Sunday, September 08, 2013

When your science plans go awry...

So I had this grand plan for easy science this year. I'd bought a book from Queen Homeschool, and I thought that "Our Animal Friends" would be an easy way to learn about various animals without me having to trek to the library over and over on weeks when I'd rather focus on other things.

I thought that this was a simple Charlotte Mason style notebook where we'd read a story about a little girl visiting her veterinarian uncle, and he'd tell her stories about the animals that were chock full of facts about the animals. I thought that we'd use the facts in the stories to answer the questions and do the worksheets that followed each story.

I bought the book in May. I sat down to look at it in more detail a couple of nights ago. I discovered with horror that 98% of the answers to the questions asked in the book were not included in the story. And suggestions of books or websites where I could find the answers to these questions were also not included. And this is supposed to be for elementary students? Crazy town. I am angry that I didn't look more closely at the book fair. I couldn't imagine that anyone would possibly create something for elementary students that would require that much research with that little guidance. I was wrong. So I lost my basic science plan for the year. Gahhh!

I panicked for a bit, and I started frantically hunting the internet for alternatives. And then I remembered that this is a Peace Hill Press kinda year. Most of my social studies materials and my reading curriculum are by either a Wise or a Bauer or both, so I might as well give her a chance to weigh in here.

All I really wanted was some guidance for good children's books and experiments to do with my 1st grader and my 4-year-old... an outline, if you will. I found part of this at Little Otter's Science. This will give me the reading lists and science experiments for learning about the human body, along with some links to printables.

Then I pulled out my copy of "The Well Trained Mind." On p. 161, I found a simple science plan for first grade. She recommends picking about 20 animals to study and just reading books about them and answering questions to get used to using the scientific method. I typed up all the questions in a 1 page document, and I printed out multiple copies. Now we can read and answer questions, and that will cover science on a basic level. If we discover a neat animal outside, I can use one of these sheets as well. They can draw a picture of the animal, and we're done.

The way that the classical educators do science makes sense to me. They want to link history and science somewhat. For the ancient history year, you study the human body, animals, and plants in science because those were things that the ancients could see and were learning about. Next year, we're supposed to learn astronomy because medieval scientists were learning a lot about those. It's interesting, and its not the way I learned science. I'm wondering if the boys will notice the link if I do it this way. But even if they don't, it gives me a broad outline to follow to try and cover the basics, and I do like that.

Science crisis averted. :)


Rachel said...

another nice, easy science I've liked is Rod and Staff's first year of science... Love the pictures to color and that it's very basic about animals and we've enjoyed it... just fyi :)

Chelsea said...

Just starting a well-trained mind. Hoping it'll put me in the right direction!