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What I did in science

Jean in Wisc

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Someone asked me what we did for science class when my kids were young. I wrote this up for her, but then I thought maybe I ought to post it here for those of you who might find it helpful. Jean




We used a little of everything :).




I liked using the
science books for the early years:
World and Space, About Animals, The Green Kingdom, How Things Work.
We read them (one/year) curled up on the couch and did the suggested labs. Then the rest of the year we'd check books about science out of the library, placing a priority on the subjects in the
that we had read earlier in the year. We would read them out loud or they'd read them to themselves. If we were interested in doing the hands-on activities, we did. We took our Brock microscope down to the pond and looked at pond water and everything else that fit under that lens (there are some nice microscope books available). We collected rocks and took them to a neighbor who helped us identify them. We took samples of leaves and bark rubbings and identified the trees in our area. We planted a garden and a flower bed. We watched the animals outside our window and cared for the cats and the farm animals. We put up a birdfeeder. We built rockets for 4-H. We dissected owl pellets. We played our way through books of science experiments (Usborne, Van Cleave...). We used
Find The Constellations
by Rey, and I began my pursuit of astronomy--I've gone from this 3rd grade book about the stars to the president of an astronomy club in the last 12 years. LOL! Anything that interested us, we pursued. Many years we did our science class during summer break. I use to tell folks that it was hard to study plants and rocks when they were covered with snow :). Then we did the library books and fun activities throughout the year whenever we needed break in the day-to-day schedule of school.




When they got into the middle school years, I tried to put them into a more structured program. I tried
Rainbow Science
and a few other programs, but with my youngest, I put him into the ABeka books. I wish I had done this with all of them. Any good textbook series that introduces them to science textbook-fashion would work--they had to read it, study it, memorize terms, and write tests. This was the time for them to get ready for the type of class work they would be required to do in high school.




In high school we chose to do the Apologia books. I wrote this in an earlier post on the high school board:




This semester my dd is taking college biology. Her prof asked her why she was just sitting in lab and not doing anything. She said she was finished. He chuckled and asked her to tell him what was on "this slide", so she picked it up, put it under the scope, adjusted it and told him what it was. He gave her another slide. She did the same...over and over again. Then he said, "Where did you go to school?" She said she was homeschooled. He said, "Did you have a microscope?" My daughter grimaced and said she wanted to say something like, "Um, yeah, duh," but said, "Yes, we had a microscope. We did all the labs." He said, "What type of microscope did you have?" My dd said, "I don't know--it looked just like this one." (We used the Sonlight scope.) The teacher was impressed.





I think our science program has taught my kids a lot, and they have enjoyed it for the most part. My kids are not planning to have their doctorate in nuclear physics by the time they turn 25 (like my nephew), neither have we pursued THE MOST RIGOROUS programs available--so your mileage may vary. Hopes this helps someone.



Edited by Jean in Wisc
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Thank you for sharing....your family's love for science shines through! We do similar science activities/experiments and it also reminds me that we need a new microscope. Would you still recommend Sonlight for a microscope?


If I needed a new microscope, I would definitely go back to the Brock and the Sonlight, depending upon how I tended to use it. The Brock is great for lugging around outside and working with small children. The Sonlight has been excellent in every way, as well.


The only type of scope I wish I had had was a compound scope--but we've passed that stage, and I probably will never own one. :)

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Thanks Jean! Another pick of your brain...when is good time (age wise) for a compound microscope?


I should have said I would have liked to have had a stereo microscope, not compound (mine are compound). I like being able to see 3-D when looking at rocks and flowers and bugs. It would have been wonderful for those early years. Then when the kids were older, we'd have learned to make slides with pond water and whatnot, and used them in high school biology.



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I should have said I would have liked to have had a stereo microscope, not compound (mine are compound). I like being able to see 3-D when looking at rocks and flowers and bugs. It would have been wonderful for those early years.
We bought a stereo microscope last year. It has been one of our best homeschool purchases. For that matter, even if we didn't homeschool, I would want my son to have a stereo microscope. We have gotten so much enjoyment out of it.

Every few weeks, we will go for a nature walk around our neighborhood - picking up things we want to bring home and look under the scope. At that time, we also go through our garden and pick an assortment of flowers that are blooming at the time. DS enjoys comparing pollen from different flowers.

Last month, we picked up some rotten pecans from our neighbor's tree. We found some of the coolest bugs in them! To the naked eye, the bugs looked simply like fuzz. We had no idea they were little bugs under we looked at them under the scope.


Thank you for the info, Jean. I enjoyed reading your post.

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