Episode 23: Elementary School Science


This podcast episode explores the ideas and objectives Charlotte Mason considered necessary for the study of science for grades 1-6. Listen to hear clear guidelines to follow, book suggestions, and practical applications for teaching science.

Listen Now:






If you would like to study along with us, here are some passages from The Home Education Series and other Parent's Review articles that would be helpful for this episode's topic. You may also read the series online here, or get the free Kindle version from Fisher Academy.

Home Education (Volume 1), Part V, Chapter XVI

School Education (Volume 3), Chapter 21, Part II

Towards a Philosophy of Education (Volume 6), Book I, Chapter 10, Section III



Eyes and No Eyes
Series
Among the...People
Series
Margaret Waring Buck
Books
Glenn BloughDelia GoetzJames Herriot
Burgess Animal BookBurgess Book of Nature LoreBurgess Bird Book
OtusMajorLuna
Backyard Birds of SummerBackyard Birds of WinterNature Reader
Madam How & Lady WhyLife & Her ChildrenStorybook of Science
The SciencesThe StarsJSB of Rain, Hail, Sleet & Snow
Climate MapsLet's-Read-and-Find-Out BooksSoap Science


(Contains affiliate links)



Nicole's Elementary Science Page at SabbathMoodHomeschool.com

26 comments:

  1. Thank you!

    For the Burgess books, I know he has a bird book and an animal book that are considered nature lore. What about the "Reddy the Fox," "Adventures of Jerry Muskrat" and titles along those lines? Are those considered lore, or do they fall under a slightly different category?

    Also, for form 1: Can you clarify, do we choose books just as our interests lead? Should we rotate topics, or is there any method to it?

    Last, Nicole if you are hinting at some sort of guide for science that is coming out next week, just take my money now! :D Looking forward to whatever it is.

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    1. Hello Kacie,
      Yes Burgess has the Bird Book, the Animal Book and one called Burgess Book of Nature Lore. I think the new idea to me has been how straight forward the texts Mason used were. In the 4 pages assigned in a week, children learned a good deal about the plant or animal, while in some of the books we tend to gravitate towards, there is a lot of moral to the story. The books Mason used were living and narrative, but they weren't literature per se. It might be good for you to take a look at one of the Eyes and No Eyes books to compare.

      As to how to choose books, Mason seemed to have one going that was an ecological region, like ponds or forests, and another that was on a certain topic, like birds or insects. I don't think it matters what you pick for those two categories, as long as you don't get stuck in a rut. Because the Eyes and No Eyes books were short, she was able to change to something new each term. That's one of the problems with the Burgess books if taken from beginning to end. It's too long on one subject.

      Let me know if you still have questions.
      -Nicole

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    2. Thanks! I was wondering though if those titles I mentioned, the "Reddy the Fox" and "Jerry Muskrat" and such, are they something different than the Animal Book? Is the Animal Book a compilation of those shorter stories? Or is Reddy Fox not really considered nature lore, but just a story? (I understand if you aren't familiar with those other Burgess titles; no problem if so!). I ask because I have a few of those titles on my shelf.

      That is helpful to consider how Mason used those books -- one covering a region and another on a topic and using them in tandem. I love the variety of that format!

      I plan to use your list on your site as a guide. Thank you!

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    3. Right, while the Burgess Animal book is a compilation of short stories about various animals, these 2 books are not from that, but rather stand alone stories. While they are good, they are not really nature lore. They have their basis in moral training instead.
      -Nicole

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    4. Thank you for clarifying that point, the moral books with animal characters vs. nature lore for Burgess.

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  2. Another great podcast, ladies! Thank you!

    I had 2 questions. If you only read 35 - 50 pages in a book over a term (in form 1), and Nicole said that averaged out to 4 pages per reading, am I to assume that you are using 3 different books each week for Nature Lore? Otherwise, if you read 4 pages each time, 3x a week, that would be 12 pages in one book per week equaling 144 pages in a book. Sorry if this sounds like I am splitting hairs, but I am trying to get a clear picture of how you would schedule science for a form 1 student.
    My second question is about a new science curriculum that I have heard great things about. I wondered if you all had heard of or seen The Quark Chronicles by Ernest DeVore. These are being touted as great living science books, but I would love to hear what you all think of them.

    Thanks!

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    1. RuthAnn, I would recommend you look at the article on my own blog called Elementary Science - Form 1 (grades 1-3) to see a more thorough breakdown.

      But the short answer is that they would read 2 different books on 2 different days, then on the third day you could either read a third book based on your special study topic, or use the time to actually look at something you have been reading about in one of your other 2 books. There is a 4th day scheduled as well, which was designated as time for an object lesson. You can read more about that on the Elementary Science page.

      I hope this helps.
      -Nicole

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    2. Thanks, Nicole. I am starting to get a clearer picture of how science looked in a CM education. It is much more multi faceted than I previously understood. I will be checking out your website as I prepare for science for next year for my 3rd and 6th graders. I am getting excited. This is such an interesting and inspiring way to do science!

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  3. This is fantastic! Thank you! :) I'm encouraged to move beyond just the nature lore with my two Form 2 students now. So excited to take a look at some of these titles and dig a bit more around Nicole site!

    Curious, we are liking the Story Book of Science, could we use that for experiments etc? Just finding ideas within it? I need to dig through it a more and see what I can come up with...we did add a few things to a science journal of sorts, but I wasn't sure if it actually had anything we could experiment with! Any thing, I love the idea of helping the children start experiments on their own!!!

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    1. Amy,
      If you or your children find ideas you want to experiment with while you read ANY science book then by all means go for it! That is the best way to go. A lot of times that will not be the book that leads to your experiments, however, as it has more to do with sparking observation. You will likely find more fodder for experiments in a book like Bright Design by Katharine Shippen or The Stars by H.A. Rey. As they read about other experiments and inventions, they will be led to try things out on their own.
      -Nicole

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  4. I'm just so thankful for your podcast! (And I love reading the comments because they are often things *I* would ask. :)

    THANK YOU, Ladies!!!

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    1. Katie,

      You are most welcome and we hope we continue to encourage you. Also, you may notice many of the questions become subjects for more lengthy discussion on our Q&A episodes.

      -Liz

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  5. Thank you so much for the wealth of information you all have so graciously shared with us all! It has dramatically changed my approach in such a positive way. I am so grateful!

    I have come across the "All About..." series, after purchasing "All About the Stars," at our local thrift store. Reading through it, it appears narrative in form and very informational. Would you recommend it? My challenge is really in assigning the appropriate year in which I would read this..

    Thank you!!

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    1. Becca,

      The All About series is very good and I would definitely recommend it. Generally they work well for students in forms 2-3 (grades 4-8.)

      I'm glad you are finding the podcast helpful! We love to hear that.

      ~Nicole

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  6. Nicole, this is so helpful as I have just finished my first year homeschooling and also doing CM for the first time. I don't think I fully grasped what I was supposed to be teaching. This all sounds great but my question is, what do I do about trying to combine forms? I have a third grader and a fifth/sixth grader next year (both very excellent readers ) but it feels like a lot of work to try and do both sciences separately. I am understanding though, that form 2 should be more meaty and intentional in the science dept. Any thoughts? Thank you in advance and thank you all so much for the podcasts. I am slowly working my way through them and find them so helpful.

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    1. Danielle,
      Your 3rd grader will need to read nature lore 2-3 times per week, but children should take on this reading for themselves as soon as they are able. Look at books like Buckley's Eyes and No Eye's series or Christian Liberty Nature Readers. That last one builds up in difficulty, so pick one that is a comfortable reading level for your child. Only 4 pages per reading should be scheduled from one of those books each time. Your older child should definitely be doing most of this on their own. I like Storybook of Science for nature lore in form 2, which can be hard to read for some, so an audio can be listened to as they read along, if needed. But still take it slow - about 8 chapters per term. Also some kind of science book one day a week. Look at my book lists for elementary school on SabbathMoodHomeschool.com. And then an experiment that coordinates with that reading each week. You may have to participate in that some.

      So, to answer your question, you really cannot combine these 2 children. There is room for some combining when they are older, for instance, when they both do a physics topic (reading their own books,) you can have them work together on physics experiments. But they don't really need to combine now, because they should be working at their own level in this subject.

      I hope this helps!
      ~Nicole

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    2. Thank you for your answer. I am glad to say they are great readers, so they are reading all books on their own.

      My main concern I have now (as I look at books) is what to make my spine(s) for Form II when it comes to introducing "the Sciences". I understand it is to be a different genre than Nature Lore. Is it to be something that will merely introduce science topics to the child or delve into a topic in a meaty way?

      Should the experiments play a large part in Form II or is it supposed to be an added benefit? When I look at the PNEU Form II schedules, I don't see the experiments added in, but maybe it was done in the afternoons?

      One last thought- on the PNEU FORM III, you can clearly see different Science topics listed (like Botany, etc.) -- why weren't they spelled out as clearly in Form II (where they are simply listed as Natural History?)

      Thank you again for answering all my questions! I do love this new way of looking at CM schooling but at the same time it is overwhelming!

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    3. "Is it to be something that will merely introduce science topics to the child or delve into a topic in a meaty way?"
      - An introduction, and not the whole topic of physics say, but maybe rather, rainbows, or light, or sound, or simple machines.

      "Should the experiments play a large part in Form II or is it supposed to be an added benefit?"
      - They should be included. Mason specifically said for these students to complete the experiments in the book The Sciences. I would aim for 1 small experiment each week or one every other week. But don't think experiment like you remember from high school. These can be small activities.

      "on the PNEU FORM III, you can clearly see different Science topics listed (like Botany, etc.) -- why weren't they spelled out as clearly in Form II"
      - This is likely because she used The Sciences, which covered 6 subjects. She typically assigned one section each term, which is what inspired the schedule I came up with. And she used one of 2 books always for the nature lore book. Lots of times you have to look at what she was assigning, not necessarily what was on the schedule in just one particular term.

      Hope that helps some.

      ~Nicole

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    4. Thank you for clarifying!!!

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  7. I was just reviewing this podcast amidst planning for the coming year and could use some clarification:

    In Form II, where does the science biography fit in? If my notes are correct :) I'm hearing 3 weekly periods of 20-30 minutes each (2 periods for the term's focus topic and related experiment; 1 period for nature lore).

    Also would object lessons be a 4th weekly period in Form II, as they are in Form I?

    I so appreciate all of your insights into CM science!

    ~ Stacey

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    1. Hello Stacey,
      Object Lessons should be done during afternoon time in the homeschool, and any reading done in the area of special studies should be done during their leisure time, or when a science lesson is wrapped up quicker than expected. Typically this is equivalent to a picture book, so it shouldn't be a problem sneaking it in somewhere.

      Regarding science biographies, you are right that there is not a "place" for them in the schedule. Therefore, you have to be a bit creative. They are important enough to include, but even one that takes all year is fine. Look for a time when your science lesson doesn't take as long as expected, or you are done with the terms work before the term is over, or include it during leisure reading. This last is even better if you can find one in your history time period, because a student should always be reading historical fiction as their leisure reading in the evening, and Emily concurs that scientific thought is an important part of the thought of the age, so it would fit nicely in this category.
      ~Nicole

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  8. Hi! I am looking for a couple books on fruit for our special study. My daughter is 9 and a new reader. I was hoping you could recommend a couple. :)

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    1. I'm not sure what kind of fruit you want to look at, but I picked up the following for one of my children's study of apples:
      Fruits We Eat by Carroll Lane Felton
      The Apple and Other Fruits by Millicent Selsam
      About Fruit by Russell
      About Apples From Orchard to Market by Mary Moore Green
      Apple Orchard by Irmengarde Eberle

      I hope that helps.
      ~Nicole

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  9. This is my first year starting with Nature Lore for my 7 year old (and a tag-along 5 year old). I am having a hard time deciding between the Eyes and No Eyes series and the Among the People series. I have looked at samples, and it seems that the Eyes and No Eyes books have a lot more nature observation details in the readings. I also like the fact that it is about little children discovering things in nature and I know that this would probably spur my son to do the same. However, in the podcast you mentioned that the Among the People series is also a good option as she was from the U.S. Can you help me decide what to start with?

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    1. Tina,

      These are good observations of these books, and great things to think about. During your first month of school, you could even give both of them a little try and see which your son responds to best, or can narrate best. The Among the... books are helpful because of the application to things we know in this country--all our birds and flowers are not the same as those in the UK. We did see Mason use the Eyes and No Eyes series because, I think, they are short and also informational, but the other series she progressed to is very similar to the Among the... series. Also, keep in mind, that what appeals to us as adults is not always the same as what will spark the child's interest the most. It is not a problem to drop a book if it is not working after a couple of weeks or months. There are so many wonderful books in the world, do not fear that you will make irrevocable errors. Mason herself abandoned books on occasion.

      -Liz

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  10. Thank you so much for your thoughts. I think I will go ahead and try out both books as this makes sense. Thanks for making me feel more relaxed about it! :)

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