Science and Living Books

Are we really into the second week of August already? It’s time to shake off the lazy, unscheduled days of summer and start planning for September! I don’t usually cover homeschooling topics on this blog, but felt inspired to post on how we learn science as I have not found many other blogs that cover teaching highschool level science. Even though we are not die hard Charlotte Mason-ers (I would consider myself more an eclectic homeschooler) we do follow her methods for many subjects. As the years have gone by I have found myself to be more and more comfortable in letting go of the traditional textbook approach for teaching, although we still use textbooks for math. I attended the L’harmas conference last year and was blown away by the displays of architecture, art, science and nature notebooks. It was an “ah ha!” moment. Yes, a collection of notebooks filled with information that the child has deemed important and of interest. How wonderful to finish school and have a treasury of notebooks rather than binders filled with papers that find their way to the recycling box! You must visit the Sage Parnassus blog for more info about notebooking the Charlotte Mason way.

It is very likely that our eldest daughter Emma will be pursuing the arts or design at a post secondary level. If she were going into the sciences I would have her use the Apologia science curriculum as it is a more intensive program. As she is not, I feel comfortable with the level of information she is getting from reading ‘living’ science books and recording her findings in her science notebook.

So, how does this work? For grade 9 Emma was studying Human biology. I chose a selection of living books, a ‘spine’ biology book to reference and a couple of biographies. She would read a chapter of a book Monday to Thursday, and on Friday she would illustrate something that she had found interesting from that weeks reading. She also had the option of including pictures she had cut out from Dover’s Human Anatomy Coloring Book. This years topic is chemistry so her notebook will also contain any experiments that she does. The Dollar Store here in Ontario carries a wonderful hardcover spiral bound notebook for just a few dollars. Narrations happened spontaneously throughout the week, sometimes with a little prompting from me. Our children seem to resist doing narrations!

Grade 9 Human Biology Booklist

Holistic Anatomy. A selection of chapters. Note: I chose this book as we are more naturally minded when it comes to medicine and I wanted something that reflected this. We skipped the chapters that get into spiritual aspects because they do not reflect our faith and stuck to the chapters that deal with the different body systems.

I am Joe’s Body. Free online. This is an interesting book that takes you through each body part of a fictitious character Joe. Some information is out of date and the writer seems a little obsessed with cancer, but I still found it a good living book.

Microbe Hunters

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made.

Cells: Building Blocks of Life. We were able to borrow this book from our library.

-The courage of Doctor Lister by Iris Noble and Alice Fitzgerald: Nurse Around the World by Iris Noble. These books are out of print, but well worth ordering from AbeBooks. Iris Noble books are fantastic living books about interesting people and places. I have been ordering a couple each year.

Khan Academy has free teaching videos on Human Biology. My daughter did not love these, but they may be a good supplement for a visual learner.

Grade 10 Chemistry Booklist

The Boy Chemist.

Napoleon’s Buttons.

The Disappearing Spoon.

Slow Death by Rubber Duck.

Uncle Tungsten:Memories of a Chemical Boyhood.

Itch: The Explosive Adventures of an Element Hunter.

Dynamic Periodic Table. An interactive online periodic table.

Chemistry lessons using Lego bricks.

-Khan Academy chemistry lessons.

Nova video series.

Just for fun:
-October Sky and Back to the Future movies.
Periodic Table Mug.

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