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Middle School Science and Preparation for the Rigor of High School

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Will the science in middle school guides prepare students for a rigorous high school program?

Before we came to Heart of Dakota (HOD), science was such an issue in our house. It was difficult to find a program that was complete but didn’t take the whole day to implement! We often just ended up just reading; we skipped the experiments. Too hard! Too long! Now that we’ve made the switch to HOD, my sons love science! So, here’s my question. Will the science in Heart of Dakota’s (HOD’s) middle school guides prepare students for a rigorous high school program? I see some homeschool curriculums use Apologia’s General and Physical Science for 7th and 8th grades. Since it doesn’t look like HOD uses those particular science programs, I just want to make sure. I also am soooo appreciative of Carrie’s willingness to answer questions and really take the time to explain things and be transparent! Thanks in advance.

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help Me with Middle School Science”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me with Middle School Science,”

I can completely understand your question, as we have pondered middle school science long and hard ourselves. I’ll share a bit about our thinking in this area that may help as you ponder. We do make sure to cover the science standards and topics required for those grades. However, I’ll also share that from my years of teaching in the public schools prior to homeschooling I learned that it’s also good to remember that the amount of scientific affinity a child has is truly a God-given trait. While this may at first seem like a cop-out, it is truly a relief to keep this fact in mind as it means we are partnering with the Lord in this area instead of being left on our own to figure it out.

As I think back on so many of the famous scientists (like Michael Faraday, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and the Wright Brothers – just to name a few who spring immediately to mind), it’s interesting to note that they often lacked much formal schooling. Even when they were “in school” they weren’t seen as being especially science-minded. So, even though coverage doesn’t naturally equate to producing a scientifically-minded child, the Lord will still equip those He calls into this area.

Middle School Science Goals

Our goal at HOD is to make middle school science come alive through reading about the lives of the scientists and the problems they set out to solve. We don’t want middle school science to be a body of knowledge to be memorized, or a dry body of facts and formulas. Rather, we desire for scientific thinking to become a part of each child’s daily life. This is important whether kiddos pursue a science-related field or not. Preparation for high school level science does require coverage of certain content. However, we feel that the manner in which that content is delivered can be accomplished in a variety of ways. For our own sons, we wish to offer a more Charlotte Mason approach that takes a different path from what is typically offered already. (Click here for a link to a thread that discusses our thinking behind this.)

Middle School Science – Preparing Any Child God Calls into a Science-Related Field

Of course you may feel differently, and as your child’s teacher you will know best what will suit your child and your family goals in middle school science. I just wanted to encourage you that the bulk of the HOD guide will still work for you no matter whether you follow our science plans for middle school or a different science path instead. Just to clarify our family’s perspective a bit, I will share that since we do not plan to do Apologia for science all through high school with our own boys that preparing them to be able to do Apologia in high school is not our goal.

I do understand your desire to have your child be prepared for a rigorous high school science program. (We want that for our own boys too.) However, since the term “rigorous” means different things to different people, I’ll also qualify my thinking on that by saying that we consider a “rigorous” science program to be one that prepares any child that God calls into a science-related field to be able to answer that call. To that end, we believe HOD will prepare a child in the area of science.

Standardized Testing Results

On a side note, I’ll mention that our own oldest son followed a more Charlotte Mason science path all the way through his schooling, and he always scored incredibly well in this area on his Iowa Basic Skills Standardized Tests each year. Our next son in line followed the HOD path for science all the way through. He also scored very well each year on his standardized tests in this area, to the point that he truly couldn’t have done any better.

Our last two sons have also scored very well on their tests, having only followed HOD’s path for science. This is only one measure and not always an accurate one. But, we share it to give you some sense of how our own children are faring along the HOD science path. We do realize that the Lord’s gifting plays a large part in a child’s aptitude in this area, so we wouldn’t hasten to claim the credit for His doing.

Blessings,
Carrie

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