Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Thoughts on science....

Although I personally love science and even majored in it for college, for some reason finding a good science program that works for our family has been next to impossible.
When my oldest was in 1st grade, we tried science a la WTM. We were supposed to cover animals, plants, and the human body; but ended up only completing animals and a few human body lessons.
In second grade, we made one more attempt to do WTM science and did cover some lessons on astronomy. Finding books, getting them on hold to use at the right time, and keeping track of where we were proved to be overwhelming with everything else going on that year. So we dumped astronomy and tried Apologia's Botany instead. Alas the botany book was also a bomb that year. Both DDs found the lessons in the book to be boring. The concept of notebooking sounded nice, but didn't really go over well. I personally thought that much of the information was well over their heads. (Long latin words like angiosperms and gymnosperms simply resulted in a dazed and confused look on their faces no matter how many times I explained what they meant.)
Last summer, I ended up taking all 3 children with me to the state convention to go shopping since my DH was working that weekend. I showed Jessie some chemistry books, and she had no interest in learning about chemistry. So I let the girls look at several different books, and they ended up choosing Apologia's Exploring Creation with Zoology 1. Although I love the concept of the book, I have mixed feelings about the overall set up and content. My girls do enjoy hands on projects, but most of the projects and experiments haven't really be feasible for us to do. The girls love making the booklets for our lapbook during science, but still glaze over about half the time while I'm reading the text. Adding in the reading from the Burgess book and buying a field guide so that they could try to identify birds themselves has certainly made science more fun. Still I feel like for a program that should be open and go, I'm having to put in a lot of time and effort making it work for our family.
What do I do for next year? Jessie is interested in studying dolphins, cats, chemistry, and earth science. Violet is interested in studying flowers, dolphins, and shells. Both girls have also asked when we would get back to studying astronomy. ( I think they are mainly interested in identifying more constellations than Orion.) A few thoughts...
1. What is working this year?
  • lapbooking
  • reading living books
2. What else do the girls get excited about?
  • hands on activities and experiments
  • getting outside and applying what they have learned
3. What is not working this year?
  • using the Apologia text as written
  • I feel like I'm scrambling from week to week trying to prepare for science and make it fun.
That's where I'm at right now. I'd like to put together at least a preliminary list of ideas over the next couple of months. If I'm going to try to put together my own program again, I need to spend more time putting it together than I have in the past. If all the lessons aren't ready to go at the beginning of the school year, then chances are the program won't get done (especially with a baby in tow for the year). If I'm going to try to purchase another program, then I'll need a list of things to looks at when I go to the convention.

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