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Opinions on "formal" science in the grammar stage...


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Ds is in 4th grade. We have "dabbled" in science in the 4 areas (life, earth, physics, chemistry) but we have not done much by way of formal science...mostly living books, videos, etc. It wasn't really planned that way but we just could never seem to fit everything in and when it came time to cut something out for that day or week or month, science has always been the first to go (we lean toward the LCC end of hs philosophy).

 

My plan now is to start formal science in 7th grade (probably with the apologia series) but I have lingering feelings of guilt for not doing much formal science to that point.

 

Any sage advice? Have I done grave damage to his education? Will he be unable to handle Apologia General Science in 7th grade without any real prep before it? Should I rethink this and add something formal in for 5th and 6th grade?

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I'd email Dr. Wile and ask if his 7th grade book has any prerequisites. Or, you may be able to find this out on his website. http://www.highschoolscience.com/apologia_family.php I've found he's excellent at returning emails in a timely manner.

 

Oh, and if you're wanting some formal science, I like Apologia's elementary science books as well as the Christian Kids Explore books http://www.brightideaspress.com

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Whether you do science formally or informally it's important to start young imho. I suggest doing science 2-3x/wk. with your 5/6 graders via textbook, living books or videos.

 

Rod & Staff science is a good, inexpensive formal science program. Or try Schlessinger Media science dvd's from interloan library and pick one series at a time and use the teacher's guide and investigation guide (download) to make a complete science program. We really like the Physical Science series.

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We didn't do "formal science" until 9th grade this year with Apologia Biology (as Sue sez).

 

And, we've always done science (as MIch elle sez).

 

 

We've loosely followed the 4 year science cycle listed in WTM -- but with lots of bunny trails -- and keep it FUN. Not being so tied to a schedule or a program allowed us to skip science for a whole week if needed, and to not feel obligated to learn every last detail about whatever general topic we were looking into. The boys have always scored off the chart high on nat'l standardized testing (so I'll take that to mean they've learned something), AND, they really enjoy doing science. And those have been my goals for science; so -- success! : ) What we used:

 

- LOTS of hands-on experiments

- educational videos

- kits

- books of interest from the library

- field trips

 

 

Enjoy your science journey! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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Rest easy, my dear. The only prep kids need to be able to do General Science in 7th grade is the ability to read, to think, and to write. I'm assuming that you have been working on the basics and will continue to do so, right? If so, then you're fine.

 

I don't do any "formal" science until 7th grade either. Until then, it should be about discovery and interest, not just another subject that HAS to get done because so-and-so says they won't be complete without it. No thanks.

 

The first four years we focus on the basics -- reading, writing, and arithmetic. We also make sure to cover history during those years, but easy does it. I want to just hang the hooks, so to speak, for them to make connections later on. Easy-peasy.

 

Having said all this, we started General Science with my dd this year (she's in 7th). While my 17 yo successfully completed the course when he was in 7th grade, my dd HATES it. Can't stand it. She's in pony club and is learning more about the equine body (anatomy AND physiology) than you can imagine. Funny thing how similar the horse and human are....Anyhoo, I have allowed her to drop the General Science and just count the pony club work toward her science. She will take physical science and biology in high school, which will count for her 2 lab sciences. She'll also be continuing with pony club, so she'll get a TON of science.

 

Good luck!

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No formal science here either. The plan is to start with Apologia Physical in 8th but maybe General in 7th. We are having too much fun doing our own thing and we have enough formal things to get to every week. I am looking at these years as laying the ground work for them to be able to study and think and write about more advanced topics. I think exposure to scientific ideas is important but not a formal curriculum unless you have a dc that is begging for it.

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I am looking at these years as laying the ground work for them to be able to study and think and write about more advanced topics. I think exposure to scientific ideas is important but not a formal curriculum unless you have a dc that is begging for it.

 

 

I could not agree more!! I feel the same way about art and music. Exposure: yes. Beyond that? Only if they are interested.

 

If I had my own housekeeper, chef, errand-runner, laundry lady...(where is Alice from the Brady Bunch???), then we'd spend long, leisurely days keeping nature notebooks, doing copywork/dictation, studying famous artists and composers and their works, doing science experiments, building miniature pyramids, making our own papyrus.....but, uh, real life calls, ya know. So I work with what I've got: 3 kids who love history, love to read and be read to, know their math facts, help around the house, and give me time to cook, clean, workout, and serve in the church.

 

Funny thing that happens: these children who we so delicately and deliberately try to mold end up with their own interests AND THEY PURSUE THEM, independent of me. Not in a million years would I have led my oldest ds toward auto mechanics, but hey, he loves it. My dd is a horse freak -- she practically taught herself to ride by reading about it. Same goes with animals (I'm a city girl; we had waterbugs for pets. Need I say more?). My youngest is only 8, he's still figuring out who he is, but I can tell already that he's got more creativity and imagination in his little finger than I have in my entire body. He'll discover his own interests and pursue them on his own.

 

Isn't that wonderful? Very freeing, I tell ya ;)

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that science in the grammar years is best left to discovery and fun learning about the world around. They both said this last year at the Cincinnati convention. Dr. Wile said this in his seminar, and SWB said this as well when I was asking her about curriculum. Both of them also said that formal science, studied in a more disciplined way, is good to start in the middle school years.

 

Neither one advocated not doing any science at all, but both of them really helped *me* not stress about my poor science instruction in the younger years.

 

If I were you, I wouldn't worry about what lies behind. Just jump in--it'll be just fine.

 

My dd has enjoyed Apologia's oceanography book. We have also had a good experience with Prentice-Hall Science Explorer. I don't think you need any significant science background to jump into either series. I think PH is a little more in-depth, but have liked both.

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that science in the grammar years is best left to discovery and fun learning about the world around. They both said this last year at the Cincinnati convention. Dr. Wile said this in his seminar, and SWB said this as well when I was asking her about curriculum. Both of them also said that formal science, studied in a more disciplined way, is good to start in the middle school years.

 

Neither one advocated not doing any science at all, but both of them really helped *me* not stress about my poor science instruction in the younger years.

 

If I were you, I wouldn't worry about what lies behind. Just jump in--it'll be just fine.

 

My dd has enjoyed Apologia's oceanography book. We have also had a good experience with Prentice-Hall Science Explorer. I don't think you need any significant science background to jump into either series. I think PH is a little more in-depth, but have liked both.

 

That is nice to hear. I think I will stick with the Science-light until 7th grade!

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Ds is in 4th grade. We have "dabbled" in science in the 4 areas (life, earth, physics, chemistry) but we have not done much by way of formal science...mostly living books, videos, etc. It wasn't really planned that way but we just could never seem to fit everything in and when it came time to cut something out for that day or week or month, science has always been the first to go (we lean toward the LCC end of hs philosophy).

 

My plan now is to start formal science in 7th grade (probably with the apologia series) but I have lingering feelings of guilt for not doing much formal science to that point.

 

Any sage advice? Have I done grave damage to his education? Will he be unable to handle Apologia General Science in 7th grade without any real prep before it? Should I rethink this and add something formal in for 5th and 6th grade?

 

Yes, you will be able to handle Apologia's GS, but I do highly recommend their elementary curriculum. I was in the same boat as you were - not too formal, very light on science, until this year. We started with Swimming Creatures and it is truly wonderful. I cannot speak to their other subjects, but that one in particular is just so great. If I could go back and start over that is what I would use from about 3rd grade on. :)

 

Warmly,

Kate

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