Thursday, July 2, 2009

Homeschool Science: MFW, Noeo, or Sonlight?

Looking for homeschool curriculum at six months pregnant just isn't working out for me. I can't decided what to eat for lunch everyday, let alone a curriculum to teach my children! With a teacher background I am very picky, and I will likely over-plan anyway. I have laid out a 34 week schedule so far starting in July 2009 and ending in May 2010. I am taking off 5 weeks for the baby (some before, some after), 3 weeks for Christmas/Advent, and 2 weeks for Easter/Spring break. I will still get in my 180 days because we will be doing "school" during Christmas and Easter weeks, just not our chosen curricula. So, I think it's least on paper.

Anyway, science and history are stumping me. I've already posted about my history curriculum choices here. My history choice for a chronological study will likely not be decided for another year. But, for this year I have decided to do Adventures in My Father's World. We will be study US History, which is exactly what I wanted, but it's all planned for me! I already own quite of few of the books, so it shouldn't be as expensive for us. I will definitely throw in my own ideas, books and additional activities, but this seems like a really great core to our study. Sid the Science Kid's Summer Cluhhouse program was focused on Patriotism and the US, so he's already had a wonderful introduction. He knows 9 patriotic songs, has memorized through song his states and capitals in alphabetical order, and he's learned about some of the founding fathers. I've already started my massive book list for each week of study using MFW's scope and sequence.

But, science I keep going back and forth on between these few choices:

**My Father's World included science curriculum
**Sonlight K
**Noeo Literature-based curriculum for Biology

MFW includes science, but it seems like it doesn't cover everything I would like it to. If I used it I would add in a few ideas and books from Sonlight. Sonlight seems good, but it will be expensive to add to my purchase of Adventures in MFW. I have a lot of "equal" books to the Sonlight curriculum, and since I wouldn't pay the extra $60 to get the Instructor's Guides and I'll have to make up my own plans anyway, I feel like I can just add an extra subject in each week and get in everything I want. My children are so excited about science, so I think it will be the highlight of their day. I really don't want to skimp on this part of their school. Noeo science looks good, but again...too expensive. I will likely pull some ideas from their scope and sequence to add into whatever curriculum I choose to buy. I know there are probably great colorful science textbooks, like BJU Press, that would be thorough, but I am definitely looking for a literature-based approach.

I think part of my problem is, I would much rather create these curricula on my own rather than follow someone else's plan. But, my time is way too limited in this season of my life, so I have to invest in something I can really work with that will allow me to add, but minimally to my satisfaction. I wish I could get these curricula in my hands to see them. I could make a better assessment then.

So, if you have any thoughts or suggestions on science curricula, please let me know! I have a very advanced 6yr old doing 2nd grade work, a kindergartner and a preschooler that I would like involved in readings and activities corresponding to their abilities.


Luke said...

Based off what you've written here, Sonligt's science may not be a good fit for you. Don't get me wrong: I'm a huge fan of Sonlight, and I am especially proud of the Discover & Do DVDs (since I helped make them [smile]). And the science kits are a huge help.

But if you don't want to get the IG then it's not really a Sonlight science program, rather it's a pile of materials and a few books. The IG adds notes and depth--and were updated this year!--that you just don't get from the books alone.

But, again, that doesn't sound like what you're looking for. If you want a complete science program for the year, I highly recommend Sonlight. If you're looking for just a few titles to add here and there, I'm not sure what to tell you, but may you find a perfect fit for you an your family!


Shanna said...

Have you ever used Jeannie Fulbright's Apologia series for lower elementary. We've enjoyed both the Underwater Sea Creatures and Flying Creatures books in the series.

Lynnea said...

I highly recommend Noeo. We did Chemistry I with another family last year and I am absolutely amazed at how much they learned. Even my 3 year old learned a lot...

I am using Sonlight for history and used it for science for one year. It was okay, but much prefer Noeo.

Lynnea said...

I used Sonlight science for cores 1 and 2. I love that it is literature based, but wasn't so excited about their workbook. It was basically fill in the blank, some cutting and pasting... very school like.

I did Noeo Chemistry I last year. My girls were 8, 6 and 3 at the beginning of the school year. Noeo schedules 4 days per week for 36 weeks. Since we were doing it with another family we chose to meet 1 time per week for about 2 hours. That worked out really well for us.

We would do the reading for the week and then the girls would write a few sentences about what we read. If there were any definitions assigned, they would also write those. We also did a lot of experiments from the Super Science Concoctions book as well as the assigned experiments from The Young Scientist Club. We would fill out an experiment page for at least one of the experiments. We would also spend 5 or 10 minutes playing bingo with our definitions just to keep them fresh in our minds.

I love Noeo because of the concentration on one subject matter. Sonlight covers a much broader scope so there isn't as much depth.

We are also working on a chemistry lapbook that is very cool.

We will be starting Physics I in September.

Hope that answers some of your questions. :-)


Shanna said...

Well...we usually have our kids out of carseats at age 4...not sure if that is always the safest option, but they had to fit some how and you're wasn't going to happen if they were all in carseats. Also, I should mention that we have pretty big kids...they are always in the 90th percentile in height and weight (My husband is especially proud when the doctors tell us they are "off the charts" :o) ).

So currently we actually only have 2 in carseats. In the minivan, we replaced the 2 bucket seats with an extra bench seat we got at a junkyard and put the two carseats on either end of that. One "lucky" kid got to sit in the middle between the carseats and 3 on the back bench.

I just sent your file folder games, so I hope you enjoy them!

Rachel said...

No idea what to tell you. Thinking about having to choose curriculum stresses me out! I hated following curriculum as a teacher in school so I think I would have to sit down and read through it entirely before deciding (like you said). Good luck! Sounds like you have good suggestions from other people...

Wanted to let you know, if you are available, that some friends of ours with IHOP are planning a trip to the Creation Museum in Cincy. Here's the info if you are interested...

**Sunday August 2nd - Creation Museum - 12-6pm

We have reserved Group Rate for IHOP FW that day.
Rates are described on the rate link.
I ( Ben ) highly recommend this experience especially for anyone with growing young adults. It is the very best interactive and solid presentation I have ever experienced - helping children in a post-modern culture to process a reasonable faith in the witness of the scripture! Bottom line - its well done!
If you would like to join our group that day I need to know no later than Friday July 29 - number of adults and children.
* Transportation - ( it is on the south side of Cincinnati 3.5 hours from Fort Wayne ) and Meals will be on your own.

If you are interested please contact Ben or Denise directly or