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  1. #1

    Default Designing my own earth science curriculum - ack! Input?

    I have given up on finding a science program that fits my son. He is 6 going on 60 - he devours anything science related and demands that it be challenging and complex and something NEW. Which is cool, I get that. Luckily, I am a science nerd myself. But the programs we have tried out have all been failures - not challenging enough or challenging but too workbooky or writing intensive for his age. It is driving me insane!

    This year we tried Elemental Science and it started really strong and was awesome - I rearranged it to accommodate his desire to learn about it all in order of evolution LOL and we did the plants first. Added more to challenge him and spent half the year on plants. He was loving it. Now we are on Animal Kingdoms and he is hating it again. Not challenging enough and he HATES the lapbooking workbook. I tried revamping it and adding to it, but it is a lost cause at this point. I am throwing it aside completely and designing a new one as we go that finally has him engaged again. Ack! LOL it actually has been kinda fun.

    Next year, we decided on Earth Science and Astronomy. It isn't completely new material for him, but we never formally studied it. I am hoping to make it myself since I fail to see any other there that would work well for him. I recently discovered Noeo, which may actually be a good fit - but they have no Earth Science, of course! Anyways, I have a wishlist of books, experiments, etc and just finished making a rough draft of the outline. I was hoping you guys and gals could take a peek at it and tell me what you think - what am I missing?? Does the order of the topics seem to flow? Any and all input is most appreciated!

    Okay so here is the rough rough rough draft of my outline - I still have to go in there and add the various books, experiments, fields trips, etc.

    The Universe & the Big Bang
    o Our Universe, The Big Bang theory
    What is a Star?
    o What comprises a star? Where are stars born?
    Constellations (& their myths) – ongoing
    o Ongoing project of constellation identification; including the mythology associated with each constellation.
    What is a comet? Asteroid? Meteor?
    o What is each of the following: comet, asteroid, & meteor? How are they similar/different?
    The Sun
    o What is the sun? Why is it important? What are solar flares and sun spots?
    The Planets
    o Identify the planets, their orbits, and their distinguishing characteristics. What is a microplanet?
    o What is a moon? What planets have moons?
    NASA adventures
    o The Moon landing & Neil Armstrong, Shuttle program, Hubble, International Space Station, Mission to Mars, various exploratory probes, etc.

    Planet Earth
    Seasons & Tides
    o What are the seasons and why do they exist? Identify the equinoxes and solstices. Explain the rotation of the Earth and how it translates into days and years. Investigate why tides occur and explain the difference between low tide and hide tide.
    The Earth’s core
    o What are the layers of the Earth and what are their specific characteristics/functions?
    Types of Rocks & Minerals
    o Explore the 3 types of Rocks. Explore minerals.
    o Review the Earth’s biomes.
    Water Cycle
    o Describe the complete water cycle.
    Weather & Climate
    o Explore clouds and weather. What is climate? Investigate why climate varies in different biomes.
    Extreme Weather & Natural Disasters
    o Why do Hurricanes, tornados, earth quakes, tsunamis, forest fire occur? What are the effects?
    Erosion & Pollution
    o What is erosion? What are the effects of erosion? How does deforestation impact erosion?
    o What is pollution? What are the types of pollution? What are the effects of pollution? How can we repair and prevent pollution?
    o What is conservation? Explore conservation topics such as: Reduce-reuse-recycle, composting, green living, alternative energy, land conservation, protection of endangered species, etc.

    Resource wish list:
    usborne books:
    book of astronomy
    encyclopedia of planet earth
    the night sky
    weather and climate changes

    DK books:
    DK eye wonder weather
    DK eye wonder space
    DK pockets rocks and minerals

    Science Works
    Rock factory
    cracking up
    up, down, all around
    drop in the ocean

    Who is Neil Armstrong?

    Van Cleave's Earth Science for Every Kid
    Van Cleave's Astronomy for Every Kid

    Plus our assorted and beloved Magic School Bus books.
    ~ Michelle
    Momma to one crazy fun, super silly, kind-hearted, high-spirited little boy. We've strayed far from the beaten path but are really enjoying our crazy off-roading approach to life and learning.

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  3. #2


    Sounds like a great start. I would just add that my dd 5 loves to watch scenes from documentaries on the science channel and discovery channel. I don' think she would make it a full hour but I'll pick a scene or two that coincides with what we are learning and have her watch that. Netflix carries A LOT of these sorts of shows. The Universe, The Planets, How the Universe Works, Journey to The Edge of the Univsere, etc.... There are more space related shows on than you can shake a stick at!

    Also, I am doing a prehistory unit with my daughter and you might find some of the activities worth a look-see. This is just a cursory introduction for her leading up to our ancient history studies in first grade.

  4. #3


    That looks really fantastic! I'm sure he'll love it

    There are two things I'd like to add:
    first, the Magic School Bus also have a few games which are great fun. The relevant ones would be The Magic School Bus in Space/Solar System (for planets, moons, etc.), and The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth (covers rocks etc.)

    If you can get hold of these games, I'm sure they'll add to his fun. They really are great. You can get them on Amazon pretty cheaply.

    The other thing is tectonic plates - are you going to mention those at all? They would fit in nicely after learning about layers of the Earth and it's core, and you could explain earthquakes, mountains (well, some) and volcanos all in one hit in terms of plate boundaries. With my kids, we played a game where I printed off a load of paleomaps and had them try to figure out how to put them in chronological order. THere are some nice maps here where the first three digits in each file name is how many millions of years ago it was.

  5. #4


    Check out this page for materials available to you as a teacher. AFAIK, they are free. I have a friend who is a librarian for NASA, so I just get random packets in the mail but he sent me this link to share with other homeschool families.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Arrived dbmamaz's Avatar
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    Jun 2009
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    Check out the book "bang the universe verse". It's like a dr Seuss of the big bang, but rigorous. It's available on amazon, but he also has a website and will mail you the PDF. I think he also has a sequel about life on. Earth

    I assume you've checked your librar? There is a lot there. Also if flexbooks has an. Earth science book, that could be a useful source. I think intellego unit studies might be slow for you
    Cara, homeschooling one
    Raven, ds 10, all around intense kid
    Orion, floundering recent graduate
    22 yo dd, not at home
    Inactive blog at longsummer

  7. #6


    My ds is the same way. I feed him books in addition to whatever curriculum we are doing (and it's usually different from what we are doing). Saves me a lot of time and planning. Since he his so stem-oriented, I use it as a sort of language arts, too. We outline, summarize, narrate, diagram, and do spelling/vocab using whatever living science books ds is into. And if something is too writing-intensive, we narrate instead.

  8. #7


    We design our own program and we did earth science this year. I use the Usborne Science Encyclopedia as a spine for myself.

    Some books we've found especially useful:

    Shaping the Earth by Dorothy Henshaw Patent
    How to Dig a Hole to the Other Side of the Earth

    The Magic School Bus chapter books on this subject (there's one on rocks, one on oceans and one on volcanos - these are different from the picture books, which are also good of course)
    Let's Read and Find Out has some earth science titles - one on Volcanos and a nice simple one called How Mountains are Made
    The Seymour Simon books for earth science - he has a bunch, they all have simple titles - I HIGHLY recommend these as a nice step up from the Let's Read and Find Out without being blurby or overwhelming

    Janice Van Cleave's Earth Science for Every Kid and Weather for Every Kid (actually, maybe the weather one has a different title - it's smaller than the "every kid" series)

    There were a lot of nice rock books as well... I can look at my lists if you need more suggestions.
    Want to read about my homeschool?
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  9. #8
    Senior Member Evolved theWeedyRoad's Avatar
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    Nov 2011
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    Just wanted to offer this resource as well:

    Despite the cutesy graphics on that page, the lessons are really meaty.
    Finding the flowers on the road less traveled!

    Homeschooling dd (8yo, 2nd) and ds (10yo, 4th) eclectically

    My blog! :P :

  10. #9


    Thanks everyone! I appreciate all the suggestions. I was actually looking at a few of the books mentioned and they are on our library list to go with the various topics. I knew MSB had experiment kits but I did not know about the games - he may like that. I think we have every book MSB ever made
    I didn't even think of the plates as a specific topic, but rather part of the earth portion and review when we hit natural disasters with earthquakes. Definitely should include it in the outline though. Thanks for point that out.
    And thanks for the NASA link - we LOVE NASA. Living the last 5 years on the space coast of FL has made DS a space junkie. Lauches never loose their magic. And the Space Center itself is sooo cool. We were blessed with a friend who happened to be one of the engineers on the shuttle program and he was kind enough to bring my hubby and DS to some launches - even got to see it one night as it started it travels down the strip. He took our Flat Stanley for an upclose and personal tour of the shuttle itself too. Once when we were visiting KSC we got to meet a female astronaut, Wendy - DS was asking her all sorts of questions about why they haven't built ships that can go farther into space yet and when are they going to do it. LOL He informed her that he was going to grow up and build one that could travel to the ends of our universe and to other universes so he could prove alien life exists. He has sworn that he will be an astronaut since he was 2 - back then it was astronaut/ice cream truck driver LOL Now it is astronaut/chiropractor & acupunturist. I love that he has a plan for his free time when he isn't in space.
    ~ Michelle
    Momma to one crazy fun, super silly, kind-hearted, high-spirited little boy. We've strayed far from the beaten path but are really enjoying our crazy off-roading approach to life and learning.

  11. #10


    Your son and my daughter would get along great! She doesn't want to be an astronaut, she wants to design the shops to send people to space. She also wants to work at Kennedy, because then she could have weekends free to dance at Disney. This has been her goal for about three years now.

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Designing my own earth science curriculum - ack! Input?