Q: “What Do You Do About Science?”

 

A: We live Science

(Vivienne, doing the best work of Scientist: loving God’s creation.)

As I was slugging through my B.S. in Biology, and working in the pharmacology department at Merck, I had no idea that my education would find its glory days when two little scientists entered our family. Amazingly, God orchestrated my education for the sakes of an aspiring nurse and an aspiring pediatrician (no joke) who didn’t even exist when I was memorizing formulas in the Science Library at all hours of the night! (You might not have to look far to discover some way in which God prepared you to foster the natural interests in your own children? Tell me all about it! I love those stories.)

(Lia, just a tad too young for the microscope.)

Because our girls have a natural interest in Science and I have some Science experience, this is an area of study that flows fairly naturally in our homeschool. (Don’t believe me? Do families typically perform heart surgery on dolls or celebrate First Aid Birthday parties?) The girls love to read nonfiction books about science; they enjoy the Berenstain Bears Big Book of Science; and they regularly dig into fascinating experiments and wonderings that result in learning!

Even though I do decorate with prints of lettuce varieties and butterfly species, I believe that God gives all children a natural wonder and enthusiasm for His creation regardless of their parent’s expertise, interest, or choice of curriculum. All we have to do is let them inspire us and join them in the learning!

We just finished a month-long study of horses, using a lapbook unit from In the Hands of a Child, which the girls loved every minute of. (We did this because they are so into horses now; we have about 10 imaginary horses roaming around our house as I write.)

Next, we’ll be getting 17 chickens next week, so we will study… you guess it: Chickens!

We also have a garden to plant from seed, which will provide hours of experimentation, observation, hard work, and eating our specimen. (Now that we live on a farm, our lives especially revolve around an appreciation for the wind, water, soil, and animals. We are digging in!)

 

After that, Vivienne has begged to study the Solar System. We’ll pull Ryan’s old telescope out of the attic and maybe even have a “1-hour Sleep Out” on our porch as we look up at the star-studded sky from our farmhouse. (More on the Solar System unit later! I discovered all kinds of gems online… ‘can’t wait to share ‘em.)

Come Fall, we’ll follow the “God’s World” science topics provided by Ann Ward in Learning at Home (mostly biology-related topics). We’ll lug home books from the library, follow our noses to interesting experiments, and even do some dissections. (I found a complete dissection kit – frog, crayfish, and worm included – at a yard sale! Ryan didn’t seem to think it was the “find of the century!” as I glowingly reported upon my return home.)

We do lots of experiments with candy and kitchen ingredients. Vivienne has loved a Science kit that she received as a gift a few years ago, and we still use the large plastic test-tubes and pipettes. A dear friend made a test-tube rack out of scrap wood for the girls, which we use regularly. We’ve done simple experiments from Usborne books, and the FIAR curriculum. We rotate a fascinating magnet set onto our bookshelves, allow the girls to experiment with watercolors and nontoxic paint, keep a Nature Box in the garage, and are available to answer questions – and ask our own from time to time.

I have a feeling that this joyful topical study of Science will suit us just fine through elementary school. If I find that we are skimping on Science and losing our natural curiosity, I’ve got some excellent recommendations in my back pocket:

* Our Classical-homeschooling librarian recommends Jeannie Fulbright’s Exploring Creation studies (these are related to Apologia).

* Jolanthe from Homeschool Creations seems to embrace a Classical/ Charlotte Mason approach has been loving Nancy Larson’s Science curriculum. (Yup! Nancy Larson of Saxon Math.)

* After the elementary years, though, I will look into Apologia’s Science curriculum, since it receives so many solid endorsements as a thorough and excellent Christian Science curriculum.

So, I propose this in search of a solid Science curriculum:

If our children are naturally curious (and they probably are!), and if we have time to give (and we hopefully do!), we shall…

* grow plants and animals

* read books, books, books

* watch, wonder, and wander

* measure, mix, and make a mess

* clean up, discuss, and create conclusions

* praise God from whom all blessings flow!


What are your thoughts concerning Science in the younger years?

 

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9 Comments to "Q: “What Do You Do About Science?”"

  1. grandmom ruthie
    March 10, 2011 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    I can’t imagine anything more wonderful than what you have already stated!!! Have fun! I look forward to learning as well!

  2. March 10, 2011 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    I was wondering if you’ve ever shared your general daily schedule here on your blog? If so, would you direct me?

    I have yet to get a good schedule with my two girls (4 1/2 and 10 months) with homemaking and homeschooling. Do you fit in exercise? When do you have a quiet time??

    Thank you!! I SOOOOO love your blog!

    His,
    Shari

  3. March 10, 2011 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    I would really like to read about your daily schedule too! And I absolutely love your science ideas.

  4. Brooke Clarke
    March 10, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Me three…would love to see your schedule as well as your lesson planning template if possible. I’m trying to figure out what to use for lesson planning. Love this website. I check it almost every day!

    • March 10, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      Sure thing, friends. I’ll write a post about our daily schedule… look for it next week, okay? :)

  5. March 10, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    We use a lot of nature study a la Charlotte Mason. A great resource is The Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock. Its old but its awesome. But honestly, if my kids tell me they are interested in knowing “how it works”, I go with that and let them experiment. Its been fun!

  6. Melanie
    March 11, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the info. Since I need a solid curriculum for Science (it not being a strong subject for myself) my husband and I decided to do the Apologia press science for elementry and I’m so excited that I’ll get to learn along with them. I think that is one of the wonderful things about homeschooling my children I get to learn things that I chose not to explore when I went to school.

    Can’t wait to see what your schedual looks like!

  7. Rachel
    March 13, 2011 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Laura, you do such awesome things with your girls. I love seeing all the creative, energizing ways you teach them in your home! It is inspiring!

  8. May 8, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    My main thing for science is simply to be curious and to share that curiosity with my children. It leads us on many grand adventures, especially now with our five acre backyard!