Monday, October 7, 2013

A Closer Look: How We Do Science

It can be challenge to juggle 2 levels of science. With Cati in 6th and Sam in 3rd, they're just far enough apart in academic levels that combining them simply doesn't work well. Cati complains it's too slow, Sam gets frustrated that it's too fast, and I wonder how I"m going to meet the learning needs of both my kids.

But I lucked out this year and found LIFE SCIENCE for BOTH kids.

Cati is using Prentice Hall's Life Science, Amazon new starting at $19.00; a middle school level 833 page textbook traditionally taught in public schools. 


And Sam is using Mr. Q's Life Science, free; an on-line elementary level curriculum.

But how we do science is through NOTEBOOKING. For more information about notebooking, click over to this link from So You Think You're a Homeschooler? website.

Both Cati and Sam have color-coordinated - Yes! That again! I'm obsessed! LOL - composition notebooks for science. Composition notebooks hold together much better than the spiral bound one-subjects. 

First, I photocopy or print out the table of contents for their curriculum and glue them into the first page or two of their notebooks. Having the table of contents readily available helps to plan studies, but also works as a QUICK GLANCE record of the topics covered over the course of the year. As each chapter is completed, it's highlighted. We don't always get through every chapter each year.

I also glue in an envelop in the back of the notebooks to place little odds and ends. This year, Sam's small Mr. Q chapter-by-chapter vocab cards get tucked inside for matching games.

As the kids read their chapters, they take notes and photocopy or replicate charts, graphs or labelled drawings in their notebooks. Cati is mostly works independently, but we're still working on careful reading, taking notes and picking out the most important information in each chapter. For Sam, we read the chapters together, then summarize the information together on a whiteboard which he copies into his notebook.

The amount of notes and details depends on who's taking them. Here is Sam's (left) and Cati's (right) photocopied microscope notes:

Cati also takes self-tests on the Prentice Hall website here to gauge her level of comprehension and learning. 

Fortunately, as both are studying similar concepts we've been able to complete labs together. Those are photocopied out of the Prentice Hall book, glued into each notebook. Both complete any required graphs and information following the lab, but Cati continues on with the comprehension questions at the end of each one.

So far using different levels of Life Science combined with notebooking as made for a smooth Science year!

How do you juggle different levels of Science in your homeschool?


  1. Oh my! You are definitely more organized with science than I am. I don't juggle it. My kids hate science. They are all in a different science book. It's pretty much self taught unless they have difficulty. For instance, my oldest just finished the unit on cell reproduction and she was lost. I had to reteach it. She still didn't do too well and got a bit lazy on her test. So she failed. I made her correct all the ones she missed using the book.

  2. That looks like a really great plan! We do not do science very well. I will tuck away this information for future reference, that's for sure! I love notebooking!


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