Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Science Resources for Home Educators

Nature Study:

The best science learning for youngsters is plenty of direct access with nature- wondering, noticing, examining, questioning, and thinking about what they see. Secondly, look for interesting books that tell them more about what they've seen, so they can narrate it back.  By allowing them to examine the world around them directly for themselves, they'll have so much more to draw from and build upon when they're older and ready for advanced studies. If possible, use tools to inspire fascination, like a magnifying glass, microscope, and telescope- from a young age. Read this post about outdoor learning! And here's one from SCM on Nature Study

Science Curriculum:
  • We are currently using "Science in the Beginning" from Berean Builders. They offer a hands-on elementary science course introducing science concepts using history as a guide. My sister-in-law has used it and liked it a lot too. 
  • I've also used Apologia, which is a super-popular Christian home school science curriculum.  It's written conversationally to the students with biblical worldview and is very thorough, using the Immersion Approach to fully explore one field of science per year. That means that instead of exposing students to bits and pieces of lots of areas of science each year, going "a mile wide and an inch deep," they instead develop an intimate knowledge of one field which is more challenging, more useful and more enjoyable. Note that the K-6 material may be taught in any order.  Simply purchase one book for the entire family, and an optional notebooking journal for each child to do their work. We enjoyed the Astronomy book, hated the chemistry book, and then switched to Science in the Beginning. You can purchase it directly, through many educational suppliers, or on Amazon

Free Online Curriculum:

Science Supplements That Peak My Interest:
  • If you'd like to learn to find how to find the constellations, I recommend the following two books by H.A. Rey: Find the Constellations (geared to younger kids) and The Stars: A New Way to See Them (geared to older kids and adults). Rey is best known as the author of Curious George, but was a scientist as well, and his illustrations are the best ones I've seen for the constellations, because he makes a meaningful picture so the stars actually look like the constellation they are forming. (As opposed to many illustrations looking nothing like what they're supposed to represent, or those that are so "fluffy" that the stars are of no consequence in forming the picture.) We love this book!!! I recommend using it to slowly learn one constellation at a time as a family. If you're studying about astronomy, here is an "out of this world" notebooking packet
  • Science Through Childrens Literature: An Integrated Approach by Carol and John Butzow is a manual covering many science topics, starting by reading a children's book (you can check out most at the library).  Then it summarizes the book & some science related topics, and activities for you to choose from.  This makes a good unit study b/c science activities range in complexity for different ages; it was recommended to me by another Christian home-schooler.
  • Science Education Essentials  from the Institution for Creation Research is a K-12 Science supplement to use alongside your science curriculum to help parents teach effectively on creation vs. evolution. They take a young earth, literal six-day creation approach and reject theistic evolution. 
  • How are things made? Learn about how every day things like candy, cars, airplanes or bottles are made, and how the manufacturing process works. 

Handy Websites: 

    Tools & Supplies

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