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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Science Chatter

I have been having a very interesting conversation with Jessica and she asked me what I have used for science. So this was my response and figured I would just share it here. It helps me to remember too that we are doing things here in our house! :+)







We have used many Usborne books on the various subjects we have covered. We also use My Body and made life-size bodies on the wall. We did a huge 7' x 4' wall poster of all the different animals groups with cut-out or printed out, off the net, animals. That was really fun and fascinating and we studied them as we searched for them--what is a mollusk? What is an echinoderm? What is a fish? Is a shark a fish? Etc. As I made the children identify and classify them, we glued them to the poster in their groups. We have done rock study with the book, Geology Rocks, that includes instructions for various hands-on experiments.


 


I will be honest and say that I do not follow the WTM science scope because I just think it is overkill. I don't think younger children need heavy science study--unless they have a specific interest in it in the early years. From what I have read, in times past science was a rhetoric stage study. I think we do it now because of state regulations. I would still only stick to interesting, hands-on science topics while they are young and leave the heavy study until they are much older. A young child cannot really relate to the more cerebral science studies. They are much more likely to understand and be interested in what they can see; animals, human body, bugs, weather, rocks, earth study, stars, ocean, etc.


 


To me this fits with the idea of learning with the Trivium. Grammar - seeing, feeling, touching, concrete understanding, memorizing, learning hands-on. Logic - questioning, learning ideas and the "whys" behind things. Rhetoric - ability to understand and then explain the whys. To me, the kinds of science younger children do well fit the Grammar stage. For younger ones, I just always suggest hands-on, concrete science topics. There is not a whole lot of chemistry that is like that, you know?


 


I did the workbookish science and it was lackluster and boring. However, when I showed them from Geology Rocks how melted sugar (representing molten lava) when cooled fast (in the freezer) has no time to form crystals so it looks an awful lot like obsidian or when you make rock candy slowly it has a lot of time to form crystals so it looks like granite--then they got it. Then volcanos came alive and the study of rock formation was interesting. AND they could eat the rocks they had made! :+)


 


I hope what I am saying makes sense. I am not saying not to do science, but to be selective in how you do it, what subjects, and how you teach it.







And that, folks, is what I think. :+)

6 comments:

mamma1420 said...

Thank you for writing about this, this is my current "research" project. I always have one going, either small or large. I have the time between now and next year to really take a good look at the science curriculum options out there and find one that fits the WTM model for studying science:

Life science

Earth/Space

Chemistry

Physics

But to find or create a fun and interesting elementary science curriculum that will fulfill the testing requirements for 3rd grade (GA has to be tested) but not get into the "celebral" science you mentioned. I'm going to be writing about this soon and writing further posts about my findings. I think science is a subject that most homeschooling parents don't feel comfortable teaching on their own and end up spending a lot of money on.


Thanks again Kate! You're great and I'm glad to get to know you

Jessica

mamma1420 said...

Thanks for the compliment, my mom is 46 but looks 35, I guess it runs in the family!

Jessica

Copperswife said...

I visited the BigBox/StuffMart yesterday and while I was there I thought of this post of yours that I'd read earlier in the day. They had banners strung all over the store for their "back to school" sales. Each one was a different subject - math, science, physics, English, etc. and at the bottom each poster said something like "Your Style" or "Your Way". That's how I approach not only Science, but all subjects. One of the BEST parts of homeschooling is being able to do things the way that the Lord leads you in educating your own children!!! Blessings to you!

UndertheSky said...

You wrote:


"WTM model for studying science:"

Life science

Earth/Space

Chemistry

Physics


was what you were pursuing. I ask what is below purely because I am curious about how you think, not as a judgment. I also consider Susan Wise Bauer a personal friend and have spent time with her, and support her work. SO, with all that in mind, tell me why you think that the WTM is the best way to do science (or anything for that matter). Would you, as her parents, have chosen to do the WTM schedule were it not for WTM? Would you have chosen physics or chemistry for ages that young were it not for you reading it there?


I ask this also to make us all think about why we choose anything. I have some of my own reasons why I choose or don't choose things and am wondering what yours are. I hope you know I am not being confrontational--I really just want to know the reasoning.


Warmly,

Controversial Kate

:+)

mamma1420 said...

(I'm posting this here instead of email, just in case it helps someone else.)


I was terrified of curriculum when I first started researching homeschooling. Others wanted me to use Abeka because local private schools use it, I wanted to find a company that would serve as an umbrella school and then transitioned into Sonlight. As I was about to place my order with Sonlight, I started reading The Well-Trained Mind. Within its pages, Jessie Wise and Susan Bauer gave me the information, confidence and resources to persue creating a curriculum tailor-made for my children.


I didn't see a rigid schedule or inflexible curriculum choices. I saw suggestions, recommendations and an example of what they thought was appropriate for classical homeschooling. From the wealth of resources in TWTM, I started ordering catalogs. I started searching websites, I read reviews wherever I could find them. I read the "Statement of Faith" on every product, I've asked questions (and still continue to, LOL) and most of all I prayed.


The only thing I struggle with now is what is better, using a prepackaged product or creating something myself. Which will cost more? Which will provide my daughter with the necessary tools to further her interest in this subject? Can I create something that will be as comprehensive as something prepackaged?


I created our Life Science year based on WTM. As I'm using what I created, I feel like I haven't done enough. My daughter is satisfied right now because her expectations are non-existent. I don't wish to feel like I have to recreate lessons because I failed to plan properly. Does that make sense? I'm not saying I agree completely and blindly with Bauer and Wise. I'm using their cycle model of Life/Earth/Chemisty/Physics and using what I feel is best. Whether it's a bought curriculum or I take the leap and create it myself.


I'm really looking at Living Learning Science, and I hope to see a glimpse of Christian Kids Explore Earth Science before I decide what route to take. I'm with you, these years should be about discovery and dreaming, not heavy on academics (regarding science). I'm taking one year at a time, since we already have this year's done, I'm in the process of researching next year's.


I know I went a little overboard with my explanation, I'm sorry. I just felt it in my heart to explain more. Each product that we use has been researched for at least a month, prayed about, questions have been asked/answered, and I've been very blessed so far. We don't have a single piece of curriculum this year that we don't love. My daughter is showing a wonderful interest in science and I don't want to squelch that by choosing the wrong path.


Thank you Kate for allowing me to explain further,

Jessica

UndertheSky said...

What a GREAT response!! I cannot say that even I, who sees a TON of stuff, probably does as much as you. :+)


I asked because I have seen so many people read WTM and become overwhelmed or who overwhelm their children--and that was not, I believe, SWB's intent at all. It is so neat to meet a person like you who really really takes it all in and processes it seriously, but rationally. :+)


Not that I would remotely say I have it all together--I don't. It is just really neat and I appreciate your answer very much. There was something in your first note that had me wondering exactly what you meant and you completely explained it.


Your children will be blessed, I am sure.


Warmly,

Kate