Thursday, July 11, 2019

Reflections on Year 8 Science with Sabbath Mood Homeschool...

Last week, I reviewed RileyAnn's Year 9 Science, where she used Ambleside Online. Today, I want to share Ruben's Year 8 Science and his use of Sabbath Mood Homeschool guides, combined with a couple AO books. First, a look at the books and resources and how I scheduled them....

Term 1

The Planets by Dava Sobel
SMH Astronomy - Form 3-4

Term 2

Secrets of the Universe by Paul Fleisher - AO Year 7
SMH Physics - Form 3-4

Term 3

Look at the Sky and Tell the Weather by Eric Sloane
SMH Weather - Form 3-4

All Year

The Lay of the Land by Dallas Lore Sharp - AO Year 7

I chose the above term books and resources based on exposure and interest. What I mean by exposure is, Ruben didn't have much in the way of formal science in the areas of Astronomy, Physics, and Weather in the past so I wanted him to gain some base knowledge before high school. In addition, I read aloud The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson in our Morning Time, which is an AO Year 6 Science/Natural History book. I thought those three term topics, along with a study of the sea, would bode well for a general Earth Science course.

In addition, Ruben is extremely mechanical, having a natural bent toward physics and engineering. He is also interested in meteorology and the weather so I wanted to somehow tie those interests together. I feel the combination of books and resources we used this year accomplished that goal. On the other hand, in an effort not to be off balance with biology or a life science, I added The Lay of the Land, which Riley really enjoyed last year. Sharp was an American author, professor, and Methodist Episcopal minister, who wrote books about native birds and small animals. He was a naturalist of sorts, who wrote The Lay of the Land in 1908 about a variety of woodland critters and birds, of which, Ruben is familiar due to his passion for the outdoors.

Overall, Ruben had a very rich year of science. We/he enjoyed all the books with the exception of The Planets by Sobel, which I cannot recommend in good faith for a few reasons. I actually ended up stopping it and subbing out part way through the term. Instead, we used a combination of Album of Astronomy by Thomas McGowan and The New Astronomy Book by Danny Faulkner, published by Master Books, both of which I had on the shelf. We didn't read either from cover to cover, but rather pulled information that matched the notebook assignments and experiments in the Sabbath Mood Homeschool guide. McGowan's book does have some evolutionary content, but Faulkner's book is from a creationist perspective and the combination afforded a nice balance.

In my humble opinion, Secrets of the Universe is a MUST READ for middle or early high school or anyone looking to gain knowledge of physics. It's a wonderful introduction. Fleisher's writing is easily accessible and engaging. Unfortunately, it's been out of print for some time, making prices for the original book ridiculous. Fortunately, it has recently been reprinted by Living Book Press in 5 separate books. The Sabbath Mood Homeschool guide is not necessary as Ambleside Online offers a reading schedule in their Year 7 curriculum. However, I wanted a guide to add a bit more to Ruben's study. It gave him notebook suggestions, links to various websites for further study, discussion prompts, and experiments, which he read through, but didn't perform.

Ruben's favorite science book of the year was Look at the Sky and Tell the Weather. Sloane's writing is interesting and his illustrations are amazing! RileyAnn also enjoyed Eric Sloane's Weather Book when she read it as part of her AO Science study in 8th grade. In addition, we read Diary of an Early American Boy by Sloane several years ago as part of Sonlight. Apparently, Sloane wrote a series of six weather books over his life. We will most likely be adding others to our future science studies.

The Sabbath Mood Homeschool study guides include 33 lessons that you can either schedule three times a week for 11 weeks, followed by a 12th week of exams, which is what we did. Or, you could schedule a lesson once a week for an entire school year, breaking for exams at the end of each term. The exams are included in the study guide. Again, they are not necessary to the books. You could simply read and narrate or notebook on your own. However, they were easy enough to follow and I liked having them as a jumping off point. I appreciate the advance work Nicole William's did for me.

Basically, Ruben followed the guides by doing a different lesson Monday through Wednesday. Then he read a chapter from The Lay of the Land on Thursday. He studied a different book each term as noted above. After his reading, he created one notebook page each week as part of his written narration. As you may know, Ruben is dyslexic and struggles with writing. Often times, I would help him pick out a main idea to summarize after the reading or assign him a copywork passage from the reading to accompany his illustration. Here are samples....

Saturday, July 6, 2019

A Review of Form III-IV Science Using Ambleside Online

RileyAnn has officially completed AO Year 7 and AO Year 8 Science. I highly recommend it!! The Ambleside Advisory did a tremendous job of choosing a variety of living books and piecing together a wonderful introductory and preparatory science study for the upper years. Because Riley completed the study in her Year 8 & 9, I did make a few minor modifications and additions for high school, but nothing major. I'm not going to spend too much time on AO Year 7 because I did a reflection of that here, which also includes some of my thoughts on scientific literacy. Rather, I will share the books Riley's covered over the past two years, as well as samples of her notebooking pages to hopefully give you ideas.

Riley's Year 8 Book List Based off AO Year 7

Eric Sloane's Weather Book by Eric Sloane
Social Life in the Insect World by Jean Henri Fabre - (A book I substituted for AO's The Life of the Spider)
Secrets of the Universe: Discovering the Universal Laws of Science by Paul Fleisher - (This book has been reprinted by Living Book Press in 5 separate books.)
The Wonder Book of Chemistry by Jean Henri Fabre
First Studies of Plant Life by George Francis Atkinson
Adventures with a Microscope by Richard Headstrom
Signs and Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy by Jay Ryan
Great Astronomers by R.S. Ball - (I highly recommend the linked edition!! It is a well done reprint with original illustrations.)

Riley's Year 9 Book List Book Based off AO Year 8

The Chemical History of a Candle by Michael Faraday - (Be sure to add the free online videos linked at AO)
Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science by John Fleischman
A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking 
The Microbe Hunters by Paul DeKruif
For the Love of Physics by Walter Lewin - (I added with Sabbath Mood Homeschool guide.)

Overall, Riley enjoyed her study. She felt there was a nice variety of the sciences represented and she said she learned a little from each book. Her least favorites were those by Fabre, A Briefer History of Time, and The Chemical History of the Candle because the writing and subject matter was not as interesting to her. 

Like last year, the schedule was such that Riley read from two books per day, four days per week, and then completed one notebooking page per day from the book of her choice. Here is a sample of her work....

I realize this is a lot of pages to showcase, but my hope is to allow you to see the variation of knowledge gleaned by this study throughout the year. I love the way AO mixed sciences in these years using living books. However, I will admit, initially, I was a bit skeptical, but after doing a variety of research a couple years ago, I realized the US is one of the few countries that segregates the sciences. Also, Charlotte Mason did not separate them, as she taught the various branches of science concurrently. 

In addition, I was very pleased with Riley's standardized test results this spring, which clearly showed she had mastered the different streams of science well enough to beat the test. This was especially interesting since the test was based on current common core standards, to which we have never adhered in our homeschool. 

In closing, I want to highly recommend the AO Science we used! I'm so glad we chose this route and hope to continue with a mix of science streams each year throughout high school. To those that worry about using old books that may be outdated, I say stop worrying. You can always Google updated information if you feel it necessary...we did not. Also remember, scientific literacy should be the goal. If you have a budding scientist, they will narrow their field and specialize in college, not middle and high school. Right now, providing a feast and allowing adequate time and space for your student to digest it should be your main concern. The AO Science choices afford you the opportunity to do just that.

Note: Ambleside Online is a FREE Charlotte Mason inspired curriculum. They offer schedules for Year 0-12, as well as a variety of resources to help parents educate their children. All opinions are my own and I am not being compensated by AO in any way. However, the books in my lists are linked to my Amazon affiliate account. I appreciate your consideration in clicking the links. By doing so and making a purchase, you are supporting my efforts here on this blog and in our homeschool. Thanks!