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Thread: Science kits or curriculum

  1. #1
    Senior Member Enlightened
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    Default Science kits or curriculum

    We're in our second month of homeschooling DS7. DH has decided he would like to do science in the evenings. DS is enrolled in a charter, and when I visited the curriculum library I just grabbed two first grade textbooks, thinking I would just use them as loose guide as to what topics to cover. DH has taken to reading a couple of chapters to DS a night, and is almost through both textbooks. He also bought a set of Magic Schoolbox science videos from Costco and is having DS watch 2 or 3 episodes in a sitting. DH doesn't like reading the science topic books I pick up out of the library, and he cruises so fast through the textbook I don't know where he's at. Not exactly what I had in mind for how to teach science, but I'm still trying to get my head above water on the other subjects. It's great DH wants to be involved, and I don't want to squelch his enthusiasm. Before homeschooling, he occasionally did things on the weekend like build a volcano, so adding some kits might be worth a try.

    Any suggestions for what curriculum, videos, or science kits I should look at given DH's teaching style? The Magic Schoolbus kits come to mind. I took a quick look at Super Charged Science -- is it worth the money? How about science through Discovery Education?
    Last edited by zette; 01-08-2013 at 10:44 AM.

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    Senior Member Arrived dbmamaz's Avatar
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    i'm not sure we got a clear enough picture of dh's style. all i know is he's reading quickly through the books you picked because he doesnt like them. I'm thinking you need to ask DH what he would like best - does he prefer books, videos, experiments, or a combo? Is there a science subject he's more interested in exploring with your son?

    Some people like super-charged science buy my kids did not. we arent really very hands on. my kids prefer reading about science, it seems. We tried but did not like the max axiom books, my youngest is currently reading some murderous science books on his own, and there was a manga book about einstein he really liked - we have also found science somewhat hit or miss.
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    Senior Member Evolved fastweedpuller's Avatar
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    I am sure others will pipe in with some very worthwhile suggestions, but we are in the same situation: my husband handles the science end of the schooling. He sounds a lot like yours: will breeze through something OR get totally crazy about a project. So I bought Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding, the first book (even though our daughter is in 3rd grade) and it has been helpful in giving the lessons some needed structure. It requires my husband to actually prepare for a lesson...and is loose enough in scope that he can really take the lesson where it needs to go.

    We supplement a lot, though. Our daughter loves Beekman, and we have a ton of one-off books (one lesson at a time, kind of geared toward science fair projects). So it is helpful for the lesson on, say, magnetism to include a viewing of the Beekman's World episode pertaining to it, rummaging through the other books that might have a cool experiment to try, and also looking into what BrainPOP might offer (she gets that through the co-op we are in).

    Anyway, I like the book for the flowing outline: one thing leads to another.

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    Senior Member Arrived farrarwilliams's Avatar
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    I think the Magic School Bus kits are great... for K-1st or maybe 2nd. I think they're kind of lame by 3rd grade.

    I'm not totally sure what you want either. Or what subjects you want to cover.

    Option One:
    Just buy or get a curriculum. You could consider Ellen McHenry, RSO, Elemental Science, Mr. Q, Supercharged or whatever. Then have him follow it. Easy peasy.

    Option Two:
    Get a better spine, better books, and better activity options.

    I would suggest not using a random text for covering topics. Either get BFSU's first two volumes as pdf (they're only $5 each) OR get the Usborne Science Encyclopedia. The BFSU will give you an ordered but non-linear flow chart of topics to cover and then you can either use their activities or not or some of them and not others. The Usborne will give you a much more linear checklist of all the topics of science divided up by topic.

    Then find better books to read aloud about those topics. Seven isn't too old for Let's Read and Find Out Science books, but you can find more as well - the Seymour Simon series are really good. And the Basher Books are fun. Max Axiom is okay. There's more stuff as well - individual books. I like Car Science and Can You Feel the Force and some of the other DK ones. And there are some great individual titles for a lot of topics... there are excellent animal books and some plant and ecosystem ones too. Depends on what you want to study.

    Then find better experiment books. Janice Van Cleave is a basic place to start. The Neil Ardley science books are a nice, easy set that are more geared to grade 1-4. My favorites, by far, are the Boston Children's Museum Activity books. OOP, but totally worth finding. They only cover physics topics. And there are more offbeat science activity books... Backyard Ballistics, for example. Some dh's would love that sort of thing.

    Another option would be to go with good science kits... but I don't think these are the science kits like the Magic Schoolbus ones... they're things like Snap Circuits and Lego Wedo.
    Disclaimer: Everything I'm saying is just my own opinion, based on my own experiences teaching and with my own kids and my own life. You should just ignore me if I'm annoying you. I don't mind.

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    Senior Member Enlightened leakyowl's Avatar
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    We haven't done much, but I've started R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey with my son. They have Life science, Earth science, and Chemistry. Life and Earth are both recommended for first grade level, and their site has a free preview of the curriculum (scroll down past the history stuff). Try Before You Buy | Pandia Press, History and Science Curriculums
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    Thanks for the suggestions, it gives me a list of things to look at.

    I'd describe my DH's style as read the textbook and discuss, and aim to cover as much content as possible as quickly as possible. He's proud of having "gotten through" the first grade science textbook in about a month, and doesn't have time or inclination to figure out how to take a book as a rough guide and supplement. I think he'd be great at Story of the World, if I could convince him to also read the extra books suggested in the activity guide. (Maybe I'll try to convince him to tackle SOTW instead of science...I've also thought of setting him up with a series of math novels like Life of Fred and Murderous Maths...)

    Is there a quality science curriculum similar to SOTW? I definitely want to supplement with kits for some hands-on learning.
    Last edited by zette; 01-09-2013 at 10:07 AM.

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    Senior Member Arrived farrarwilliams's Avatar
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    Sadly, there's nothing like SOTW for Science. I've had this argument with people before about it, but it is my desperate wish that someone would write a well-written, longish science text geared toward grades 1-4 paired with a central activity book with relevant video and literature suggestions and activities. If I was a science expert I would create such a thing because I think it would sell like crazy if it was well done.

    I can't really see science as a get through it and zip along subject. If there's anything that I think is worth spending in depth time on it's science. While I think it's fine to take a breakneck look at history, I think in depth time spent on a few subjects in science is superior to going over everything. Though that's just my opinion.
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    Disclaimer: Everything I'm saying is just my own opinion, based on my own experiences teaching and with my own kids and my own life. You should just ignore me if I'm annoying you. I don't mind.

    But if I don't annoy you, feel free to visit my blog:
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    Senior Member Evolved Mslksdh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by farrarwilliams View Post
    I can't really see science as a get through it and zip along subject. If there's anything that I think is worth spending in depth time on it's science. While I think it's fine to take a breakneck look at history, I think in depth time spent on a few subjects in science is superior to going over everything. Though that's just my opinion.
    Our son is the same way. Though minus the break for other topics. I looked into the magic school bus and their off shoot and He was doing that in "Kindergarten". So I am at a loss for where to go as I am not a science person. Thanks for the thread zette as now I have other stuff to look at!
    Exhausted Mom of 3 wild & crazy boys! Ages 8, 5 & 3
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    Senior Member Evolved Laina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by farrarwilliams View Post
    Sadly, there's nothing like SOTW for Science. I've had this argument with people before about it, but it is my desperate wish that someone would write a well-written, longish science text geared toward grades 1-4 paired with a central activity book with relevant video and literature suggestions and activities. If I was a science expert I would create such a thing because I think it would sell like crazy if it was well done.
    I nominate you. I think you can write this and it would be awesome!
    Laina
    homeschooling mother of Louisa (8yo) and Daniel (5yo)

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    Senior Member Arrived farrarwilliams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laina View Post
    I nominate you. I think you can write this and it would be awesome!
    If anyone knows an actual expert in general science who would do it with me, then I'd consider it. But seriously, I think I'd get the science wrong and I'd feel rotten about that. If someone else could write the text, I could write the Activity Guide with all the accompanying books, videos, questions and suggested experiments and demos.
    Laina likes this.
    Disclaimer: Everything I'm saying is just my own opinion, based on my own experiences teaching and with my own kids and my own life. You should just ignore me if I'm annoying you. I don't mind.

    But if I don't annoy you, feel free to visit my blog:
    http://farrarwilliams.wordpress.com
    Children's Books, Homeschooling and Random Musings...

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