Bird Watching on a Hotel Balcony
Unlike History, Science is not my favorite subject. Seems people are wired one way or the other, doesn''t it? I'm a writing/reading girl, not an abstract math/sciences girl. Regardless, science is something that children need to be exposed to and educated in, so there''s just no getting around it. Whether I feel like it or not, we've chosen to educate our children at home and so science must be a part of my life.
It seems I bumbled through the first five years or so of science. We used Considering God''s Creation, which I did love, but which is very hands on (lots of cutting and pasting) and while one of my boys loved it, the other loathed it. The book covers all aspects of God''s creation, including the natural world, solar system, the human body, animals, plants, and weather. It comes with a CD of science songs created for each chapter, but we found them highly annoying. Maybe you won't :)
After Considering God's Creation, I floundered. Providentially, at about the same time I was needing to decide what to do next, I read an interview with Dr. Jay Wile in the Winter 2003 issue of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. This one article changed my whole thinking, and left me shouting, "Hallelujah!" Dr. Wile, a Nuclear Chemist and author of the Apologia Science Texts, explains that elementary-level science isn't science. Without an understanding of advanced mathematics principles, science simply isn't. All the pressure was off me for the elementary years, and we switched to nature study and observation, science non-fiction books (such as the Christian Liberty Nature Readers), and science biographies.
I now approach elementary science with unit studies in mind. It's actually fun stuff for this non-science loving mom. Most recently we've done a cooking science course using a free lapbook from Homeschool Share, an excellent resource for science unit studies. And free!
Other elementary science units we've done and loved include My Body, Exploring Creation With Astronomy (an Apologia-published book in a series that lays terrific groundwork for junior high and high school science), and Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day (also in the Apologia elementary series).
DVDs are a great tool for all levels of science study, bringing to life many concepts and teaching in a way that is visual and memorable. We have several favorites, DVDs that my kids actually ask to watch. I'll be bold here and say that our family is not terribly fond of the Moody science series; they seem dry and crusty, in need of a good update. Here are the DVDs we've loved most:
We utilize our public library often, and I'll check out a whole subject at a time. I plop the books in a big basket in our living room and just let the kids casually read through them. Non-fiction science-related books well-loved here:
We also, as I'm sure you've picked up if you've spent any time on the Preschoolers and Peace site, love Amanda's nature and craft kits from Hearts and Trees. Amanda is a homeschool graduate and daughter of Barb, who also has wonderful blogs and materials for nature study. She inspires me to get my kids out and about looking at things, really looking at things in nature. Barb's Handbook of Nature Study blog and e-book could fill your elementary years with all the nature study you need.
*Beyond elementary science/nature study, we use Science Shepherd in our home for biology. Neither of our first two children are science-lovers, and Science Shepherd has been an excellent fit. As for other sciences, our firstborn passed the Natural Sciences CLEP and our second son is taking chemistry on campus at a hybrid high school (homeschool/campus classes).
Creation Sensation was started by a homeschooling family who recognized the need to gather all of the materials required for the junior high and high school labs. Gotta love a kit!
Live and Learn has created module-by-module mini-books that will help your student learn to study the materials in a way that reinforces the concepts by having them create notebook pages. This is a memorable way to study and my boys both say the Live and Learn books have been a big help to them this year.
A final word about evolutionary inclusions and material. Fundamental to laying a strong foundation in Truth for our children is exposing them to the materials from Answers in Genesis. AIG gives us tools for combating and arguing against the evolutionary theory so prevalent in books, video productions, and texts written by secularists. Our older children openly and boldly argue against evolutionary theory because they have been well-equipped to do so.
And we're not afraid to expose them to evolution.
Recently our eldest child was discussing a book with me and he said, "Mom, there is no book I could read that would change my beliefs. If it doesn't line up with Scripture, I know that it isn't Truth." Wow. That's a mouthful, isn't it?
We teach our children when they rise up, when they lie down, and when they walk along the path. We also teach them to be wise as serpents and as gentle as doves, which means knowing when to saturate them with Truth and how to equip them to fight lies.
Start with Kids Answers.
*Information ammended as of May, 2011