Thursday, 16 December 2010

Science year 5 and 6/grades 4 and 5

I was going to call this "super science" but thought this was a bit silly. Silliness apart, Apologia Elementary is super science.

When we started home education, I wanted to find science that was more interesting than the anodyne science that the children had seemed to do at school at primary school age and was delighted to find Apologia Elementary.

Apologia Elementary is a Christian, home education curriculum from the US but available in the UK from Conquest books who deliver very promptly. There are books around various themes-botany, astronomy, the human body and three on zoology. Each book is meant to take about a year although we've found they take a little less. The science is in much more depth than that we had seen done at a primary age previously.

A vaguely Charlotte Mason approach is used with text which can either be read aloud or the child can read and suggestions for narration and composition. The composition ideas use a variety of formats. The books are said to be suitable from ages 5-12. I don't think that my five year olds would have managed these books unless they were read to them with a fair amount of explanation. We are currently using them with our 10 year old and they are ideal for him.

One of the really great things about these books is the activities. Melting chocolate with a magnifying glass was a favourite. There are activities in each chapter and they are designed to be done at home with ingredients readily available. Conquest do supply equipment for all the activities but this is fairly pricey and it isn't difficult to find the necessaries around the house.
The picture below is our salt dough model of Olympus Mons after it had erupted.

Now, a confession, we started the first term of home education using the first zoology book. Our son found it so different from school science that we changed to a more standard curriculum for a couple of terms before he asked to do science in more detail and we went happily back to Apologia. In retrospect, I would have done some sort of fairly hands on science for a term before starting Apologia. Otherwise, Apologia Elementary is something I would throughly recommend.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Snow Day!

One of the things I love about home education is how flexible it is. We had a huge snowfall (more than I've ever seen in my life) over the last 24 hours, and when Julian couldn't get in to work because there were no trains (I know - most of the world can cope with a few inches of snow; London can't) I was able to announce a "day off" and send the children (they all went other than C who is studying too hard, and hates snow anyway) to the park with J.

I'm sure there will be lots of informal learning . . . and lots of fun. And no doubt, photos :-)

(I realise that I sometimes comment here using my other log-in ID. In case anyone is confused, "The Mom" who posts comments is me; I just set up a new ID for this blog. )