What are you doing for science?
Do you feel that you could do better when it comes to science? I know many homeschool families that just feel a bit lost with science at home. I’ve struggled with decisions about using a textbook or set curriculum or if I should just let my kids explore the world around them. As a Classical Conversations family, we have wonderful opportunity to come together once a week with other families and learn some science facts AND do a hands-on science activity or experiment. Lord knows that without that, my kids would never get time experimenting!
But I wanted to do better. I didn’t want a text book, I wanted to continue with our classical learning. I decided I wanted to do more research-type learning and using real books. It began by taking the topic of our CC memory work and just studying it by reading and researching each week. Most of the time, we did pretty good….but I found I need to have the books and page numbers already picked out. If I didn’t, I’d end up taking time in the middle of the day to find what we needed and it just messed up our flow.
That’s when I started planning it out. I still wanted to teach my kids how to use resources like encyclopedia, but I also wanted to know ahead of time what pages we were going to be using and preview those pages. I came up with plans similar to our History Guides that plan out our science studies while adding in notebooking, definitions, and the idea of a science notebook or journal. There are also simple, easy-to-do science activities for when we wanted to explore further.
I created some science guides that help you combine great science resources into one unit study. The Ecology-A Study of Biomes guide was inspired by our first week of CC this year. The students learn a list of biomes. I didn’t want something that was limited to JUST CC families, so this Ecology guide works for everyone!! Each week you will focus on one biome along with other topics in Natural Science. If you’re a CC family you will find that this goes beautifully with Cycle 2 weeks 1-6, however non-CC families will find that this is also an amazing unit study!
(*Note: This does NOT contain any information or actual memory work from the Foundations Guide – for the actual weekly science topics you will need a Foundations Guide).
Introducing Ecology – A 6 Week Study of Biomes and Natural Science
How it works:
Choose from the resources listed to use for your daily readings and research. You do NOT have to have ALL the resources. Matter of fact, that would be a little bit too much. I suggest picking ONE Encyclopedia (I recommend the DK Encyclopedia, but if you already have the Kingfisher that’s fine). I also suggest the Janice VanCleave science book because that is where all the experiments come from.
Each week has 2 pages of plans. One page is a Week-At-A-Glance page with the page numbers and topics for each resource. From here you can pick and choose which resources you will be reading and researching from.
The 2nd page is a detailed page with more descriptive information, ideas, and suggestions for each resource.
There is also a list of supplies needed each week as well as some great notebooking templates and grid-paper at the end. I have also included a world map. Each week I suggest coloring the different biome regions on the map as you study each one.
Hands On Learning
I’ve included some great experiments and activities from the Janice VanCleave book. I tried to pick them with busy moms in mind. The materials needed are simple and inexpensive and in most cases you can find them at home. But you certainly don’t have to use the ones I picked! The book is full of great activities so please feel free to do more or pick different ones!
With each activity or experiment, be sure to encourage your children to record their findings or observations in a Science Notebook. This can be a 3 ring binder or even a spiral notebook! You can print out copies of the notebooking pages and add the graph paper template or just blank paper for drawing observations. Or you can use a spiral (either lined or grid) and do all your notebooking, note-taking, and drawing in one place.
I hope that these ideas inspire you and your children to dig deeper into a fun, hands-on, and classical approach to learning science. Keep a look out for more History and Science Guides!!
How to Buy:
Ecology comes as either a PDF download or a pre-printed book. That’s right…it’s our first guide to come pre-printed! The PDF download is an immediate download (look for your email from “Content Shelf” immediately after your order for a link and instructions).
The pre-printed version will come with a full-color cover, black and white inside pages, printed single-sided. It will be spiral bound with a clear plastic cover and card stock backing. These are professionally printed and bound.
PDF Download – $8
Spiral Bound Book – $15