The homeschool science curriculum

JMJ6  *In the early primary years, I ditched the grade school textbook I had purchased, very quickly.  I did keep it on hand only for reference as to what general areas I should cover for that grade.  I focused on an experiential approach, by allowing the girls to spend hours in the great outdoors, chasing butterflies, digging out roly poly bugs, basically experiencing the wonders of God’s world around them.

Ring the School Bell 6/180 days

Refreshed by the seashore, I decided it was time to get back to our other schoolwork, the sit-down kind.  We were fatigued, but a good fatigue as we had such a rejuvenating time on our beach outing.

We have five new furry guests in our abode.  Our friends are having a televised makeover of their home, and so we are boarding their five lively bunnies for a few weeks.

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Truffles, Ewok, and Larry.  Attila the Bun and Genghis not pictured

Today we kind of planned our academic day around our furry friends, the bunnies.

Between the fun distraction of setting up the hutch for the new bunnies and the screen repair crew which was here to repair the screen to the windows we bought last summer, we admittedly did a smaller amount of academics today.  More to do later, but that’s okay.  How could we ignore those cute little rabbits?  The textbooks will be waiting for us tomorrow.  They are certainly not going to hop away like the bunnies!

Caring for our new animal friends, reminded me of earlier days, where teaching science was as easy as walking out the back door, and into the backyard filled with butterflies, lady bugs, roly-poly bugs, bees, and flowers.

Two of my daughters are now at university, one studying communications, and the other studying cultural and physical geography.  I am happy to say they successfully transitioned from homeschool to university.  So I must have done something right!

What did we employ for our science curriculum all these years?

Early Grades

In the early primary years, I ditched the grade school textbook I had purchased, very quickly.  I did keep it on hand only for reference as to what general areas I should cover for that grade.  I focused on an experiential approach, by allowing the girls to spend hours in the great outdoors, chasing butterflies, digging out roly poly bugs, basically experiencing the wonders of God’s world around them.

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We watched painted lady butterflies hatch from cocoons, and released them in our backyard.  We did go to the library a lot, and picked up all kinds of kid’s science books, sometimes 30 at a time, (I still had a teacher card from my classroom days) ranging in topics from volcanoes to rabbits to growing your own vegetables.  What fun for all of us.

Middle Grades

Later, we enriched our scientific studies with trips to the natural history museum and the science center downtown.  These places did a much better job than any textbook, in getting the kids excited about prehistoric times and the various ecosystems of our planet, through fabulous life-like exhibits.  In middle school, we did start using more formal instruction, and used fabulous colorful texts from Catholic Heritage Curricula for the sciences, as well as the California Science Center for physical science and life science workshops/labs.

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We took countless field trips during this time. Field trips included trips to such places as a cochlear implant manufacture, where the kids (and moms) learned about the physiology of the ear, Leo Carillo for tidepool exploration and marine studies, Disneyland where they hosted an actual class on the physics of rides, La Brea Tar pits to learn about the Ice Age, and Pyramid Lake to learn about water conservation.

High School

Finally, in high school, we used various curricula such as Thinkwell’s internet-based biology program, Great Courses DVD course for chemistry, and a Glencoe Earth Science textbook.  Besides the Earth Science, we often referenced the internet for explanations when a scientific concept was confusing, which was often!  I much prefer community college for science classes.  Although I am very fascinated with science, I do not fully comprehend it as others do, and certainly can not explain sophisticated concepts very well.

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Sarah, for instance, enjoyed meteorology at a community college while in her high school senior year.  She loved it so much that she decided to study geography in college, which includes much earth science.

Melissa, as well, enjoyed physical science at a community college, while only a sophomore in high school.  Melissa feels that she will retain much of what she learned about physical science.  Next year, she is planning to take a life science at the college.

The classes were rigorous at the community college, one semester counts for two in high school credit, but they were both determined to do well, and were ultimately successful.

In conclusion, homeschool science can be so much fun.  Take advantage and enjoy the adventure!

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** Note to the Reader- Today’s narrative is part of our family’s school journey from a few years ago, during my eldest daughter’s senior year in high school, a rather emotional year, with its many ups and downs.  Every day’s blog entry coincides with a day from that special year.  It can be read from the beginning by selecting the “Ring the School Bell 180” category on the side bar.  Commence with the narrative, “The School Bell- What comes to mind when ‘you’ hear that bell?”

Start here to get the story from the very beginning:

https://onceuponaschoolhouse.wordpress.com/?s=what+comes+to+mind

Follow along with us day-by-day through the school year.  Hope you will join us!

May God shower blessings on your family as he has on mine.    Annette

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Sarah

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