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So I'm feeling cranky about science. **Old Thread with an Update


KeriJ
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Apologia is too rambly and too wordy.

 

Traditional textbooks, while colorful, are too busy. and for whatever reason, I hate sections marked 1.2, 1.3 etc.

 

"Living books" often lack any color at all, making them feel...."gray". (I can't think how else to describe it)

 

WTM science is too encyclopedia based.

 

I like Science in the Beginning, but I don't want to do an experiment every. single. time.

 

The video for Science Shepherd seems really dry.

 

Packages such as NOEO are really expensive!

 

So many programs seem to just use worksheet types of output. I prefer WTM or CM methods....sketching, writing, narrating etc.

 

We are in the middle of a big out of state move, so it also can't be teacher intensive.

 

 

That is all. Please tell me there's something I haven't seen yet.

 

eta: I'm talking upper elementary, middle school.

Edited by KeriJ
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What age?

 

For the younger years, I think getting books on different subjects of interest is probably sufficient. That plus Magic School Bus videos :)

 

Seriously, I looked at some K and 1st grade science texts and couldn't see spending money on them. "This is rain. When it rains you wear a raincoat. Circle the raincoat." I don't need a book for that kind of stuff, you know? We know what seeds are, what the kinds of weather are, etc. We watch nature documentaries at night before bed, watch Sid the Science Kid and Bill Nye the Science guy. We're good :)

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To clarify, we've used much of what I have listed above throughout K-7, and we own a ton of science books.  What I really liked was HOD's science: a variety of living books with interesting assignments.  I really wish she would sell her materials by subject since we don't plan to use the rest of it.

 

Typically I'm fine with a hodge-podge of stuff along with nature study and videos.  But sometimes I just want a program we can work through.  Until then, I keep combining all the stuff I have and call it good.

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What about Considering God's Creation?

 

:iagree: I just bought this and it looks like it would fit the bill.  We were having the same issue with science.  I haven't really started using it yet, but it looks great.  I love the note booking pages, and we plan on supplementing with library books/documentaries (which is really all we were doing before).  

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No answers, but I feel your pain. I have yet - after 13 years of homeschooling - to find a science curriculum for the younger grades that makes me happy.

 

My high schoolers have all liked Apologia so far. They do on their own, so that is fine.

 

I am not very fickle, I have found what we like in every other subject and have stuck with these curriculums, for years even! Just. Not. Science. Argh!

 

Sorry, I'm no help! Just grouchy, too. Haha!

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Hmmm, maybe I like AIG God's Design and just didn't know it yet. :) Still looking.

We are using this for the first time this year, and I am loving it (I'm surprised).

We don't do any if the crafts/demonstrations or accompanying worksheets. I just read each (short) lesson, we discuss it, then my kids do a page in their science notebooks (they mainly draw and label or we sketch a graphic organizer in there). We occasionally read outside books on related topics. Since we're doing God's Design for Animals, we're also doing the occasional animal report.

 

I feel like I'm raving a bit, bit seriously: our best year of science so far.

And yes, sometimes AIG gets a bit preachy, but not as much as I feared.

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How do you do this/find good books?

 

The NSTA lists are a good place to start for recent books:

http://www.nsta.org/publications/ostb/

 

I've also learned to rely on authors and series. The Scientists in the Field series is great, for example.

 

Mostly I just go to the library or look online for specific topics.

 

There are some big deficits in certain topics - the amount of books for every topic in biology is overwhelming, there's a decent selection for earth science and astronomy, there's very little for physics and chemistry.

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Have you looked at RSO Bio 2? I think it's great for about 5th-8th range (depending on how into science your kid is). You don't have to do all the experiments and activities but they really are well designed. And there is skill development building in the labs. I think it's great for a 3 days a week plan. Chapters are not too long or too wordy.

 

What about Mr Q? It's not enough for out science-hungry kids, but the content is sound. I haven't seen them but there are new "advanced" levels.

Max Axiom series was a starting place for 4th grade. Also Ask, Muse, and Odyssey magazines.

 

If you want a CM approach have you looked at Sassafrass Science? I haven't used it but I believe that's the aim.

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:iagree: I just bought this and it looks like it would fit the bill.  We were having the same issue with science.  I haven't really started using it yet, but it looks great.  I love the note booking pages, and we plan on supplementing with library books/documentaries (which is really all we were doing before).  

 

It's been a long time since I owned that, and I know things have changed, but at one point there were some activities that involved cutting and pasting...planets? something. Anyway, it was helpful to photocopy those pages instead of giving the originals to the dc, and also for the parent to make those things first so the dc could see how they were supposed to be.

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The NSTA lists are a good place to start for recent books:

http://www.nsta.org/publications/ostb/

 

I've also learned to rely on authors and series. The Scientists in the Field series is great, for example.

 

Mostly I just go to the library or look online for specific topics.

 

There are some big deficits in certain topics - the amount of books for every topic in biology is overwhelming, there's a decent selection for earth science and astronomy, there's very little for physics and chemistry.

Yep, I believe I actually started a thread on physics due to this. I found a few but certainly not the dearth I found with other subjects. I search NSTA, booklists here, Amazon, Guest Hollow and on the shelf at the library- I usually ask the librarian as well.

 

There's also Otter's science programs at guesthollow.com

Yes, I'm not used any of them in entirety but she has fabulous booklists most with reviews from her son as well as her own and an Amazon link, which you can often use to look inside to see if it will work. 

 

Personally we tried Sassafras and liked it ok at first, ds was interested enough in the story but the actual content was rather lackluster and boring, not to mention the lack of editing. I finally gave up on reading it and just let him finish the book on his own. In that same vein I've heard good reviews of Quark Chronicles which is supposed to be similar- I believe they have Botany and Zoology done so far.

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I am compelled to point out you didn't mention BFSU. That could work as a spine to connect all the things you have that you like. Output can be whatever you think works best for your family. No worksheets unless you make your own. Requires a lot of work from the facilitator.

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Noeo doesn't have to be really expensive.  You can buy just the guide and use library books or pick them up cheap.  There are also guides like Creek Edge Press, which give you a sequence and scope, but you find the books.

 

We're using a blend of Mystery Science, Usborne books, and Discovery Kids magazines.  It is one day of video, one day of lab, two days of extra research, and one day of notebooking what has been learned over the week. 

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I feel your pain too! I'm at my wits end trying to figure out science for next year. Nothing really seems great. I like the idea of piecing together books for elementary. It's middle school that's getting me!

 

That's my problem.  We're in the middle of a big out of state move, and I want something they can work through without waiting for me to get things pieced together.  We've done the piecing for a long time now, but at this point, it probably won't get done.

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We are in the same boat....can anyone compare the considering creation materials with the AIG books?

 

I did look at Considering God's Creation once in person, and it just didn't click for me.  Plus, I don't think it fits the mostly independent bill.

 

However, I'm liking the looks of AIG.  Color.  Not busy pages.  Clear lessons.  Somewhat narrative style.  Could be done independently. and I like that the books are separated by subject, so that we can mix and match depending on what areas I feel we're a little weak in.

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Mine are happily using one of the Guesthollow schedules this year, and they run it mostly themselves. (I modified it a bit, but wrote it right on the GH schedule so they can still run it themselves.)

 

 

If by Science Shepherd you mean their Introductory Science level, I would not use it with upper elementary and certainly not a middle schooler.  We won a free set and my 2nd grader has been using it this year. She's easily breezing through it at double pace. The videos are rather dry, but they're all short enough there isn't really time to tune out.

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Thank you everyone for the suggestions.  I went back and added to my original post that since we are in a hectic time of life, I prefer it to not be teacher intensive or pieced together necessarily.

 

Rod and Staff Publishers. Well written, interesting, can be done independently.

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We love BFSU and have varied the intensity according to what kind of time we have.

 

The most simple version of BFSU I've done is this:

 

I read the whole section to get the background info on the lesson. Then I check out some books from the suggested book list for that lesson from the library.

 

We read the books together then discuss the topics. Because I read the BFSU myself, I have a deeper understanding of the topic and am more able to answer questions or clarify things. But most of the suggested books do a great job discussing science topics on a kids level.

 

That's the absolute barebones of our science.

 

To add to that, I often have DS narrate the most important ideas to me and I'll write those in a comp book he has specifically for science. Also, in the lessons are demonstrations to perform. Most are easy, but sometimes I just don't have the time. But they're there if and when I want them.

 

Hope that helps!

 

ETA, just saw your edit. Oh well. ;) I'll just leave this here anyway.

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I gave up on all science curriculum a while ago. We do our own thing, read stuff, go to science lectures and field trips. Science is impossible to avoid in our family discussions because we're all deeply interested in it. I'm also ABD in neuroscience and work full time in high tech.

 

So far this year we've been on a puffin research tour, Neil deGrasse Tyson talk, lemur tour and science lab afternoon, and have an upcoming Homo naledi field trip. I have more planned for after the holidays. We're also reading, reading, reading, talking, talking, talking, watching documentaries and other videos (even Mythbusters, Bill Nye, Alton Brown, science around us types of things). Tons of living books and this year Dawkins, Pollan, and some others I'm still evaluating (6th grade).

 

My goal for elementary and middle school science is to develop and foster an interest in science and to develop skills in critical thinking. I don't care at all if she knows things like all the stages of photosynthesis or other random science trivia or facts. 

 

 

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My boys are younger but we're using and enjoying Home Science Adventures by Stratton House. We do science on Fridays, all the supplies come in the kit and it is an easy intro to the topics. It could easily be expanded with additional books IMO. Not sure it would be sufficient for middle school without additional reading and assignments.

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We're using RSO Bio 1 for my lower elementary kids.  We like it.  Science makes me cranky, too.  Not because I dislike it (I love it, my favorite!) but because I can't stand the disorder of teaching it.  I feel like they run over me in science and it's messy and ugh!  I want the kids to go away, and I'll just do the science myself!  But, RSO works ok for us.  I have NOEO, too, because I found it used for very little.  I like the supplemental books that go along with it.

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When we used Science in the Beginning, the experiment every lesson was also a nuisance to us, so we'd watch a You Tube of most of the experiments, and completed only the experiments we had time/interest in (which was very few).

That is a great idea. The experiment every lesson made this program too much work for me. I should try this. Why did I never think of this??? How did you find all the videos?

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Perhaps for your circumstances reading one of the John Hudson Tiner Exploring workbooks would work. http://www.amazon.com/Exploring-Planet-Earth-Civilization-Exploration/dp/0890511780

 

He has Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, Ecology. It is simple to say read a chapter and do the questions at the end. If you don't feel like that is enough you could add a skills books such as the publish through Mark Twain publishing for once a week or so, well depending on which one you choose.

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Perhaps for your circumstances reading one of the John Hudson Tiner Exploring workbooks would work. http://www.amazon.com/Exploring-Planet-Earth-Civilization-Exploration/dp/0890511780

 

He has Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, Ecology. It is simple to say read a chapter and do the questions at the end. If you don't feel like that is enough you could add a skills books such as the publish through Mark Twain publishing for once a week or so, well depending on which one you choose.

 

We do love the Tiner books! (although, they're sort of what I was referring to with lack of color)  I'll have to look into the Mark Twain books.  The only things I've ever found to beef up the Tiner books were just more questions and answers.

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That is a great idea. The experiment every lesson made this program too much work for me. I should try this. Why did I never think of this??? How did you find all the videos?

 

I didn't do anything fancy.  I would go to You Tube and search whatever the experiment was called in the book.  I pretty much always found something. I'd watch a few to find which was best/appropriate and we'd use that.

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How do you do this/find good books?

 

We LOVE the Scientists in the Field books.  They are wonderful stories of real scientists and the work they're doing. These are the ones we've read so far:

Sandra Markle has three books about recent scientific mysteries that are really engaging:

We also really like Simon Seymour's books and Nic Bishop's books - they have amazing photography in addition to great information about animals.

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The NSTA lists are a good place to start for recent books:

http://www.nsta.org/publications/ostb/

 

I've also learned to rely on authors and series. The Scientists in the Field series is great, for example.

 

Mostly I just go to the library or look online for specific topics.

 

There are some big deficits in certain topics - the amount of books for every topic in biology is overwhelming, there's a decent selection for earth science and astronomy, there's very little for physics and chemistry.

 

Thank you! I hadn't heard of these lists before - they look great!  All the books I just mentioned were listed there. 

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If you're looking for a CM approach to science, have you looked at Simply Charlotte Mason's science curriculum? We've used Jack Insects with Narration and Nature Study Book as a supplement and it was really well-done. They also have a curriculum aligned with Thornton Burgess' bird book as a spine. They also offer some creationist materials if that's up your alley. 

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Although I have heard the biology is unscientifically religious (I have not seen or evaluated it), we are currently using Real Science 4 Kids Astronomy (5th grade) and loving it.  It's very well put together and age=appropriate. I also looked at their chemistry and it too was wonderful, but due to DD's grade level (8th grade), the high school chemistry was too advanced and the grade school level was too babyish.  But I think the grade level chemistry would work for upper elementary and I did love it and regret we couldn't use it.  FWIW, I have found very few science programs I like, either.

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Rod and Staff Publishers. Well written, interesting, can be done independently.

Is there anything out there like R&S science but secular? My son thrives on their other materials (math & grammar), but we are not YE and it looks like I'd have to edit quite a bit. I keep looking at their samples because it would work so well for him, then changing my mind, then coming back to it. Doing the same thing with their reading comp. curriculum also. 

 

Eta to add: Does Galore Park science do this? 

 

We are also in the middle of a move, ick.

 

Eta again to add: The closest I can get to a secular R&S that I've found is McGraw-Hill's A Closer Look series. They list out vocabulary and comprehension questions. I'll just do that w/ living books and experiments thrown in as I have time. Or I'll just stick to encyclopedias. 

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Apologia is too rambly and too wordy.

 

Traditional textbooks, while colorful, are too busy.  and for whatever reason, I hate sections marked 1.2, 1.3 etc.

 

"Living books" often lack any color at all, making them feel...."gray". (I can't think how else to describe it)

 

WTM science is too encyclopedia based.

 

I like Science in the Beginning, but I don't want to do an experiment every. single. time.

 

The video for Science Shepherd seems really dry.

 

Packages such as NOEO are really expensive!

 

So many programs seem to just use worksheet types of output. I prefer WTM or CM methods....sketching, writing, narrating etc.

 

We are in the middle of a big out of state move, so it also can't be teacher intensive.

 

 

That is all.  Please tell me there's something I haven't seen yet.

 

eta: I'm talking upper elementary, middle school.

 

I don't know what age you are looking for, but this is what is working great for my 5th grade ds...

 

He reads a double page spread from Usborne's Mysteries and Marvels of Nature and then writes about three interesting facts in his journal and does an illustration.

We are also slowly working through Science in the Beginning which I like but I am tending to agree with you about the 'experiment every day' scenario. But we are only doing this book once a week(ish). On the day we do that he doesn't do the other book, and it means we only do an experiment once a week(ish).  So this is working really well for us.  He is nearing the end of the Nature book so he will then go onto a Sonlight science core (probably) to work through on his own whilst we still do an occasional lesson together from SITB.

 

 

 

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I'm doing WTM science, adding in my own stuff.

 

This year is zoology, so I asked the girls what animals they'd like to learn about. I grouped those into mammals, birds, etc, and noted the DK pages to read for each section. Then I printed out a bunch of pages that went with the topics we planned to hit and I put them in the girls' binders. We are now working through and they seem to like it. We read the encyclopedia entry, discuss the animal group, coloring/workbook pages, then watch YouTube docs and read library books. It's been great.

 

That said, mine are early grades and I'm not sure how this will work out for other topics.

 

Mainly I just commented because I like the ideas in this thread and want to be able to find it later! ;)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, to update.  I grabbed a BJU 6th grade science book at a used book store last night, and I really like it.  Never had considered it before.  I like the layout, the color and the style of writing.  It seems it would be simple to narrate or outline.  But even the "review questions" are things like "sketch and explain".  The experiments look do-able.  It doesn't even have those 1.2, 1.3 sections that bug me! :)  

 

I'm pleasantly surprised that I like it so much.

 

 

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