Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Creating Your Own Science Curriculum

This year I found a successful science formula that really works. Over the past six years we have learned about science in many different ways. We read living books about animals, did science in the kitchen experiments, observed animals and tried to keep a nature notebook. With each method we have learned. The one thing we haven't tried was to follow a science curriculum. To be honest, I haven't seen one I really liked, so I just never bought one.

The topics the kids have learned the most about have been covered over the course of several weeks incorporating the five steps below.

1. Select a topic
2. Watch a movie (documentary)
3. Read a book
4. Do an activity
5. Do a short free writing assignment


Not all five steps have been completed with every topic, but when they were, the kids seemed to learn the best. This year the older kids, ages 9 and 11, focused on The Human Body for the entire year. Once Upon a Time Life is the video series they watched. My six year old loved the series. All of the reading came from the book The Way We Work by David Macaulay. I had the older kids read this book slowly on their own, but my youngest didn't do any reading as this books was far too difficult for her. Occasionally they wrote about the science topic. So far I have written about all of our cell projects and up to Week 8 - Teeth for the Human Body portion. The links are all on my Science Page.

When my eleven year old was seven we followed this method to learn about birds. We didn't watch any movies, but read many books. The best being The Burgess Bird Book for Children. The activity of observing bird banding is what sparked the interest in the study, and it was followed up with the creation of a lapbook.

I believe this method will work with many different topics. Next year I'm planning to cover Earth Science. I'm so excited that I've begun watching, noting and organizing many videos on the topic. I have an Earth Science board on Pinterest where I note blogger's projects that will go well with our year long study. I haven't sought out too many books yet, but I still have a long time to plan, so that will come. I would love to find one living book to cover the entire unit like I did with the Human Body. If you know of one please let me know.


Here are some more thoughts on the subject of science from the Homeschool Help Series Bloggers. Please come back next week when we will write about our favorite apps and educational websites.

Chareen at Every Bed of Roses - Science Through Exploration
Lucinda at Navigating by Joy - Making Sure Science Gets Done Without a Curriculum
Hwee at The Tiger Chronicle - How We Learn Science
Nicole at One Magnificent Obsession - The Epic Failure that Wasn't
Savannah at Hammock Tracks - Science with My Scalliwags
Bernadette at Barefoot Hippie Girl - Hands-On Approach
Erin at Seven Little Australians - Kindling and Fanning Scientific Minds





This post is linked to:
Hip Homeschool Hop
TGIF Linky
Sun Scholars
Homeschool Showcase

6 comments:

  1. Looks like a successful formula - simple works for me!
    My kids absolutely love the Once Upon A Time series. I think my son would watch it all day every day if I let him.

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  2. I really like your 5 step, actually we try to often do something similar, but you've laid it out clearly:)

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  3. May I enquire as to how often you work on Science as a subject? Once, twice a week? Also how long would each topic take (approximately of course I understand you don't always do each 1-5 each time)? Just was wondering generally how much to allow weekly?

    I find with science curriculum that they drag some sessions out and the kids become VERY bored as does this Mama. I very much like your method and maybe once finished our current curriculum may try your way.

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    Replies
    1. We try to cover one sub-topic per week. I plan for two sessions each around 45 min to 1 hour per week. Taking teeth - the last one I posted about as an example -
      http://highhillhomeschool.blogspot.de/2013/05/human-body-week-7-teeth.html

      The kids did science twice per week. In one session they watched the movie and read a few pages in The Way We Work. This was done on their own during the course of their other school work. The movie took about 30 minutes and reading about 5 minutes.

      I read the story books with my 6 year old. My older two were already familiar with them. So that took about 20 minutes.

      Our activities usually last around 1 hour and we do them together.

      If I am trying to tell them about something I read and have to look something up I immediately loose their attention. Before each activity I do a little refresher that takes me about 5 minutes. It's amazing how much it wakes up my brain and keeps us moving along.

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  4. I ♥ the idea of the 5 easy steps and that you balanced it with they do not have to be done all the time. I think it's a good list to aim for especially long term. :)

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  5. There's so much I want to cover - this will give me a focus. My son is only 4, so it's more likely that I'll run out of ideas than be able to squeeze it all in. Thanks!

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