Friday, June 15, 2007

A post for Jana on science homeschooling

Dear Jana,
Before sixth grade, science is fun for me to teach. We live it, we breathe it here on our farm. It's bumping it up a notch to college preparation which I find so difficult.

I am afraid my personal lack of science enthusiasm will taint my boys.

I believe a teacher should enjoy their subject and feel at ease teaching it. Neither describes me regarding higher sciences. I'd much rather learn about Einstein's wife than his Theory of Relativity. My son with a bent toward science, needs to learn Relativity.

Looking over the library's collection of books, I can choose the ones which will work best rather than dry textbooks. I'm looking for the best "living books" as Charlotte Mason would say. Yes, I have read her and have actually made giant shifts in our home school because of her influence. For example, I purge our bookshelves of twaddle on a regular basis. Who gives us Disney books anyway?? I'd rather eat dirt than read a book about a cartoon. Also, Mason and Maria Montessori inspired me to move to our farm in order to live nature study. Our woods, garden, chickens, goats give us a direct connection to the natural world.

Back to science. At some point, "living books" become unavailable on Quantum Physics. In which case, I'll pick the best of the library's bunch before the school year begins.

I have to hold a book in my hand to evaluate it. It takes too much time to sort through books on the fly during the school year, so we're doing so ahead of time.

You should have seen my response to my son's seventh grade Bob Jones Physical Science text this year from his once a week co-op. At best, it bored me to tears. At worst, it's contents and perspectives irked me at times. My son, Peace, actually liked the durn course, but he had another teacher who loved the subject matter.

As for Sonlight, I've used it in the lower grades and enjoyed it very much. The activities and books were engaging and delightful. I love keeping the books around for my children to pick up and read now that we aren't using it anymore. Every book has been a winner in our family except one. In the end, I haven't find Sonlight academically rigorous enough for us, so we've switched to something which suits us better. I am not saying Sonlight is not academic enough for other families, because others may have better implementation than myself or need less practice in some skills than my boys.

So, Jana, do you homeschool middle or high school yet? If so, what works for you?

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