Science is my home ed stumbling block. Not because I find it difficult, just because it isn’t something that seems to capture either mine or Sam’s passion the way History for example does, so it is something we need to make time for rather than something that happens naturally.
The other issue has been finding the right way for us to study it. I believe very much on learning science through hands on exploration, however this approach is messy and time consuming and feels very bitty, we seem to have focussed on ‘wow element’ rather than the basic nuts and bolts. But workbooks for science just don’t feel right.
Therefore the plan is to take the book The Way Science Works and use this as a base for our studies. It covers 6 topics;
Looking at Matter
Atoms and Elements
Forces and Energy
Heat and Sound
Light and Colour
Electricity and Magnetisim
So will work out as one per half term.
The book features double page spreads of information, punctuated by experiments to illustrate points, the majority of which look very doable at home. I am hoping that we can achieve the balance I want by reading the info, doing as many of the experiments that we can fit and consolidating by doing small notebooking projects/worksheets I am preparing to sit alongside.
To help with motivation to fit it in to our schedule we have arranged for another family to join us once a fortnight. The idea is to do much of the practical work together with the reading, follow up work (friends may not want to do the pen and paper side) and some of the longer experiments particularly those that need several days to complete at home in between times.
I may not follow it to the letter but I do love Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of education therefore I hope to resurrect the idea of a regular nature study session. As much as I would like to fit in an ‘outdoor hour’ everyday, I am realistic enough to know it will never happen. We have too many regular activities and while we probably get out most days, majority of that time is spent walking and/or bussing to one place or another. The aim is then to find a small space in each week to be outside for the sake of being outside.
I am hoping that we can combine it with the science group and possibly open invitation so friends join us twice a month but will depend on how organised I am and how science comes off with timing.
The plan is a four week schedule
- Pick an area to be the focus of a nature diary (probably a wooded area of the local nature reserve near the river) charting the changes in the seasons, mostly through photos and discussion. Hopefully with friends.
- A practical activity – rock pooling, animal tracking, wild flower walks, bug hunts, bird spotting etc. Hopefully with friends.
- A garden based activity – planting, weeding, harvesting… now I have a usable garden.
- A nature inspired craft, either done outdoors or using the spoils gathered on a walk.
I will not plan individual activities more than a couple of days ahead as nature stuff is very weather/tide/health dependable. But here are just a few of the books we will draw on.