Saturday, August 25, 2007

Our plans this year: Science

Last year, I cobbled together our curriculum, as it were, from a multitude of sources, ranging from the library to long-forgotten books on our shelves. I admitted that I love to buy new books, but that I don't always need to.

And, last year worked well for us. I had fun researching, gathering, discovering good things at the library. But, it was, alas, quite a bit of work.

This year, I gave in to my inner curriculum junkie and we're looking more structured here than we have in awhile.

For science, each of my girls wanted her own book. So, I've tailored things to their desires and interest.

Anne-with-an-e is very interested in all things animal, and for the last two years has been insisting she will be a vet when she grows up. I know that most girls, at some point, want to be vets when they grow up. And, it's true that this may be a passing phase, but it may not. For this year, anyway, we're focusing on the life sciences with this book from Catholic Heritage Curricula.

Life Science: All Creatures Great and Small is recommended for Anne's age, and appears to be a good fit. It's more textbook-ish than we're used to, but I have no qualms about adapting such resources to our needs, style and purpose. I tend to leave out the busywork and get to the core.

Add to the above Anne's almost daily habit of reading the encyclopedia for recreation, and some volunteer time at the local animal shelter, and we've got science.

Betsy was a little harder. She wanted variety, and so did I. I was looking for areas in which we may be weak, may have overlooked some things. Then I found this Science Daybook at Rainbow Resource. It combines reading about the day's science topic with journaling and looking at related snippets of literature, poetry or magazine articles. It appears to be a living sort of textbook, and Betsy is pleased with what she's seen so far.

I am, too.

I also plan to stick to my commitment to follow up on the idea in this post of Melissa Wiley's, wherein she notes:
I've been looking for the passage I know is in one of Charlotte Mason's books about making sure children have one or two favorite nature-spots to visit on a regular basis: a park, a garden, a particular wood, a shore, that is visited over and over in all seasons, so that the children may grow familiar with the plants, birds, and beasts that live there, and see how things change throughout the course of a year.

We were at a local lake yesterday, marveling at how much its banks have risen with the recent buckets of rain, and spotting a variety of wriggly little creatures that we don't always see when the lake stays within its usual confines.

I imagined us returning much more regularly this year, through every season. And, now I'm itching to buy some lovely, new nature notebooks. Oh, I know the ten-cent ones from Target will do, but ....


Jennifer said...

Me too! Me too! I must have a fancy leaf notebook for our botany studies. I must. I must also wait until our next pay period. See: splurge on illumination kit.
Your science plans sound wonderful. I've heard such great reviews about CHC's science books.

Melanie B said...

"Oh, I know the ten-cent ones from Target will do, but ...."

But they won't inspire you. Or call to you, begging to be filled.

On the other hand, I've sometimes found that if my journal is too pretty, too expensive, my perfectionist nature gets in the way. I'm reluctant to fill it with scribbles, afraid to "mess up". I've got a pile of absolutely beautiful journal books, given to me as gifts, sitting on the shelf waiting to be filled with beautiful thoughts. But my daily thoughts don't seem beautiful enough so the journals are sadly empty, gathering dust.

Somewhere there's got to be a middle ground....

Melissa Wiley said...

Have you looked at Michele Quigley's nature notebooks? Lovely covers and only $5 each!

Great post, as usual, m'dear. :)

Theresa said...

Hi Karen!
Those Daybooks look good.I always have liked stuff from Great Source.
The CHC book is one I have been wanting to get my hands on to review for quite a while, but have never gotten the chance. Can you tell me if it is young-earth or anti-evolution in perspective? Then I'll know if I need to even bother.

Karen E. said...

Theresa, I've not read every bit of it yet, but it's not a young earth perspective. He emphasizes the compatibility of faith and reason, makes a reference (in the supplement) to "the billions of years the earth is believed to have existed" and says, "in the Christian understanding, life did indeed arise from preexisting life as stated in the cell theory, but, by divine designs."

In summary, in the supplement, he says, "Science and faith are fully compatible. We must learn all we can and then put our knowledge and our lives at the discretion of the 'owner of the vineyard.' Let us always strive to follow the advice of St. Paul that we should 'prove all things; hold fast to that which is good.' - 1 Thess., verse 21"

So far, I like what I see very much. Some of the writing is a bit dated and corny, and I've seen a few typos, but the content seems solid.

Jennifer, Melanie, and Lissa -- after I posted this, I remembered seeing Michele's notebooks recently (a reference from your planning post, Lissa?) Off to check them out again! :-)

Jennifer: next pay period ... duly noted. ;-)

Melissa Wiley said...

Yup, I added a note about them in the planner post.

My friend Sarah just wrote me about an even better deal at Miller Pads & Paper--

"One of my favorite items is their sketchbook journals. They have all sizes
in both 60 and 80# paper. They are $3 for a 6x9 size which are perfect for
little laps in the car."

I just wrote her back to ask permission to post it on the blog, or better yet, she can post it on hers and I'll link. :) :) :)

The Bookworm said...

That science daybook looks good!

Momto5Minnies said...

Please let us know how science goes once you get underway. The Science Daybook looks interesting. I have a writing book by Great Source that I love.

scmom said...

We loved Life Science in 8th grade. I am still amazed at how much my son learned. We did do most of the exercises, though, including writing definitions.

Liz said...

Dd and her cousin spent at least one summer visit making operation dolls. These were carefully constructed using information from an anatomy book they found at their grandparents (lungs made out of plastic baggies inflated with a straw were one feature). They got to use real hypodermic needles since the cousin's dad is a diabetic and we have all sorts of medical supplies around for the sheep. When the cousin was doing EMT training this summer she found that her studying was made much easier because of all she learned with the operation dolls. DD said she found the same thing to be true when she took animal anatomy and physiology in college. The operation dolls were on neither family's homeschool curriculum, but they were among the kids favorite learning experiences.