07-03-2012, 06:25 PM #11
I tried BFSU. I like the concept and thought it would be a good fit for my science-loving boys. But, I just couldn't get it to work on a weekly basis. It seemed like I spent a lot time preparing for activities/experiments that took very little time for my children to complete. Plus they always seemed to be interested in topics for which the lessons required that we had completed multiple earlier lessons.
We are doing Classical Science Elementary Life Sciences (Mr. Q) right now. I thought it would be easier to implement - read a chapter, complete a few worksheets, two experiments per chapter, sounded perfect. But, we are finding it to be superficial. I've been supplementing with additional readings (and sometimes alternate experiments), many of which are coming from BFSU recommended readings. I skip a lot of the worksheets and the activities that seem to have been thrown in just to have two experiments for the week. We will finish Elementary Life Sciences or at least cover all of the topics, but I don't think I'll be buying his Earth Sciences curriculum.
Part of me wants to go back to BFSU, I even bought the second book. I had no trouble implementing MEP, so it irks me that I can't get BFSU to work. Another part wants to design my own program. If I had a science background, this would be less daunting. My strengths are arts and humanities. It figures that my children would be science fiends. I'll be looking at tables of contents for several Earth Sciences programs over the next few months to see if I can come up with a list of topics to cover.
07-03-2012, 06:35 PM #12
We tried BFSU (and Mr. Q, actually) here and it was a dud. Some of the ideas were neat, and it does have some good ideas of concepts to cover, but I much prefer a more Charlotte Mason/hands-on method for science. LOTS of reading, LOTS of hands-on stuff, LOTS of personal discovery. The day my son poured a container of vinegar over a ton of baking soda in the sink and floated a balloon on the gas has been one of the most memorable homeschool events we've ever had. And THAT is what I love.---
Sarah B., Oklahoma
"By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the bitterest." - Confucius
Blog: Our Sunnyview
Less-than-Zenlike mother of:
M1 - The Boy, age 11, home since 2009 - loves science, swimming, and folk music
M2 - The Girl, age 9, home since 2012 - loves anatomy, the arts, and her violin
07-03-2012, 06:55 PM #13AmanadooGuest
It's great for people like myself that are not experiment-y. Also, my child is 4 and doing it. So. There's that.
07-03-2012, 07:34 PM #14
- Join Date
- Jun 2009
- Blog Entries
1. LURV Neil deGrasse Tyson!
2. the 'other forum' is known as 'the other forum' here. So many people have spent so much time grinding their teeth and flailing around in response to what happens over there that I really dont understand why anyone goes there . ..
3. I got his older book out of the library and couldnt see it happening. We've tried several elementary science curriculums and its not working. history seems to suck too much energy out of me. I still might try the singapore math website's elementary science, but mostly we go with the library-books . . .and i SWEAR i'm going to do weekly science themes this summer . .. this is our 3rd week of our 2-week break . . . i really need to get working on that. each week's theme includes at least one hands-on activity, books, worksheets, video . . . but i get to choose it and pull it together. um, woot. i have a clear idea for 4 of them . .. .Cara, eclecticly homeschooling two boys
Orion, ds 17, specail needs
Raven, ds 10, all around intense kid
21 yo dd, not at home
Blogging about kids, home school, food allergies at longsummer
07-03-2012, 08:44 PM #15
Bought the book...spent entirely too much time trying to implement it...I joined the Yahoo! Group and got some resources to help supplement but after spending so much time planning the lessons it just really turned me off. I really like the concept, the layout of the lessons left me a tad perplexed as well...anyway, it could be a good resource for experiment ideas and such.Army Family of 5--
DJ and Jackie
Corbin, Reid and Faith
07-03-2012, 09:05 PM #16
I'm not familiar with BFSU, but I searched and searched for a science curriculum for my 11 year old and just couldn't find anything that I liked and that was reasonably priced. I've decided to use Intellego unit studies. We're working on the Geology unit now. If I find Science Fusion on sale I may order a unit to try because it looks pretty good.
I'm using T4L for my 7 year old and will consider something structured for him next year. Right now he is doing great, exploring his own interests...he's really interested in the solar system now. He's been on the NASA site for kids and watching planet and star videos on youtube. I love that it's self directed. My 11 yo has never done that so this is quite interesting for me to see.Homeschooling two boys, ages 7 and 11
07-03-2012, 10:32 PM #17
We attempted BFSU but didn't get very far before we threw in the towel. There was too much prep for us and I hated the layout of the book. My husband and I both work, so we're always trying to find that balance between open and go while not just doing worksheets all day.
We just started REAL Science Odyssey Chemistry and so far it's going great for DS 8 and mom and dad, too.
07-04-2012, 10:28 AM #18
I guess I'm the only one here who DOES like BFSU! We're about half way through the K-2 book and I really, really like it.
I like that it starts with the basics and builds upon them in a thoughtful way. For example, kids in early elementary often learn about the water cycle without learning the underlying science: the different states of matter and how they're different, evaporation/condensation, air and how it moves in the atmosphere, and gravity. It's like trying to make a complicated dish without learning learning basic cooking skills.
I like that each lesson starts out with exploration and a conversation. When we did the lesson about gravity, I got out a bunch of toys like bouncy balls, inclined planes and marbles, a yo yo, etc. I asked them what was happening when these toys fell or rolled and how gravity ties into previous lessons about matter and mass. We had LEGO minifigures walk on our globe. We got out the bathroom scale. This "Socratic method" is very engaging for my kids, and the conversations last long after the lesson is done.
I like that I'm learning along with them. I don't have a science background and the only class I enjoyed in high school was biology. I barely passed chemistry and skipped physics all together. Teaching science this way has sparked my interest in those subjects and having to plan lessons is great exercise for my brain as I wrangle with the concepts and figure out how to present them to the kids. I think we're all having fun with the things were learning in BFSU.
I don't feel like planning the lessons is that onerous. We do a new lesson on average every two weeks, but will still only take two years to finish the book. Sometimes, if the lesson is especially "meaty", we spread it over two or three sessions. Having to plan only two to three lessons a month really isn't that bad. I usually just make an outline with activities, questions, and information and terminology to present. It probably takes less than an hour. Last summer I made a spreadsheet with the lesson sequence that someone posted to the Yahoo group and spend about a half an hour matching up lessons with Magic School Bus and Bill Nye videos.
We will be continuing with the next book after we finish K-2. I was just reading a thread about the book for grades 3-5 on "the other forum" and people using it found it easier to use than the first book (and also quite a bit more rigorous, which I'm looking forward to).
The PDF download is $5 here. It wouldn't hurt to read through the introduction and try a couple of lessons this summer. Dr. Nebel is also very active on the Yahoo group if you have any questions for him (or other users). He sent me a personal greeting email when I joined the group.Mother of two monkeys...daughter age 8.5 and son age 10.
07-06-2012, 02:33 PM #19
We have been using BFSU K-2 and Elementary (3-5) as an underlying thread to our science studies. It is by no means our main science curriculum but I do like the way various scientific concepts are introduced in a logical order. I also appreciate the discussion ideas provided as well as scientific vocabulary. What I like the most about BFSU is that it connects the various branches of science together in a meaningful way.
The downside of the BFSU series is that Nebel is quite verbose in his writing which makes it harder to quickly skim his lesson plans. Additionally, some of his activities are designed with a classroom of kids in mind which I don't have.
If you already feel confident about teaching science and organizing a curriculum plan then you probably don't need to bother with BFSU. However, if you would like some guidance on the sequence of topics to cover as well as ideas for how to teach science to children then it is a worthwhile read.Mom to ds10, ds3, and dd3
07-07-2012, 11:34 AM #20
- Join Date
- Nov 2009
- Blog Entries
I think scientific methodology/inquiry and critical thinking are the most important things I can teach my kid. Science education and scientific literacy is pretty terrible in the US, and I think it's because so many curriculums are all over the place and instead of showing how biology and chemistry are connected to physics, society treats these as distinct and separate subjects introduced as if they are unrelated.
DS is in public school so I am an afterschooler, and I did preschool at home. I am fine with experimentation and interest led inquiry, and am very comfortable with research etc. but I bought BFSU because the progression makes so much sense. I needed help with "where to start?" and "What should come next" and "how does this relate to that". Simply reading it was enough for me to understand the most logical connections and steps, and it helped me formulate a long term plan. I have not treated it as a curriculum at all...just a sort of guide to creating my own.
ETA: I totally second what ourjourney said...kinda what I wanted to say only way better...LOL
Last edited by MamaB2C; 07-07-2012 at 11:42 AM.Brandi
Alabama Gulf Coaster,
Learning and loving life with DS 6 and hubby of 21 years
DS is in public school, but we enrich and expand at home