Science Woes…Again

03 Dec

During our latest R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey lab, we used corn syrup and other various food items to construct a model of blood. When we were finished, my son looked up at me with one side of his little nose wrinkled up and said,

“Is that it?”

My thoughts exactly.

RSO hasn’t exactly wowed us. It’s been nice having everything laid out for me, and having little prep work, and Esa has been learning (a little) from it, but…there’s just something a lot missing.

It’s too textbook-y, too fact-based, the labs aren’t great, and it isn’t thorough enough. We’ve been supplementing quite a lot with The Usborne Internet-Linked Science Encyclopedia, which is great, as well as many other books, but we’re just left with that underwhelmed feeling that comes from learning a few facts and little else.

I’ve decided to bring BFSU back out. I had reservations about shelving this, and those have proved well-founded.

I know I complained about the amount of prep work involved with BFSU, but having tried something else and not liked it, I’m more motivated to put in the extra work. The grass was not greener on the other side, and BFSU is well worth the effort. I may make it a point to do science on a Monday, to ensure it gets done. I tend to cook something simple on Mondays, so my afternoons are mostly free.

My other issue with BFSU was the demonstration-like lessons and the lack of “experiments”. Esa felt as though he didn’t have much to do. He just watched and we talked. This is something I’ll have to remedy as well, but I think I’m creative enough to work it out.

What makes me sigh is that next year (or the year after) we’ll probably be using Classical Writing. I’ve bought the first half of Aesop (at 25% off…had to jump on it), and it’s very teacher-intensive…fantastic,Β  but a lot of work. I’d also hoped to add in Philosophy using Little Big Minds. Next year could prove to be our most time-consuming year of homeschooling. I know that soon Esa will be more independent in his work and my load will lighten, but I’m going to have to be super-organised and cut back elsewhere.

For anyone wondering about ordering Classical Writing in the UK, I’ll share my experience. They use Lulu, which is a print-on-demand company. You place the order, the books are printed and shipped out. Because of this, you cannot return the items. The shipping was about Β£5 and despite the fact that the 3 books were coming from America and had to be printed beforehand, the books arrived at my door within 7 days (5 business days) of ordering. I was very impressed.

I’ve also discovered that the second volume of BFSU is now available on Amazon, which is great news for BFSU users.


Posted by on December 3, 2010 in Philosophy, Science, Second Grade, Writing


Tags: , , , ,

4 responses to “Science Woes…Again

  1. Elsie Hickey Wilson

    December 3, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    Dear Michelle and Esa,
    Oh, I love the Usborne books! I used them in my teaching a lot, and my grandson loves them too. They really make so clear visually and also are well written…accurate, too.
    You know, just like so many textbooks/programs, I’d just use the textbooks as a guide as to topics to be sure you cover, but things like the Usborne interactive etc. stuff has much more meat for a wonderful mind like Esa’s to learn from!

    • whimsyway

      December 4, 2010 at 3:48 pm

      Yes, we love the Usborne books, too, but Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding does such a great job of getting kids to think and question and promotes the scientific method. We’ll definitely keep using the Usborne books as a supplement. πŸ™‚

  2. Neo

    December 3, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    Glad you’re sharing your experience with R.E.A.L. science! Yes, we’re finding it a little too touch-and-go, not enough substance for real understanding. I’m also reconsidering using BFSU in a more creative, hands-on way — perhaps adding some hands-on experiments from elsewhere to the narrative discussions provided by BFSU. Good luck (to us too) with BFSU again!

    Thanks for the recommendations for Grades 3+. They look really good!

    BTW, nice touch with the snow effect on this page! πŸ™‚

    • whimsyway

      December 4, 2010 at 3:53 pm

      Yes, good luck to all of us going back to BFSU! I’ve got the book sitting next to me and I’m going to have a read-through of the next lesson (C-4) and try to see what we can do with it to make it more hands-on. I’ll be sure to share anything good we do here. πŸ™‚


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