Friday, January 9, 2015

Our Science Curriculum

"Let them once get in touch with nature and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight and habit through life..." Charlotte Mason

I love science. I got most excited about science when considering whether or not to homeschool my children. It also became a huge stress, trying to find the right curriculum, especially one that was hands on! I'm so thankful to have landed on the Charlotte Mason spectrum. What I've learned while reading about her philosophy has helped us in many ways. Charlotte Mason wrote about children becoming observers. We teach children to love learning by exposing them to wonders and beauty around us. She advises going outside every day (no matter the weather) and at least once a week, setting aside an hour strictly to observe and take notes. With 2 rambunctious boys, this is great for us!

While friends and family complain about colder temps, we are tromping through mossy forests looking for mushrooms and calling back to crows. We're spotting Western Hemlocks (our state tree!) and learning the difference between Douglas Fir and Cedar trees. 

Our science curriculum consists of unit studies based on their interests and the season. This year, we'll study volcanoes, rocks, caves, formation of mountains, birds, tide pools, the solar system, color and light, some chemistry and human anatomy. We take 2-3 months reading everything we can about these subjects, watching videos and LOTS of hands on experiments and activities. This spring, we'll go to the beach at low tide at least twice a week and we'll journal our findings.

Our science reading list for the next 2-3 years:
Birds do the Strangest Things by Leonora Hornblow
Parables from Nature: A collection of stories by Margaret Gatty
The Burgess Seashore Book for Children (Dover Children's Classics)
Wild Animals I have Known by Ernest Thompson

Notice there are no text books or workbooks. Those only offer snippets of information that is often forgotten soon after the glue sticks are put away. The books above are longer chapter books, meant to read slowly as you observe the world around you. With each unit study, we use around 20 other picture books and biographies from the library or thrift stores. I have a working list for those books as well if anyone is interested!

Another very important tool we use is our Bird Log. I try to take it with us everywhere we go. The boys LOVE finding new birds to write about. 

We live in a magical place here in the Pacific North West. We won't be here forever, We probably won't homeschool forever. But this is where we are for this season and we're doing all we can to enjoy it!