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Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Peek into our Homeschool: The Sciences

It's that time of the month again...the next installment in the Virtual Curriculum Fair!  This week's subject is Exploring Our World: Social Studies and more Science---includes history, geography, world cultures, worldview, biology, botany, geology, etc.

image source pear83

In case you're new or haven't realized this yet, this is an area I'm slowly growing passionate about, because I see the spark in my boys when we study science and geography!  Elliott is 7 and in 1st grade.  Emory is 4 (PreK) and likes to tag along.  We are relaxed homeschoolers with a strong Charlotte Mason flair. 

Up until now, we have never used a curriculum for science.  We have mostly focused on nature study and incorporated living books and hands-on projects whenever possible.  I believe children learn best by seeing and doing, and there's no better way to learn science than to get out there and observe nature!

Nature Study - I have written a lot about Nature Study.  Nature Study with Preschoolers is so much fun, because children are naturally curious and love to explore!  My goal is to provide an environment that encourages this natural exploration and investigation.  We've studied birds, farm animals, frogs, cicadas, and anything else that catches our interest.  Now that Elliott is a little older, we're beginning to choose specific topics and focus more in-depth on them.  This year, we have been studying trees and our favorite is the apple tree study.  It's almost time for our winter installment!

apple tree nature study - I can't say much for this program yet, but we are reviewing it for the Schoolhouse Review Crew and so far we like it!  Definitely stay tuned for the review.  It is an online curriculum, but has hands-on activities included in the lesson plans.  (It is from the creators of VocabularySpellingCity, which we reviewed earlier this school year.)

Tinkers Club - Admittedly we haven't started this one yet.  It is a course on SchoolhouseTeachers that I was about to start it with Elliott, but with the science review, I'll probably hold on to it for a bit.  I really think it's perfect for a fun supplement for him though, since it's such a hands-on course.

Social Sciences
We tried to follow the Ambleside Online Year 1 History for Elliott, but it was not a good fit.  He was not connecting with the material.  It was draining his enjoyment, so it had to go.  Perhaps he will be ready for those books in another year or two, but for now, we are taking a more general approach to social studies.

The boys learn about the community through active involvement and participation at the bank, grocery store, doctor, dentist, etc.  I encourage them to handle their own transactions (such as handling their money at the bank) and to ask questions if they are curious about anything.

They learn about holidays and traditions as we celebrate them in the home and in the community.

We learn about family and family history through real life experiences, and stories and interactions.  We enjoy being together.  I am about to introduce a little simple genealogy and teach Elliott more about his family tree. 

Elliott is very interested in states and countries, and maps and globes, so we are casually studying geography and world cultures through a variety of living geography resources.


Right now while the boys are young, my goal is a broad exposure to a variety of topics, so I can see what might spark a more definite interest and lead us on our next path of exploration.  

Week 1 - A Peek into our Homeschool:  Language Arts
Week 2 - A Peek into our Homeschool:  Math & Logic
Week 3 - A Peek into our Homeschool:  The Sciences
Week 4 - A Peek into our Homeschool:  Seeking Beauty

The Virtual Curriculum Fair

Now, let’s see how other homeschoolers are Exploring Our World with Social Studies and Science (all links will all be LIVE by noon on 1/20)

A Classical Approach to Ancient World History for All Ages by Susan @ Homeschooling
Hearts & Minds

Supercharged Science's eScience Program by Kristi K. @ The Potter’s Hand Academy

Social Studies & Science Resource Lists by Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses

History and Science: Learning About the World Around Us by Leah@As We Walk Along the Road

Designing a Unit Study for History, Geography, or Science by Amy @ Eclectic Homeschooling

Virtual Curriculum Fair:  Social Studies by Joelle @ Homeschool for His Glory

Uncle Sam & You- Notgrass by Lynn @ Ladybug Chronicles

My Favorite History Books for Boys by Monique @ Living Life and Learning

Social Studies in Our Homeschool by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

Our Curriculum Choices 2014 ~ History & Science by Renata @ Sunnyside Farm Fun

We're having a Social Studies-heavy Year by Debra @ Footprints in the Butter

Our Journey Around the World by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

My Favourite Social Studies Curriculum by Kim @ Homestead Acres

Raising Map Nuts: Learning Geography Naturally by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset

The Whos, Wheres and Whys by Michele P @Family, Faith and Fridays

Exploring Our World: Social Studies and Science in our Classical Homeschool by Sharra @ The
Homeschool Marm

Time Travel Throughout the World {or History and Geography in Our Homeschool} by HillaryM
@ Our Homeschool Studio

Virtual Curriculum Fair Week 3: Exploring Our World – Social Studies and More Science by Stacie @ Super Mommy To The Rescue

Why We're Ditching Story of the World by Tauna @ Proverbial Homemaker

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  1. Love those apple trees! They remind me of the trees we visited for picking in New York a few years back! We don't use a set curriculum for science yet...we love nature studies too!

    1. We are lucky, these apple trees are in the grandparent's yard...a lot of nature study goes on at their farm!

  2. I love Nature Studies! As life has gotten busier and I have had more kids I have done less of it. I look forward to slowing things down a bit and teaching more the Charlotte Mason way and letting my kids spend more time exploring and learning online :) Thanks for the ideas!

    1. Nature study was hard for me to start, but I am so glad I did!

  3. I love doing Nature Studies. My daughter is so curious and she loves just going out by the tree and looking under the rocks for bugs. I will have to check out the TInkers Club as I don't think I have seen that yet. We are also reviewing Science4Us. Starting it today.

    1. I think the natural curiosity of children is what makes nature study so successful!

  4. Loving Science4us here too! ;)

  5. we also follow a Charlotte Mason approach. It was great to read your take on it.. Thanks for sharing..

  6. I agree that with very young children it can be good start "social studies" by focusing on the local community. It's also a great way to tie it into your nature studies---as you go on your nature walks, you can learn about the four compass points, where local places are in relation to each other and so on. You can learn about topography through the USGS (you can download free topographical maps of your area). It's so fun to teach young children.