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Science and Nature Study: September 2019: Age 8

Science is fun!

Science is not a subject that is prioritised in the mainstream primary classroom. With half of the school week taken up with literacy and numeracy lessons, it leaves just the afternoon sessions to cram in the rest of the national curriculum subjects. It's a shame, as not only is science crucially important, but it is fun to learn, and as we all know when children are enjoying themselves they are more likely to learn (and the irony is that they'll be learning more than just the science... literacy and numeracy too!)

Our Science plans for the coming year are somewhat random, but they work well for us. As with math, we do not follow a science curriculum, and never have. We have a good selection of science experiment books, like those photographed above, all of which I found in our local charity shops. If I were to pick just one of the three, I'd go for the Usborne 100 Science Experiments as the instructions and explanations of the science involved are well considered and clear, which is pretty typical of Usborne products. We utilise our library for more variety and have found some great unused science kits at local car boot sales and charity shops, as photographed below. We choose lessons that relate to our current topics if possible, or pick some randomly just for fun.

A Chemistry Focus

Last year Bean took part in a term of Mad Science workshops for home educated children. They were really practical, and professionally led, and Bean loved them, so this term I've signed her up for some similar workshops for home educated children being run by Fun Science more locally to us.

What I discovered through observing her engagement during these sessions is that chemistry is her strong interest, so this is where we are focussing our attention for the time being. For the past year, we've been experimenting with different slime recipes, cooking and baking, making cornflour gloop, trying to grow our own geodes and crystals, experimenting with colour, playing with vinegar and bicarbonate of soda etc. etc.

This PINK Chemistry set found it's way into our shopping basket last time we were in Tesco (it was half price) and we haven't been able to hold back until September with this one!

Before I move on to Nature Study, I just wanted to quickly mention one book which has really taken me by surprise, the Usborne Lift-the-Flap Periodic Table We got this book out of the library about a year ago, and I have to say that I was a bit sceptical of Bean's choice, as it seemed quite an advanced topic to me, but Bean instantly fell in love with it. After renewing it umpteen times, I added it to her Christmas wish list. It is one of the few books that Bean refuses to rotate, and often chooses for me to read to her at bedtime! Highly recommended.

Exploring Nature With Children

I'm sure that you're all tired of me banging on about the Exploring Nature With Children Curriculum, but honestly, what's not to love?! It is a year long nature based curriculum, with weekly seasonal themes, book recommendations and prompts for focusing your nature study. What I love about it is that you can dip in and out, adapt it for all ages, and use it over and over again. This will be our third year loosely following it, mainly through a weekly nature walk, reading related books and following up with the odd art and craft project. It has inspired so much rich learning in our home over the past two years, it's really rather special.

You can read more about it, and order here.

This is the third of five blog posts sharing our plans for the upcoming school year. You can read the first in the series, on Language and Literacy here, and the second in the series, on Math here. Next week I will be sharing with you our plans for History and Geography, and the following week our plans for Extra Curricular (all the other enriching activities that form part of our home education journey)…

With love, Rowan x

This blog post contains affiliate links. If you do click through, Bean and I will receive a small amount of commission which will contribute to new books and resources for her home education. You can, however, find all of these resources elsewhere, including other online retailers, second hand selling pages and your local library.

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