Saturday, July 28, 2018

High School Science Planning....

Once again, I'm back studying high school science...or maybe I should say still studying, since I never really stopped. Last summer I wrote a post on Rethinking Science: Aiming Toward Scientific Literacy. You can consider the present post part two as I continue to think about high school science while planning Riley's Year 9.
"What exactly do you mean by science?" 
This is a question posed by Kevin Clark and Ravi Scott Jain in The Liberal Arts Tradition. The modern word "science" stems from the Latin word "scientia", which in the ancient world, meant "knowledge" or to know. In Understanding Physics, Isaac Asimov begins by explaining the history of modern day science...
The scholars of ancient Greece were the first we know of to attempt a thoroughgoing investigation of the universe - a systematic gathering of knowledge through the activity of human reason alone. Those who attempted this rationalistic search for understanding, without calling in the aid of intuition, inspiration, revelation, or other nonrational sources of information, were the philosophers (from Greek words meaning "lovers of wisdom").
Philosophy could turn within, seeking an understanding of human behavior, of ethics and morality, of motivations and responses. Or it might turn outside to an investigation of the universe beyond the intangible wall of the mind - an investigation, in short, of "nature."
Those philosophers who turned toward the second alternative were the natural philosophers, and for many centuries after the palmy days of Greece the study of the phenomena of nature continued to be called natural philosophy. The modern word that is used in its place - science, from a Latin word meaning "to know" - did not come into popular use until well into the nineteenth century. Even today, the highest university degree given for achievement in the sciences is generally that of "Doctor of Philosophy."
The word "natural" is of Latin derivation, so the term "natural philosophy" stems half from Latin and half from Greek, a combination usually frowned upon by purists. The Greek word for "natural" is physikos, so one might more precisely speak of physical philosophy to describe what we now call science.
The term physics, therefore, is a brief form of physical philosophy or natural philosophy and, in it is original meaning, included all of science.
However, as the field of science broadened and deepened, and as the information gathered grew more voluminous, natural philosophers had to specialize, taking one segment or another of scientific endeavor as their chosen field of work. The specialties received names of their own and were often subtracted from the once universal domain of physics.  
Here we see how modern science has come to be known by it's name. According to online Oxford Dictionaries, science is:
the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment
Science can be split into two main categories, biological and physical, but often both are related. Biological meaning the study of living things and physical being the study of non-living things. There are various branches of science within each of these categories.

Biological studies would include:

Biology - the study of life and living things
Ecology - the study of ecosystems
Botany - the study of plants
Physiology/Anatomy - the study of the human body and how it functions
Zoology - the study of the animal kingdom

Physical studies would include:

Physics - the study of matter and energy in space and time
Chemistry - the study of chemical elements and compounds
Astronomy - the study of outer space and everything in it
Meteorology - the study of atmosphere, or more specifically, weather phenomonea
Geology - the study of the earth's physical structure and substance
Oceanography - the study of physical and biological properties of the sea

This is not an exhaustive list by any means and you may have noticed that some of these sciences overlap. For example, oceanography not only includes studying the physical properties of the sea, but also the living/biological plants and creatures as well. In addition, there are social sciences, including anthropology, sociology, and psychology. There are also fields related to the sciences, such as medicine, mathematics, computer science, statistics, engineering, and alchemy.

The point here being, what used to be known simply as natural philosophy has now become numerous branches of science, but in many cases, they are still inter related. Therefore, it's a shame to compartmentalize them academically as so many modern schools do. As a matter of fact, Clark and Jain tell us that not only should the sciences be studied together along with a mathematical point of view, but also with a linguistic point of view, also known as the seven liberal arts.
A foundation in the seven liberal arts provides the common reason which is required to adjudicate the truth of arguments and justify or demonstrate the claims of reason. Natural philosophy offers students today a critical opportunity to hone their arts of reason in discussions of the natural world. When all the arts are employed, natural philosophy teaches students to think properly and promotes true wisdom. (The Liberal Arts Tradition)
This is very much in line with Charlotte Mason's holistic approach to education, which includes viewing the child as a born person, spreading a feast, and allowing for the science of relations through the use of living books and nature study.  
The only sound method of teaching science is to afford a due combination of field and laboratory work, with such literary comments and amplifications as the subject affords. (Vol. 6, p. 223)
It is for these reasons that I am choosing a multitude of books and resources for high school science, rather than one single text. The list for 9th grade includes:

Signs and Seasons by Jay Ryan
Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel
Great Astronomers by Robert Stawell Ball
Conceptual Physics by Paul G.Hewitt
A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking
Napoleon's Buttons Penny Le Couteur and Jay Burreson
A Chemical History of the Candle by Michael Faraday
Phineas Gage: A Gruesome But True Story of Brain Science by John Fleischman
First Studies in Plant Life by George Francis Atkinson
Adventures with a Microscope by Richard Headstrom
Microbe Hunters by Paul de Kruif

In looking at the stack, you will notice books on Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Botany. Several of these books are continued from last year and a few will be continued next year. Riley will also complete a combination of field and lab work through nature study and experimentation. In addition, she will continue the method of notebooking through her readings. Our aim is to provide a feast of ideas presented in a variety of books and activities so our children can see the relationships within the order that God created. Overall, we are excited about the year to come!

Friday, July 27, 2018

Notebooking, Our Preferred Method - Last Day of Sale...

We have used the notebooking page approach to homeschooling since the beginning of time and absolutely love it! So when I saw that today was the last day of the Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership sale forever, I had to share. I believe notebooking is superior to traditional workbooks in that it's a more developmentally appropriate way of learning. A child can work at their level rather than someone else's ideal scope and sequence. Notebooking pages are also open ended. The student is open to think in creative, out of the box ways. It allows for the Science of Relations

Notebooking has worked wonderfully for my advanced learners as well as my struggling learners. Each student is able to interact with the material read and tell back what they know at their aptitude. For some, it may be as simple as a coloring page. For others, it could be drawing an illustration or a diagram. It could also be in writing a newspaper article, a letter, a biography, or a report. In addition, there are printable maps available through the Notebooking Pages membership that can be used for geography. 

I am not an affiliate and do not receive compensation for your purchase. I'm simply sharing a tool that has worked really well for our family. You can see some samples of our work over the years here.

At the beginning of the year, I print a variety of pages including: blank pages with borders, different lined pages, biography pages, themed pages, coloring pages, etc. Some of these I've created myself, some I found free online, and others are from Notebooking Pages. I keep the pages in a file folder at the end of my desk, where the kids can access them when needed. I usually print 2-6 copies of each style and my older kids know when they take the last of that style to make more copies or notify me so I can make more. Some pages are more popular than others. 

I have used this method with my little people all the way through high school and my kids have all preferred it. I find that learning really has lasted longer or stuck with my kids when they've created a notebooking page to accompany their reading. At the end of the year, I bind the pages with my ProClick Binder and they LOVE to look back at their work!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott....

A couple months ago, I wrote about how I read along with my middle and high school students, as well as reading aloud. Ivanhoe is one such book that I read along with RileyAnn. Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott is part of the Waverley Novels. It was originally published in 1819 and is an Ambleside Online Year 7 Literature pick. I have heard it said that Charlotte Mason had a Waverley Novel going at all times. This intrigued me. Ivanhoe was my first Waverley Novel.

Ivanhoe is a historic novel set in Northern England near the end of Richard I's reign. It takes place in Sheffield and Doncaster on the border of the Sherwood Forest sometime after 1066 AD and the Battle of Hastings, in which the Normans conquered the Saxons. Ivanhoe is the son of Cedric the Saxon and has left his roots to follow King Richard in the Crusades, causing him to become disinherited. Throughout the story, there are tensions between Cedric and his son, between the Normans and Saxons, and between the English people and the Jews. There is love and war, as well as good conquering evil. Robin Hood even makes an appearance.

As you might imagine based on the description above, Ivanhoe is entertaining with its high adventure. Though it is situated historically in the Middle Ages, many scholars have criticized its historical accuracy. Ivanhoe is considered more of a romance novel strictly for entertainment and not historic value. However, there were enough historical mentions to prompt me to do a bit more research into that time period. I think it's the perfect book to read when studying the Middle Ages! Riley and I both greatly enjoyed Ivanhoe so much more than expected and highly recommend it. It's a book I would consider reading again and would definitely encourage you to read along with your student.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Today is Prime Day...

I have been blogging here since 2011. When I began using this space to document our day to day, I had no idea what would happen. I couldn't have imagined nearly half a million hits and the overwhelmingly positive responses I would receive from you. I love the online fellowship that blogging has afforded me. I have even been blessed enough to meet some of you in person. 

When creating this space, I knew from the beginning I didn't want ads to plague my readers. Instead, I hoped it would be a quiet space of respite from this harried life we live. Over the years, I have learned a great deal about home educating and parenting. My heart desires to continue to give freely. Your comments and private messages have given me incentive to continue. 

With that said, after much thought and gnashing of teeth, I have decided to become an Amazon affiliate. I will still give freely as I can, but my links will be attached to a referral code so if you click and make a purchase, my family will receive bounties. 

Today is Amazon Prime Day! I humbly request that you please consider clicking through the linked image above when shopping through Amazon. Any purchases you make, even a free trial, could benefit our family. Any revenue generated from the affiliate links will help to continue content. There is no additional cost to you for using the affiliate links. It simply gives us a little stipend from Amazon. I still vow not to pepper this site with ads in the hope that you will find a quiet place here, in which to grow. 

Thanks so much for your consideration,