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Those of you who've used Sassafras Science...


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We're wrapping up our first go-around of BFSU, and I plan to go back in a year or so to repeat the discussions and experiments in more depth. In the meantime, I'm looking for another program that will engage my experiment and story-loving DD.

 

I've read a number of reviews (here and elsewhere) about Sassafras, and the idea of tying a story into experimentation and scientific learning seems perfect for my daughter...I know the story and writing aren't the greatest, but I think I can probably get past that even if I'm wincing as I'm reading. My question is more about the experiments and the teaching. The samples I've read look interesting, and the experiments seem pretty unique. (I'm looking at Vols 1 and 2 for the coming year.) But of course those are only samples, so it's hard for me to get a real feel for how good the books will be as a whole.

 

Do those of you who've used it think your kids have gotten a lot from it and had fun with it, or do you regret having used it? Would you suggest getting it all (Adventures books, the guides and the lapbooks and notebooks)? Or is the book and guide enough?

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We have been using this for a few weeks. I have the books on hand so this is what I can tell you:

I find the teaching guide to be very helpful. It contains listings for the encyclopedia readings, suggestions for additional living books for each animal/biome, a master list for supplies needed for the demonstrations (the experiments are more really demonstrations but my kids still really enjoy them), optional schedule ideas, and all the information needed to fill in the student logbooks. We have the logbooks for the kids to use and it is a lot of writing. I chose to photocopy some of the info for them to glue into the notebook and they complete the suggested copy work. I also have them fill in the biome information and the main features of each animal (ex. name, classification, food etc.). There are also some multi week projects. For example, we are making a chart of the animals and whether they are carnivore, omnivore, or herbivore. I also obtained a large paper black line world map that we are coloring to show the different areas/countries and biomes we are studying. The girls seem to enjoy the story and it does a good job of getting the facts across and they are retaining the information. They are also enjoying the suggested craft activities and the pictures to color in the logbooks. I find documentaries at the library and online for the animals/habitat when possible. I bought both of the suggested encyclopedias used from Amazon and I like having them on hand for pictures and additional information. We will continue with this for science for this year and next (doing anatomy book next). Hope this info helps!

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If you want to do less handwriting, I suggest getting the lap book for it instead of the log book. It has everything from the log book in there, but with less writing involved and you do have to cut it out, but it's not a time intensive extravagant thing. It's great for doing Sassafras with younger kids or kids who have issues with writing.

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Are the books useful without the full curriculum?  I bought the Zoology with thoughts to use it for co-op, but am going to teach Hands-on Equations instead.  Would my animal-crazed son enjoy the book on its own, or is it really best to use it in conjunction with the activities?

 

He read the first chapter and said it was "weird", and I don't know if it's worth using or if I should sell it off--  We will not do a zoology curriculum at home because he's read everything in the world about animals and we don't need to do it as a "subject".  But if this book will enrich what he knows and be a good read, I'd love to know--

 

Betsy

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Are the books useful without the full curriculum?  I bought the Zoology with thoughts to use it for co-op, but am going to teach Hands-on Equations instead.  Would my animal-crazed son enjoy the book on its own, or is it really best to use it in conjunction with the activities?

 

He read the first chapter and said it was "weird", and I don't know if it's worth using or if I should sell it off--  We will not do a zoology curriculum at home because he's read everything in the world about animals and we don't need to do it as a "subject".  But if this book will enrich what he knows and be a good read, I'd love to know--

 

Betsy

 

You might want the teacher's guide to see how they intend for it to be implemented.  That book gives the suggested schedule, extra project options, suggested living books, etc.  The story book is just that ... the story of the kids and their adventures.  It gives a little factual info from the "guide" in the story, but it is just the tip of the iceburg in terms of learning about that animal (thinking of zoology).  Then the kids are to read about it in other living books or encyclopedias, do mapping on it (in the case of the logbook), write some definitions, etc.  The story itself was interesting to my older child not doing using this as his science.  He read the book for enjoyment.  My 8yo and 6yo last year did the logbook, story book and I used the teacher's guide.  They learned a ton about the animals.  We have now started on the anatomy one.

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You might want the teacher's guide to see how they intend for it to be implemented.  That book gives the suggested schedule, extra project options, suggested living books, etc.  The story book is just that ... the story of the kids and their adventures.  It gives a little factual info from the "guide" in the story, but it is just the tip of the iceburg in terms of learning about that animal (thinking of zoology).  Then the kids are to read about it in other living books or encyclopedias, do mapping on it (in the case of the logbook), write some definitions, etc.  The story itself was interesting to my older child not doing using this as his science.  He read the book for enjoyment.  My 8yo and 6yo last year did the logbook, story book and I used the teacher's guide.  They learned a ton about the animals.  We have now started on the anatomy one.

 

Thanks for the helpful response!  We have a gazillion living books about animals--field guides and DK books and he enjoys those a lot--even without me scheduling it for him :) so it doesn't sound like I have any great reason to hang on to the book, ha!  I can exchange it for something more useful to us :)

 

Betsy

 

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