be regular by having a time amount each day -- 30  minutes or something.  It is also very easy to do progressive, if you pick longer books the material builds over time. In addition, you pick harder books as they get older.

 

I know you want a 'get it done' program, but it is really easy to make one yourself.  Pick a topic, say earth science.  Pick 4 topics for 4 terms (geology; meterology; oceanography; astronomy).  Then pick ONE book to read each term --  a fat one.  Then you get continuity and progression in the topic.  If you need suggestions, ask here.   We have lots of fat books that have taken us a couple of months to get through that are *excellent*.  We just finished the 6-book physics series, Everyday Science.  Titles in the series: electricity, energy, forces, light, magnetism, sound. This series took us 4 months to finish and we loved it. http://www.amazon.com/Fully-Charged-Everyday-Science-Parker/dp/1403448132

 

Ruth in NZ

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would say that it starts at high school level, rather than goes up to high school level. 

Yes, you were right. I checked the website and it starts at 9th grade level.

 

 

OUP Ancient Times series: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0195222423?pc_redir=1399631637&robot_redir=1

 

Hakim's Story of Science: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1588341607?pc_redir=1399420547&robot_redir=1

 

Both might appeal to you.

I have my eye on Hakims SoS already but had never heard of OUP, thank you for the references. I will look into it.

I research things to death and build my own science and history, but will be using both those series in addition to lots of assigned reading and read-a-louds.

Yeah, I've realized that I am spending more and more of my time researching and planning. Its crazy, I've decided to get something that will serve us up to a 6th grade level and go with it. It might not be perfect or the best, but I'm not looking to make myself crazy. If I over complicate every little decision for myself, I'll have to quit homeschooling the boys and just put them in school, which they don't want.

Before starting ancient times, we are spending months doing what is most similar to Big History but I am creating it myself pulling in resources from all sorts of places.

 

 

The SOTW are I think designed so they increase in difficulty as you go. The first Mr Q is free and mu kids quite liked just reading it with me. The experiments/demonstrations/wordsearches etc could be skipped or replaced with utube demos. At 7 though I have noticed my eldest quite likes word searches. I remember liking them too though I have doubts about their usefulness.

Thanks, I'll download the 1st Mr. Q and give it a gander. I don't care about the boys doing 'extras' voluntarily, but I'm not about to get myself roped into it by making anything 'official' at this point, I just want to go over the text, discuss and move on. The boys aren't hyper passionate about science, so I don't feel bad not giving it my all at this time.

or you could just make a list of topics to cover and get them library books. You would then touch on each subject you want but not do busywork.

We've been reading library books also, but it feels too disjointed, thus why I want something to the point.

 

 

For more history reading, too, I'd suggest loads of biographies. They don't have to match up with the main text you're doing. I collect biographies and my boys eat them up. 

The boys love biographies. They have liked the biographies in the A Picture Book About.... series, and the Time for Kids biographies and virtually every other biography that they have read. We usually pull all the books on a particular person that we can find so we might have 7 different books on Thomas Alva Edison at the same time, but the boys will still read all of them. I am learning more about Thomas Edison than I ever really wanted to know listening to them, but at least they are enjoying it.

 

Gil, we do it like 8fill does.  We use 'trade books' because they are more engaging than textbooks, especially in the younger years. If you are willing to read to them, you will see a dramatic difference between elementary/middle school textbooks and nonfiction trade books.  If they are reading science 'readers', then all the books are pretty bad IYKWIM.

What is the difference between a 'reader' and a 'trade book'? the books that 8FillTheHeart linked I consider those types of books 'readers' because they are just kids books about a topic. I'm not well versed in education-jargon so there may be a disconnect going on. It is very easy to be regular by having a time amount each day -- 30  minutes or something.  It is also very easy to do progressive, if you pick longer books the material builds over time. In addition, you pick harder books as they get older. We have no intention to stop reading NonFiction library books, we'll continue to read and use library 'trade books/readers' as well but I can't maintain this pace or I'm going to break. I need something that we can just move through without a great deal of my energy.

 

I know you want a 'get it done' program, but it is really easy to make one yourself. I don't just want a 'get it done' program, I *need* one and I really don't have any know-how for making one myself. I do however, want to make better use of the boys 'school time' (they spend over 1/2 their 'school time' reading library books--most of them random.) and I want to do it without digging too deeply into our limited family time. I don't mind homeschooling the boys so long as it is what is best for them, but I don't want it to mean giving up 1) my sanity, 2) more and more of the limited free time that we have together just as a family and 3) my own personal free time.

In short, I don't want to spend more time planning things--I want to spend less. Far less.

 

I really like and appreciate this community, but I can't continue to devote hours and hours each week just to planning. It isn't a thrill for me and I'm already getting sick of it. I am going to have to pick something and use it. All these options and stuff is just a nuisance. I'm trying to do enough research so that I pick something that will fit us and that the boys will enjoy but honestly? After May, I'm done. I will just go with my 'contingency' list which means I'll just pick things that will be if not pleasant then painless and perfectly doable.

Pick a topic, say earth science.  Pick 4 topics for 4 terms (geology; meterology; oceanography; astronomy).  Then pick ONE book to read each term --  a fat one.  Then you get continuity and progression in the topic.  If you need suggestions, ask here.   We have lots of fat books that have taken us a couple of months to get through that are *excellent*.  We just finished the 6-book physics series, Everyday Science.  Titles in the series: electricity, energy, forces, light, magnetism, sound. This series took us 4 months to finish and we loved it. http://www.amazon.com/Fully-Charged-Everyday-Science-Parker/dp/1403448132

We had the magnetism book--we got it out of the library--and I made a note to get the whole series out gradually. Its good to know that others find this book usable and a high quality.

Ruth in NZ

Thank you all for your feedback and I'll continue to turn everyones suggestions over and I'm trying to find the best compromise.

 

--Gil, who is a little grumpy today.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

--Gil, who is a little grumpy today.

Just for clarification, the approach we take for science consumes very little time on my part. My kids do not take science tests, do labs, vocabulary memorization, etc. They read. When they hit late 3rd grade, they write reports about every 2 weeks or so from whatever science topic they are reading. (I narrow down a topic that I want them to remember more about.)

 

For me, it is all positives. They get more indepth information bc whole books (trade books, readers, whatever you want to call them) cover subjects in far greater detail than textbooks. They are written in a more interesting manner. They are written by experts vs. textbook committees. my planning requirements are minimal. And my kids are/have receiving/received a solid science foundation that has equipped them well for high school science courses.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like grumpy Gil.  I think it makes you express your inner thoughts better which will help us tailor something to your needs. :001_smile:

 

To answer your questions:  There is no grand definition between 'reader' and 'trade book'.  I'm basically saying 'readers' are those science books with about 30 words per page that are meant for kids to learn to read with.  If you kids are reading, then they are already into 'trade books'.  A trade book is nonfiction but not a curriculum or a textbook.  The ones that I linked to are nonfiction science books.

 

Gil, I think you need to define your goals. Your goals determine the material you will use. You are focused on content (rather than skills for example), so here are some questions:

What, exactly, are your content goals? 

Do you want your kids to get an overview of many topics?  and if so, which ones? or do you want them to go in depth in a few?

Are you looking for integrated topics throughout the year?  or one topic each year?

Do you want the books you read to them to be on the same topic as the books they read to themselves? 

 

I'm with 8fill.  As far as I am concerned there are NO content requirements before highschool, so if you are feeling pressured to accomplish some list, just be aware that there is no agreed upon list out there.  I personally want my kids to have breadth so bio, earth, chem, and physics before highschool, but I accomplish this by having my kids read to themselves, rather than me reading *to* them.  If you want to read to them, then go for it, but it sounds to me like you are overwhelmed (meant in the nicest way), so I think you need to understand that there are those of us here who have *strong* science programs for our children that include just them reading to themselves from a variety of books with ever increasing difficulty.

 

So given your limited time, I would also suggest you think about *why* you want to read *to* them?  Is it the shared experience? -- because snuggling up on the sofa with an astronomy book is your kind of fun (this is true for me.) Is it because you think that their reading comprehension is poor so that they are actually not grasping the material (this is true for my younger)? Or is it because you feel like you *should*?  Do you want to make sure that they cover some predetermined content?  And if so whose content? 

 

I hope these questions are no presumptuous.  I only want to help.  But I think that until you refine your goals, you are going to feel like you are going in circles trying to figure out what is best for your dc.

 

Ruth in NZ

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like grumpy Gil.  I think it makes you express your inner thoughts better which will help us tailor something to your needs. :001_smile:

Well, this post is written by groggy Gil and it may very well be incoherent. I'm so sleepy I can't even muster the strength to summon my inner grump. I reserve the right to back-track or renege on any and all contradictory ramblings.

 

To answer your questions:  There is no grand definition between 'reader' and 'trade book'.  I'm basically saying 'readers' are those science books with about 30 words per page that are meant for kids to learn to read with.  If you kids are reading, then they are already into 'trade books'.  A trade book is nonfiction but not a curriculum or a textbook.  The ones that I linked to are nonfiction science books. Okay, thanks I was confused about the terminology but I see that it doesn't matter all that much after all.

 

Gil, I think you need to define your goals. Your goals determine the material you will use. You are focused on content (rather than skills for example), Well, we have the basic skills of reading and 'rithmetic covered many times over. The boys do both very, very well.  We are working on writing and I think that the kids do ok with writing--not great, but definitely okay. However due to our long term life situation the boys are woefully underexposed in terms of general knowledge. Fun little outings and field trips to educational places do not really happen for us. These things don't crop up in our life, I have to go out of my way to expose them which I never really did before. It was never a big deal before because they were supposed to attend Public School, so the fact that I am a family man, home body, book worm and amateur athlete and all of our outings were geared toward those ends ( ie our 'family outings' end 99.9% of the time at one of the following my moms, their other grandma, the library or to a park for running or the pool for swimming) didn't matter. Neither did the fact that we didn't get out much or ever do much of anything.

 

We don't own a TV and despite the ridiculous amount of time I spend on this site, I don't use the internet much and never for pure recreation--its very distracting for me and I try and avoid it while I'm in school, but this Homeschooling business is kind of important enough to warrant an ongoing exception, me thinks.

 

so here are some questions:

 

What, exactly, are your content goals? 

The boys are fairly ignorant. My goal for the next several months is to remedy that. They read very well but they've been reading a great deal of fiction and while there is realism and nuggets of info or  historical fact reflected in many of the books that they read, they are for the large part, still ignorant. They don't know a lot and while reading an assortment of non-fiction is helping, it feels disjointed and scattered. You will notice if you see that self-description I wrote above that 'free spirit' is not on that list. Neither is 'go with the flow, sort of guy'.

 

I need a plan. A structured plan that spells out a simple and efficient way of solving the problem. (Wow. I feel a little like Emmett from the LEGO movie.) 

I am the sort that thinks that the simpler a thing, the better. I don't want to 'wing it' or just use a well organized booklist--it will just never feel like enough to me. Maybe thats the Public schooler in me talking, but who ever it is, the voice is loud and it bothers me, nags me 'round the clock. I'm more than willing to trade a pound of flesh to Lord Textbook for some peace of mind. I know that homeschool doesn't have to look or feel anything like public school, but it doesn't have to NOT look or feel anything like Public School either. I say: "Bring on the textbooks!"

 

Do you want your kids to get an overview of many topics?  and if so, which ones? or do you want them to go in depth in a few?

No, I just want them to get an overview of a couple at a time. For now, science and history are plenty. I don't mind being a(n insanely cheap) plain vanilla homeschooler at all. I am not going to take them to a museum or anything like that, we have neither time nor money for that, but I will have them read and I will discuss things with them at length. For elementary we're going to start broad in our subjects by reading generic/over view type material, then narrow the scope by reading specialized, more detailed material.

Are you looking for integrated topics throughout the year?  or one topic each year?

I hesitate to answer this because the way that I am reading/interpreting this makes the question itself sound ridiculous, so I think that I am mis-reading it. Maybe I'm too tired....

Do you want the books you read to them to be on the same topic as the books they read to themselves? 

Coherency would definitely be ideal for me. If we are reading through the Life Sciences unit in the Grade X textbook, then it makes sense to get NF on life sciences--it won't matter too much which NF books we get so long as they are 'on topic' so to speak. I don't micromanage the boys reading of library books. I bring home as much as I can and they read what they can/want to and log it. I have been encouraging them to read more and more NF by simply cutting back on the fiction we take out, but it is all very hodge-podge which doesn't mesh well with me at all. I think using a textbook as our guide/'spine' will make me feel better and more at ease.

 

I'm with 8fill.  As far as I am concerned there are NO content requirements before highschool, so if you are feeling pressured to accomplish some list, just be aware that there is no agreed upon list out there.  I personally want my kids to have breadth so bio, earth, chem, and physics before highschool, but I accomplish this by having my kids read to themselves, rather than me reading *to* them.

I'm not particularly looking to read *to* them as they are perfectly capable of reading to themselves (and comprehending what they read, most of the time). As it stands, I don't have any explicit intention of sitting with the boys and reading the science text to them regularly. In part because I want the boys to learn to read a variety of materials and understand what they are reading. I'm trying to broaden their horizons when it comes to print. I also intend for them to start reading the news paper, but that is another post all together.

 

If you want to read to them, then go for it, but it sounds to me like you are overwhelmed (meant in the nicest way), I'm not yet, but I'm close. Too close. so I think you need to understand that there are those of us here who have *strong* science programs for our children that include just them reading to themselves from a variety of books with ever increasing difficulty.

 

 

So given your limited time, I would also suggest you think about *why* you want to read *to* them? I don't want to but I don't mind doing it  Is it the shared experience? Yes, in part, but also so that I can discuss with them in real time and we wont have to double back on anything. -- because snuggling up on the sofa with an astronomy book is your kind of fun (this is true for me.) Is it because you think that their reading comprehension is poor so that they are actually not grasping the material (this is true for my younger)?No, I think that they could both read the books just fine--it might be a bit of a struggle starting out as they adjust to the idea of reading thicker, longer NF, non-story books and cope with the fact that they are also supposed to be learning from. Or is it because you feel like you *should*?  I do think that its important to read to your kids, but I don't feel overly obligated to do so now that they are solid readers.

Do you want to make sure that they cover some predetermined content?Yes, I do  And if so whose content? No one in particular, though I'm quite happy with the content in the McGraw Hill textbooks. Each book follows a simple pattern of Life Science, Earth Science, Physical Science and each chapter contains only 2-7 lessons. We could do all of the Life Science lessons from grades 1-5, or we could do each text in order, cycling through each 'field of science' 5 times. Either way we could, each time getting library books that fit in that topic. Either way, it will only take us several months to cover the material in the McGraw Hill textbooks (around Xmas/new years we ought to be done) so

 

I hope these questions are no presumptuous.  I only want to help.  But I think that until you refine your goals, you are going to feel like you are going in circles trying to figure out what is best for your dc.

I'm going to get some rest and when I get up, I'm going to try and establish clearly what my goals are and aren't.

Ruth in NZ

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I'll take your groggy any day over my awake.  You are very lucid. :001_smile:
 
I'm not a history person, so I am talking science. 
 
So your plan seems simple: you want your kids to independently read some science textbooks for exposure. Got it.  That's pretty straight forward except for one thing, aren't your kids 6 and 7? 
 
Now you know that my kids are advanced, so I hope you also know that I have so been there.  But I want to stress that in your hunt for exposure, you don't want to turn little kids off of science. A lot of textbooks are boring to read, and most middle school text books (which I believe you are looking at to match their level) are down right awful, especially for little kids.  Perhaps your kids are not like mine were, but mine could understand very advanced concepts at young ages, but they still wanted all the pretty colours and cutsey stuff.  They needed big fonts and engaging text. The problem that I have found with middle school textbooks is that they are very choppy.  The writers seem to think that giving a briefer version of the material will make it simpler, but for my kids it was the opposite.  The briefer version left them very confused because so many questions were left unanswered.  This is why I went for nonfiction books over textbooks.  The material was written in more depth, with better language, with better graphics, and with better development of advanced ideas.  It drew them in.  They *wanted* to read more.  And given that your kids are really fiction lovers, I would make sure that the nonfiction they read is fun and engaging. You want them to *want* to read it.
 
So for example, compare how The Way Life Works with K12 textbook each explain DNA and protein synthesis.  One uses donuts, and I will give you one guess as to which one. 
From a 'trade' nonfiction book: How DNA translates into a protein
From a textbook (K-12): nucleic acids lesson
 
So one day I found my son drawing cartoons. He was always a realistic drawer, so I was curious about this new cartoon passion. I asked him. Well, it was protein synthesis in cartoon form. He drew them for days, based on what he read and studied in The Way Life Works. Somehow I don't think that the textbooks would have created the same interest.

There is a very easy way to organise your boys reading so that you feel that it covers a broad range of content.  All you need is for them to record what they read under different categories.  Here is an x-post to give you some ideas:
 
******
 
Reading for Content

My plan for you dd is to allow this year to be interest led within some structure. She needs passion. She has time for textbooks later. She also needs breadth.

You have 2 options: Both plans rely heavily on the library.

Plan A: Variety on a daily basis

Set up a notebook for her with 4 tabs: Biology, Earth/Space Science, Chemistry, and Physics. On each page, write in these categories with 10 lines (or more) between each --
Biology: botany, cell biology, DNA, genetics, rainforests, deserts, arctic, etc.
Earth/Space Science: geology, crystals, ground water, volcanoes, earthquakes, weather, planets, sun, galaxy.
Chemistry: periodic table, chemical reactions, industrial uses, precious metals, plastics.
Physics: mechanics, inventions, light, electricity, flight, magnetism

Allow her to choose *any* books from the library that she finds interesting. Talk to her about trying to get a broad overview and have books in each topic. Encourage variety. Over the year, try to find one book within each subtopic. Your libraries may not have some topics or you may need to go to the adult section and look at some coffee table books. In plan A, she can read books in any order – ground water, then electricity, then plastics, whatever. Her goal is breadth by the end of the year. She will also write in any documentaries, websites, and youtube videos in the proper categories. Given her curious nature, I think she would enjoy seeing every category filled by the end of the year. I'm guessing it would be motivating, and she would get frustrated (in a good way), when she couldn't find a book to read in one of the categories.

Plan B: Variety on a monthly basis

In this plan, you set up month-long topics that she will focus in. She gets books out of the library on the same topic for a month. These topics would be broader than the ones listed above. Something like:

August: Earth Science – geology and crystals
September: Biology: DNA, genetics, microbiology
October: Chemistry: Periodic table and chemical reactions
November: Physics: Mechanics and inventions and flight
December: Astronomy – coordinated with darkest month for star gazing
January: Chemistry:Industrial uses and plastics
February: Physics: light, electricity, magnetism
march: Earth Science – earthquakes, volcanoes, ground water
April: Biology: Botany (coordinated with Spring) and Biomes (rainforests, deserts etc)
May: Her choice

She would still record all the books, docos, and internet resources she uses.
 
 
*****
 
I don't want to be sour grapes on your ideas. I know you want easy, and I know you want exposure. But there are other ways than textbooks especially for very little kids.

I just want to give you some BTDT advice from a family with advanced learners and a mother with a PhD in science.
 
Ruth in NZ

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So for example, compare how The Way Life Works with K12 textbook each explain DNA and protein synthesis. One uses donuts, and I will give you one guess as to which one.

From a 'trade' nonfiction book: How DNA translates into a protein

From a textbook (K-12): nucleic acids lesson

 

I love the idea of learning scientific content by reading engaging books. However,

I am a bit confused by your book examples above. Both books appear to be textbooks

(and one is a great deal more expensive than the other). Are you comparing both

textbooks to a third "trade" book?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You might like this: Elemental Science Classic Series grammar stage programs

"....reflects the components of the Classic Method of elementary science instruction .... loosely based on the ideas for classical science education that are laid out in The Well-trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer."
 
I'm thinking about buying it for myself.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmmm… this has been an interesting thread. It's making me rethink my science plan for next year.

 

What about the Magic School Bus science books and the Let's Read and Find Out series? Would those work for the younger set? (like age 5) And then of course progress to more difficult books? (not necessarily for you, OP, as it sounds like you are looking for more. Just speaking in general)

 

What would be a good progression of science books? I remember seeing a progression Ruth (I think) wrote about classic literature. Is there some sort of progression for science living books? I particularly like larger books or books in a series because we can use them for a longer period without having to think of what's next, IYKWIM? Any thoughts?

 

Edited to correct typos

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have typed and deleted about 3 replies so I'm going to foregoe thoroughness and just try to respond.

 

Well, I'll take your groggy any day over my awake.  You are very lucid. :001_smile:
 
I'm not a history person, so I am talking science. 
 
So your plan seems simple: you want your kids to independently read some science textbooks for exposure. Got it.  That's pretty straight forward except for one thing, aren't your kids 6 and 7? Yes they are.
 
Now you know that my kids are advanced, so I hope you also know that I have so been there.  But I want to stress that in your hunt for exposure, you don't want to turn little kids off of science. A lot of textbooks are boring to read, and most middle school text books (which I believe you are looking at to match their level) are down right awful, especially for little kids.

Well, actually, I'm intending to use McGraw Hills Science textbooks grades 1-5 at an accelerated rate for the remainder of this year and still let them read all the NF library books we can manage. But all of the NF science books will be themed around whatever unit we are doing in the textbook, though the level won't matter so much and getting the same NF books out twice wont maim anybody because often times they don't read the NF books cover to cover the way that they do the fiction books.

Perhaps your kids are not like mine were, but mine could understand very advanced concepts at young ages, but they still wanted all the pretty colours and cutsey stuff. Yes, this is us. Some books still 'look' scary and I just don't even go there with them...They are young still so I'll give them the 'friendly' books as much as I can for now even though I am consciously trying to make them develop and exercise a work ethic.

 

One of my main goals as a parent is  to teach and instill in them a strong work ethic but beyond just academics. I want them to learn how to focus/pay attention and do work when it needs to be done. Even (especially) when there is drudgery involved because life isn't a bucket of rainbows and butterfly kisses. Their grandma may think they are the most adorable, most wonderful most specialriffic little raindrop ever to have even existed but no one else does. (I mean, yeah, I do but honestly, I'm as biased as grandma :wink:) They needed big fonts and engaging text. The problem that I have found with middle school textbooks is that they are very choppy.  The writers seem to think that giving a briefer version of the material will make it simpler, but for my kids it was the opposite.  The briefer version left them very confused because so many questions were left unanswered. Again, it is my intent to have us use the Grade 1-5 McGraw Hill books for the remainder of this year, but I haven't taken too close a look at the Holt Science books yet (Holt Science is the middle school level) but I will definitely keep this in mind. I really do appreciate all the time and energy and guidance you are offering me and I suppose that ultimately I'm the wrench in the machine because what all of this springs from is the fact that I'm not comfortable with doing what feels like 'willy-nilly' work for an entire year. So far, a lot of what we've done feels very willy-nilly and I don't like it. It feels like we are going in circles or nowhere. Honestly I can't tell if its me or the room that is spinning and maybe I've just got vertigo. I don't know...

 

So we are going to be using something structured for the rest of 2014 while I try to graduate, what that structured thing will be remains to be seen, but it is looking dangerously close to something like McGraw Hill which is free, to the point, attractive to the eye, quick to do, moves upwards on a progressive level and should we decide to make extra effort it has reviews/questions/worksheets.   This is why I went for nonfiction books over textbooks.  The material was written in more depth, with better language, with better graphics, and with better development of advanced ideas.  It drew them in.  They *wanted* to read more.  And given that your kids are really fiction lovers, I would make sure that the nonfiction they read is fun and engaging. You want them to *want* to read it. I would love it if my boys found everything school related engaging and interesting, but I also don't mind that much when they find things to be 'work'. My boys would love to spend all day and night amusing themselves or being entertained and if I were more imaginative, energetic, smart, funny, or clever then maybe they would be.

 

I am really not trying to be obstinate and I don't know if I'm just that ignorant about education and children or if I'm just that boring but I have never ascribed to the whole 'learning should be fun' philosophy--especially for boys (only because I was one and most of my friends were boys). In my experience it is important that they not be allowed to think that they are entitled to stimulation and entertainment every (or even most) of the waking moments in their lives. They are not entitled to it.

 

Learning isn't inherently fun for everyone and thats okay by me, I didn't think that learning was fun when I was a kid. I don't particularly think it is fun now, some topics are more interesting than others and some are downright enjoyable but some are just stupid or boring or not-the-least-bit-interesting and yet...I take the classes anyway, I read the material, learn the subject if its needed.

 

I do see the benefit in it and I absolutely want it to be rewarding for them--habitual, gradual learning should pay off in some way at some point. Knowledge in children should help them understand more about the world, make connections in their day to day life, fuel their imagination that sort of thing--. I'm not over flowing with fun ideas and creativity myself. That sort of stuff doesn't always come to me and so its difficult for me to always engage the kids as a peer. We do have fun, just not in a whimsical, fancy-free way. In a more 'hey lets hang out and play this board game or solve this puzzle' way. We are all very active and all very talkative. We get off on discussion. We bike and swim a lot.
 
So for example, compare how The Way Life Works with K12 textbook each explain DNA and protein synthesis.  One uses donuts, and I will give you one guess as to which one. 
From a 'trade' nonfiction book: How DNA translates into a protein
From a textbook (K-12): nucleic acids lesson
I hate to say this because it will seem like I'm being contrary but...honestly, I think of both of those resources as textbooks. I don't see the big difference, of course one is better written, more engaging and is more memorable but they both seem textbookish to me.
So one day I found my son drawing cartoons. He was always a realistic drawer, so I was curious about this new cartoon passion. I asked him. Well, it was protein synthesis in cartoon form. He drew them for days, based on what he read and studied in The Way Life Works. Somehow I don't think that the textbooks would have created the same interest.

There is a very easy way to organise your boys reading so that you feel that it covers a broad range of content.  All you need is for them to record what they read under different categories.  Here is an x-post to give you some ideas:
 
******
 
*Snip*

the monthly plan that you listed is very similar to what I intend to do with the McGraw Hill science books though. I don't understand the hesitance towards a(n elementary) level textbook. Am I missing something about using textbooks with little kids? Is it against the classical model? If we use the textbooks to bouy our book choices than rather them or me picking the topic, the SnS of the current textbook will dictate the the topic. We'll read through the lessons and take out a mess load of books that fit in that units broad category...
*****
 
I don't want to be sour grapes on your ideas. I know you want easy, and I know you want exposure. But there are other ways than textbooks especially for very little kids.

I just want to give you some BTDT advice from a family with advanced learners and a mother with a PhD in science.

I know that I'm probably coming off as confrontational but I really don't mean it that way.. I am supremely appreciative of the time, attention and energy that all of you more experienced parent-teachers have given and (will probably) continue to give me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. But, with all due respect, lewelma, I think that, even if  the underlined is a big part of your comfort with winging a thing. You *know* science and you *know* what you are doing when it comes to educating kids--I do not. I do not have any advanced education or years of insight to this thing called 'homeschooling' I took my kids out of PS for a number of reasons but it was, in large part, a snap decision--sort of.

 

 

Just to be clear, what I am proposing is that we would use the current unit in the McGraw Hills Science books as both reading/discussion material, which provides us with a quantifiable baseline and to whether or not we are going anywhere and we also use the scope and sequence of the books to guide our selection of NF books from the library. We would cycle through the basics of Life, Earth and Physical science 5x each between now and ~Dec/Jan. Each time the material would be slightly more advanced but utterly doable. It would make *me* feel better and the boys will (probably) be indifferent one way or the other.

Ruth in NZ

 

 

hi

I love the idea of learning scientific content by reading engaging books. However,
I am a bit confused by your book examples above. Both books appear to be textbooks
(and one is a great deal more expensive than the other). Are you comparing both
textbooks to a third "trade" book?

:iagree:. They both seem like textbooks to me--one is more engaging/better written--but both are textbooks.

 

 

You might like this: Elemental Science Classic Series grammar stage programs

"....reflects the components of the Classic Method of elementary science instruction .... loosely based on the ideas for classical science education that are laid out in The Well-trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer."
I appreciate this, thank you. I really should probably look into actually reading The Well Trained Mind at some point...
I'm thinking about buying it for myself.

 

 

 

Hmmm… this has been an interesting thread. It's making me rethink my science plan for next year.

Sorry, I hate it when you begin to doubt what was 'up-til-now' a solid plan. Personally, I hate all the waffling back and forth. I swear, I'm going to have to just pick something doable and stick with it!

What about the Magic School Bus science books and the Let's Read and Find Out series? Would those work for the younger set? (like age 5) And then of course progress to more difficult books? (not necessarily for you, OP, as it sounds like you are looking for more. Just speaking in general)

We have read some of the Magic School Bus books. We like them well enough, I am not familiar with Lets Read and Find Out though.

What would be a good progression of science books? I remember seeing a progression Ruth (I think) wrote about classic literature. Is there some sort of progression for science living books? I particularly like larger books or books in a series because we can use them for a longer period without having to think of what's next, IYKWIM? Any thoughts?

 

Edited to correct typos

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love the idea of learning scientific content by reading engaging books. However,

I am a bit confused by your book examples above. Both books appear to be textbooks

(and one is a great deal more expensive than the other). Are you comparing both

textbooks to a third "trade" book?

 

Oh dear, perhaps these books are at too high a level for me to easily make my point. I just happen to remember this one example from when my oldest was younger, and these books both happen to be online.  We got The Way Life Works from the library, so free.

 

The Way Life Works happens to be the most engaging book written on cell biology and biochem that I have ever seen, this does NOT mean that it is not difficult, because the topic is difficult.  But it uses creative ways to explain difficult topics. 

 

This book took my son 4 months to get through, 1 spread at a time.  It is a 'trade' book explaining physics, but yet systematically covers the topic like a textbook.  Unfortunately, the sample pages are from the end of the book and not particularly good examples.   Perhaps someone else could find a better link.   What makes it a 'trade' book is not that it is simple, or a story, but rather that it uses creative engaging ways to explain the complex topics in science.

 

Ruth in NZ

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How The Well Trained Mind does Science:

1st/5th/9th grade: physical world: animals and people (biology) -- things the ancients could see close up

2nd/6th/10th grade: earth and sky: (earth science and astronomy) -- medieval-early Renaissance discoveries; things the ancients could see far away (Copernicus, Brahe)

3rd/7th/11th grade: the way the elements work together (chemistry) -- early modern; things you can't see; (Boyle, Stahl, Lavoisier, Dalton)

4th/9th/12th grade: the laws that govern the universe (physics) -- modern times; what things are made of (Tesla, etc)

 

She recommends using "spines" as guides and

 

(note: these are my transcriptions and summaries. All typos and omissions are mine. But I hope this gives you the general idea.)
Grammar:
"supplementing them with a number of different science books designed to make science clear and interesting for children. To organize your study, you'll need four science notebooks (one for each subject), notebook paper, a 3-hole punch, and art supplies.... You'll be making notebook pages on the information you read and the observations you make.....Your basic "texts" for this year should be colorful, large-print guides to the natural world that you can use as jumping-off points for further investigation. ... This year, you and your six-year-old will be studying living things--animals, humans, and plants. Your job will be to help the child examine and describe living things. ... The process is simple: You'll read aloud to the child from the science book and then ask her to narrate--to tell back to you in her own words two or three important facts that she's learned (see Chapter 5 for a description of the narration process). You'll write this narration down (or ask the child to write it, if her skills permit). Whenever the science book provides a project or activity, you'll also create an "Experiment Page." If the child shows interest, you'll find additional library books on the topic. And if not, you'll move on to the next topic."

Logic:

"In logic-stage science, the student begins to make connections--among the branches of science, between science and history, between the scientific method and the rules of logic. The middle-grade student will begin to mark scientific discoveries and the birth and death dates of scientists on his time line, bringing history and science closer together. He'll use the logic of the scientific method, testing his new knowledge through experiments. ... Your goal in the early grades was to foster enthusiasm for science and to expose the child to basic facts about each field. In the middle grades, your goal is to teach the young student to think critically about doing science. He'll learn how scientists in each field--biology, earth science, astronomy, chemistry, physics--use experimentation to confirm their theories. And through experimentation, he'll practice the scientific method himself. .... Plan on doing science two days per week for around an hour to an hour and a half per day. The student will spend the first science period reading through his assigned material, performing an experiment, and recording its outcome; he'll spend the second preparing a report and making a sketch (if appropriate)."

Rhetoric:

" 'Classical' science is further distinguished by its demand that the student do science self-consciously--not simply learn about the world, but ask what the implications of each discovery might be. What does this theory say about my existence? What does that principle imply about human beings and their place in the universe? What are the implications for the human race?" 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know that I'm probably coming off as confrontational but I really don't mean it that way

 

Oh heavens no.  This board is full of lots of different ideas, families, kids.  There are so many very good options and I am glad that you have found one that will work for your family.  :001_smile:

 

Ruth in NZ

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One big difference between text books and trade books is who writes them.  If you look at The Way Things Work (linked just above), it only has one author, and that author (Macaulay) is fantastic.  He writes well on a very large breadth of subjects- you might check out his archaeology books as history supplements!  Textbooks are usually written by a team and then assembled, which can make for poor writing and disjointed flow.  Trade books are usually written by people who are passionate about a topic, and that passion comes through.  Text books are generally written to make sure a checklist is completed, and THAT usually comes through. 

 

I do not believe that education must be all fun and games.  We NEVER do "projects," we don't cut and paste and color during school time, we don't reconstruct the Nile river in plaster in the hopes that the kids will then "love" ancient Egypt.  I expect them to do their dictation and verb conjugation (French) without whining, and I expect our day to flow without any major heel-dragging and grumpiness.  I tell my son straight up, "Yeah, I don't like conjugating verbs either.  No one likes this.  But it must be learned." and that is accepted. 

 

But for content, my goal is to leave them hungry for more, not stuck believing it is all tedious except our read-aloud literature time.  If I want my kids to be auto-didacts, I need to provide them with resources that grow their curiosity, not a checklist.  But I do like having a bit of a guide to where we are going and what holes might need filling.  But the idea that EVERY hole can be filled in education is a myth.  There is no such thing as a complete education. 

 

I really like the flow chart of science topics from Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding.  You can find these in the files if you join Nebel's yahoo group, and they offer a complete list of topics for K-8 grade.  The suggested book list is also in the files section I believe.  He divides science into 4 main thread- life, chem, physics, earth, but does not separate them year by year like The Well-Trained Mind does.  The flow charts give an idea of what needs to be learned first before another topic is learned (f.ex.  First, learn that everything is made of matter, then learn that matter can be solid, liquid, or gas, then learn the water cycle, etc.) 

 

I think your plan of McGraw Hill as a spine plus library books will work fine.  I don't know why you want to accelerate 5 textbooks into 1 year though.  Your kids are 6 and 7?  What will they then do the following year?  What are the long-term goals?  You can do something very similar for history by using the Usborne or Kingfisher Encyclopedia and just reading 1-2 spreads a week for as long as it takes to complete the book, adding important names and dates to a timeline.  That's more than enough for elementary.  Another option is reading through an overview book like Little History of the World, and then choosing a few subjects to do "in depth" each year (f.ex. Ancient Greece, Feudal System, Industrial Revolution).  Change in the in-depth topics each year, and move on to age-appropriate overview books as the kids grow, and again, a great education that is both systematic and interest-led can be had. 

 

But while you are getting your footing in homeschool, I think using a textbook or encyclopedia spine is fine- probably even fine long term as well.  As someone on here said, "The best curriculum is the one that gets done!"

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For more history reading, too, I'd suggest loads of biographies. They don't have to match up with the main text you're doing. I collect biographies and my boys eat them up. 

 

Yes, this was very effective for us as well. 

 

Just to add another wrinkle to the discussion, I'll share another reason we avoided science textbooks like the plague in the earlier years: they tend to be rife with errors. Lots of simple factual errors, plus lots of examples and 'analogies' that were so far off the mark that they actually confused the issue. My kids are teens now, so I don't have any examples at hand, but googling errors elementary science textbooks will get you lots of hits. 

 

Of course, any book can contain errors, but ones that focus on one topic seem to be less prone to them. Elementary textbooks jump from one topic to the next, plus, by virtue of being textbooks, they are more likely to twist content and examples to suit whatever the latest requirements are. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Oh dear, perhaps these books are at too high a level for me to easily make my point. I just happen to remember this one example from when my oldest was younger, and these books both happen to be online.  We got The Way Life Works from the library, so free.

 

The Way Life Works happens to be the most engaging book written on cell biology and biochem that I have ever seen, this does NOT mean that it is not difficult, because the topic is difficult.  But it uses creative ways to explain difficult topics. 

 

 

"The Way We Work" by David Macaulay would be a good example on the same topic at a much lower level. Also Ruth's example book is $116 on Amazon but used copies of the current edition are available for 89cents. I would consider both books trade books even though the former is also a text book. For elementary kids, I also really like Fran Balkwill's "Enjoy Your Cells" series. They are campy but have quite a bit of advanced science in them.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not taken with any of the Horrible series. I think they are needlessly coarse. I think science is fascinating without that gimmick.

 

That said. Lots of kids love them. If that's the hook you need to get your kids reading science, then go for it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmmm… this has been an interesting thread. It's making me rethink my science plan for next year.

 

What about the Magic School Bus science books and the Let's Read and Find Out series? Would those work for the younger set? (like age 5) And then of course progress to more difficult books? (not necessarily for you, OP, as it sounds like you are looking for more. Just speaking in general)

 

What would be a good progression of science books? I remember seeing a progression Ruth (I think) wrote about classic literature. Is there some sort of progression for science living books? I particularly like larger books or books in a series because we can use them for a longer period without having to think of what's next, IYKWIM? Any thoughts?

 

Edited to correct typos

 

For kids that are 6 and 7, the Let's Read and Find Out books would be perfect. They are engaging, very informative, widely available at libraries, and you can just pick and choose the ones that interest you/them, so no advance planning.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know if I'm just that ignorant about education and children or if I'm just that boring but I have never ascribed to the whole 'learning should be fun' philosophy--especially for boys (only because I was one and most of my friends were boys). In my experience it is important that they not be allowed to think that they are entitled to stimulation and entertainment every (or even most) of the waking moments in their lives. They are not entitled to it.

 

Learning isn't inherently fun for everyone and thats okay by me, I didn't think that learning was fun when I was a kid. I don't particularly think it is fun now, some topics are more interesting than others and some are downright enjoyable but some are just stupid or boring or not-the-least-bit-interesting and yet...I take the classes anyway, I read the material, learn the subject if its needed.......

 

You *know* science and you *know* what you are doing when it comes to educating kids--I do not. I do not have any advanced education or years of insight to this thing called 'homeschooling' I took my kids out of PS for a number of reasons but it was, in large part, a snap decision--sort of.

 

Just to be clear, what I am proposing is that we would use the current unit in the McGraw Hills Science books as both reading/discussion material, which provides us with a quantifiable baseline and to whether or not we are going anywhere and we also use the scope and sequence of the books to guide our selection of NF books from the library. We would cycle through the basics of Life, Earth and Physical science 5x each between now and ~Dec/Jan. Each time the material would be slightly more advanced but utterly doable. It would make *me* feel better

 

Gil,

I just wanted to address the bolded.   I am most definitely not one that ascribes to learning should be fun.   However, fun and engaging are not synonymous.   Well-written books written by an expert are more engaging while being simultaneously far more educational b/c they cover topics in greater depth.

 

I have managed to raise a houseful of mostly science-oriented kids.   I have NO IDEA how since I am not.   My oldest is a chemE and my 12th grader just finished 2 300 level physics courses with As.  I don't understand anything that they do.  ;)   But, I am very good at locating excellent resources for them to use.  :)

 

FWIW, I think the main issue is whether or not there even exists a necessary scope and sequence for elementary science and history.   I personally do not believe there is one.   While it most definitely will probably make you feel better b/c it creates a sense of control, whether or not it makes a real difference debatable.   My kids study whatever they want in science in elementary school.   Seriously.   They read science topics every single day for 30-45 mins, but the specific science topic is chosen by them.   They love science.   They always want more science.   It may be as simple as that is why my kids are so science-oriented.  :)   Whatever it is, they are certainly well-grounded in science and succeed later on.

 

That does not mean your approach isn't completely appropriate for you.   You need to do what is right for your family.   Just sharing that the success of this approach does not rely on the aptitude of the parent.   (I don't have any in math, either.   But my kids are all strong in math, too!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lewelma, Monica_in_Switzerland, 8FillTheHeart, katilac and everyone else: Thank you!* for all your feedback, advice, guidance support and everything else. I really appreciate this board and all the wonderful posters. I take every ones posts seriously and I have been giving this issue more and more thought. I still haven't come to a conclusion (what else is new, right?) but I'm feeling less tensed up about this decision because honestly--this is 1st grade we are talking about. It isn't anything for me to get all worked up about right? So long as we have the skills covered--and we do--then everything else is just gravy, right? (Right?...Right? RIGHT?! :willy_nilly: )

 

Am I the only one who feels that this stuff gets harder as you go? In the beginning I was all blithely indifferent about it but now it makes me fretful and stuff! Anyway, I just keep reminding myself that summer is here and its time to go out side. By making outdoor stuff a bigger priority, I have less time to fret over this type of stuff and its a lot funner to make sure we meet our quota in freeze tag or catch than it is to stress over reading books anyway. So...I made myself a deal that I wouldn't worry about what I'm going to do about math for 30 days and its working out so nicely that I'm going to do the same for 'science'. For now, library books are good enough and that's that. Anyway, the fire flies are coming out now so we've gotta go catch some.... :001_tt2:

 

*(Get it? A big 'thank you' hahaha, I crack me up!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My son is finishing up 1st grade, and I feel like *philosophically* I have come SO FAR this year.  Just listening and absorbing what the veterans of this board have to say has been immensely helpful to me, even though our day-to-day has not changed much. 

 

My degree is in physics, and I was briefly a math teacher.  I like to do things systematically.  It has been a struggle this year to find a compromise between systematic and interest-led.  I think ALL homeschoolers feel that pull to check off boxes as proof that YES, the children are learning!!!  But what happens when you come to realize the checklist is essentially arbitrary, or non-existant?  It's taken a while to get my brain around this. 

 

A few things that have been important for me: 

 

- Although science is divided into "domains" (earth, life, phys, chem...), these are basically false distinctions.  This is why at university level, we have physical chemistry, biophysics, atmospheric physics and chemistry, geological physics...  Although the domains are helpful organizational tools, science is a continuum across all the domains.  This is why I recommend the Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding flow charts for a good elementary scope and sequence- it is a domain crossing approach that looks more at what knowledge must come first to understand another concept.   

 

- Nature study is critical in science.  I wish I could find the article now, but basically, many high school and college teachers are complaining because many students are arriving in classes and have no "real life" experience on which to hang scientific concepts.  Students may read about water tension and yet have no idea how that relates to insects who can walk across the water, or the fact that a stone can be skipped across the surface of a lake.  Without real life "hooks" to hang book knowledge on, the book knowledge simply won't stick.  If you must choose between reading a science book for an hour and spending an hour outside in a natural area, go outside.  Save the reading for the winter months. 

 

- For history, I was totally sold on the chronological approach.  I learned history in a very disjointed way in public school (i.e. It's Columbus Day!  Let's learn about Columbus!  Now it's the 4th of July!  Let's read about George Washington!), and I was literally an ADULT living in FRANCE when I realized the French and American revolutions were basically  contemporary events!!!  Rather embarrassing....   But after spending a lot of time reading here at WTM, I've come to some of my own conclusions about making history cohesive, without limiting ourselves to a rigid chronological approach.  (If a kid finds an interesting biography series for his age group, why NOT let him just raed all the way across the library shelf???)  Here is where history is for us:  Do whatever history I feel like- be it SOTW, an overview book, an encyclopedia, whatever.  But whatever book we happen to use, pop the main names/dates onto a time line.  For younger grade, I like the long wall timelines, but we don't have space, so I use a "book of centuries" style timeline.  Somewhere around 4th grade, you can switch from a family timeline book to individual books for each kid.  This is pretty much just Charlotte Mason without all the planning drama.

 

All high school content courses assume ZERO background knowledge.  High school world history assume ZERO world history knowledge.  Now of course, the kids that can at least identify the major players on a world map are going to be better off, but if they've never heard of Ur, no big deal.  Same with the sciences.  So there is A LOT of freedom in elementary.  

 

And while I know you are trying to give yourself a brain break, do see if your library has the book "Why Don't Students Like School" by Willingham.  The title is deceptive, the book is actually a look at all the GOOD cognitive science data that exists on learning.  It is a truly useful book to the homeschooler.  I can't resist, I have a file on all my quotes I highlighted from the book in my kindle, and I'm pasting below.  :-) 

 

Best of luck with planning!

 

---------------------------

 

Willingham Quotes

 

When you plan a lesson, you start with the information you want students to know by its end.  As a next step, consider what the key question for that lesson might be and how you can frame that question so it will have the right level of difficulty to engage your students and so you will respect your students’ cognitive limitations. 

 

The phenomenon of tying together separate pieces of information from the environment is called “chunkingâ€â€ [great example of chunking on the KISS grammar website as well]

 

Some educational thinkers have suggested that a limited number of ideas should be taught in great depth beginning in the early grades and carrying through the curriculum for years as different topics are taken up and viewed through the lens of one or more of these ideas.  From the cognitive perspective, this makes sense. 

 

Do whatever you can to get kids to read.  [related to the importance of background knowledge, familiarity]

 

Students can learn information form math problems, or through sample sentences when they are learning grammar, or from vocabulary you use when you select a classroom monitor.  [Very Charlotte Mason sounding to me.  That is, assign copywork from history or science passages, or that illustrate complex language structure, important thoughts, etc.  Use math problems that illustrate real-world application (let’s double this cake recipe!) or data analysis ((Let’s use your plan growth data to find the average growth per day of bean sprouts and its standard deviation)]

 

To teach well, you should pay careful attention to what an assignment will actually makes students think about (not what you hope they will think about), because that is what they will remember.  [Things like making a tile mosaic teach children to make mosaic, not about Roman history, etc.  It doesn’t mean the activity might be worthwhile, but realistically, it probably doesn’t add anything to history study]

 

Effective teachers have both qualities.  They are able to connect personally with students, and they organize the material in a way that makes it interesting and easy to understand. 

 

I’m going to suggest that organizing a lesson plan like a story is an effective way to help students comprehend and remember.

 

[How to create a narrative story] The first C is causality, which means that events are causally related to one another.  For example, “I saw Jane.  I left the house†is just a chronological telling of events.  But if you read, “I saw Jane, my hopeless old love, I left the house,†you would understand that the two events are linked causally.   The second C is conflict.  A story has a main character pursuing a goal, but he or she is unable to reach that goal.  […] Conflict occurs because there is an obstacle to the goal.  […] The third C is complications.  […]  Complications are sub-problems that arise from the main goal.  […]  The final C is character.  A good story is built around strong, interesting characters, and the key to those qualities is action.  A skillful storyteller shows rather than tells the audience what a character is like.   

 

The story structure applies to the way you organize the material that you encourage your students to think about, not to the methods you use to teach the material. 

 

Review each lesson plan in terms of what the student is likely to think about.

 

The surest way to help students understand an abstraction is to expose them to many different versions of that abstraction- that is, to have them solve area calculation problems about tabletops, soccer fields, envelopes, doors, and so on.  There are some promising new techniques to hurry this process. 

 

The two reasons to practice- to gain competence and to improve are self-evident and probably not very controversial.  Less obvious are the reasons to practice skills when it appears you have mastered something and it’s not obvious that practice is making you any better.  Odd as it may seem, that sort of practice is essential to schooling.  It yields these important benefits: it reinforces the basic skills that are required for the learning of more advanced skills, it protects against forgetting, and it improves transfer.

 

Again, the goal is to provide students with some understanding of how others create knowledge, rather than to ask students to engage in activities of knowledge creation.

 

Whenever you see an expert doing something differently from the way a non-expert does it, it may well be that the expert used to do it the way the novice does it, and that doing so was a necessary step on the way to expertise.

 

Children are more alike than different in terms of how they think and learn. 

 

Your knowledge of the word footbath is stored as meaning, independent of whether you first learned the word by seeing someone take a footbath or hearing a description of it, or by actually soaking your own feet.  Most of what teachers want students to know is stored as meaning. 

 

Meaning has a life of its own, independent of sensory details. 

 

“Every student is intelligent in some way,†or ask students to identify “What kind of smart are you?† I think teachers stay this in an effort to communicate egalitarian attitude to students: everyone is good at something.  But there are a couple of reasons to be leery of this attitude.  First this sort of statement rubs me the wrong way because it implies that intelligence brings value.  Every child is unique and valuable, whether or not they are intelligent or have much in the way of mental ability.  I admit that being the father of a severely mentally retarded child probably makes me sensitive on this issue.  My daughter is not intelligent in any sense of the word, but she is a joyful child who brings a lot of happiness to a lot of people.

 

In China, Japan, and other Eastern countries, intelligence is more often viewed as malleable.  If students fail a test or don’t understand a concept, it’s not that they’re stupid- they just haven’t worked hard enough. 

 

Why doesn’t Anne learn better when the presentation is auditory, given that she’s an auditory learner?  Because auditor y information is not what’s being tested!  Auditory information would be the particular sound of the voice on the tape.  What’s being tested is the meaning of the words. 

 

[On the persistence of the learning styles hypothesis… just found it to be a good quote in general…] The great novelist Tolstoy put it this way: “I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of great complexity, can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their lifeâ€

 

Think in terms of content, not in terms of students.

 

Change promotes attention. [from activity to seat work to lecture, from abstract to word problems, etc.  There is a table in Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic Learners section of ch.7 summarizing the so-called learning styles.  He suggests using the various learning styles and techniques to create more interest (change) during any given lesson to encourage attention.]

 

Cognitive processes (such as synthesizing and critiquing) cannot operate alone.  They need background knowledge to make them work.

 

Therefore, you should praise process rather than ability.  In addition to praising effort (if appropriate), you might praise a student for persistence in the face of challenges, or for taking responsibility for her work.

 

Avoid insincere praise, however.  Dishonest praise is actually destructive.  If you tell a student “Wow, you really worked hard on this project!* when the student knows good and well that she didn’t, you lose credibility.

 

In the last ten years or so, many researchers have emphasized that teachers ought to have rich subject-matter knowledge, and there do seem to be some data that students of these teachers learn more, especially in middle and high school and especially in I math.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

but I have never ascribed to the whole 'learning should be fun' philosophy-

 

 

 

However, fun and engaging are not synonymous.   Well-written books written by an expert are more engaging while being simultaneously far more educational b/c they cover topics in greater depth.

 

I sense that you are done with this thread, Gil, but I really needed to respond to your comment and 8's response. 

 

I think that you really need to think about what 8 is saying.  Fun and engaging are NOT synonymous.  I completely agree with 8.  Kids *need* to engage, and great books help them do that.  It does NOT mean that they are easy; it means that the material is meaningful to *them*.

 

My younger is reading National Geographic as his nonfiction reading.  He is 10.  Many articles are not easy reading, but because they are so very engaging, he is willing to put in the work to understand the difficult material.  He is learning very good skills: focus, drive, consistency, reading comprehension, writing techniques, AND science/geography/history.

 

Passion goes a very long way in learning.  Don't discount it.

 

Ruth in NZ

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My son is finishing up 1st grade, and I feel like *philosophically* I have come SO FAR this year.  Just listening and absorbing what the veterans of this board have to say has been immensely helpful to me, even though our day-to-day has not changed much. 

 

My degree is in physics, and I was briefly a math teacher.  I like to do things systematically.  It has been a struggle this year to find a compromise between systematic and interest-led.  I think ALL homeschoolers feel that pull to check off boxes as proof that YES, the children are learning!!!  But what happens when you come to realize the checklist is essentially arbitrary, or non-existant?  It's taken a while to get my brain around this. 

 

A few things that have been important for me: 

 

- Although science is divided into "domains" (earth, life, phys, chem...), these are basically false distinctions.  This is why at university level, we have physical chemistry, biophysics, atmospheric physics and chemistry, geological physics...  Although the domains are helpful organizational tools, science is a continuum across all the domains.  This is why I recommend the Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding flow charts for a good elementary scope and sequence- it is a domain crossing approach that looks more at what knowledge must come first to understand another concept.   

 

- Nature study is critical in science.  I wish I could find the article now, but basically, many high school and college teachers are complaining because many students are arriving in classes and have no "real life" experience on which to hang scientific concepts.  Students may read about water tension and yet have no idea how that relates to insects who can walk across the water, or the fact that a stone can be skipped across the surface of a lake.  Without real life "hooks" to hang book knowledge on, the book knowledge simply won't stick.  If you must choose between reading a science book for an hour and spending an hour outside in a natural area, go outside.  Save the reading for the winter months. 

 

- For history, I was totally sold on the chronological approach.  I learned history in a very disjointed way in public school (i.e. It's Columbus Day!  Let's learn about Columbus!  Now it's the 4th of July!  Let's read about George Washington!), and I was literally an ADULT living in FRANCE when I realized the French and American revolutions were basically  contemporary events!!!  Rather embarrassing....   But after spending a lot of time reading here at WTM, I've come to some of my own conclusions about making history cohesive, without limiting ourselves to a rigid chronological approach.  (If a kid finds an interesting biography series for his age group, why NOT let him just raed all the way across the library shelf???)  Here is where history is for us:  Do whatever history I feel like- be it SOTW, an overview book, an encyclopedia, whatever.  But whatever book we happen to use, pop the main names/dates onto a time line.  For younger grade, I like the long wall timelines, but we don't have space, so I use a "book of centuries" style timeline.  Somewhere around 4th grade, you can switch from a family timeline book to individual books for each kid.  This is pretty much just Charlotte Mason without all the planning drama.

 

All high school content courses assume ZERO background knowledge.  High school world history assume ZERO world history knowledge.  Now of course, the kids that can at least identify the major players on a world map are going to be better off, but if they've never heard of Ur, no big deal.  Same with the sciences.  So there is A LOT of freedom in elementary.  

 

And while I know you are trying to give yourself a brain break, do see if your library has the book "Why Don't Students Like School" by Willingham.  The title is deceptive, the book is actually a look at all the GOOD cognitive science data that exists on learning.  It is a truly useful book to the homeschooler.  I can't resist, I have a file on all my quotes I highlighted from the book in my kindle, and I'm pasting below.  :-) 

 

Best of luck with planning!

 

---------------------------

 

Willingham Quotes

 

When you plan a lesson, you start with the information you want students to know by its end.  As a next step, consider what the key question for that lesson might be and how you can frame that question so it will have the right level of difficulty to engage your students and so you will respect your students’ cognitive limitations. 

 

The phenomenon of tying together separate pieces of information from the environment is called “chunkingâ€â€ [great example of chunking on the KISS grammar website as well]

 

Some educational thinkers have suggested that a limited number of ideas should be taught in great depth beginning in the early grades and carrying through the curriculum for years as different topics are taken up and viewed through the lens of one or more of these ideas.  From the cognitive perspective, this makes sense.

 

Do whatever you can to get kids to read.  [related to the importance of background knowledge, familiarity]

 

Students can learn information form math problems, or through sample sentences when they are learning grammar, or from vocabulary you use when you select a classroom monitor.  [Very Charlotte Mason sounding to me.  That is, assign copywork from history or science passages, or that illustrate complex language structure, important thoughts, etc.  Use math problems that illustrate real-world application (let’s double this cake recipe!) or data analysis ((Let’s use your plan growth data to find the average growth per day of bean sprouts and its standard deviation)]

 

To teach well, you should pay careful attention to what an assignment will actually makes students think about (not what you hope they will think about), because that is what they will remember.  [Things like making a tile mosaic teach children to make mosaic, not about Roman history, etc.  It doesn’t mean the activity might be worthwhile, but realistically, it probably doesn’t add anything to history study]

 

Effective teachers have both qualities.  They are able to connect personally with students, and they organize the material in a way that makes it interesting and easy to understand. 

 

I’m going to suggest that organizing a lesson plan like a story is an effective way to help students comprehend and remember.

 

[How to create a narrative story] The first C is causality, which means that events are causally related to one another.  For example, “I saw Jane.  I left the house†is just a chronological telling of events.  But if you read, “I saw Jane, my hopeless old love, I left the house,†you would understand that the two events are linked causally.   The second C is conflict.  A story has a main character pursuing a goal, but he or she is unable to reach that goal.  […] Conflict occurs because there is an obstacle to the goal.  […] The third C is complications.  […]  Complications are sub-problems that arise from the main goal.  […]  The final C is character.  A good story is built around strong, interesting characters, and the key to those qualities is action.  A skillful storyteller shows rather than tells the audience what a character is like.   

 

The story structure applies to the way you organize the material that you encourage your students to think about, not to the methods you use to teach the material. 

 

Review each lesson plan in terms of what the student is likely to think about.

 

The surest way to help students understand an abstraction is to expose them to many different versions of that abstraction- that is, to have them solve area calculation problems about tabletops, soccer fields, envelopes, doors, and so on.  There are some promising new techniques to hurry this process. 

 

The two reasons to practice- to gain competence and to improve are self-evident and probably not very controversial.  Less obvious are the reasons to practice skills when it appears you have mastered something and it’s not obvious that practice is making you any better.  Odd as it may seem, that sort of practice is essential to schooling.  It yields these important benefits: it reinforces the basic skills that are required for the learning of more advanced skills, it protects against forgetting, and it improves transfer.

 

Again, the goal is to provide students with some understanding of how others create knowledge, rather than to ask students to engage in activities of knowledge creation.

 

Whenever you see an expert doing something differently from the way a non-expert does it, it may well be that the expert used to do it the way the novice does it, and that doing so was a necessary step on the way to expertise.

 

Children are more alike than different in terms of how they think and learn. 

 

Your knowledge of the word footbath is stored as meaning, independent of whether you first learned the word by seeing someone take a footbath or hearing a description of it, or by actually soaking your own feet.  Most of what teachers want students to know is stored as meaning. 

 

Meaning has a life of its own, independent of sensory details. 

 

“Every student is intelligent in some way,†or ask students to identify “What kind of smart are you?† I think teachers stay this in an effort to communicate egalitarian attitude to students: everyone is good at something.  But there are a couple of reasons to be leery of this attitude.  First this sort of statement rubs me the wrong way because it implies that intelligence brings value.  Every child is unique and valuable, whether or not they are intelligent or have much in the way of mental ability.  I admit that being the father of a severely mentally retarded child probably makes me sensitive on this issue.  My daughter is not intelligent in any sense of the word, but she is a joyful child who brings a lot of happiness to a lot of people.

 

In China, Japan, and other Eastern countries, intelligence is more often viewed as malleable.  If students fail a test or don’t understand a concept, it’s not that they’re stupid- they just haven’t worked hard enough. 

 

Why doesn’t Anne learn better when the presentation is auditory, given that she’s an auditory learner?  Because auditor y information is not what’s being tested!  Auditory information would be the particular sound of the voice on the tape.  What’s being tested is the meaning of the words. 

 

[On the persistence of the learning styles hypothesis… just found it to be a good quote in general…] The great novelist Tolstoy put it this way: “I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of great complexity, can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their lifeâ€

 

Think in terms of content, not in terms of students.

 

Change promotes attention. [from activity to seat work to lecture, from abstract to word problems, etc.  There is a table in Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic Learners section of ch.7 summarizing the so-called learning styles.  He suggests using the various learning styles and techniques to create more interest (change) during any given lesson to encourage attention.]

 

Cognitive processes (such as synthesizing and critiquing) cannot operate alone.  They need background knowledge to make them work.

 

Therefore, you should praise process rather than ability.  In addition to praising effort (if appropriate), you might praise a student for persistence in the face of challenges, or for taking responsibility for her work.

 

Avoid insincere praise, however.  Dishonest praise is actually destructive.  If you tell a student “Wow, you really worked hard on this project!* when the student knows good and well that she didn’t, you lose credibility.

 

In the last ten years or so, many researchers have emphasized that teachers ought to have rich subject-matter knowledge, and there do seem to be some data that students of these teachers learn more, especially in middle and high school and especially in I math.

 

Monica,

 

Your post is a perfect example of why I pay close attention even to forum members who have children much younger than mine. I have learned so much and gleaned such inspiration from a variety of people on this forum!

 

I'm considering ordering the book. Is it geared mainly toward the younger years, or do you think it would be helpful in regards to high school as well?

 

Thanks so much for your post!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Monica,

 

Your post is a perfect example of why I pay close attention even to forum members who have children much younger than mine. I have learned so much and gleaned such inspiration from a variety of people on this forum!

 

I'm considering ordering the book. Is it geared mainly toward the younger years, or do you think it would be helpful in regards to high school as well?

 

Thanks so much for your post!

 

It's a great book on the cognitive bases of learning and not just geared to littles - it's relevant to all learners from children all the way up to us! I think you'd really enjoy it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Monica,

 

Your post is a perfect example of why I pay close attention even to forum members who have children much younger than mine. I have learned so much and gleaned such inspiration from a variety of people on this forum!

 

I'm considering ordering the book. Is it geared mainly toward the younger years, or do you think it would be helpful in regards to high school as well?

 

Thanks so much for your post!

:blush5: awwww.... *blush*

 

It's a great book on the cognitive bases of learning and not just geared to littles - it's relevant to all learners from children all the way up to us! I think you'd really enjoy it.

:iagree:

 

Willingham's book is, I think, the most concise and the most precise book on HOW to teach that I have seen.  There are many books on WHAT to teach, his is the one that tells you why and how.  I think it'd be helpful at any age. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Willingham is awesome, but I'd also recommend, off the top of my head:

Dr. Lise Eliot

Dr. Alison Gopnik

Dr. Maryanne Wolf

Dr. Carol Dweck

Dr. Stanislas Dehaene

 

and not exactly on how children learn, but interesting

Alfie Kohn

Alice Miller

Juliet B. Schor

Meredith Small

Sarah Blaffer Hrdy

John Gottman

Steven Pinker

Annie Murphy Paul

 
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I sense that you are done with this thread, Gil,..

Nope. Not by a long shot. Here at G.E.A.R we have our old plan from last year still in place (the whole 'Finish 8th grade thing') and we're working on that while I try and straighten out this whole thing for myself. Right now, I think that I have to take some serious 'listening time' on this board so while I might not be super participatory on the output front, I am very receptive on the input front. I realize that like...80% of the problems I have with homeschooling are ones that I am creating for myself so I think that some 'listening time' is definitely in order.

 

By 'listening time' I mean that I'm going to shut up for a bit, and stop trying to converse (READ: argue about/refute) everything. Every now and then I have to make the boys shut their pie holes and just listen to what someone is saying--so now is my turn to do the same.  Looking back through my posts I felt very embarrassed when I realize that I wind up turning requests for help/advice into a "yeah, okay--but..." exchange rather an "I am open to the advice that *I* asked for in the first place" exchange.

 

I am actually planning on printing several threads from this board and will be reading and rereading them during my 'listening time', so if you have anything to say--please jump in! Add your opinion, perspective, suggestions and feedback! If there was a really rivoting conversation on the merits of XY philosophy/method/curriculum or a "I need a kick in the pants. Give it to me." thread that you know of, please feel free to link it.

--Gil, who finally got some good exercise and great rest last night and is alert sans-caffeine for the first time in like 3 weeks.

 

ETA:

Oh, PS: I will also be working on my geometry thread. I'd like it to be my first major contribution to these boards so it's kind of my 3rd kid for a while in that it will be recieving some daily attention from me.

 

ETA2: because I don't know why all the print was bold/fat...the formatting was weird so I changed it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My son will be homeschooled for 4th grade next year and we are doing SOTW and some mapping that goes along with the lessons, but we're not doing projects either, because my kids prefer to read and learn well that way.  My kids don't like projects.  We are also adding some supplementary reading (i.e., historical fiction, additional reading where interest indicates) where appropriate.  For middle school, we use the Classical Historian (very reading and writing intensive, supplemented by Joy Hakim and addition, ore complex literature and discussions.

What is a simple, read the next page and go to the next level program for Science and History? The boys are solid readers and we read as a group too so the reading level isn't an issue. I just want to get systematic exposure and information to them. I'm not looking for coloring pages, model kits, or a bunch of expansion kits. I just want to keep this clean and simple so that it actually gets done on a constant basis. I don't mind starting at a lower level and moving faster as needed. I'm not picky about religious/political bent either because we just discuss stuff as it comes when it comes to content.

 

I'm liking Story of the World vol 1 well enough, so we will probably continue with that. May even cycle through them 2 or 3 times, engaging the text more and more with each reading...for now we are just reading the text.

 

What about Science? Is there an open-and-read options out there? Discussion questions or a chapter/unit summary will be nice. A lab manual, project kit and/or test bank is not at all necessary.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...