Searching for Science

The curriculum fairs have begun again, the homeschooling conferences are in full swing, and couples across the country are debating exactly how much homeschooling should cost them next year. If you’re anything like me, you already have your lists of curriculum, costs, and extracurricular pros and cons set up for the fall.

As a third generation homeschooler, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what homeschooling strategies I liked, which curriculums I wanted to start with, and how I wanted to teach my oldest child – back when he was in preschool.

Now my oldest is about to enter 2nd grade, and after trying ABEKA and Apologia for science I didn’t know where to look next. ABEKA ended up being my boring supplement to library books.  Apologia had a great set up for different-aged kids, but the endless reading was too much to keep all my kids’ interests at their ages. In all fairness, Apologia is meant for 1st-5th graders, and my pre-k and 2/3 year old insisted on being a part of it, even if that meant dancing and singing in the middle of the room while I attempted to read it to my 1st grader. We already spend quiet time doing the first grade reading, so it was hard to make science just about my oldest.

I thought that my teaching style was “buy whatever curriculum for each subject and then finish it in a year.” Science was eluding me though. My firstborn craves hands-on experiments (I dread planning the grocery shopping/online shopping for those experiments), my almost kindergartener loves worksheets, and all three of my kids like books full of pictures (or even better, youtube videos on different subjects). I want to do science together with all of my kids because trying to keep the younger two out of it is harder than just adjusting to them being a part of it!

I asked my husband for some advice since he had been homeschooled as well, and he basically said, “Don’t use a textbook; I rarely did.”

My first thought was “Excuse me, no. I do not un-school or do Charlotte Mason – I want someone else doing the organizing and putting it together!” Then I stopped and thought about it:

  • I had basically been putting my own science stuff together for years by getting books from the library to make science more interesting to the kids anyway.
  • I also have an entire cabinet of books on different science topics I got from my mom (the benefits of being a 3rd generation homeschooler).
  • I’d already bought a huge book on easy experiments that we could do without buying weird extra items we’d never use again.
  • Pinterest is alive and strong, filled with worksheets for homeschoolers (as I’ve learned from planning curriculums for our homeschool co-op).
  • Youtube is also filled with plenty of Magic School bus and Bill Nye clips to go with any topic I wanted.

So I wrote out my plan using my cabinet of books and the internet, and now we are covering a variety of topics next year, including weather, plants, biology, chemistry, and physics. For every week I have books, an experiment, possibly a worksheet, and a youtube video… because despite my hatred of technology it really helps my kids understand stuff.

Now I think I’m happy with my curriculum plan again – Sing, Spell, Read and Write, Math-u-See, Life of Fred, Story of the World, Intro to Spanish, and Science… created by me.

Here’s to hoping it works!

– Charity

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