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  1. #1
    Junior Member Newbie
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    NC
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    Default Planning science and history

    Hi! My husband and I are just starting to homeschool our kids. I was homeschooled growing up, and he went to public school. Our oldest just finished kindergarten at the local public elementary, but they were not challenging her academically, so we are planning to keep her home next year. She is advanced in math and reading and has read a lot of science-related library books, so I'd say she is advanced in science as well; not as sure about history.

    Long term, we want to make sure our kids are well prepared for admission to a selective college, should they so choose. I have a fair notion of how to approach math in particular and mostly English as well, because they are both so progressive in skill development. I'm not as sure about science and social science in the early years, since individual topics don't build on each other so logically. I know the classical method has a structure in place where you work from ancient to modern 3 times, and that has some appeal, though I'm not sold on all elements of the method. Does anyone have thoughts about how to organize these areas of study?

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  3. #2

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    Welcome! When I started homeschooling, I also was concerned about getting science and history covered, and saw the “logic” in the “classical” method. What Classical doesnt take into account, though, is that some kids have absolutely no interest in the world larger than they can imagine, and memorizing the names of egyptian pharaohs has little appeal. You can try a world and time tour approach, which may appeal to your child, but I would say if it doesnt appeal, let it rest. My oldest was maybe in 6th grade before teaching any sort of history interested him, or stuck with him.
    With my youngest (6 years younger, me 6 years more experience homeschooling), I still expect him to get an academically rigorous education, but our formal science and social studies consist of Ranger Rick magazine, Tinker Crates, and freeloading off what his brother is learning about.
    If your oldest is anything like my little one, there are a zillion why and how questions, and I think teaching him to look up answers himself is better than trying to impose an arbitrary curriculum on him. I want him to want to learn, not survive each day of being taught about ancient civilizations that seem entirely irrelevant to him.
    As you learn homeschooling from the parenting perspective, Im sure you will change direction and your imagination of how it will go.
    Dont worry about the science and social studies!
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  4. #3

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    I have been homeschooling since my daughter was 8 years old, she is almost 11 now. We also felt like we "needed" some sort of logical progression for science and history when we started, and we tried Build Your Library (BYL)—which uses Story of the World—and Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding (BFSU) and Real Science Odyssey (RSO).

    We dropped BYL fairly quickly as it was too scheduled for my daughter and that way of approaching history in a chronological order did not appeal to her. BFSU also fell off fairly rapidly as it required so much planning.

    We have tried our best to do RSO consistently, but we have both found it a bit of a drag. For RSO, we did chemistry last year, and it is all kitchen chemistry type stuff and the experiments are sometimes very tenuously linked to the science. So, myself as someone who has a Chemistry PhD and did chem solely because I love it not because of any career intentions, and my daughter also who loves chem, we both found it boring. We are doing RSO Physics this year, and its much better and we are enjoying it.

    Anyway, what has worked for us best is just doing interest-based for both these areas. If you have a child that loves learning, as it sounds like you do, then they will have heaps of things that they are keen to learn more about. My daughter and I have a chat before each term of study and figure out a topic of interest for history/social studies and stock up on resources. Usually we do a new topic for history/social studies every 10-week term. So we do four topics a year. For science, we usually pick one or two big areas and do a mix of RSO and delving into smaller interest-based studies with other resources.

    So, I would not worry about organizing it. Just have fun.
    New Zealand-based. DD 11 (year 6 [NZ system]) homeschooled, and DD 6 (year 1 [NZ system]) who is currently trying out public school.

    Freelance copyeditor, specializing in scientific text, who will make mistakes in my posts (I don't self-edit).

    That's a kea (NZ parrot) in my avatar. You can learn about them on Beak & Brain - Genius Birds from Down Under on Netflix.

  5. #4

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    Daybright,

    I entirely agree with NZ_Mama's approach. I also have a science degree (physics) and went into public education for ten years before we homeschooled. In the early years, I found interest-based science and history more engaging for the kids than some prescribed curriculum. Honestly, they won't remember much of the details from that time anyway. Hopefully, what students this age WILL remember is the joy of discovery, observing, field trips to historical places and historical re-enactments. As NZ_Mama concluded, just have fun.

    We became a little more formal in middle school, in that I found textbooks for them in the topics they wanted to study. It wasn't until high school that history/social studies and science courses became formal, more what you would see in school. Even then, we skipped the "busy work" (worksheets, etc) and cut to the chase with relevant reading and hands-on labs. For chemistry, both kids took a dual credit course at a local university.

    Long term, we want to make sure our kids are well prepared for admission to a selective college, should they so choose.
    FWIW, they are not Ivy League schools, but with this approach my kids had no problem getting into the universities of their choice, with scholarships. U of Iowa for DD (just graduated this May!) and Purdue computer science for DS.
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward


    Daughter (22), a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son (21), a Purdue University senior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  6. #5

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    Reading Inmom's great suggestions about field trips etc reminded me of one things my daughter loves to do for history/social studies: cook! It is great. She will look at traditional dishes of the time/region and write up a menu, plan a grocery list, shop for it, and make us a meal (with some assistance). It is very memorable and enjoyable for the whole family.

    Also, music, language, games, art, there are so many things that you can have fun with for different periods/regions.

    For science fun, we have loved the "...Lab for Kids" series of books. There are so many, like Kitchen Science, Brain, Energy, Outdoor Science. I have found them really nicely presented, good instructions and good pictures, and the activities and experiments we have done from them for the most part are fun and work.

    Now we are nearing middle school, I am feeling the need to formalize things a bit more as Inmom mentioned, but elementary has definitely been best done in a fun way for us.
    New Zealand-based. DD 11 (year 6 [NZ system]) homeschooled, and DD 6 (year 1 [NZ system]) who is currently trying out public school.

    Freelance copyeditor, specializing in scientific text, who will make mistakes in my posts (I don't self-edit).

    That's a kea (NZ parrot) in my avatar. You can learn about them on Beak & Brain - Genius Birds from Down Under on Netflix.

  7. #6
    Senior Member Enlightened
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    CA
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    Default

    I agree with what previous posters have written about science and history being interest-based. Science and history should inspire a sense of awe and curiosity.

    We just picked up a container of superworms from the pet store and we're going to breed them so DS can observe the life cycle of the darkling beetle. Then we're going to do the same with the tomato hornworm.

    I do use a 4th grade text, though, just to give him practice reading at grade level and doing the test questions at the end of the units.

    I haven't done history in any structured way, only spring boarding it off of literature. For example, we're reading Huck Finn and then tying it into slavery, compassion, morality, historical/regional dialects, America's relationship with alcohol, truth and lies, and so forth. Because of the odd spellings and dialects, I read this aloud to him.
    Homeschooling an only, DS9

  8. #7

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    We haven't homeschooled yet but we follow the from Big Bang to the current time schedule. I am using a lot of impressionistic charts, stories, and timelines. I am Montessori trained and loved how the children got some impressionistic information and just went with what is interesting to them. The outline is still very open so as a guide you can follow the child. They read books, use charts (Timeline of Life) and create their own material often times. My 4th year is currently doing ancient times (Mesopotamia) and loves the timeline of the Homo sapiens. She is currently making the brain of a Homo Heidelbergensis with two of her friends. For her, we will be using RSO next year in Homeschooling because she can process a lot more information than her siblings.

    If you have the option to go to a Nature and Science museum, I would do that. We go once a year (depending on where we are living) to one - this year we did the DC museums and made a sort of scavenger hunt.
    ~ Kimmy

    “ Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.” ~ Maria Montessori

  9. #8

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    If you want to go from the Big Bang, there is the Big History Project from the Bill Gates Foundation, which looks like a great resource to use. We have it on our sometime in the future list, maybe middle school.

    I feel like I bookmarked a better link for this that had more detailed lesson plans and such like, but now I can't find it. But here are some other links, https://www.bighistoryproject.com/home and https://www.khanacademy.org/partner-...istory-project.

    Edited to add: found the link, https://school.bighistoryproject.com/bhplive
    New Zealand-based. DD 11 (year 6 [NZ system]) homeschooled, and DD 6 (year 1 [NZ system]) who is currently trying out public school.

    Freelance copyeditor, specializing in scientific text, who will make mistakes in my posts (I don't self-edit).

    That's a kea (NZ parrot) in my avatar. You can learn about them on Beak & Brain - Genius Birds from Down Under on Netflix.

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