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Science for 3rd and 5th - help, I hate everything


Smithie
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Not the most positive mindset, I know.  :sad:

 

I have rising 3rd and 5th graders. Science has been pretty much a bust for us this year - they've learned stuff, but it was a wretched chore for all of us. The only enjoyable thing we've done is to watch Cosmos as a family - though that's been extremely enjoyable and very educational as well IMHO.

 

I hate experiments. HATE them. Hate the mess, hate the assembling of "common" household items that are certainly not common in MY household, hate the kids shoving each other around the kitchen island (and generating more mess). Hate hate hate. I will not do them on a regular basis; they ruin our homeschooling day. Strangely, Chemistry for the Grammar Stage did not mesh well with my teaching style.  

 

Here's what I WILL do - read books, do worksheets, show videos, talk about scientific concepts, go on field trips to the science center, the science museum, the planetarium, the zoo, etc. We are a secular Jewish family who value scientific literacy. When my children are a bit older, they will have my full support in taking lab sciences through a co-op or in public school if they ever choose to attend. I would even be willing to do some "kit" experiments at home, provided that EVERY SINGLE ITEM NEEDED is included in the kit and I'm not out in the garage looking for rubber tubing and rock salt.  :smilielol5:

 

Given my limitations as a teacher, does anybody have a suggestion for an open-and-go science textbook or online course with few experiments ? My kids do not like scripted materials such as FLL, but they are tolerant of low-visual-stimulation materials such as Rod and Staff. They loathed the fact that the Chemistry for the Grammar Stage student text made no sense without the teacher text being used alongside - they like to have their information printed in their own books.

 

Thanks in advance! 

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Science Fusion does look like something we could use very successfully - but $140 per kid for 3 kids is a lot. Galore Park has a book that they recommend for for "6th year," but it certainly looks like something my boys could handle, and I'm continually surprised at the lengths their little sister will go to in the name of "keeping up." 

 

Thanks so much - those are two great options. 

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Ellen McHenry :) More games than experiments, if I recall, and the experiments it DID have were very optional and very basic... but the text itself is rich, deep, enjoyable. Each unit lasts about 10 weeks. The only one I wouldn't suggest is Carbon Chem, due to the age of your younger (third grade). You could easily and enjoyably to two units this year, with lots of adding in literature and rabbit trails.

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Here's what I WILL do - read books, do worksheets, show videos, talk about scientific concepts, go on field trips to the science center, the science museum, the planetarium, the zoo, etc. We are a secular Jewish family who value scientific literacy. When my children are a bit older, they will have my full support in taking lab sciences through a co-op or in public school if they ever choose to attend.

Why not just do this? You could let the kids pick what they want to learn about and then read the heck out of it until they want to move on. Watch every BBC science show or documentary on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu before turning them loose on documentaries and science shows at the library. If you're crafty types you could scrapbook/lapbook it. If you're not crafty, then you could create a notebook page for each topic/theme and call it done.

 

Maybe they could take turns picking? If they're not sure what to pick then start with the documentaries and see if something strikes their interest from that. My dd picked birds and bunnies for our summer studies, but next on her list is mammoths and trilobites. My youngest will tag along with her while my oldest wants to do a unit on electricity. This is the first year that I'm doing two separate science studies. I'll let you know if I survive.

 

As for all inclusive kits - I think MBTP's science kits are all-inclusive.

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I have written multiple posts on how we approach science.   Here are a couple from this week:

 

 

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.co.../R3A3S0UL197O1U

view from the Oak http://www.amazon.co...ew from the oak

Library of Subatomic Particles http://www.amazon.co...rticles Bortz's

The Wonderbook of Chemistry by Fabre (this is free online in several places http://www.mainlesso...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/...e_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....d_Powell_Morgan
I love this article
http://spectrum.ieee...-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.

 

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.

 

Here is another thread where I describe what we do http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/173293-interest-driven-education-and-real-tea-time/

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If I hated Science, I would watch Magic School bus on you tube, then go to the library and check out books on whichever subjects caught me kids interests.  Plant a garden or even just tomatoes in a pot.  Collect 4 or 5 leaves in your neighborhood and have the kids identify the trees and if older do a report on their tree.  Same with rocks.  If they go fishing, learn about the fish, their habitat, the best bait and dissect/clean them.   We live on the Chesapeake Bay so we also learned about tides.  

Go to the planetarium and then make pin hole constellations they can shine on their wall at night.  Have them figure out how much they would feel like they weighed on different planets, and how hot or cold they would be on each one.  

Freak them out by explaining they are drinking dinosaur pee, and then explain how the water cycle works and how all the water we have to drink has always existed since whenever you believe earth began.  Teach them about chemicals and evaporation if you have a pool.  Or even a sink.  Explain why they might go blind or stop breathing if they pour bleach and ammonia in the same bucket.  If you live in the woods let them cut down long branches and give them some rope and a tarp and let them figure out how to make a shelter.  Take them to the animal shelter once a week or month to socialize the animals and understand population explosion and cute puppies and kitties grow into a big responsibility that too many people underestimate.   Have them start their own science journal filled with questions they don't know and may want to learn more about.  Buy a magnifying glass at the dollar store.

 

Science does not need a curriculum in the early years and often sucks the fun and intrigue right out of it.  It also doesn't need a list of experiments that half the time don't work the way the book says they will.  

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We do almost exactly what 8 fills the heart outlined.  We kept trying to do a "program" and my kids hated them all and so did I, so we never did them.  But I have always had a lot of science books on our shelves and require reading from them every week.  And of course whenever they are more interested in a topic on their own, we get extra books from the library.  So far my kids seem very scientifically literate and have passed all their state tests (fwiw) without any science 'instruction" from me.  And NO "experiments".  My kids are 16 down to 8.

Jen

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Maybe Real Science 4 Kids? (RS4K)

 

We didn't do any of the experiments this year because science wasn't a "subject," but my kids sure learned a lot just from the readings.

 

 

I also read from the Rainbow Science text.  THAT is a curriculum which sends you every.single.item in a box, for ALL the experiments, for the entire year.  But it's $$.

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I hate experiments. HATE them. Hate the mess, hate the assembling of "common" household items that are certainly not common in MY household, hate the kids shoving each other around the kitchen island (and generating more mess). Hate hate hate. I will not do them on a regular basis; they ruin our homeschooling day.

me too. So I don't do them. And personally, I think that a lot of them don't teach much. I have written a couple of posts here that might ease your mind.

 

Here's what I WILL do - read books, do worksheets, show videos, talk about scientific concepts, go on field trips to the science center, the science museum, the planetarium, the zoo, etc.

So do that (except skip the worksheets). You and your kids will learn so so very much if you:

 

read

talk

watch videos

go on field trips

 

Wow! That would be such a great science program. Why would you not do it?

 

Ruth in NZ

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I agree with several PPs.  My DH is a scientist (chemist), and I have a master's in a healthcare field that was very science-heavy.  We do some formal science study as part of a small co-op with friends (I don't teach it :) ).  My kids read lots and lots of science books, my 10 yo reads Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, etc.  I really dislike some of LoF, but DS1 begged for the Physics book and has been very motivated to move through that on his own.  We talk science all of the time at home, we have a garden, we have jeweler's loupes, magnifying glasses, a "cabinet of curiosities" (various specimens like snake skins, mineral samples, seashells, insects), etc. The kids have moved from building with snap circuits to building circuits on breadboards.  To them, that is a hobby vs. homeschool. 

 

We have used Critical Thinking Through Science, and I have liked that, but yes, you have to gather materials and so forth.
 

I really would like us to do a lewelma-style larger scale project, but we haven't tackled that yet. 

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Einstein in a box is a science kit that comes with everything to do the science projects/experiments. You can buy a subscription and it will come to your house every month. Super easy. What kid doesn't like getting mail? And opening the unknown always makes my kids excited and involved.

AL

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Thank you all for the excellent suggestions!

 

I'm not a new poster or a new homeschooler, but I've never had fifth graders before and I live in a state with NO meaningful quality control for homeschoolers (no standardized testing, no curriculum review, no portfolio submission, NOTHING), and I don't want them to decide to go to school at some point and struggle with lab sciences because Mommy hated messes  :laugh:

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From the Rainbow Science homepage:

 

Navigate theories on the age of the earth, the dinosaurs, and human evolution with ease and without compromising your children's developing faith. The Rainbow teaches the Truth while exposing the fantasies of humanistic theories. A brief Parent Fortification is provided to give you the confidence you need in guiding your children.

 

:rofl:

 

I wouldn't mind this curriculum being $$, but the fact that it conflates science with mythology is somewhat problematic for me. Very strange suggestion for "a secular Jewish family who value scientific literacy." 

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Love, love, love Science in the Beginning.

I have never found another curriculum I like.

 

Ok, but another odd suggestion for a secular Jewish family, isn't it?  I don't mean to pick on you for the suggestion, you aren't the only one who suggested a religious-based science curriculum.  But this is one of the major frustrations for those of us looking for truly secular science in the lower grades - it's hard to find a curriculum to fit the bill.  I don't know how many suggestions I've clicked on hopefully only to see that they are actually religious curricula, not secular science at all.

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Thank you all for the excellent suggestions!

 

I'm not a new poster or a new homeschooler, but I've never had fifth graders before and I live in a state with NO meaningful quality control for homeschoolers (no standardized testing, no curriculum review, no portfolio submission, NOTHING), and I don't want them to decide to go to school at some point and struggle with lab sciences because Mommy hated messes :laugh:

Every lab I've been in from junior high to undergrad had a basic "This is what you do and don't do in a lab." The schools don't open the door to the labs and send the students forth to wreck havoc and unleash mayhem. Safety and proper equipment use is heavily emphasized. Even the undergrad labs had very detailed instructions for the process.

 

I've purchased science curriculum every year up until this last. I finally trusted the experience of 8Filltheheart, Regentrude, and lewelma. I mention these three because they stand out most prominently to me, but numerous other posters have also outlined their curriculum-free approach to science for the younger years.

 

My fifth grader this year studied cellular biology for plants, animals, fungi, bacteria, and viruses. He studied human anatomy and organ systems. He watched youtube videos on ATP and other cellular processes. He learned about DNA and genetic disease, testing, and therapy. He read about genetically modified crops and animals and the benefits and risks to the environment associated with both. The only text I purchased was The Way We Work by David Macaulay. Everything else came from the library.

 

My second grader read many books and watched videos about different animals. She read books on biomes, life cycles, and food chains. She learned the difference between plants, animals, fungi, and bacteria. She read about human anatomy. She's growing some plants right now and we're planning to grow vegetables and herbs once the risk of freeze passes. I purchased a First Encyclopedia of Animals and a First Human Body Encyclopedia. All the other books came from the library.

 

For both kids, I spent time discussing their readings and videos. We went on field trips to parks, nature preserves, museums, and animal preserves. They talked to rangers, technicians, and farmers. We observed the wild animals around us and on hikes, we looked at animal tracks and scat. We talked about the changing of the seasons, clouds, and weather.

 

I used Building Foundations for Scientic Understanding (all three books) for library book lists and discussion prompts, but my kids didn't do any of the experiment or observations. Although I originally had a pre-planned list of broad topics, the kids spent a lot of time pursuing rabbit trails. My only weekly to-do was to request additional library books after picking up our last batch of holds.

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From the Rainbow Science homepage:

 

Navigate theories on the age of the earth, the dinosaurs, and human evolution with ease and without compromising your children's developing faith. The Rainbow teaches the Truth while exposing the fantasies of humanistic theories. A brief Parent Fortification is provided to give you the confidence you need in guiding your children.

 

 

:rofl:

 

I wouldn't mind this curriculum being $$, but the fact that it conflates science with mythology is somewhat problematic for me. Very strange suggestion for "a secular Jewish family who value scientific literacy."

Please forgive me for going COMPLETELY off topic- but what does it mean to be secular Jewish? I thought that Jewish meant "the people who believe in and practice Judaism"? Can one be secular Christian or Muslim?

 

Just curious, I have never heard that term before.

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Thank you all for the excellent suggestions!

 

I'm not a new poster or a new homeschooler, but I've never had fifth graders before and I live in a state with NO meaningful quality control for homeschoolers (no standardized testing, no curriculum review, no portfolio submission, NOTHING), and I don't want them to decide to go to school at some point and struggle with lab sciences because Mommy hated messes  :laugh:

 

Ok, a couple of suggestions then from a mother who also hates messes.

 

1) Consolidate all the hands-on work to a one or two week period, where that is all you do.  You can do 1 to 3 really good labs, where you have found all the materials ahead of time. You would have your head in the game because you knew it was only for a week or two.  Then you could recover. :001_smile: I have a very good silly putty lab that would fit this requirement if you want it.

 

2) You could do all your hands on work outside, where there are basically no messes.  You could easily do fertilizer experiments or topsoil insect experiments.  You could study bee pollination, or do a bow and arrow comparison.  There is nothing to clean up in your house, so some how it is different for the messy-minded mom. Ask me how I know.

 

3) You could do nature study - observing the moon's and sun's movement, identify stars, identify rocks, identify trees and birds, watch the tides compared to the moon, learn cloud formations and predict weather.  None of these things are messy because you are just observing.  All you need is a notebook and some good old fashioned discussion. 

 

There are different reasons to do labs, it sounds to me that the only goal you are worried about is using the equipment. This is a very minor part of science.  I want my children very well prepared so I have done 2 things: make sure that they can use a good microscope effectively (including making slides). And for chemistry, I sent my older boy to a 6 hour lab class, once when he was 12. That was all we did equipment wise before high school. 

 

Have you read this thread about the goals of hands on work? (same link as in my pp)  In it I discuss many ways to accomplish different goals -- some with youtube, some with a single good experiment, some with observation.  Not all hands-on work is created equal, and given that you don't like it, you don't want to waste your time on whatever is not very good. Choose carefully. 

 

If you want me to help you sort the wheat from the chaff, I am happy to help.

 

Ruth in NZ

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Again, my thanks to all. And I'm sorry I was so snarky about Rainbow Science - there is no point laughing at somebody who is only trying to help you. As another poster has pointed out, when you are wanting a great science program for your kids, and time after time you click on something that seems wonderful only to find out that it is yet another Christian apologetics program pretending to be a science course, it really wears on you. 

 

*lifeoftheparty* - most Jews, both in America and in Israel, are secular to one degree or another. For some of us, it just means not being Biblical literalists. For others, it means not believing in a personal God. I made the distinction because "religious Jews" would have very different curricular needs. Those would be the people who wear funny hats and think the Earth is 6,000 years old - ultra-Orthodox and Hasidic Jews. They are a small minority of Jews but they are very visible to most people, whereas secular Jews look like everybody else.  "Fundamentalist Jews" would be a better term for those Jewish sects who read Torah literally, but that's not the term in common usage. They call themselves "religious." Some of the things the rest of us call them are best not put into print ;-) Since Judaism is a religion of "doing" rather than "believing," secular and religious Jews often find themselves engaging in a lot of the same activities - charity work, social justice activism, etc. We also have approximately one zillion holidays with their own particular rituals, so a secular Jew may be "doing Jewish" far more often than a religious Christian is visibly engaging in Christian ritual. 

 

Are there secular Christians and secular Muslims? I would say yes. If you don't think Mohammed spoke directly to God and was bodily removed into Heaven, but you fast on Ramadan and get married by an imam, you would be a secular Muslim. And people who don't think Jesus was the Son of God, but continue to have weddings and baby namings and funerals using the Christian liturgy? That, to me, is a secular expression of Christian cultural heritage. 

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Love, love, love Science in the Beginning.

I have never found another curriculum I like.

Love this too.  We are a Christian family, so take it with a grain of salt, but I don't find this in any way Evangelical Christian--it is set up by chapters based on "Days of Creation" and there may be an occasional "God made the water" sort of reference in there, but the OP mentioned Rod and Staff as being okay--it's probably about the same level of religious inclusion.

 

We have used Apologia Elementary, and this is nothing like that.

 

We have avoided science for a long time--did the Apologia for a year and a half, did a Sonlight year, did a My Father's World year, and it was wasted time.  Although SITB has experiments, they really are nothing.  I HATE DOING EXPERIMENTS too.  I'm totally with you.

 

Before this year, I felt like my kids were going to be the biggest science dingbats, thanks to me.  Well, DS2 knows everything about animals, even up to an adult level in many areas, but no other science.  Our state has zero requirement.  But this book has been easy to use, and I'm even learning quite a bit--  I have only had to buy like 2 things for experiments and we've done about half of them already.  And, WOW, today I had the boys find all the materials and set up their own experiment--shot of brilliance, that will be a new plan for many days.

 

Hope you find what you like--  My sister is an Apologia dropout like me, and she is using Christian Light Science--it's another Mennonite company like Rod and Staff, and the science is in a workbook format; she bought a kit to go along with it, and the kids just do it on their own.  It isn't flashy or exciting, but they like it well enough and can just "get it done".  Not overly gushy religious.

 

And as someone else said, don't discount Magic Schoolbus--you can get the whole set fairly cheaply on Amazon.  And checking out a book or two at the library goes a long way.  I don't think elementary needs a whole lot beyond the gee-whiz wow kind of exposure--

 

Best wishes--

 

Betsy

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Please forgive me for going COMPLETELY off topic- but what does it mean to be secular Jewish? I thought that Jewish meant "the people who believe in and practice Judaism"? Can one be secular Christian or Muslim?

 

Just curious, I have never heard that term before.

 

Judiasm is an ethnicity and religion. Not everyone who is ethnically Jewish practices the Jewish religion.

 

Christianity and Islam are religions and do not refer to an ethnic group.

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I spent 4 years of college in LA (in the psychology department, no less), and then 4 years of grad school on the east coast . . . it would never in a million years occur to me to assume that a Jewish person was religious.  In that context you wouldn't bother to say "secular Jew" because that would be assumed - you would use the adjective if you were orthodox/fundamentalist/, to distinguish yourself from the majority.

 

Just an example of how context matters, I guess! I always understood Judaism to be an ethnicity passed down by the mother, regardless of whether one practices the religion.

 

 

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I suppose. We are a Christian family but I avoid any heavy religious content in science. So far the references to God have been very sparse and are extremely easy to skip.

It's easier for you to see it as sparse and easy to skip since you are Christian and the references themselves probably don't bother you, you just find it unnecessary. Non Christians will probably find a lot more Christian overtones because we don't want it there at all. Things you don't even think of being a problem or standing out. As someone else listed, it being organized by days of creation. That would be a big no for me. Science is the one subject for me that must come from a 100% secular source.

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It's easier for you to see it as sparse and easy to skip since you are Christian and the references themselves probably don't bother you, you just find it unnecessary. Non Christians will probably find a lot more Christian overtones because we don't want it there at all. Things you don't even think of being a problem or standing out. As someone else listed, it being organized by days of creation. That would be a big no for me. Science is the one subject for me that must come from a 100% secular source.

 

I totally agree.  Any other comment I tried to add just ended up sounding snarky or confrontational, so I'll leave it at that.

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Again, my thanks to all. And I'm sorry I was so snarky about Rainbow Science - there is no point laughing at somebody who is only trying to help you. As another poster has pointed out, when you are wanting a great science program for your kids, and time after time you click on something that seems wonderful only to find out that it is yet another Christian apologetics program pretending to be a science course, it really wears on you.

 

*lifeoftheparty* - most Jews, both in America and in Israel, are secular to one degree or another. For some of us, it just means not being Biblical literalists. For others, it means not believing in a personal God. I made the distinction because "religious Jews" would have very different curricular needs. Those would be the people who wear funny hats and think the Earth is 6,000 years old - ultra-Orthodox and Hasidic Jews. They are a small minority of Jews but they are very visible to most people, whereas secular Jews look like everybody else. "Fundamentalist Jews" would be a better term for those Jewish sects who read Torah literally, but that's not the term in common usage. They call themselves "religious." Some of the things the rest of us call them are best not put into print ;-) Since Judaism is a religion of "doing" rather than "believing," secular and religious Jews often find themselves engaging in a lot of the same activities - charity work, social justice activism, etc. We also have approximately one zillion holidays with their own particular rituals, so a secular Jew may be "doing Jewish" far more often than a religious Christian is visibly engaging in Christian ritual.

 

Are there secular Christians and secular Muslims? I would say yes. If you don't think Mohammed spoke directly to God and was bodily removed into Heaven, but you fast on Ramadan and get married by an imam, you would be a secular Muslim. And people who don't think Jesus was the Son of God, but continue to have weddings and baby namings and funerals using the Christian liturgy? That, to me, is a secular expression of Christian cultural heritage.

Interesting! Thanks for answering :)

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I spent 4 years of college in LA (in the psychology department, no less), and then 4 years of grad school on the east coast . . . it would never in a million years occur to me to assume that a Jewish person was religious. In that context you wouldn't bother to say "secular Jew" because that would be assumed - you would use the adjective if you were orthodox/fundamentalist/, to distinguish yourself from the majority.

 

Just an example of how context matters, I guess! I always understood Judaism to be an ethnicity passed down by the mother, regardless of whether one practices the religion.

Really? I'm from the South but I have lived all over (military and moving around as a kid) but the only exposure I have had to Jewish people has been on TV and such. But here in Maryland, they do have large groups of Jewish people, and we see them in Silver Spring and Rockville areas all the time, walking to church (synagogue I guess!) because it's the sabbath and they can't drive. They also wear a lot of black. And all the schools get off for Jewish holidays. So Jewish to me has always meant religious...

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Totally missing the OP's requirement for nothing Christian--since she referred to USING Rod and Staff, I figured something else "mildly religious" would be fine, like Science in the Beginning.  Did I miss that, or are YOU just telling me YOU don't want to use something Christian?

 

Not being snarky, just curious as to whether I totally answered the question with a dud answer, or if you just jumped on it to to tell me you wouldn't use it?  Truly curious--

 

Betsy

 

 

It's easier for you to see it as sparse and easy to skip since you are Christian and the references themselves probably don't bother you, you just find it unnecessary. Non Christians will probably find a lot more Christian overtones because we don't want it there at all. Things you don't even think of being a problem or standing out. As someone else listed, it being organized by days of creation. That would be a big no for me. Science is the one subject for me that must come from a 100% secular source.

 

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Totally missing the OP's requirement for nothing Christian--since she referred to USING Rod and Staff, I figured something else "mildly religious" would be fine, like Science in the Beginning.  Did I miss that, or are YOU just telling me YOU don't want to use something Christian?

 

Not being snarky, just curious as to whether I totally answered the question with a dud answer, or if you just jumped on it to to tell me you wouldn't use it?  Truly curious--

 

Betsy

 

I know I missed the reference to Rod & Staff in the first message!  Given that, I think your suggestion was totally reasonable. 

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OP here. I'm totally grateful for all recommendations, and regret my sarcasm earlier, but yes, a science text ordered by the days of creation is probably a "dud" recommendation, since it conflates religious mythology with scientific reality.

 

Learning math and grammar from Christian books? Totally different IMHO. That body of knowledge is not affected by theology, and if my children gain a little understanding of the Mennonite worldview along with long division and sentence diagramming, that's nothing but a bonus for them.

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Really? I'm from the South but I have lived all over (military and moving around as a kid) but the only exposure I have had to Jewish people has been on TV and such. But here in Maryland, they do have large groups of Jewish people, and we see them in Silver Spring and Rockville areas all the time, walking to church (synagogue I guess!) because it's the sabbath and they can't drive. They also wear a lot of black. And all the schools get off for Jewish holidays. So Jewish to me has always meant religious...

 

This is funny to me, after having spent my whole life in the Northeast and Mid-Adlantic states. I'm pretty sure they're just the only people you realize are Jewish. ;)

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Totally missing the OP's requirement for nothing Christian--since she referred to USING Rod and Staff, I figured something else "mildly religious" would be fine, like Science in the Beginning. Did I miss that, or are YOU just telling me YOU don't want to use something Christian?

 

Not being snarky, just curious as to whether I totally answered the question with a dud answer, or if you just jumped on it to to tell me you wouldn't use it? Truly curious--

 

Betsy

Neither really, and I'm sorry if my response came across snarky. It wasn't meant to be. I was just letting you know because I often see Christian sciences recommended to those wanting secular with small notes such as "it's not that much" or "easy to skip the god references"... I just wanted to point out that the differing views give a much different opinion on the "amount of god" in Christian curriculum. It may not seem that prevalent to chrisians, but it's there. Like other posters have said, it gets hard when looking for secular curriculum to click on recommendations and find it's religious, even a small bit. I assumed secular only by "secular Jewish family who value scientific literacy"

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From the Rainbow Science homepage:

 

Navigate theories on the age of the earth, the dinosaurs, and human evolution with ease and without compromising your children's developing faith. The Rainbow teaches the Truth while exposing the fantasies of humanistic theories. A brief Parent Fortification is provided to give you the confidence you need in guiding your children.

 

:rofl:

 

I wouldn't mind this curriculum being $$, but the fact that it conflates science with mythology is somewhat problematic for me. Very strange suggestion for "a secular Jewish family who value scientific literacy." 

 

We are a (religious) Jewish family and I found nothing like the above in the chemistry or physics portions of the middle school text.  Maybe it comes up in the biology section??  

 

But then again, I do use some Christian currics and I re-word or explain the parts that don't mesh with Judaism.  My kids are very aware of author bias - one DD even seeks it out to proudly show me.  :D

 

 

My apologies!

 

I didn't mean to steer you wrong.   :o  

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I've hated most "curricula" we've used for science, too, but I haven't let go and *just let them read nf books about science (although one of my kids does that every day.)

 

 

Science Fusion was a big dud.  While the books are fine, the website needs work...a lot of work!  It would not save the schedule I assigned the kids.  It isn't set up so that you can look at the student pages, labs and teacher's items all at once.  You have to exit one, go back 3 screens, then go into another. Each step is about 6 clicks and waiting for pages to load (I have a fast internet connection so it wasn't that.)  So much for using curric from a large, textbook producer.  :glare:

 

I know you've eliminated The Rainbow, but I had to say to others it was a huge disappointment.  You do NOT get everything you need in the kit, the experiments/activities are simple, but also quite uninteresting for middle schoolers, and the lessons do not contain much info unless your child hadn't read or been exposed to much science at all.

 

How about letting the kids learn about electricity through snap-circuits?  You could try one of the kits with simple machines in it and get them some books about physics.  That would give them the hands on aspect without having to collect items for them.

 

Best of luck, fellow frustrated science curriculum seeker.  

 

 

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We mostly watch experiments online, and they get it. We do a few activities, but they are easy, painless, and not messy. I do like Delta Science in A Nutshell Kits, though, in case the kids wanted some. Ds did it independently.

 

Here is what I posted in another thread. I love BFSU:

 

After a few years I found my groove with BFSU. We're in our fifth year using it now, currently with two children, and now finishing up BFSU 2 with eldest. Most of the time I don't pre-read. What it looks like:

 

-Create a sequence/list flowchart based on my preferences for that year (this takes the longest prep, but once I'm done with that, well, I'm done for the whole year

-Before the year, get relevant nonfiction books to go with the topic

-Start the topic of the week, just read and discuss as I read (sometimes I skim ahead), do relevant easy activity (only if it's easy)

-Elaborate on whiteboard as necessary

-Find relevant videos through NeoK12 or Bill Nye and watch to deepen understanding. Discuss some more.

-Have DS narrate back what he understands as we discuss

-Have DS read the nonfiction books I have already gotten from the library (I am quite well organized at this, but not in much else in life LOL)

-On the last day when we are done with the lesson, have him complete his science notebook where he fills up a pre-numbered page with descriptions and illustrations of what he has learned (as per BFSU's recommendations)

-With DD6 we discuss more informally, I have her draw what she's learned (she loves art), sometimes write about it, read a book maybe or not.. She checks her sundial, she gets it. She also absorbs much of what I do with DS. Our house is not too large, and she understands much more than her brother did at the same age.

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I think you might like Discovery Science Techbook. They have it available through the Homeschool Buyers Coop. It's 45/kid for the year. It's a great program, and when my kids reach your age, but I've reviewed it extensively and also have purchased it to supplement the curriculum in using this year (Sassafras plus my own lessons). My mom is a 20 year science teacher veteran (supports homeschooling) and thinks it's a very solid multi-media program; especially if science isn't your thing.

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That's so weird, MiMi, that Rainbow Science would make such an extreme "we are crazycakes" statement on their own website, yet their Chemistry and Physics books were neutral in tone. Oh well, Biology is sometimes a real fall-down area for religious publishers whose other materials are usable by families outside their particular sect. 

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