curious educator

Plant, animal, or mineral?

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knobren
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curious educator

Postby knobren » Tue May 29, 2007 7:18 pm

Hi. I'm a biologist and lab coordinator/instructor at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, IL. I was wondering what types of science materials are being used for homeschooling currently. I recently read an article that said that science curricula for homeschoolers may be sparse, and I am wondering if this is an area that I could perhaps develop materials for or maybe assist homeschoolers in my area with group activities, etc.

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Postby StellarStory » Tue May 29, 2007 7:54 pm

Good science materials that are secular are sparse for home schooling IMO.

I keep hearing that Apologia is good but Christian based.

I've looked at Switched On Schoolhouse which is also Christian based and found it tries to cover most areas of curricula in each subject. To me that's far too much, particularly if you do all SOS for your subjects.

Last year my daughter used The Biology Coloring book, (because she liked the idea of a kinesthetic component), but she felt the coloring had no real meaning and ultimately didn't like it. She also took a Bio lab at a local science museum. She enjoyed that a great deal.

This year I plan on using a workbook and textbook that covers several sciences. I found it at a library bookstore sale.

We also will be using a computer program that covers several sciences. I'm not sure how complete it is yet.

And they will each take two labs for two different sciences. My son will take physical science and biology. My daughter chemistry and advanced sciences labs.

I think there could be better science for us out there. I do hear the Singapore Math people have put out some science stuff that might be good. Like the math it won't teach one science a year but will teach many for all the high school years.

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Postby Theodore » Tue May 29, 2007 11:16 pm

Science isn't really that difficult. Just cover the basics - plant, animal, and mineral - during grade school, as well as perhaps some basic physical science and science experiments. Science experiments you can look up online, and the other areas can be covered well using library books and maybe a science kit or two. Then when it comes time to do a detailed focus on 2-3 areas of science (depending on high school graduation / college requirements), you do community college courses so you can get lab in without having to worry about setting up your own. Cost: About $300 per course, or free, depending on what your state offers.

In grade school you should be learning about trees, bushes, herbs, vegetables; insects, sea creatures, land animals; all different sorts of rocks; how to build interesting machines based on scientific / architectural principles; etc. You can go looking for fossils, turn over rocks to find out what's crawling underneath, plant a garden, visit the zoo, and so on - the possibilities are almost endless. Leave the more abstract science until later, and rely on textbooks and rote learning as little as possible.

---
In case some of you are noticing a theme, I advocate keeping textbook learning to a minimum across the board, except perhaps in math and history, and even these subjects should be heavily supplemented with math games and interesting period books. Learning should remain fun at least up through early high school, at which point things start to get more rigorous and specialized, and fun can't be guaranteed for every subject.

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Postby knobren » Wed May 30, 2007 7:05 pm

StellarStory wrote:<snip>
Last year my daughter used The Biology Coloring book, (because she liked the idea of a kinesthetic component), but she felt the coloring had no real meaning and ultimately didn't like it. She also took a Bio lab at a local science museum. She enjoyed that a great deal.

<snip>
And they will each take two labs for two different sciences. My son will take physical science and biology. My daughter chemistry and advanced sciences labs.


Hi StellarStory. Are these labs also part of a program from the local museum? Are they geared toward homeschoolers or are they more like science camps for kids who happen to be interested in science? What age groups are these programs for?

A brief search of "homeschool science curriculum" didn't give alot of good results. Do you primarily rely on recommendations from other homeschoolers or do you spend alot of time searching for appropriate materials on your own?

I have a list of some interactive materials that I have found online that I use with my students. It isn't a course, but you might find them useful. I also have some online homework assignments that you might find useful.

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links

Postby knobren » Wed May 30, 2007 7:42 pm

http://www.ux1.eiu.edu/~bdknotts/assign.htm
http://www.ux1.eiu.edu/~bdknotts/biology.htm

This list of biology links is old, so some of the links might not work any longer. I have also found other sites that haven't been included yet.

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Postby StellarStory » Wed May 30, 2007 8:30 pm

knobren wrote:
Hi StellarStory. Are these labs also part of a program from the local museum? Are they geared toward homeschoolers or are they more like science camps for kids who happen to be interested in science? What age groups are these programs for?

A brief search of "homeschool science curriculum" didn't give alot of good results. Do you primarily rely on recommendations from other homeschoolers or do you spend alot of time searching for appropriate materials on your own?

I have a list of some interactive materials that I have found online that I use with my students. It isn't a course, but you might find them useful. I also have some online homework assignments that you might find useful.


Thanks "knobren"!

These labs are for homeschooler but they also do have science camps during the summer and for school breaks. The age range from kindergarten through twelfth grade depending on the course or lab. Our local zoo also have some course both specifically for home schoolers and not.

I do spend a lot of time researching. Locally there are a lot of home schooling families but most are religious or unschoolers.

I like unschooling but since we are now doing high school aka college prep work I need to know it's on that level.

I'm the sort of person that likes to talk with others and see what they are doing but will not necessarily follow in their footsteps preferring to research things and decide for myself.

Thanks for the list! These are always good to look over.

BTW, our community colleges tend to make taking the courses you'd most like to take somewhat difficult. Now that I've looked into dual enrollment more I've found that they make English, Science and Math rather hard to dual enroll in while things like debate and philosophy are easier.

I'm none to pleased with the red tape and dead ends they tend to generate.

Stellar

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thanks

Postby knobren » Wed May 30, 2007 8:42 pm

Thanks for the information, Stellar.

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Re: thanks

Postby StellarStory » Wed May 30, 2007 8:44 pm

knobren wrote:Thanks for the information, Stellar.


My pleasure Knobren!

I hope you do some extensive market research to make sure there is a niche and exactly what would work best in filling it. Then I hope you put out a great product.

Stellar

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Postby MelN2LilMen » Fri Jun 01, 2007 6:54 am

My kids are young still, so we are not doing advanced chemistry or anything like that. We don't use a set curriculum for anything.

What we do is find out what topics are supposed to be covered in the year according to the state standards. One, for example, is "Plant Life." No curriculum is needed.

We read books about different plants, plant plants, visit botanical gardens, make models of plant cells, collect plant parts and display and label them, identify plants we find on our hikes, make posters of the basics of photosynthesis....
Mel N 2 Lil Men

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knobren
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answers

Postby knobren » Thu Jun 07, 2007 12:33 pm

If anyone wants to use any of the assignments on my website and would like answer keys, feel free to email me at bdknotts@eiu.edu

http://www.ux1.eiu.edu/~bdknotts/assign.htm

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science labs

Postby learningallthetime » Mon Jul 02, 2007 2:34 am

I'll share a particularly valuable science experience my kids had. They were grade school to almost middle school age at the time. I had been busy with our homebuilding and feeling guilty that not much scientific had happend for awhile, spotted a freshly drowned gopher in the swimming pool, gathered the kids, a disection kit and disposable tray and set to work. (Ok I am a former OR nurse so this was easy for me) they immediately called up a couple of neighbor kids to say "guess what my Mom's doing, come on over" and we proceeded with probably the best science experience ever. Way better than preserved crayfish, fetal pigs etc. For one thing, no formaldehyde smell, and as a drowning victim apparently excess blood was taken up by the lung aveoli? anyway no real mess; a perfect little mammal to examine. We carefully located everything from the optic nerve to intact ureters and cartilage rings on the trachea. She was even pregnant to boot, so we were able to discern differences in size related to twin status vs gestational development of singletons. (gophers have multiple uterine chambers, fascinating)

Point being, science can be addressed creatively without lots of texts and worksheets and will be much more memorable. Incidentally they all took Chemistry at the local jr. college as I didn't want to deal with that in my kitchen, especially with ordering and disposing of chemicals, though they did lots with smaller chemistry kit type things in earlier years.

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Postby keptwoman » Mon Jul 02, 2007 5:04 am

Science is my biggest worry for the highschool years....fortunately I'm a while off worrying about that yet. For now we can cover basic science stuff easily in an informal way, and there are quite a few nice programs if we want to do something more formal.

But highschool :shock: :shock: :shock:

As others have said, materials seem to be predominantly Christian with strong biblical references, and that's not for us.
Sandra, Homeschooling Mum in Australia

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Re: science labs

Postby knobren » Mon Jul 02, 2007 12:06 pm

learningallthetime wrote:I'll share a particularly valuable science experience my kids had. They were grade school to almost middle school age at the time. I had been busy with our homebuilding and feeling guilty that not much scientific had happend for awhile, spotted a freshly drowned gopher in the swimming pool, gathered the kids, a disection kit and disposable tray and set to work. (Ok I am a former OR nurse so this was easy for me) they immediately called up a couple of neighbor kids to say "guess what my Mom's doing, come on over" and we proceeded with probably the best science experience ever. Way better than preserved crayfish, fetal pigs etc. For one thing, no formaldehyde smell, and as a drowning victim apparently excess blood was taken up by the lung aveoli? anyway no real mess; a perfect little mammal to examine. We carefully located everything from the optic nerve to intact ureters and cartilage rings on the trachea. She was even pregnant to boot, so we were able to discern differences in size related to twin status vs gestational development of singletons. (gophers have multiple uterine chambers, fascinating)

Point being, science can be addressed creatively without lots of texts and worksheets and will be much more memorable. Incidentally they all took Chemistry at the local jr. college as I didn't want to deal with that in my kitchen, especially with ordering and disposing of chemicals, though they did lots with smaller chemistry kit type things in earlier years.



That was very creative of you! It sounds like the kids got something out of it. People who hunt or fish or raise chickens could do the same thing.

However, I would caution that you need to be concerned with disease if dissecting an animal that you come across. Make sure to at least wear latex gloves and be cautious to avoid being bitten by fleas or mites that the animal might be carrying.

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Postby Theodore » Mon Jul 02, 2007 1:33 pm

Yep, you want to hang it up somewhere until the body cools, at which point the fleas will jump off to find somewhere warmer. This is also something you read in survival books.

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Postby learningallthetime » Mon Jul 02, 2007 11:44 pm

Oh you bet, I had surgical gloves etc. no chances taken. However, I shudder when I look back at photos from way back when the kids were dissecting owl pellets without protective masks, etc. This was before there was awareness of Hantavirus. Oh well, we seem to have survived.


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