Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Science Quandary

It seems I've been in a science predicament since day one.  Science is definitely my least favorite subject.  It's either so dumbed down and simplistic, it's boring or it's so high off my academic radar, that I'm stumped and still bored.  Most curricula that looks fun is geared toward 4th to 6th grade.  This creates a problem with my 1st, 2nd, and 10th grade kids.

Our 10th grader is content with the Apologia science courses by Dr. Jay Wile.  This is a blessing to me since the texts are written to the student for independent study and the labs use simple household items.

I've looked at all the Apologia Young Explorer series and own most of them.  I've even attempted starting the first Zoology book with RileyAnn more than once. Unfortunately, neither of us can get past the "Classification" and "Binomial Nomenclature" section.  We really want it to work, but I know from the feeling in my gut and the look on her face, it's just not happening.

I hope to give it another honest attempt around the beginning of March since it's about "Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day".  We have many birds returning to the area in early spring and I think it will be fun to learn about them as they arrive.  I also hope to read The Burgess Bird Book for Children, which looks absolutely adorable.  I believe both kiddos will enjoy the Burgess book.  

I recently completed Outdoor Secrets by Simply Charlotte Mason with RileyAnn and Ruben.  Riley really enjoyed this.  She felt good about the nature journal she created.

Riley and Ruben both liked the stories by Margaret Boyle.  Outdoor Secrets is very low key so I really didn't mind it.  I'm not a hands on type of person.  I'm perfectly content reading a story and drawing a picture about it.  I keep telling myself that I need to get over myself, but dear RileyAnn is like me in many ways.  So though I'm trying to focus on curricula for her, it still comes back to me.  It's funny how God creates little people that so closely resemble us.  My mother always used to say, "I hope you have all girls and they act just like you".  I don't think she meant it as a compliment at the time, but I digress.

I have spent numerous hours researching various science products.  When I ask the kids what they would like to learn about, they simply say animals and human body, which is really what we've already studied the most.  I was hoping to broaden their horizons.

Recently, I created this chart with different types of sciences and various curricula that we own or I've researched and may be of interest.

Types of Science and Various Resources
Biological Sciences
Biology – the study of life and living things
-       God’s Design for Life by AIG **
-       Apologia Exploring Creation w/Biology, Marine, & Advanced
-       NOEO Biology I & II
-       Real Science 4 Kids Biology
-       Biology 101: Biology According to the Days of Creation by Westfield Studios
-       Exploring the World of Biology by John Tiner
-       Christian Kids Explore Biology by Bright Ideas Press

Ecology – the study of ecosystems
-       God’s Design for Chemistry & Ecology by AIG **
-       Exploring the World Around You by Gary Parker

Botany – the study of plants
-       God’s Design for Life by AIG **
-       Apologia Exploring Creation with Botany

Physiology/Anatomy – the study of the human body and how it functions
-       God’s Design for Life by AIG **
-       Apologia Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology
-       Body by Design by Alan Gillen

Zoology – the study of the animal kingdom
-       God’s Design for Life by AIG **
-       Apologia Exploring Creation with Zoology 1, 2, & 3
-       Thornton Burgess Animal Books
Physical Sciences
Physics – the study of matter and energy in space and time
-       God’s Design for the Physical World by AIG
-       Exploring the World of Physics by John Tiner
-       Apologia Exploring Creation w/Physics & Advanced
-       NOEO Physics I & II
-       Real Science 4 Kids Physics

Chemistry – the study of chemical elements and compounds
-       God’s Design for Chemistry & Ecology by AIG **
-       Exploring the World of Chemistry by John Tiner
-       Apologia Exploring Creation with Chemistry & Advanced
-       NOEO Chemistry I & II
-       Real Science 4 Kids Chemistry
-       Christian Kids Explore Chemistry by Bright Ideas Press

Astronomy – the study of outer space and everything in it
-       God’s Design for Heaven and Earth by AIG **
-       Apologia Exploring Creation with Astronomy
-       Christian Kids Explore Earth & Space by Bright Ideas Press **
-       Universe by Design by Danny Faulkner

Earth science
-       Meteorology
-       Geology
-       Oceanography
-       God’s Design for Heaven and Earth by AIG **
-       Exploring the Planet Earth by John Tiner
-       Apologia Exploring Creation with Physical Science
-       Christian Kids Explore Earth & Space by Bright Ideas Press **
-       Flood by Design by Michael Oard
-       Geology by Design by Carl Froede Jr.
Social Sciences
Anthropology – the study of human beings

Sociology – the study of societies and how humans act in groups

Psychology – the study of the mind and behavior

Fields Related to Science
Medicine – the study of diseases and health in humans and animals
-       Exploring the History of Medicine by John Tiner

Mathematics – the study of numbers, shapes, and patterns
-       Exploring the World of Mathematics by John Tiner

Computer Science – the study of how to treat information

Statistics – the study of data

Engineering – the use of science and math to make things

Alchemy – the study of basic elements, fire, water, earth, and air – similar to chemistry

General Science & Misc.

-       Apologia Exploring Creation w/General Science
-       Christian Liberty Nature Readers
-       The Handbook of Nature Study by Comstock
-       106 Days of Creation by SCM
-       Outdoor Secrets by SCM
-       Considering God’s Creation by Mortimer and Smith
-       Janice VanCleave Science Books
-       Bob Jones
-       ABeka
-       Genesis for Kids by Lambier, Stevenson, & Save
-       Science in a Creation Week by Unfred
-       Evan-Moor Giant Science
-       Unit Studies  by http://homeschoolshare.com/
-       Field Guides
-       Read Living Books
-       TOPS Learning Systems
-       AIMS
-       Rod & Staff
-       Beautiful Feet A History of Science by Rebecca Berg
-       How Does God Do That? Complete Earth Science by Harris

Total Health
Bob Jones

** indicates books that cover multiple types of science – may be listed in more than one category

By creating this chart, I really hoped to organize my thoughts more than anything.  I also like the way Jessica at Trivium Academy created a K-8 science plan.  I've come to realize, it's more fun creating charts and planning science than actually doing science.  However, unfortunately, this does nothing for our children.  

Since, we've incorporated some WinterPromise Animal Habitats into our day.  It really fits nicely with the Galloping the Globe study we're doing.  We're currently studying South America so I pulled out the WP section on Rain Forests.  I'm really just biding time until we start our bird study, but RileyAnn seems to be digging it so far.   It really depends on the day for Ruben.  He didn't care for reptiles and amphibians last week, but he hung around for monkeys today.  I've only added science 2 days a week, which seems sufficient at this point.  It works well with the 3 day a week history rotation we've been doing. 

I'm sticking with it for now and I believe sooner or later with much prayer it will all work itself out.    


  1. A hint for getting through the classification stuff:

    Make a card game out of it!
    We made a card for each level in a different color(make two sets!). Then I made one card listing the actual order for an answer key. We started with one set and simply put it in order to match the answer card, read the order, mixed them up, and repeated. Then I flipped the answer card over and we tried to remember the right order. Checked our work with the answer card and fixed mistakes.

    After that we played a matching game with the two sets of cards, just getting more familiar with the names for each level of classification.

  2. Thanks Tristan...I need all the help I can get :)

  3. I know of a Drywood Creek in Canada. Is that where you are? If so, there is another option available to you. If you are in Canada (or any other non-US country), you can download a new, free elementary curriculum here:


  4. Thanks Dr. Wile. Unfortunately, we are in the U.S. and unable to access the file. Though, I would love to know more about your new curriculum. When do you expect it may available in the U.S.?

  5. We are just starting a unit on balance and motion from FOSS. I am super excited about it! I could see Riley and Ruben enjoying it a lot. Maybe there's a way you can look up activities like the ones in the kit. It wouldn't be much since it's only one unit but I can't wait to try it with my kids. They make their own spinners, tops, whirly birds and what they call "zoomers".

  6. Thanks Heather....I looked up the unit on the FOSS website. We've studied some of the concepts already, but I may be able to incorporate other parts.


  7. Melissa, I am not exactly sure when it will be available in the U.S. I first want to see if it is useful to homeschoolers. If it is, then I have to decide how to produce it, etc. Also, since I am no longer with Apologia, I am currently not allowed to produce curriculum for use in the U.S. That restriction will eventually go away, however.

  8. How I enjoyed reading this post! I too have stumbled around with science over the years. I see a huge opportunity for in the homeschooling market for solid and interesting science curricula.

    I laughed at your comment about making charts about science topics rather than actually studying the science topics. LOL! Oh my, that is me to the core. :)

    I put science on a higher priority this year in our homeschool, with encouragement from my pastor who is a former science teacher. Like you, I'm not a hands-on person, but I have to admit that rolling up my sleeves and delving into science has changed my opinion of the subject. I really don't know what I'm doing, but I'm doing something at least.

    Keep on keepin' on....

  9. Ahh....Charlotte Mason in the City, a kindred spirit ;-) Thanks for your encouragement.

    Funny you should mention someone writing a "solid and interesting science curricula", since this is how I spent my afternoon.

    It really all started this morning when I read something that clicked with me in an Answers in Genesis God's Design for Life text. It said, "The most important reason to teach science in elementary school is to give your children an understanding that god is our Creator, and the Bible can be trusted." This is so true, so I'm still plugin' away.

  10. I'm impressed! I don't need to tell you to keep on keepin' on as you are moving along. Now I have to go read what you just posted.