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.
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
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.