Question about HOD's science in middle school...

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Question about HOD's science in middle school...

Post by HappyMama » Mon Dec 06, 2010 6:53 pm

Hi- Will the science in HOD's middle school guides (CTC, RTR, etc.) adequately prepare student for a rigorous high school program such as Apologia? I see that many homeschool curriculums recommend Apologia's General and Physical Science for 7th and 8th grades. Since it doesn't look like HOD will use those particular science programs, I just want to make sure..... :)
Last edited by HappyMama on Tue Dec 07, 2010 8:59 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Question about HOD's science in midd school...

Post by ktwensel » Mon Dec 06, 2010 7:32 pm

I am very interested in this also.

Science is such an issue in our house. It is difficult to find a program that is complete but doesn't take the whole day to implement! :)
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Re: Question about HOD's science in middle school...

Post by Carrie » Tue Dec 07, 2010 3:32 pm


I can completely understand your question, as we have pondered this area long and hard ourselves. :wink: 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, but 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. :wink: 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 Farady, 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 and 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. :wink:

Our goal at HOD is to make science come alive through reading about the lives of the scientists and the problems they set out to solve. We don't want science to be a body of knowledge to be memorized, or a dry body of facts and formulas, but 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, but we feel that the manner in which that content is delivered can be accomplished in a variety of ways. For our own boys, we wish to offer a more CM appoach that takes a different path from what is typically offered already. Here's a link to a thread discussing our thinking behind this: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=2094&p=43799

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 this area. :wink: 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 in 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 (as 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. :D

On a sidenote, I'll mention that we have had our own oldest son follow a more CM science path all the way through his schooling, and he has always scored incredibly well in this area on his Iowa Basic Skills Standardized Tests each year. He is currently a freshman this year. Our next son in line in currently in 6th grade and has followed the HOD path for science all the way through. He also scores very well each year on his standardized tests in this area to the point that he truly couldn't do any better. 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. :D


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Re: Question about HOD's science in middle school...

Post by my3sons » Thu Dec 09, 2010 12:19 pm

Thank you for your thoughtful response here, Carrie! :D The time you take to explain HOD's vision for things is much appreciated. I know of no other author that is such an active part of his/her message board, and certainly it is rare to find an author that will take the time to explain his/her decisions in such detail. I love that you care so much to do this! :D

I will also concur that my ds has done very well with science on his standardized testing too, and he has only ever done HOD's science. However, the thinking he is able to do is more important to me than the scores. He loves science, and the "scientific method" plays itself out in real world problems for him to solve all of the time (i.e. the day he fashioned a ramp to move the wood pile from location to the next after experimenting with many methods to see which one would be the fastest :wink: , or the way he uses what he's learned about plants in our garden, etc.). :D

While I respect that many families do enjoy using Apologia science for high school and know it works well for them, I personally do not see myself using it with my dc. I have looked at it again and again quite extensively, and I can see why it seems overwhelming to many dc as well as to their homeschool parents. In fact, I would go one step further to say that worrying about doing science in high school can sometimes be a primary reason parents put their dc in ps. I know several students who have made it all the way through Apologia high school science, even attending the labs for it within a co-op, who scored very poorly in science on their college ACT's/SAT's. Is Apologia to blame for this? I do not think so. It is a good program in its own right. But, those dc likely did not have a God-given talent for understanding science, or if they did it didn't show up during their high school years of science. :wink: Apologia could not change that. I believe that teaching dc to think scientifically is so important, as all dc can learn this to some degree, and that kind of thinking is beneficial for all. Plus, when taking the ACT's/SAT's, if one does not know the answer based on memory alone, having scientific reasoning in place will help them think through how to find the answer better and arrive at the best answer. But, I do believe that science minded students will do well with Apologia science, whether they did HOD's science beforehand or another science beforehand. :D

I have found nothing seems to put true thinking about one's learning into motion more than CM's use of living books, accompanied with her visionary LA style responses to those books, through oral and written narration. Her hands-on type of approach to science as well is something I feel we do so well with HOD, because every single week my dc do an experiment (and in the younger guides it is twice weekly). I have looked at the amount of reading, defining, written work, and the labs in Apologia and felt I may not truly get them done consistently and correctly. Even if we did get all of it done consistently, I think it may take so much time in the school day that the other subjects could suffer. I have felt pressure to do Apologia science for high school, but I am content with the route we are going. More and more, I have come to believe in CM's style of educating, and that goes for science too. At first glance, CM's methods seem simple, but once I've done them, I realize they are a deep well of difficulty, and they are teaching my dc to think for themselves at a very high functioning level of comprehension. Thanks for explaining here, Carrie! We are excited to do have the option to do HOD's science for as long as you are writing. :D

In Christ,
Enjoyed LHTH to USII
Currently using USII, MTMM
Wife to Rich for 25 years
Mother to 3 sons, ages 20, 17, and 13
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Re: Question about HOD's science in middle school...

Post by HappyMama » Thu Dec 09, 2010 1:07 pm

Julie and Carrie - Thank you both so much for your thoughtful answers. I also am soooo appreciative of Carrie's willingness to come on this board and realy take the time to explain things and be transparent. Thank you!! :)

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