General Science & Other Thoughts

In my last science post, I wrote up the list of supplies I was ordering for high school Biology. This time, I’ll tell you about the supplies for General Science.

Please keep in mind that there are also supplies I’ll purchase at the grocery store or hardware store, especially for general science. This a jr high level course, for 7th, 8th and 9th graders, so is more of a broad introduction to a variety of areas of science. The higher level the course, the more specialized materials you’ll need. For doing science with my own Year 1 student, unless we want to do something super crazy fun (which we do sometimes!) it’s all stuff we just have around the house.

For more on doing science with Littles, check out this post I wrote several years ago.

General Science Supplies

So, for general science, I plan to get from homesciencetools.com:

(1) Know Your Minerals Kit

(2) Know Your Rocks Kit

(3) Geology Field Trip in a Bag Kit

After going through the book, these were what I thought I couldn’t just get from a local store, but would be beneficial for students to work with. They are extras and the whole class will use the kits, but I think it will expand the student’s knowledge of geology in a fun way. Hands-on is always good!

There will be some sharing between Biology and General Science. I’m not set on what those things are, but it will likely be the frog hatchery kit, the root viewer kit and the carnivorous fungi. I’ll make sure that the schedules for the courses line up so both classes can experience what these things offer.

They will all get a nature journal for keeping track of what they learn. This is one form of narration that is super useful in science.

Homesciencetools.com is having a 10% off sale if your order through Aug 15.

Science Fair!

These are the years for science fair! Around here, the local homeschool organization hosts a science fair, and many schools will host one also. I know 7th grade is when most students do science fair, though older students can participate also. Your student will need to decide soon on a topic, as the local fair is usually held in the fall. Should your student place in 1st, 2nd or 3rd, they will get to go to the regional fair. Even if your student has no desire to really pursue doing science fair, it can be a good experience for doing an extended experiment with the requirements of keeping good records, documenting the steps and the results and presenting the results to others. Here in Texas, the fair is “The Science & Engineering Fair”, so most any topic within the sciences or engineering is acceptable. If you are in the Waco area and your students wants to participate, there is a teacher/parent informational meeting on Sept 12 at Baylor University. There is a cost to attend, but its minimal if you are a homeschooling parent. Contact me if you want more information about this.

 

 

Timelines and Schedules, CM style

I am so proud of myself! I got our timeline up and got a schedule laid out for our school time. I have felt so busy with a lot to do, and I’m struggling to keep the important separate from the merely urgent. But, in my struggle, I’m overcoming, so feeling some success.

Timeline

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Charlotte Mason talks about helping children gain a sense of history:

Once Intellect admits us into the realms of History, we live in a great and stirring world, full of entertainment and sometimes of regret; and at last we begin to understand that we, too, are making History, and that we are all part of the whole; that the people who went before us were all very like ourselves, or else we should not be able to understand them. (Ourselves, pg 37)

Plan to work with Little Man to create a personal timeline of a sort, but I think our timeline on the wall will help put all the various things we read about into perspective. As we come across something in our reading, I’m creating little 2 inch pictures (images gleaned via an online search… you’ll have to go find your own) that we can tape on the timeline in the appropriate spot. And I have a picture of us, as a family, to also go up in the appropriate place.

I chose a format that has it out in the open, as opposed to in a book, as I think it’s something that will get looked at more often. We often stop and look at the maps we have out on the wall, but sometimes getting a book out to look is just too much work, or a guest might not know we have that in a book. This timeline, however, is free for anyone to inspect, and will likely start some conversations, just as our maps have. And this is for the next few years. I know I’ll want my own book of centuries and timeline book for my own use soon enough. (yeah, I’m a nerd.)

A Schedule

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Well, it’s not a “schedule” with times on it, but it does give an order. We found that Little Man works better have a clearly defined set of tasks, though he does argue if it’s not an ordering he likes. Having “free read” last is not something he would choose.

‘Content Read’ is a reading that varies each day, and I wasn’t sure what to call it. Today we read “The Brave 300” from Fifty Famous Stories Retold and yesterday the reading was from The Burgess Bird Book.

I wrote out, on index card, each subject for a week’s worth of school. I did this for 4 days a week, since (1) I’m not worried about finishing all of Year 1 in one year and (2) when co-op starts in Sept, we will only have the 4 days, assuming we do school every weekday. Yes, I’ll have to figure out doing our errand running and doing school both on one day. Others have figured this out, I can, too.

I color coded each subject by the ‘type’ of work it required. For example, those subjects that require oral narration*, I coded blue. I grouped all the music study, picture study, poetry and free read together (red) since they are a lot of input type work, and less output. Copy work, nature study, drawing, timeline (which has replaced recitation), and geography were grouped b/c they require some kind of hand work (writing, etc). Bob Book (phonics/reading) and Chinese are group because they are both strongly language learning focused. Recitation got moved to the bottom, and timeline was put in its place, as I feel it will happen outside of school time most weeks.

My laying out of the subjects in the order they are in is designed to separate like subjects. When I was happy with the ordering, I taped them to the poster board.  I’ve seen this type of scheduling in other places, and you can even buy cards from at least one place. I’m more happy with the index cards… I didn’t have to buy anything new to do, and it also means I didn’t feel bad when Little Man decided to draw an arrow on one in an attempt to trade 2 subjects. He wanted “Free Read” to come earlier in the line up. This affirms my thought that the free read is a motivation to get through the other, less loved things.

I like doing stuff with my own hands, so both these items were right up my alley. I hope the ideas help others figure out what will work in their homes. What ways have you done a history timeline? How do you organize your school time?


*narration, at its simplest, is telling back what you read or heard. This is a central part of the student both showing that they were paying attention and giving the student the chance to process the ideas he heard/read. It’s a lot harder than it sounds. At this age, in year 1, students do oral narration, such that they tell about what they heard or read. Later, students will begin written narrations, such that they write down about what they heard or read.