BIGGER Science

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kreilly6
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 8:55 pm

BIGGER Science

Post by kreilly6 » Thu Feb 26, 2009 9:39 pm

Hi~
We started HOD this past September. I got LHFHG for my kindergardener & BHFHG for my then 6 & 8 yr olds (now 7 & almost 9). So, here's my question: what can I do to beef up the science? My kids aren't big into copying from books (into their notebooks). They love real "show me how it works" science experiments. Has anyone had success in this area? Many of the science "experiments" didnt work at all & didn't really teach much. I also haven't seen the connection between the history & the science. Is there one? Maybe I was wrong about that. This doesn't upset me, I'm just trying to figure out what the sequence follows.

I do have another question for next year: I am thinking of using PHFHG for the 2 older ones. My 7 yr old is a very advanced reader who routinely reads 4th grade books & often finishes them in a couple hours. My little guy (6 yrs upcoming this September) would go into BEYOND in the fall but I'm just not sure. He was very uninterested in many of the activities in LHFHG & I wish I had started him in BEYOND to begin with. He often listens to our storytime and history readings. He has liked listening to the science readings, especially about Audobon. Occasionally he puts his science "pictures" in a draw and write type of notebook. Does anyone have any ideas? Would it be too much for him to listen in on the history & science & then doing his own L/A & math?

I hope I don't sound too negative. I don't mean to be. I have enjoyed the planning that was already done for me. After 2 years of unit studies I have enjoyed the time off from researching everything.

Thanks for your input!
Krissy
mom of 3 at home & 1 on her own

Tansy
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Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 9:11 am
Location: Texas

Re: BIGGER Science

Post by Tansy » Fri Feb 27, 2009 1:43 am

I can only tell you what we did with science, I also had some failed experiments but they too allowed for exploration.

We did many of the experiments listed right in the one small square books mainly because they are easy to do and were a great deal of fun. Set up a tupper ware container with all the needed supplies,so when you Go to the park you can grab it. Oddly enough for "seashore" we were at sea shore! and got to see ghost crabs up close. In "back yard" we staked out the back yard and looked at it every day. I even got "pond" out of the library when we went camping near a pond. And we took special trips to a wooded park for woodland.

When our homeschool group was visited by a scientist he reinforced my belief in HOD since he stressed using the format for experiments that Carrie gives. Asking the question and then finding out if it is true He said "At the heart of all science is, asking the question." Also the one small square books are just the right kind. They use illustrations instead of photos since illustrations draws attention to the identifying marks.

I did lots of the copy work for my dd cause she hated copying all the time. I set up a pre made sheet just for experiments. with a nice big blank for their drawings. some times the pictures available weren't all that appealing to me so I would look up images in google and bring my lap top into the school room and have her try to draw from that. We also got some "how to draw" books to help her record things like birds in flight and owls. Since we had a lot of sheets if she asked a science like question we could take the opportunity to make an experiment page out of it. (we did this like 2x) One was "why does Chatterer (her name for all squirrels) dig holes in the mulch?" So we watched... and dug up some of the mulch and found many nuts..

Now here at the local zoo we have a Nature Exchange where you can bring in 3 objects to trade or 2 and a notebook. You get points you can trade for neat stuff other people have brought in. You sit with one of the scientists who help you identify the object and explains it. We took in a butterfly we raised (since it was eating my dill like mad!) and what we thought was a lunar moth (not!) and her science note book. She got monster points 6000! Before she had gotten only 20-100 points, They LOVED her experiments pages because they used scientific method. She had stick drawing in some but seeing her very silly responses to questions, and then finding out the real answers made them smile. She got 2k points for each item and was able to bring home this huge mineral which now resides in her bathroom. That got her really motivated. You could look and see if your zoo does something similar.

So to sum up since I have digressed so much.. How I beefed up science..
I took the majority of copying work away, and just left her the fun stuff to do.
I let her find pictures of the creatures and cut and paste instead of copying.
Some times it was a science/art lesson.
We did do more than what Carrie listed by using the activities listed in the margins of the square books.
I took her out to science/ hands on museums, zoo visits.
I jumped at opportunities to use the "experimental" method for her to find out her own answers to questions.
We captured caterpillars in jars raise them and turn them into the zoo for points. All other bugs are in a catch and release program.
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kreilly6
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Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 8:55 pm

Re: BIGGER Science

Post by kreilly6 » Fri Feb 27, 2009 6:18 am

Tansey,
Thanks for your reply about the science. I did notice all the cool-sounding "square" activities. I guess we've never been in the right season/place to do them. For instance, we just finished "woods" &, being in PA, it hasn't been the time of year to see the sorts of things they talk about. We do plan nature days, though, which my kids love! I think for me I see many of the experiments not as experiments at all but rather explorations. When we studied Ben Franklin/electricity I was disappointed that one of the experiments was to rub a balloon on your sleeve, for example. We are in a co-op that studied electricity for 10 weeks (once/wk) & in an hour class (w/ 30 kids) we managed to learn a lot about electricity, including building circuits, etc. I suppose I will have to research the topic we're studying & find some more in-depth activities from time to time. (I was hoping to avoid that sort of thing since I just finished 2 years of unit studies that required lots of research on my part) My kids absolutely dread all the writing (like making a list about Audobon). They don't get anything out of that. I know i can take those things out. I'm just a little frustrated(?) because it seems like I change/tweak pretty often to the point where we only follow the history and reading/storytime as it is written.

Sorry for all this, but if I could ask 2 other things of you: do you follow the art? and which book will you be using next year? "Preparing"?

Thanks so much!
Krissy

Tansy
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Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 9:11 am
Location: Texas

Re: BIGGER Science

Post by Tansy » Fri Feb 27, 2009 1:31 pm

yes we follow the art, but i tend to tweak that as well, she also wanted to learn to draw birds after studying John Audubon So we spent some time doing that.

I really think you should let your kids kinda lead you into what they want to learn about science. If they find something that interests them let them do the finding of books... take them to the area where the books are in the library and have them fine a book they like. We also had scheduling problems about when the books are used and the seasons, but since i read all the books b4 we started (they were cool). having the kit ready I knew which book to grab when we were headed out the door. we did the stuff in the books really randomly but she retained it.. which is more than i can say for her math..

I will not be using preparing next year as My dear adopted Daughter is now going to P.S. it was a hard choice but teaching her was not working out for our family. She has to much emotional baggage right now. If she expresses a true ernest desire to LEARN at home again I will bring her home and most likely stay with HOD just because its so flexible and I really feel it covers the basics well.
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Dyslexics of the world Untie!
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lmercon
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Location: Zieglerville, PA

Re: BIGGER Science

Post by lmercon » Fri Feb 27, 2009 1:52 pm

Hi,
I have not done Bigger yet with my ds, but I do have a few thoughts, which sort of echo what the pp said. I think when you start overly-tweaking a program like HOD it can get messy and lose its flow. I would suggest that you just do the program as it is written. There is a lot of wisdom in the way Carrie has developed this program following Charlotte Mason's beliefs as to how learning occurs. It can also stress out mom if you feel that you need to be constantly changing something. It sounds like you are used to having that mindset with the unit studies you did before. I suggest you take a deep breath and really slow down. Allow the readings that you do to soak into your children. CM taught that children need books to be read slowly and thoughtfully. I would do the experiments as presented and discuss why it may have turned out differently (as opposed to failed). If your dc are really into science, then let them direct where they want to go with that. They could keep an extra science notebook with a funky title like, "So-and-so's Science Academy Notebook." Whatever strikes their fancy. Let them pick a topic of interest and go with it. So to sum up, my suggestion is to allow HOD to work as it's intended and supplement your children's interests during free time.
Take it or leave it.
Hugs,
Laura
Wife to a great guy and mommy to:
Ds(15) - using WG and loving it!
Dd(11) - using Res.to Ref and having a blast!
Ds (3) - our joy!
Two little ones in the arms of Jesus - I can't wait to hold you in Heaven!

Carrie
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Re: BIGGER Science

Post by Carrie » Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:26 pm

Krissy,

The science in Bigger Hearts is done in a Charlotte-Mason type way, meaning that the copywork along with the notebooking aspect of sketching and labeling from living books is an important part of the learning. It is teaching kiddos to note scientific details and to record them with precision. The questions being asked in the experiments are meant to get kiddos thinking of possible answers (and of how to ask questions), so without doing that step of the science lab sheet, the experiment won't be as meaningful. The recording of the scientific procedure is meant to be another learning experience as it helps kiddos see the steps of the experiment and then helps them draw possible conclusions. :D

In a CM-designed science the slow, steady reading of living books is another integral part of the science lesson. It is meant to help kiddos ponder on a subject area for weeks at a time and notice and question things related to what they're reading throughout their day-to-day. Narrating on what was read is also a key in this type of science as it helps kiddos mentally sift through and process what they have heard or read and make their own sense of it. If those types of activities are the ones that you end up skipping in the week-to-week, then there won't be much of the science left within Bigger Hearts. :wink:

As far as state standards go, we have made sure to cover and exceed the standards for science in our science portion of our guides. We also make sure that it meets the goals of being hands-on and of pointing to our Lord as the Creator of all things. Science is one of those subjects that is either a passion or is one that people dislike with a passion. We had a very interesting thread about science on the board awhile back (when we were asking for opinions about future science plans in our guides). Many moms had wonderful suggestions, but also noted how much they enjoyed science in the HOD guides and found that they were finally getting it done on a consistent basis. This is a good reminder that we're not all the same and that while one family may be wishing there was more science, another may be thankful just to be getting to it every day without pain! :D

Each family has its own priorities and things they'd like to see more of within our guides. If you happen to be a science loving family, it is easy to add in your own additional science readings if you desire. The wonderful part of Bigger Hearts is that you are done with school in a timely fashion, so you can pursue your own family's specific passions. :D

I'll leave you with this to ponder. If you did the science "as written" in the Bigger Hearts guide, would scientific learning occur? Would your kiddos ponder on the science topic in their day-to-day more if they read about it, drew it, experimented with it, copied from the Bible about it, talked about it, and retold it to someone else? Sometimes by removing the things our kiddos find difficult to do, we remove the part that involves the thinking and the processing. :wink:

Blessings,
Carrie

my3sons
Posts: 10593
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2007 7:08 pm
Location: South Dakota

Re: BIGGER Science

Post by my3sons » Sat Feb 28, 2009 8:00 am

Krissy - As I was reading this thread, I was thinking back through my years of using HOD science. They are filled with fond memories of my dc doing the science experiments and showing growth in knowledge and interest in science. I want that same memory for you, so I'm thinking through this, praying about it, to be able to help you.

I think Carrie has already done an excellent job of explaining the Charlotte Mason approach to science, and the philosophy behind the way it is written in HOD. I agree with what she said whole-heartedly, and I could not explain that any better than she did - so I won't try. :wink:

A few things I'd like to say - first, it is important to do the science as it is written, in its entirety. Science is like any other subject area - with both a body of knowledge and a specific process for working within that body of knowledge that must be learned. It's easy NOT to think of science this way, and to want it to just be more fun - probably because of the hands-on aspect of science, it naturally is a more fun subject area for dc - hence the fond memories of my dc doing experiments :D . However, it is still a required subject area, with a required body of knowledge and methods to be learned.

The science plans in the HOD guides meet state requirements (even exceed them), and the lab reports teach the scientific process. If you are not following the plans and not doing the lab reports steadily, then that continuity will be lost. As Tansy said, "At the heart of all science, is asking the question", which is precisely the first step of the scientific process, and is exactly what HOD already does.

It is tough to make science link to history, but I think the HOD guides do it in the best way possible. Reading the key idea with our dc points out the link well. The Introduction in Bigger Hearts explains the connection between history and science well:

“Science Exploration” topics loosely correspond with the history topics being
studied in the “Learning Through History” part of the plans. When students
are reading about seafaring explorers in history, they will study the seashore
in science. When students are reading about colonial times in history, they
will study science topics that were a part of the colonial era.

While students read about John Audubon in history, they will study his life
and knowledge of birds in the science area. While reading in history about
Daniel Boone and the untamed frontier, students will study the woodland
habitat in science.

As students read in history about pioneers settling the west, they
will experiment with some of the practical science lessons that the pioneers
learned. As students move into the modern era with their history readings,
they will be drawn into Thomas Edison’s life and experiments in science.
Studying science in this manner helps it flow with the study of history and
allows for natural connections to be made between the two areas.


I think these links are wonderful. They make a lot of sense to me, and my dc have been pointing them out as go as well. :D

If instead of doing HOD's science, this or that is done with dc randomly - whether it is through various books, purchases, or visits to places - that has no steady link to the history and no rhyme or reason to the way it is being done, so all the above connectivity is lost. It would be like buying books dc love to read all of the time and just having them read, read, read - doing no reading instruction of the story elements, the genres, or working on comprehension skills, or oral reading ability, etc. We can all see that this would not be good (and if not, wait until you look at high school lit. or take standardized tests :lol: ). Likewise, if the body of knowledge and method of science has not been learned - take a look at high school level science - and it becomes obvious that science must be learned in a purposeful way. :D

I will say HOD does believe in strongly addressing the 3R's first in the younger grades (K-1). This is in keeping with the state standards - not to mention just logical - if you can't do the basics of reading, writing, and math well - science won't be able to be learned well either! However, by Bigger Hearts, science is done 4 days each week, so at that point it moves more to the forefront of learning.

I am stymied about why some of the experiments haven't worked for you. I've done all of the guides, and had 1 not work due to it not being a sunny day (go figure, in SD :D ). I'd say "come on over and we'll do them together at my house", but we probably don't live that close! :D I will say substitutions don't work in that box of plans, though they do everywhere else - I've got no answers there I guess.

One last thing to think about - Christ being at the center of science is key. Our Creator deserves that place in the spotlight. I would find it near to impossible to be consistent about including Him in science if it were not for HOD. So, I would say, if you want to go the zoo, raise a goldfish, study nature in your backyard, pick up a book and do an experiment here or there - go for it! The beauty of HOD is you have time for that. :D However, I depend on HOD for steady, daily, God-honoring, consistently experiment-filled science - and I think that would be near to impossible to find on the fly. :wink:

In Christ,
Julie
Enjoyed LHTH to USII
Currently using USII, MTMM
Wife to Rich for 25 years
Mother to 3 sons, ages 20, 17, and 13
Author of Women's Devotional https://www.ebay.com/itm/293355757184
Blogger https://my3sons-julie.blogspot.com/
Sister to Carrie

kreilly6
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 8:55 pm

Re: BIGGER Science

Post by kreilly6 » Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:57 pm

Thank you to everyone for all your thoughtful responses. This type of science- Charlotte Mason in general, even- is new to me. I was attracted to HOD b/c we needed a more purposeful reading program & I needed a break from unit studies. I had looked into Sonlight but felt there would be too much of the "hands-on" left out. My kids adore unit studies but it is so time & labor intensive for me.

I liked the idea, from Laura, I think, that the kids could have an extra science notebook for more experiments of their choosing. I think when it comes down to it I'm not really well versed in how a child's mind learns at different ages, especially for science & when they start telling me they want to see & do things in science ( ie when we studied volcanoes we experimented w/ various ratios of ingredients to make various types of volcanic eruptions) then I start worrying that there should be something more visual & interactive.

We have been following the science as written. We have skipped one experiment recently that involved the wing spans of owls b/c we were strapped for time & I didn't understand the purpose. I can honestly say, though, that we've done everything else. We will be starting the "Pioneer Sampler" on Wednesday & I glanced through it. I think it looks great. We did a unit study on pioneers last year so I know they will enjoy it.

I think we will move on to "Preparing" for next year. I'm not sure what to do w/ my then 1st grader. He has been following along w/ us in "bigger" for storytime, science, & history & then does singapore & explode the code, as well as the 1 or 2 of the other workbooks for his level. When I did 1st grade w/ my oldest we used the Weaver curriculum which goes through the Bible starting w/ creation. She was the only one at the time of school age. The next 2 yrs we did unit studies. So this is the 1st yr w/ a "pre-planned" curriculum for all 3. Any ideas about next yr.?

my3sons
Posts: 10593
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2007 7:08 pm
Location: South Dakota

Re: BIGGER Science

Post by my3sons » Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:29 am

Hi Krissy - I am thinking - agewise - that you could do Beyond with your younger, and PHFHG with your older. Have you gotten a chance to look at the placement chart? It is pretty short and accurate:
http://www.heartofdakota.com/placing-your-child.php
We're doing Beyond and PHFHG right now and really enjoying it. What are your thoughts on doing 2 programs? Or, would you rather combine? If you get the chance to tell a bit about what your younger can do in reading, writing, and math, that would be super too! :)

In Christ, :D
Julie
Enjoyed LHTH to USII
Currently using USII, MTMM
Wife to Rich for 25 years
Mother to 3 sons, ages 20, 17, and 13
Author of Women's Devotional https://www.ebay.com/itm/293355757184
Blogger https://my3sons-julie.blogspot.com/
Sister to Carrie

water2wine
Posts: 2743
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2007 7:24 pm
Location: GA

Re: BIGGER Science

Post by water2wine » Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:51 am

I have not read all the replies except to see that the CM way of science is explained. I worked in the are of biotech for ten years doing science in a lab. I had a team of people I worked with and interviewed a lot of people, many from Stanford who I found very book smart but were not big thinkers and did not have a good knowledge for applying science. I say all that just for this reason, what I saw is learning the book material was easy. You can find tons of people capable of learning the book material. What is harder to find is the people who actually can think scientifically. That is a much harder skill to develop and typically people flounder for the first couple of years trying to learn the why of science in the lab for their first few years. It's a much more valuable skill and it often is not taught well in college. What I love about how HOD does science is it starts with the thinking part of science, the what are you trying to determine and what are your assumptions type of thing. I would far prefer that my kids first get that then be able to spout off all the bones of the body at five. So just another way of thinking. When evaluating HOD science also look at the value of how it teaches them to think. If you want in depth science you can add that and we often get inspired by HOD to hunt else where as well. I love science so of course I want to share that love with my children as well, but the value in the "how" of HOD's teaching is very important not to overlook or skip. You will be amazed at how in depth they actually learn and how you will see them actually applying the science else where.

Praying your family is blessed by the CM style and intent of HOD science. :D
Last edited by water2wine on Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children. Isaiah 54:13
~Six lovies from God~4 by blessing of adoption
-MTMM (HS), Rev to Rev, CTC, DITHR
We LOVED LHFHG/Beyond/Bigger/Preparing/CTC/RTR/Rev to Rev (HS)

Vicki
Posts: 179
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2008 12:14 pm
Location: MS

Re: BIGGER Science

Post by Vicki » Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:22 am

Printing off this whole thread (while the little guy is doing copywork :wink: )... I think this will be great for reference, and probably deserves to be put at the top of the boards as a "sticky". It would surely be an instant access to those coming here with any questions about how science is covered in HOD, don't you think?
Moving along at our own pace, and very happy with it!

Carrie
Site Admin
Posts: 8058
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:39 pm

Re: BIGGER Science

Post by Carrie » Tue Mar 03, 2009 3:31 pm

Krissy,

The ladies on the board are doing such an excellent job of talking through things with you. :D I'll be glad to chime in more too once you've gotten a chance to give us a few more of the details that my3sons asked you for placement-wise. That will really help all of us advise you better. :wink:

Blessings,
Carrie

Kathleen
Posts: 1980
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 3:23 pm
Location: NE Kansas

Re: BIGGER Science

Post by Kathleen » Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:25 pm

Krissy,

I just had to pop in here and tell you that we're doing Bigger this year (and must be just a couple weeks ahead of you) and my son consistently tells me that his favorite parts of the day are science and storytime. :D :wink: Now, I'm new to the CM philosophy, too. (I found it after getting hooked on HOD. :wink: ) I came from the world of textbooks where you memorize it and then forget it. I'm telling you that some of the things you listed questioning the purpose of like the notebooking are really doing the trick to help my son take ownership of the information. It's much better than a fill-in-the-blank worksheet. And, I've seen him really grow into doing his notebooking beautifully. His fox today was incredible! I need to join in with him and improve on drawing. :roll:

Anyway, we've been cruising along doing the science "by the book", and as we've gone through the year I can see that it's definitely working and he's learning. And, he's always reminding that it's his favorite part of our day (tied with storytime). :wink:

If your kids are science lovers - I'd definitely use some of these ideas to let them explore it more. The more elaborate experiments that you mentioned sound great - but I'm so glad that for our exploration in Bigger they're the short, do-able kind in the day-to-day. I know that for me, these are the ones that will actually get done consistently. My son would not like science nearly as well if I was consistently saying, " Sorry, buddy, I don't have time for that experiment right now. Ooops! We don't have (fill in the blank)." He loves it that we actually do all the little fun things in the guide! (Something I was not consistent in pre-HOD.)

:D Kathleen
Homeschooling mom to 6:
Grant - 19 Kansas State University
Allison - 15 World Geography
Garret - 13 Res2Ref
Asa - 8 Bigger
Quinn - 7 Bigger

Halle - 4 LHTH

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