Tag Archives: Science

home education; quick phases of the moon lesson with oreos and other buscuits.

As a bit of a treat from having just completed some Greek grammar we decided to make


the phases of the moon with Oreos.

The earth was made from an upturned gluten free jammy wheel on which Ronan drew the continents and coloured in the sea. We have some great food colouring felt pens for just such an occasion.

The sun was made from a gluten free custard cream. Then the Oreos were taken apart and the cream cut to size and the phases marked and laid down in the right place in relation to the earth and sun.

Avila got to eat the world and the sun but I didn’t let Ronan and Heleyna eat 2/3rds of a packet of Oreos. I’m not that bad a mother…yet.

Next plan to make DNA sequence out of mini marshmallows and red liquorice straws.

P1020557Meanwhile I discovered that the water I was cooking purple sprouting broccoli in for dinner that night, went purple. So I saved some in test tubes to see if it makes good universal indicator.

Yes, I know, that’s so horribly home ed of me.

There’s some free science lessons here. I haven’t had a chance to look them over properly yet so can’t vouch for them but you could see what you think.

I do want to have a go at THIS LESSON where the children can build DNA with liquorice straws and marshmallows.

You might also like the free Kaplan Anatomy Colouring Book.

Home education; quick chemistry/physics freebie

It isn’t quite Friday, but here’s a freebie for those of you who want a more physical hands on approach to the elements. Ive made this set of Bohr diagrams. You can use three different beans to make the elements. We use black beans/turtle beans as electrons, mung beans (green) as neutrons and  red beans/adzuki as protons but you can use whatever best suits you.

I have linked to this website with all the elements laid out in Bohr diagrams All you have to do is click on each element and it gives a good overview of it with an accompanying Bohr diagram.

Bohr Diagrams freebie

We’ve used the first ones to make Hydrogen and helium using two hydrogens to make a helium as hydrogen is built into helium in the sun.

I’ve also got the children to glue the electrons slightly off the black line to show the fourth state of matter -plasma. (The electrons are free).

It’s much simpler at that level than it might first appear. Honestly.

Home Education, Biology; human body.

I posted about our project in making and putting together the organs of the human body.

We have made the boy and will be making the girl, but also we have found two great skeletons to make; a child and and adult from Eskeletons.

Home Education – human biology basics.

We are doing a little project on the human body and all it’s parts.

I downloaded MY BODY from Teacher Created Resources. It is very basic – just an outline of each organ and a very brief explanation but the children are making a paper person, they have named Steve, with all organs and eventually bones and some muscle too. They have named the model Steve. Next we will repeat the whole thing – but I might get the organs to have more details, and make a Stephanie.

Along side this they are using the Usborne See Inside the Human Body and Uncover the Human Body (which we got as a bargain from Costco).

There are some reasonably good Youtube videos. Such as THIS ONE, which is one of a number in the series.

This one by the Khan Academy is really clear. Ronan (age 9 gr 3/yr 4) in particular got a lot from it


What mothers give their children.

Some songs are just worth hearing. LOL

The return of the YEC

I wrote about the attack by BBC darling David Attenborough on YECs, and two comments just arrived to prove my point

I like the subtle way they assume that because I am just a mum I might never have read any research or done any. Funny that.

I still don’t get it.

Home education – And what about science? Huh?

After the “Are you a teacher?” and “Is it legal?” questions and when the great “S” question has been asked the next recourse of those who do not understand your decision tends to be “How will you teach science?” or more often “You wont be able to teach science.”

Interestingly as we have been doing this Home Ed lark, and as Iona did quite a bit of science aimed at homeschoolers one of the comments she received from her schooled peers was how jealous they were at the amount of actual experiments she got to do, compared to them.


The Classic Science of Mr Q Lots of freebies and the pay for booklets are convenient Pdf downloads.

TOPS Science

Maths/Science Nucleus k-12 free curriculum. This looks pretty good to me. However, handle with care. I have already come across some aspects that I will edit out. There’s a piece about feelings that has that horrible ’60s view that feelings can’t be helped and we need to learn to express them. I am sure most of you have more sense and are teaching feelings and how to control them in the light of virtue training. I am not sure if there are other dubious bits of science there, but there is certainly plenty of good stuff.

NIH curriculum supplementation mostly aimed at middle to high school. Looks like there are some fascinating subjects there.

Apologia Science books are based on a “living literature” approach. We have used their Astronomy and Botany books. The background is Young Earth Creationist, but written in a fair way about mainstream science and secular science. It is written in a way that respects the children.  There are some free chapters to give you a sense of the books.

Seton’s Science The stuff you can buy from Seton Homeschool supplies. Some of the Mr. Wizard videos are to be found on Youtube.

Cosmos4Kids also has other sciences for children aged 8ish and above. They even have a maths page now. (scroll to the bottom of their page to see the choices).

There are a few things to learn at the Children’s University of Manchester

Hubble site find out what to look for in the night sky and go out and look for it on a clear night.

CHC uses the Behold and See series

Draw Write Now no 6 is recommended for nature study.

There are lots of different science kits around for all kinds of experiments.

Ian Maxwell’s Catholic Science Podcasts are excellent, covering not only science but the history of science. He regularly covers a Catholic scientist, their life work and achievements. He also straightens out some of the misinformation spread about the Catholic Church’s approach to science.

You will also need a good supply of the following:

mentos, and/or alcha-seltzer and Bicarb of soda


red cabbage

aluminium foil

various other stuff of a kitchen nature.

Now, there is a debate about the best time to get children involved in what I suppose would be called “formal” science. It is thought better to allow younger children to spend more time exploring and studying nature. This is a very good way of helping children to make their own discoveries through exploration. In nature study the children are first allowed to be filled with wonder and appreciation of the sheer beauty of creation. Charlotte Mason encourages us to allow our children plenty of nature exploration time.In this way children build the foundations for enquiry.

When they are older they can begin more formal science. However, I have to admit we have already done some “formal” stuff, but gently and in some ways just for the interest.

I avoid the National Curriculum in all its banality, but I especially don’t like it’s science approach. Everything is done for the children. If and when they ever get to do their own experiment it is all set out for them with a preset result. Frankly, it’s boring. The problem with a science curriculum that gets very young children to write and plot and learn to box things up, is that they never learn how to see the nature, the world around them.

It seems to me there are three types of science curriculum out there. There is what I suppose would be called “secular” science that looks at the world as a purely material place. A lot of science is based on material observation so this is fine so long as the books remain within that remit. The other books I have tended to use are Christian based science books. These openly acknowledge the root of existence in God and how the order and law we can discover in the universe is set there by God. These books are explicit not only in acknowledging the First Cause – the Unmoved Mover but in stating who He is. I have no problem with these books. Some of the Christian based science books are Young Earth Creationist in view such as those provided by Apologia. Again, these books are so well written and so honest in putting forward both sides of the debate that I don’t have a problem with them.

For older children some of the “science” books lean towards a more secular political viewpoint, rather than empirical evidence. I would tend to lean even further towards Christian based books then, so long as there isn’t a political agenda in them. I think the reason many Catholic American homeschool curriculums recommend Apologia and some other protestant based science books is that they do have a more honest approach to science than many “secular” books.

Finally however I would say it is very important for the older children to get to grips with the history of science and the persons who made the discoveries. For Catholics this is particularly interesting as so much science has been done and dusted by great Catholic thinkers as the Church has been the core of scientific support from medieval times. Sadly, yet again, Catholic families must tread carefully even with fellow Christian written stuff because there is a nasty tendacny among secular and some protestant writers to repeat dishonest accounts of the Church’s approach to science.

What’s the problem with Young Earth Creationists?

David Attenborough, the darling of the BBC is the latest person I have come across who is demanding that creationism must not be taught in schools.

Apparently he means young earth creationism.

I am not quite sure which schools he has come across where YEC gets so much as a look in among the banalities of the National Curriculum, so where’s the problem? I assume he is terrified that a Free School might be set up in which YEC gets taught. Well, I suppose that’s possible. But frankly when you look at the appalling quality of science in schools, perhaps there is a massively bigger problem dear ol’Dave could be getting in a fuss about.

The thing that I am becoming more interested in is, why are so many people getting into such a state over those who are YEC believers? What are these people doing that is so awful? I have even seen some pretty nasty and pompous comments from Home Educators over YECs and I am at a loss to see why they are so up in arms over such a small and harmless group of people.

But it has occurred to me, that it could be people like me who are the real cause of fear and consternation from those on the Anti-YEC side. You see I have found a lot of science books to be just dreadful. Badly written, full of grossly unscientific assumptions and often just plain outdated. So, I confess I have bought and used a couple of well written, solid science books from Apologia – and they are YEC book producers. So, how can I say they are better written than some other science books I’ve had the misfortune to own? Well, the botany book is really well set out, has plenty of experiments and  studies for the children to do and frankly doesn’t have much YECiness to it. The astronomy book had more YEC science in it, but the author was very clear about her view and put forward just as clearly what mainstream scientists have to say on the matter. She then does something far more respectful of learners than David Attenborough – she leaves us to do further study and make up our own minds.

Obviously the underbelly of the beast is scienstism that newish superstition that tries to insist that only material science can show us anything. It’s a narrow and assumption laden view and because it is anything but scientific – and certainly does not come out of what real science should – the search for truth no matter where that truth might lead.

I wonder if the behaviour of these pseudo-scientists who are more wrapped up in the importance of their own opinions, careers and massive financial rewards is actually causing people to look more towards the YEC scientists? Are more people becoming YECs because of the very obvious corruption and dishonesty within so much “mainstream” and (worse still) “popular” science?

Attenborough himself is guilty of selective evidence delivery himself as Ian Maxwell so easily and expertly fisked. I think there is a much more pressing problem with science in both our schools and the media and that is so much of it isn’t science. It’s politics and opinion – nothing to do with science at all.

Lets get the huge log out of the eye of mainstream science before trying to go after that spec in the yec.

Home Education: free science lessons and more

Kalei has posted my little lesson on Dr. Alois Alzheimer which I recommend for older home edders. It is a “little” lesson which is a small insight into a very large subject. I would like to find the time to delve into it further, but with term just starting I can’t promise anything right now.

When doing my research for this lesson I found someone wrote that the doctor was “sentimental” about his Catholic faith. Looking at the man’s life however, I think he was faithful not sentimental about his faith. It must have been the faith of Alzheimer and his fellow Catholic doctor as they worked so hard to turn around the whole system of how patients with mental illness were treated. I had not realised until reading up on Alois Alzheimer that he was a leading light in the humane treatment of those with mental illness.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the lesson. Some of the discussion questions are hard, but I know home educated youngsters like a challenge.

My other recent science lesson is about Fr. P Angelo Secchi SJ an amazingly energetic astronomer, and general genius. Kalei has posted this with a short poem study on Belloc’s Ballade of Our Lady of Czestochowa, which I came across in Divine Office one day. Lovely poem.

For those of you who use Kalei’s blog I recommend THE PRINTABLES SITEMAP page. There’s a treasure trove of freebies there.

Home Education Freebie: The Catholic Laboratory Podcast. and Catholic Under the Hood

Like most Home Ed mums I’ve been asked on more than one occasion how I intend to teach my children science. (You know the one, it always comes hot on the heals of the “Waddabout socialisation? question).

Well, there is a lot of books and curriculum, especially from Anerica and most of us parents have a secret stash of test tubes and strange chemicals from one or more of those science kits so easily available on the internet.

For older children and adults I really recommend The Catholic Laboratory Podcast.  Eaxh episode has a set of links and resources on the page. You can download the podcasrs from itunes, but I prefer to do so from the site as I can then more easily see what resources go with eaxh episode.

Mr Maxwell, who does the podcasts covers a lot of different aspects of science and its history.

The other podcasts I really recommennd, which I have only discovered recently is Catholic Under the Hood fronted by the rather wonderfully named Father Seraphim Beshoner who is a tutor for the Austrian based school of Franciscan University. His podcasts cover a whole range of topics on history and science.

Fr. Seraphim also offers videocasts via itunes which I haven’t had a chance to look at yet.

So fill up your MP3 player or Kindle or whatever you have – and fill up your brain.

Some interesting facts about l*p dancers.

I’ve taken out the “a” to prevent unwanted searches finding this blog.

Anyway, I was listening to Ian Maxwell’s CathLab episode about the Theology of the Body when he mentioned some interesting research about how women give off certain pheramones during a normal cycle. It is pretty well known that women, in particular, give off chemicals that bond her to the man she has had sex with, but there is research that shows that a woman is more sexually attractive when she is fertile.

To test this theory some scientists in California got a group of lap dancers to make a record of tips their earned over two months. They found that the girls earned substantially more over the five days of their highest fertility and much less when not fertile. The girls who were using chemical contraception earned less throughtout the two months.

Take a look and listen to the whole podcast

I heard some interesting info about fertility a couple of weeks ago on some audio something or other. A doctor (obgyn I think) who commented about fertility in women pointed out that after age 35 a woman’s fertility level drops considerably – so leaving that baby ’til the career is set up is not such a good idea. She went on to say that after the age of 45 a woman’s chance of getting pregnant drops to 1%. The upshot is she advises wives to have babies when your body is ready to avoid the horrible heartache of infertility and the just as horrible fertility treatments- most of which have terrible success rates.

Science resources

I’ve added Cosmos4kids into the science section on my side bar. It’s one of a group of resources covering chemistry, biology, physics, earth sciences and now even maths. Scroll down to the bottom and you can click on any of these areas. I used chem4kids quite a bit with Iona when we first started science.