Our first few years of homeschooling were not very “sciency”. Despite our best intentions, we were only half-way successful at implementing a very challenging-to-implement science curriculum called Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding (BFSU). I tried teaching the lessons, but had a hard time knowing what to do. We tried having Family Science Nights with Tony teaching, and did have a fair number of those, but not as many as we would have liked.
It also started feeling like science was in a bit of a “box.” It was a subject we could only learn about at certain times — when Daddy was around, and we had time for a BFSU lesson and everyone was ready to listen attentively.
In the late spring or early summer it really hit me what I found most difficult about BFSU — it was not JUST that it was hard to look through the dense text of the lessons and figure out what to say — but also that there were no visuals or printables at my fingertips. After complaining to various people about this, I finally thought of my own solution collaborative Pinterest boards (linked to my blog post about it) for BFSU users to join together and find these resources!
Looking through great resources on Pinterest led me to spend more time looking through the lessons, and I eventually decided that maybe BFSU wasn’t so intimidating after all. And in general, I found myself more excited about science. And in general, one thing led to another and I realized we were already having a very “sciency” year and liking it very much!
So here are 10 “sciency” things we’re doing (and maybe a few things you can do too!):
1. We’re making the most of the curriculum we already have. For us, that means we’re still doing BFSU volume one. I will be stepping out and trying to teach more of the lessons myself…But I will still ask Tony to help out with some of the demonstrations! We have only a handful of BFSU Vol. 1 lessons that we haven’t done at all. But there is so much depth in Volume 1 that given the ages of the kids, we will hang out in Volume 1 for a bit longer. I also have to admit that after taking a brief look at volume two I am a bit intimidated. You need Real Science Stuff like a microscope and a balance. I’m not quite ready for that. Maybe in 2013!
2. We’re adding some science that Miss M can do on her own. I heard about Sassafrass Science Zoology late this summer, and I was very intrigued by it. The price was low enough I decided to make the leap and try it out. So, far so good! Now even if life intervenes and I don’t get to as many BFSU lessons as I would like, I know Miss M has something she can work on pretty much on her own.
3. Reading Science Biographies — Starting with Scientists Through the Ages. Miss M requested this — we’ll be reading one or possibly two of these short biographical sketches each week, and then Miss M will complete (with help) a notebooking page.
4. Interest led science topics (especially for the boys). The boys have been nuts about volcanoes and space recently. I’ve been finding them printables and books and encouraging them to draw pictures about what they are learning and thinking about. I love that they are so curious and it’s pretty easy to find resources to keep them happily learning about their current topic of interest.
5. Writing down questions the kids ask — to ask Daddy later or to research. Despite having had college level science classes, there are so many things I’ve forgotten and many things I’ve never learned about science. Right now, Miss M wants to know why people yawn and why people (especially young kids) rub their eyes when they are tired. That reminds me, I still need to ask google the answers to these questions.
6. Doing “Science-y” fun activities — We did solar oven cookies this summer. The kids did their own “mad scientist” demonstrations recently. Tony helped the kids build model rockets last week. The boys are also perpetually requesting to build robots, so that may be on the horizon as well. I’m putting Snap Circuits on the kids’ Christmas lists. All these activities bring up fun science topics of conversation.
7. Watching science-related shows/videos – the kids are currently loving Magic School Bus and SciGirls. I also bought a subscription to the videos at The Happy Scientist through the Homeschool Buyers co-op. We’ve only watched two videos so far, but the kids liked it (and remembered things from the videos days later!), so I think we’ll definitely get our money’s worth from that purchase.
8. Reading books – I’m actively encouraging the kids to browse through the entire shelf I already have of science-related books, plus looking for new books at the library of course!
9. Random nature study/observation opportunities as they occur (and other outdoor activities like stargazing!). We found raised monarch caterpillars over the summer, found an amazing big green caterpillar and watched a spider earlier this summer too. Today the kids brought a “pet ant” inside in a homemade habitat (we’ll see how that goes!). Nature observation opportunities in the city aren’t quite the same as the opportunities those who live in less urban areas have, but we try and make the most of it.
10. Science at our co-op. Not only does Miss M have a science class which she tells me she absolutely loves, and Mr. E will be doing some science/nature topics in his K class at co-op…I am teaching a science class. I am still surprising myself that I am doing this. I am teaching a 1st/2nd grade science class! I have nine kids to teach for 45 minutes twice a month. I am going to rely heavily on science lessons that Tony already did with the kids from BFSU, but I am putting some together myself. I did a “new to me” lesson for the very first co-op meeting, and it went okay! I haven’t done much group teaching in the past, so I am new to “classroom” dynamics, but I think we’re going to have a lot of fun.
I’m linking up with: