Thinking ahead

I am thinking ahead again. While I am ordering for this year, I am starting to think about next year. This helps me keep an eye out for interesting things of the topics I think we may want to study. One thing I’d prefer to do is have both kids studying similar things for social studies and science.

They may be on different levels, but if the topics are similar, it makes it easier for me. In fact, this is how the district is set up. Each level delves deeper into the science content areas. So while the content areas stay the same, the student is learning new things each level. This works great because instead of bouncing around and learning a little geology, biology, physics, and chemistry each grade, I can concentrate on one for a year and get several levels of that content area finished then switch to another. My children enjoy the more in depth study as well. They are understanding more specifics rather than just a general understanding. It’s a mastery approach rather than the spiral approach general used in elementary school.

The drawback is finding quality materials instead of general textbooks or small, disjointed unit studies. Luckily WinterPromise and Sonlight seem to share this approach to teaching science. While filling out forms and browsing websites for this year’s items, I discovered WinterPromise has redesigned their geology program. It now has several items I was interested in. The target grades are 3-6 so Karen will be a little young using it in 2nd grade. However, most of their science programs are on the light side so I think it will be fine for both of them.

Then I’d like to revisit biology for their 3rd and 6th grades respectively. The Sonlight Science 3 has some good books.

For 4th and 7th grades we’ll do chemistry.

Then Richard will be ready for Apologia science texts while Karen does the more advanced parts that he already did. I’ve heard mostly good about them. From the review on homeschoolreview.com the general science text has been successfully used starting as early as 6th grade so I may do it then with Richard considering how gifted he is in science. They are available from Sonlight and Christian Light Education. Sonlight is on the approved vendor list for our allotment so I’ll likely order from them if we end up using it.

I may put together an Alaska study using books such as Julie of the Wolves, White Fang, The Call of the Wild, To Build a Fire, and Robert Service poetry (such as the Cremation of Sam McGee. Add some history books such as the journals of Judge Wickersham, native stories such as The Roots of Ticasuk, early Fairbanks such as The Way it Was; along with Alaskan geography such as building the Alcan Highway in The Trail of ’42, stories of the great 1969 earthquake,;the Valdez oil spill, and biology (Wild Harmony, To the Arctic) for a cross-curricular theme for middle or high school. Or turn it into a wilderness adventure study by adding My Side of the Mountain and Where the Red Fern Grows (I still cry when I read that one).

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