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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Organizing Science (Books)

I have all of our science books in groups on our unused formal dining room table and I've been racking my brain on how to effectively organize them. I was lost on how to organize our books about animals until someone (thank you Dawn, you've been very inspirational!) pointed out that they could be organized by taxonomy. Taxonomy is the process of classifying living things by Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species (it goes further and into sub-categories).

Looking at our books, we have books based on ecology or ecosystems (habitats) which focus more on an individual habitat and discuss the various animals which inhabit it. Then we have a few (just a few) books on individual or similar animals and animal behavior.

I need organization, it is something I crave and once I have it, I can move more freely through our studies with a focus instead of feeling all over the place. Because there is a HIGH probability that we're moving, I feel like I should organize our books before packing them and science is the one area where I'm lacking a meaningful system. I've had them divided by Life Science, Earth Science, Physical and Chemistry but that's not enough. I still wasn't able to determine how many books we had in each field of science and which ones I wanted to use for any given topic without spending a good amount of time looking through the bookshelves.

My overall divisions for our science books are as follows:

- Books that consist of more than one field of study (Biology, Geology, Astronomy, etc.)
- Reference books such as Encyclopedias that cover more than one field of study.


: the study of objects and matter outside the earth's atmosphere and of their physical and chemical properties

The scientific study of celestial objects (such as stars, planets, comets, and galaxies) and phenomena that originate outside the Earth's atmosphere (such as the cosmic background radiation). It is concerned with the evolution, physics, chemistry, meteorology, and motion of celestial objects, as well as the formation and development of the universe
- Books about Space, Space Travel and celestial objects.


Scientific study of atmospheric phenomena, particularly of the troposphere and lower stratosphere
Meteorology entails the systematic study of weather and its causes, and provides the basis for weather forecasting. See also climatology.

Concepts: Weather, Atmospheric Changes, Seasons & Calendar, Clouds, Water Cycle, Air Pressure, etc.

: a science that deals with the history of the earth and its life especially as recorded in rocks
: a study of the solid matter of a celestial body (as the moon)

Basic Concepts: rocks, soil, and gemstones, geology studies the composition, structure, physical properties, history, and the processes that shape Earth's components
- Books that deal solely with the physical properties of Earth


the study of prehistoric life forms on Earth through the examination of plant and animal fossils. This includes the study of body fossils, tracks (ichnites), burrows, cast-off parts, fossilised faeces (coprolites), palynomorphs and chemical residues. Studies of prehistoric hominins, their culture and their behaviour are the purview of two other disciplines, archaeology and paleoanthropology.

Basic Concepts: Prehistoric life, dinosaurs, fossils

- Books about Dinosaurs, Fossils, Prehistoric

Study of the Earth's oceans and seas. Covering a wide range of topics: marine organisms and ecosystem dynamics; ocean currents, waves, and geophysical fluid dynamics; plate tectonics and the geology of the sea floor; and fluxes of various chemical substances and physical properties within the ocean and across its boundaries.

• Biological oceanography, or marine biology, is the study of the plants, animals and microbes (biota) of the oceans and their ecological interaction;

• Chemical oceanography, or marine chemistry, is the study of the chemistry of the ocean and its chemical interaction with the atmosphere;

• Geological oceanography, or marine geology, is the study of the geology of the ocean floor including plate tectonics;

• Physical oceanography, or marine physics, studies the ocean's physical attributes including temperature-salinity structure, mixing, waves, internal waves, tides and currents. Of particular interest is the behavior of sound (acoustical oceanography), light (optical oceanography) and radio waves in the ocean.
- Books that deal with any study of the oceans, seas and large bodies of water on the planet Earth.

: a science that deals with the composition, structure, and properties of substances and with the transformations that they undergo
Basic Concepts: Atom, Element, Compound, Substance, Molecule, Mole, Ions and salts, Phase, Chemical bond, Chemical reaction, Energy, and Chemical laws
- Books that deal solely with the basic concepts listed above.

1: a science that deals with matter and energy and their interactions
2 a: the physical processes and phenomena of a particular system b: the physical properties and composition of something
Basic Concepts: force, energy, mass, and charge
- Books that deal solely with the basic concepts listed above.

: the technology involving the development, maintenance, and use of computer systems, software, and networks for the processing and distribution of data
- Books that deal solely with the field of study defined above.

People in the past and present which make significant contributions to any of the fields of science.
- Biographies and Autobiographies in all fields of scientific study.
*books will also be listed under each field of science as well

Anatomy is subdivided into gross anatomy and microscopic anatomy.

Gross anatomy (also called topographical anatomy, regional anatomy, or anthropotomy) is the study of anatomical structures that can be seen by unaided vision.

Microscopic anatomy is the study of minute anatomical structures assisted with microscopes, which includes histology (the study of the organization of tissues), and cytology (the study of cells).

Anatomy, physiology (the study of function) and biochemistry (the study of the chemistry of living structures) are complementary basic medical sciences where are typically studied in tandem.
Basic Concepts: The human body consists of biological systems, that consist of organs, that consist of tissues, that consist of cells and connective tissue.
- Books that deal with the human body and biology in all aspects.

1: a branch of science concerned with the interrelationship of organisms and their environments
2: the totality or pattern of relations between organisms and their environment
Ecosystems: This classification is used to define the Global 200 list of ecoregions identified by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) as priorities for conservation.

This classification gives the following terrestrial biomes :

However, for our purposes we will arrange the ecosystems this way for our studies K-4:
A. Grassland
1. Savanna
2. Prairie
3. Alpine (Mountain)

B. Desert
1. Coastal Desert
2. Semi-Arrid Desert
3. Hot & Dry Desert

C. Tropical Forest
1. Rain Forest
2. Sub-tropical areas

D. Forests & Woodlands

E. Aquatic
1. Freshwater
2. Ocean: Coral, Deep Sea
3. Wetlands, Rivers and Marsh
4. Arctic, Antarctic (Polar)

- Books that deal with habitats/ecosystems, environmental issues and endangered animals.

1: a branch of biology concerned with the classification and the properties and vital phenomena of animals
2 a
: animal life (as of a region) : fauna b: the properties and vital phenomena exhibited by an animal, animal type, or group

A. Taxonomy:
orderly classification of plants and animals according to their presumed natural relationships
*This may change as I learn more but here's the structure I currently have and I do not claim this to be 100% accurate or finished.

-Monotremes - platypus
-Marsupial - kangaroos, koala
-Insectivores - moles, hedgehogs
-Chiroptera - bats
-Primates - monkeys, apes
-Endentata - anteaters, sloths, armadillos
-Rodents - rats, mice, muskrats, voles, hamsters, guinea pigs, chincillas
A. Dogs (wolves, foxes)
B. Bears
C. Racoons
D. Weasels, Otters, Skunks, Badgers
E. Hyena
F. Cats (Tiger, Mountain Lion, Puma, Cheetah)
-Proboscidae - elephants
A. Horses
B. Zebras
C. Donkeys
D. Tapis
E. Rhinoceroses
A. Pigs
B. Hippopatumus
C. Camels
D. Deer
E. Giraffes
F. Cattle, Sheep, Goats
G. Antelopes
A. Walrus, Seal, Whales, Dolphins, Manatees
Microorganisms, Fungi, etc.


- Books the singly deal with these topics or groups


CNIDARIA -corals, jellyfish, hydra and sea anemones
ENCHINODERMS -Sea stars, sand dollars
- Pillbugs, Centipedes, Scorpions
- Spiders
- Insects
A. General Insects
B. Butterflies & Moths
C. Bees & Wasps
D. Ants
E. Cockroaches, Grasshoppers, Crickets
F. Beetles
G. Flies, Termites, Dragonflies

- Books the singly deal with these topics or groups
B. Traits and Behaviors: biological clock, dominance, estivation, growth, hibernation, instinct, metamorphosis, migration, mimicry, pheromone, camouflage, reproduction, sleep, sound, and territorial behavior
- Books the singly deal with these topics

1: a branch of biology dealing with plant life
2 a: plant life b: the properties and life phenomena exhibited by a plant, plant type, or plant group

Botany covers a wide range of scientific disciplines that study plants, algae, and fungi including: structure, growth, reproduction, metabolism, development, diseases, and chemical properties and evolutionary relationships between the different groups. The study of plants and botany began with tribal lore, used to identify edible, medicinal and poisonous plants, making botany one of the oldest sciences.

I. Botanic Taxonomy


Lack xylem and phloem tissues that carry water and food from one part of the plant body to another

Liverworts, hornworts, mosses
A. Hepaticae: Liverworts
B. Anthocerotae: Hornworts
C. Musci: Moses

A. Psilophyta: whisk ferns or fork ferns
B. Lycophyta: Club mosses, quillworts, selaginellas
C. Sphenophyta: horsetails
D. Pterophyta: ferns
E. Coniferophyta: conifers, evergreen trees or shrubs
F. Cycadophyta: Cycads, fernlike leave and large seed cones
G. Ginkgophyta: Ginkgoes
H. Gnetophyta: found in deserts and tropical forest, seeds not in cones, leaves called bracts
I. Anthophyta: Flowering plants, angiosperms (two types of angiosperms: Monocotyledonae and Dicotyledonae
1. Monocotyledonae: One cotyledon
2. Dicotyledonae: Two cotyledons
II. Parts of plants: bark, bud, bulb, catkin, cell, cellulose, chlorophyll, chloroplast, corm, cotyledon, drupe, flower, fruit, grain, inflorescence, leaf, lenticel, nut, raceme, rhizome, root, sap, seed, spore, stem, thorn, tuber, wood

III. Kinds of Plants: angiosperm, annual, biennial, bryophyte, carnivorous plant, conifer, dicotyledon, epiphyte, fern, flower, grass, gymnosperm, herb, hornwort, legume, liverwort, monocotyledon, moss, perennial, poisonous plant, pteridophyte, shrub, succulent, tree, vegetable, vine, water plant, weed

IV. Plant Products: Alcohol, Charcoal, Cork, Drug(s), Dye, Fiber, Food, Forest Products, Gutta-percha, Lumber, Paper, Perfume, Resin, Rosin, Rubber, Tar and Turpentine

V. Plant Growing: Agriculture, Alternation of generations, Auxin, Bonsai, Breeding, Farm & Farming, Fertilizer, Gardening, Germination, Grafting, Greenhouse, Herbarium, Hybrid, Hydroponic, Insecticide, Nursery, Photoperiodism, Photosynthesis, Pollen, Pruning, Reproduction, Soil, Terrarium, Transplanting

VI. Where Plants Live: Bog, Desert, Forest, Grassland, Pampa, Plain, Pond, Prairie, Savanna, Seashore, Steppe, Tropical Rain Forest, Tundra, Wetland

VII. Crops
VIII. Garden Flowers
IX. Wild Flowers
X. Herbs
XI. Vegetables
XII. Shrubs
XIII. Trees

For book purposes we will have all books about flowers, plants and agriculture under Botany.
I will be expanding this as we learn more about Botanic Taxonomy.

Special note: Creation vs. Evolution and all that jazz will be studied separately under Apologetics.


Friday, March 28, 2008

Weekly Report, TOG Week 18

Dh had surgery Monday. We're not having a full week but doing what we can between my nurse duties. My energy level varies throughout the day because I'm bouncing between the kids, Jack and dh needing me. It's draining when Danny is getting into something, dh is calling me and Camille is asking questions. Poor Jack hasn't had a walk in a week and is restless too.

The kids don't really understand that dh cannot be left alone and this makes us homebound for a while, with the exception of quick trips to the library, post office and grocery store. We can't even go on a nature walk although we will be spending time in the backyard today.

NATURE STUDY while confined...
We're going to observe two nests in our tree, the actual tree that is the header for this blog. The rest of the nests that we thought were being built were either blown away by strong winds we've had or they weren't actually nests in the making at all. If the weather is nice today, I'm planning a backyard picnic for lunch with a drawing session in our nature journals afterwards. Thankfully we have a phone system that allows each handset to call each other like walkie-talkies so that as long as we don't venture too far in the yard, dh can call me if he needs me.

We have a Hummingbird Feeder at our kitchen window now and a little friend that has been coming by every now and then. Our garden of dahlias, marigolds and impatiens is germinating and we have a bird feeder for our backyard birds. I suspect we have a nest of Cardinals in our tree because a male Cardinal serenades us throughout the day.

Our lesson status from this week

Bible- one lesson all week

Math- out of lessons 110-114, lesson 110-112 is done- we'll complete 113 and 114 today and tomorrow

Reading- Camille is still reading George's Marvelous Medicine and I'm still reading aloud Mother West Wind's Children

Poetry- Reviewing daily Time to Rise and Singing Time

History- none

Science- working on notebook pages for Venus and Earth, nature study

LA- so far 2 lessons of PLL have been done, another 2 will be done today and tomorrow

Phonics- Lesson 3 of Book 6 was finished yesterday in one sitting (she's getting fast!). Side note: Camille has been writing numerous letters this week on her own accord and experimenting with spelling larger words on her own. She likes to wrap these notes/letters up like presents and present them to me.

French- listening to Unit 1 of Écoutez, Parlez book 1 although we should be on Unit 2. Review never hurts, lol.

Piano- private lessons going well, we've been listening to Vivaldi each day

Next week will be our official week for TOG Week 18, we will just pick up where we left off and I will not worry about getting off the schedule. We will still take April 7-11 off for Spring Break.

Books and Science
I am working on separating our science related books into the topics to cover and putting the books in their own totes sort of like a unit study. We are building a science library through and with occasional Amazon orders.

Here's a recent order I made at Book Closeouts:

Ocean Life from A to Z (Book and DVD)
Maps & Globes by Jack Knowlton
The Circle of Days
The Animal Family
Everglades (by Jean Craighead George), I purchased the last one but there are other books linked
Rachel Carson's The Sense of Wonder
The Story of Clocks and Calendars by Maestro
Gather Up, Gather In: A book of Seasons
One Lighthouse, One Moon by Anita Lobel
And the Good Brown Earth
Buzz Aldrin's Reaching for the Moon

I saved over $100.00 at

There are loads of living books available at BookCloseouts, grab your list of favorite authors and see for yourself. There are a number of Jim Arnosky, Jean Craighead George and other wonderful living author's books available.

SEARCH for your Favorite Authors


You know how some women get excited about finding new shoes or clothes for discount prices? I'm the same, just with fabulous books. Lol. Here are the recent books we've gotten from


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Oceanography K-6

From recent research on oceanography books, our list of living books and reference books


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wordy Wednesday

My dh is healing, he's sore and needs help but he's doing well. We are now doing our lessons since FIL has left and I'm grateful to give the kids something productive to do. It drives me crazy not to do something with them. I didn't realize how much purpose it gives our day, Camille is currently listening to Vivaldi and completing her independent math work.

I am working on book lists, books we own, books we want to own and what age group they are appropriate for. I'm using the topics I put in our Seasonal Science chart to organize the books although we're not going to our nature studies. For an example:


The Listening Walk
Feel the Wind
On the Same Day in March
Air is All Around You
Usborne First Encyclopedia of Our World
The Cloud Book
Magic School Bus, Inside a Hurricane
The Man Who Named the Clouds
The Storm Book
and so on.

I'm actually not putting them in grade levels but I'm writing down all our titles and I'll put whatever succession of reading I think will be best for my kids. BookMooch is aiding greatly in developing a home library for science. We have a short list of books to purchase after previewing them through the library to make sure we really want them.

We will work out for ourselves the balance between reading, narrating, illustrating and performing experiments. We'll read about a subject for 60-90 days and then move on. We will be keeping a science notebook, filled with whatever we want at whatever time. It could be coloring pages, illustrations from our reading, narrations, or a map about where we are talking about. I thought about creating unit studies for each book, and making it more academic until I realized that will kill the love of learning. I will follow the kids' lead on this.

Nature Studies
This will consist of backyard projects and nature walks but will be done informally. I'm reading a lot about being a silent teacher during nature walks so I will keep mum and just follow my own interests. If I see a flower I want to draw, I'll draw it. I'm so glad I bought the Handbook of Nature Study, what a multi-layer resource!

Although I can't really put the plan on paper just yet, we're going to read Mother West Wind's How Stories after we finish Mother West Wind's Children by Thornton Burgess. From there, we'll probably read Seed-Babies by Margaret Worley which I printed from online.

That's it. I'm done thinking, planning and scheming for science, it's time to DO. Actually we're still on the planets but we are reading Mother West Wind's Children and doing nature studies. I haven't written about our nature walks because LIFE has been busy. We're doing them, I'm just not writing about them. Hopefully that will change this week.

Boy this is turning into a science blog...sheesh. I'll post about our 3rd grade poems next. Yes, I know which ones they will be.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

It's Tuesday, or is it Monday?

My dh had back surgery yesterday, he is fine and will be coming home today from the hospital. My FIL is here. So do we have lessons or let them go? In trying to make sure we're prepared for dh's surgery, I didn't have time to prepare like I would usually do for a week of lessons. I think it's going to be a super light week with reading, writing, math and science.

I think I'll take some time this week to think more about science. I'm a structured person but I don't feel like I've found my balance quite yet. I still lean towards more structured studies- a part of me just wants to read, learn and have fun while the other part wants notebooking pages, a plan to follow and reassurance that I'm providing the meat of the academics. It's more of a personality thing for me than anything else which is preventing me from being able to solidify any plans.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Science by Seasons

Each season, we'll have a MAIN focus but read/journal about all the topics in the season through our book basket reading (independently) and through our nature walks. I did go through and bold certain topics to highlight but realized that it might be better to just see where our interest leads a little. This may change COMPLETELY at ANY TIME but I feel better having some type of plan.

Anyways, it's just an idea. Next, I'll make a listing of the books we'll read that I know of right now, leaving it open to explore other books that we haven't discovered yet.


Friday, March 21, 2008

Continuing ideas about science

I'm still trying to wrap my head around all my ideas and find a way to make them work for us instead of us working for them. Here's what a few lovely friends and I worked on today while visiting.

1. Use the literary science books as primary reading, with The Handbook of Nature Study and other books for more information. Provide on-level or below book basket for pleasure reading of any science topics throughout the year.

2. Admitted to myself and friend (fellow homeschooler) that I am in fact, a nature girl.

3. I was reminded very loving that if I follow my heart and trust the gifts God has provided me, I will provide an excellent education in science for my children. Thank you so much for reminding me of that Theresa!

Here's the Nature Study by Seasons outline we came up with:

Forest, Agriculture, Geology, Human Body, Camping Outdoors, Ecology

Astronomy, Chemistry*, Physical Science*, Technology*, Weather, Ecology
*Experiments can be done inside during winter or any other time during the year when we want/need to stay inside.

Botany, Ornithology (birds), Agriculture, Weather, Astronomy, Earth Science, Ecology

Weather (hurricane season), Marine Biology/Water habitats, Insects, Reptiles, Physical Science through play, Ecology

Yearly Projects:
- gardening, composting
- adopting a plant, tree, animal and observing & documenting growth/change throughout a year
- raising animals (tadpoles, worms, etc.)
- keep collections (rocks, shells, flower pressing, etc.)
- recycling
- when old enough, participate in 4-H and other programs

Scientist Biographies
- do within history timeline, with age-appropriate books
- finish each biography with an experiment if possible

(Advice to me) Remind yourself:
You are doing great, it will be fine.

I'm still in thought about this, this is really just a free-flowing write of my thoughts. I'm trying to figure out if I should structure this anymore for myself or just go from here.

Books I'm depending on to help me:

The Educated Child by William Bennett provides a timeline of studies for each grade through 8th and is supported by Core Knowledge which includes books like Books to Build On by E.D. Hirsch and What your child needs to know series. I'm not looking to duplicate the Core Knowledge approach of studies but use it as a tool to help formulate our own. Core Knowledge has free online lesson plans. The Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock, All Through the Ages by Christine Miller, Home Learning Year by Year by Rebecca Rupp, The Nature Study Idea Book for All Ages by Mary Woodis. The rest is me and my crazy ideas.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ideas for 3rd Grade

again from my notes...

The year will be split up into 4 quarters, as there are 4 units in each year of TOG. Each quarter will be about 9 weeks with 1 week off. A proposed schedule

Sept 15th - Nov 10th = First Quarter
.............Nov 17-28th off, two weeks
Dec 1-19th, Second Quarter continues..
.............Dec 22-26th off
Dec 29- Feb 6th = Second Quarter
.............Feb 9-13 off
Feb 16- April 17th = Third Quarter
.............April 20-24 off
April 27-June 26 = Fourth Quarter

This will allow us to start AFTER the projected release dates of TOG Redesign Year 3 and Year 4 for 4th grade.

Each Quarter:

Read about and listen to- one composer in the Baroque Period 1600-1750.
1st- Antonio Vivaldi
2nd- Johann Sebastian Bach
3rd- George Frideric Handel
4th - Franz Joseph Haydn (Classical Period 1750-1820)

Focusing on one composer at a time will allow us to rent DVDs, get familiar with their pieces and learn more deeply about each composer. We will read biographies by Opal Wheeler and Madeleine Goss as well as any picture books the library can provide. We will also learn the themes from Themes to Remember 1 by Classical Magic. Camille will work on creating a presentation on each composer.

Scientist Biographies - at least two each quarter
These will be in the framework of our history studies. I have not seen the book list for TOG Year 3 so this will be decided upon later. There will be an extension project, for at least one scientist, utilizing art and writing if not experiments. I think 1 per 3 weeks is more than enough to read and accomplish a project. *I may simplify this to just reading aloud and narrating if it is too much. This will be a Masterly Inactivity exercise.

Art will be through projects and formally using Drawing With Children by Mona Brooks.
She wants art, she'll have art- coming out of her ears! Lol. Nature Journal, Art Lessons, History and Science projects.

I may add more to this later


My evolving list of books for Science

From my recent notes...

Books we have and want to read no matter what we do, the ones with * are ones we do not own. This list has nothing to with Tapestry of Grace, which includes science history within it's framework. This has been completely done on my own with the exception of the list of scientist's name in chronological order which came from a timeline. It is not complete but a great start.

Animal books
Among the Pond People
Among the Night People
Among the Forest People
Among the Meadow People
Mother West Wind Books: Children, How
Burgess Book of Nature Lore
Burgess Animal Book for Children
Our Humble Helpers (Domestic)
How Animals Talk
Stories Mother Nature Told Her Children*

Burgess Bird Book for Children
Citizen Bird by Osgood
Wings of the Forest by Long

Cheerful Cricket and Others by Jeannette Marks
Insect Folk by Morley
Children of Summer: Jean Henri Fabre Insects
more Fabre books like Life of the Spider, etc.

Springtime Flowers
Flower Chronicles
Wonder Book of Plant Life by Fabre
Seed-Babies by Morley
Naturalist's Garden

Oceans & Sea Life
Burgess Seashore Book*
The Seashore Book by Zolotow
The Seaside Naturalist

Earth Science
The Geography Book by Caroline Arnold
The Space Book
A Child's Introduction to the Night Sky
Rey's Stars
Rey's Constellations
Look at the Sky and Tell the Weather
Fairy-land of Science
Story Book of Science
Madam How and Lady Why

Galloping the Globe
Geography Songs by Audio Memory
Home Geography by C.C. Long
A Child's World of Geography by Hillyer
Seven Sisters by Jane Andrews
Holling C. Holling books (do not have all)
The Fifty States by Meirs

Naturalists' books*
John Audubon
John Muir
Jane Goodall (The Shadow of Man, we have)
Beatrix Potter

Scientist biographies*
Great Inventors and their Inventions by Bachman

Below will come from library, only to be purchased if we cannot get from library
differing reading levels, incomplete titles b/c this is how it is from my notes.

Chronologically so far:

Ancient Science by Jim Wiese
Pythagoras- What's Your Angle?
Hippocrates - Father of Medicine by Goldberg
Socrates- Wise Guy
Plato- Plato Stories for Children, Plato's Journey (Fic)
Aristotle- Aristotle's Firefly (Fic)
Archimedes- Door of Science, Mr. Archimedes' Bath (juv fic)
Ptolemy - n/a
Galen- My life in Imperial Rome, Gateway to Medicine
al-Razi - n/a
Alhazen - Ibn Al-haytham First Scientist by Steffens
Robert Grosseteste- n/a
Thomas Aquinas- St. Thomas Aquinas & the Preaching Beggars
Roger Bacon- Magic Gold by Lansing
Leonardo Da Vinci - plenty to choose from, Leonardo's Horse
Paracelsus- Monarch of Medicine by Susac
Copernicus- The Earth is a Planet/ check out Todd Goble
Andrea Vesalius- n/a
Konrad von Gesner- n/a
Tycho Brahe- Mapping the Heavens, Boerst
René Descartes- He Freed the Minds of Men by Hoyt, The Fly on the Ceiling (Ear.Reader)
Galileo Galilei- Starry Messenger, plenty to choose from
William Harvey - WH and the Mechanics of the Heart
Francis Bacon- n/a
Isaac Newton- Discovering Nature's Laws by Salas
Robert Boyle- Skeptical Chemist
Robert Hooke- author Mary Gow
Edmond Halley- The Man and His Comet/ Mr. Haley and His Comet
John Ray- n/a
Francis Hauksbee- n/a
Stephen Gray - n/a
Leiden jar - n/a
Georges de Buffon - n/a
Benjamin Franklin- plenty to choose from
Carl Linnaeus- Father of Classification
Joseph Black- n/a
Joseph Priestley - and the Discovery of Oxygen by Conley
Abraham Werner- n/a
Antoine Lavoisier- Chemist who Lost his Head
Caroline Herschel- still looking
Luigi Galvani- Giants of Electricity
James Hutton - n/a
Edward Jenner- Dr. Jenner and the SPeckled Monster by Marrin
Alessandro Volta- and the Electric Battery by Dibner
John Dalton- and the Atomic Theory by Whiting (look for another)
Jean De Lamarck - n/a
Hans Oersted- n/a
Justus von Liebig- the Chemical Gatekeeper by Brock
Johannes Kepler- Giants of Faith & Science by John Tiner
Charles Lyell- Lyell's Travels in N. Ameria
Charles Darwin- The Tree of Life, The Voyage of the Beetle (pb)
Michael Faraday- Father of Electronics by Lugwig
Ada Lovelace- Who Was Ada Lovelace? by Lethbridge
Joseph Lister- Giants of Science by P. Parks
Gregor Mendel- The Friar Who Grew Peas, Genetics Pioneer
Dmitri Mendeleev- ?
James Maxwell- The Man Who Changed Everything
Robert Koch- and the study of Anthrax/ Father of Bacteriology
Louis Pasteur- Germ Hunter, plenty to choose from
Heinrich Hertz- A Short Life by Susskind
Sophia Krukovsky- n/a
Wilhelm Rontgen- The Mysterious Rays of Dr. Rontgen, Discoverer of Xray
Antoine Becquerel- and the Discovery of Radioactivity
Max Planck - n/a
Albert Einstein- plenty to choose from
Thomas Morgan- n/a
Marie Curie- Something Out of Nothing, plenty to choose from
Ernest Rutherford- Father of Nuclear Science/ ER and the Explosion of Atom
Niels Bohr- Gentle Genius of Denmark, Physicist and Humanitarian
Alfred Wegener- Uncovering Plate Tectonics/ Ending In Ice
Edwin Hubble- EH and the Big Bang
Georges LeMaitre- n/a
Alexander Fleming- by R. Hantula, The Man who discovered Penicillin
Hermann Bondi- Science, Churchill and Me (Autobio)
Francis Crick- Unlocking the secrets of DNA
Robert Wilson- n/a

Nikola Tesla- My Inventions (Autobio)
Martha Maxwell- Natural History Pioneer by McVey
Garrett Morgan by Jackson
The Scientists: A History of Science Told Through the Lives of Its Greatest Inventors by John Gribbin and Adam Hook

check out Immortals of Science, Great Minds of Science, Giants of Science

At Baldwin Project, "Story Lives of Great Scientists"- free online.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Science is Vexing Me

I have all these fabulous ingredients and I cannot seem to come up with a recipe that smells and tastes good.

Here's what I'm tackling with, I want

-Nature Study: formal and informal
I want my children to develop keen observation skills and patience as well as a curiosity.

- Scientist Biographies: on-level and as read alouds
I want to start reading biographies of scientists within our history time period. Tapestry of Grace provides this for me to a certain extent, but I've decided I want to illuminate the fascinating lives of the scientists, inventors, and visionaries more often. The quantity of persons to cover within a time period will dictate how often. This was sparked by reading "To Space and Back" by Sally Ride aloud. It drew us in and we all loved it.

-Literary Science
I want to read, I want my children to read...there are so many wonderful books out there, old and new! Camille and I read Into the Woods: John James Audubon Lives His Dream by Robert Burleigh and we loved it. Camille was drawn in completely, she identified with Audubon when he made note of how the forests where being destroyed so that people could make houses. Camille asked, "Why do they destroy the animals' homes?" I started to answer her, "People need homes too," but I realized how trite that sounded so I told her that as people grew more advanced, they wanted more things and the old things weren't as good anymore. We could live in a house with no electricity but would you want to? She said no but then she asked me if by having electricity we were hurting animals. "I'll have to look into that."

-Solid science academics with experiments
I have looked at curriculums for grades 5 and above because I need a plan for K-8 and I haven't found any that I love. Exploring God's Creation is close because it involves some of the natural science we want to cover but it also has a major slant. I have a few copies of Prentice Hall Science Explorer and now they seem so dull and wanting for enthusiasm. If I had never seen the literary science books, I would have been perfectly happy with Prentice Hall.

I have read about science studies in The Well-Trained Mind, Teaching the Trivium, The Educated Child/Core Knowledge, Ambleside/Mater Amabilis, and Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum (Berquist). I have my state's standards for education also.

My other problem is that if I could figure out the ingredients, I don't know what order they should go in!
Here's the myriad of choices before me:

Option 1
Let literary science lead; use books we want but by appropriate age level.
Fill in with nature studies, self-led everyday and 1 formal outing a week.
Read scientists' biographies that correspond to our history time period, this may not always match what we're learning in science though.

Option 2
Use a curriculum spine, preferably something narrative but if not available then something we'd at least enjoy.
Supplement with living books about topics in curriculum
Nature studies informally
Scientist biographies with history time period

Option 3
Let Nature Studies lead, read about topics with living books that we're observing, using The Handbook of Nature Study by Comstock.
Read scientist biographies within history time period, alternate with literary science read alouds

The problem is that ALL of these options would be great, well with the exception of the curriculum led option but that would depend on what we use for curriculum. I want the kids involved in 4-H and to participate in science fairs & competitions when they are older and I will be requiring them to write an essay when they reach that point in their studies.

Yep. I'm vexed.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Living Science Literature Books

Here are links to websites where you can find free texts online or just find titles to explore more:

Common (Project Gutenberg) (Baldwin Project)

Literary Landmarks A Guide to Good Reading for Young People and Teachers' Assistant
Children's 19th century Scientific Literature

Children's series books available online
Nature Tales -great resource for titles and CM sources

Living Science books, list
Nature Study book list at bottom of page

Website for CDs of literature but can be used as resource list- Animals
Website for CDs of literature but can be used as resource list- Victorian

Kessinger Publishing Rare Reprints
Juvenile Nature Literature

Picture Book Science Literature

Thinking Fountain

Top 100 Books for Science Teaching- not all are "living"
Outstanding Science Trade Books for K-12

Giverny Book Award Winners
Readable Science by Penny Gardner and Karen Rackliffe

Popcorn & Peanuts Science Links- not many books but very cool
MaryBeth's Awesome CM website


Monday, March 17, 2008

Monday Thoughts

From our 3 year old
Danny thinks I have to twist off the stem of an apple before he can eat it. He comes up to me with an apple in his hand and says, "Mama, open please."

I'm seriously considering adding Prima Latina to our line-up, we already have the teacher/student books, CDs and DVDs. I'm looking at our materials to figure out how we can keep the lessons short and enjoyable and keep French within our days.

At the Post Office
"Yeah! New Grammar!" Camille shrieks in delight shocking our postmaster as I open a box containing Intermediate Language Lessons. When we get home, I squeal in delight too as I flip through the pages and see how rigorous and beautiful it is as a product. I'm so glad I went ahead and ordered this instead of wondering for another year or so if we'd really use it. Now I'm not sure if we will use Writing Tales 1 in between Primary Language Lessons and Intermediate Language Lessons. What a great problem to have, too many wonderful products that fit our goals.

Read Alouds
Mr. Pipes has been discontinued as a read aloud, Camille will read it as soon as she comfortably can because it really begs to be read by a child with all its excitement. Camille brought George's Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl from her bookshelf to me and said, "I want to read this aloud if you'll read Mother West Wind's Children to me." DEAL! This is BIG news! She went of her own accord and picked one of the numerous books from her shelf to read! Wooo-Hooo!

We're planting a flower garden this week and it will contain Marigolds to attract butterflies. We're still studying Astronomy and reading Mother West Wind's Children. Today we read about why Reddy Fox doesn't have any friends. Tomorrow, Camille will write down each character's name and what the chapter said about what each likes to eat. Astronomy is really our only structured science at this point, today Camille identified and drew a Flowering Dogwood tree in our yard. It was impromptu so I wasn't as prepared as I would have liked to help her identify all of the flower's parts. It was still a great half hour of time spent.

My Reading
I'm reading A Philosophy of Education, Volume 6 of The Original Homeschooling Series by Charlotte Mason, Real Learning by Elizabeth Foss and reading tidbits of The Educated Child by William Bennett. Although it seems like a heavy plate of reading, it is the best reading I've done in a while.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pencil Planning for Next Week

Click picture to see larger

All I have to add to my Mother/Teacher book is tabs to keep the sections organized. Here is the planning page I created for our week which I wasn't enslaved to the computer to create. My handwriting isn't very uniform and neat, I'll need to work on that but I did this in less time than usual due to the fact I didn't have to collect the information to input it on the computer. A quick grab of a few books and documenting what we need to do, and voíla, done!

Feel Free to use a similar one I created at GoogleDocs for your own use, below

Also viewable at


Saturday, March 15, 2008

2006 vs. 2008 Learning Approaches

I looked at our copy of 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum by Cathy Duffy last night and I saw the quiz I took back in March of 2006 about approaches in learning.

Here are the 2006 scores:

Eclectic - 69%
Charlotte Mason - 77%
Classical Education - 65%
Unit Study - 11%
Umbrella Program - 86%
Independent Study - 58%
Traditional - 63%
Unschooling - 55%

I was filled with fear about not doing the best job, I was worried that I needed a little hand-holding and I didn't quite understand how to encourage a love of learning just yet.

Here are the scores from my quiz retake with two years of experience, the 2008 scores:

Traditional 40%
Charlotte Mason 100%
Classical 82%
Unit Study 97%
Unschooling 88%
Independent Study 37%
Eclectic 91%
Umbrella Program 40%

It seems I've gained a little confidence since we started out. At first, I wanted someone else to tell us what to study, what to do and now I know I can't stand that most of the time! What is also a shocker is that Unschooling scored higher than Classical! Hmm. So I guess if we wanted to label ourselves, we'd be an Eclectic Charlotte Mason homeschool. This was very interesting and a lot of fun to see, if you have this book- I recommend taking the quiz again to see where you are.


Friday, March 14, 2008

What We're Not Doing

I told a friend that I have to write this post, so I'm writing it. It's about what we're not doing because I have tons of posts which are really just brainstorms and mini-projects but they can be misleading.

We're not memorizing scriptures.
I'm a first generation Christian, I understand the precept behind memorizing scripture but I just can't do it. The documentary Jesus Camp really opened my eyes to how far some go with indoctrinating their children and I cried for the children in the documentary. I realized right then and there that if I push too hard, too fast it could be dangerous for my kids in the long run. I am very careful not to use products that go too far and I believe (for us, not saying anything about what others do) our kids will memorize scriptures that are important to them when they get older, with the path of faith formation we have, I do not feel like we need to memorize scriptures to have hearts that depend on the Lord. I may be wrong but it's how we feel. The rote memorization of scriptures is like brainwashing to us, we want our children to have relationships with God and fall back on scripture and precepts because they understand and embrace them.

We're not memorizing anything at this time but poetry.
It just sort of happened. The memory cds were great, they are a great idea but in the end I want the kids to remember their experiences and what they learned because they truly learned/mastered something other than by memorizing it. Poetry is different, we really enjoy it and it's not a chore. We're focusing more on narrations and internalizing what we are learning. (See Charlotte Mason/Classical article)

This is what we are doing in each subject.

Bible: Camille reads the Bible story aloud to me, we discuss anything she doesn't understand. I verbally ask her the comprehension questions and we end in prayer.

Math: 1 math fact copywork page, 1 Horizons wkst with excessive problems marked out so she doesn't have to do them. If there are 10 addition problems, she does 5. If she gets those 5 correct she doesn't have to do the other 5 problems.

Reading: She reads to me for 15 minutes and narrates what she read (5 min).

Poetry: Illustrate the poem, copy the poem, memorize the poem (daily recitation 3x). We also talk about the poem, why the author wrote the poem, what the imagery in the poem means, etc.

History: Read TOG suggested books, narrate, map work, literature worksheet and maybe an art project. I do want to add in notebooking again.

Grammar: We call language arts grammar because Camille prefers to, we do whatever the lesson in Primary Language Lessons is but we do not memorize anything from PLL or any grammar terms like we were.

Phonics: I use the Teacher's Manual for Explode the Code and we have a teaching session 2x a week and she does 2 exercises a day so she's completing 1 lesson per week. No tests.

French: Listening to the CD daily for 2 weeks and then 1 week of written work based on the oral lessons. This may change so that the written work is integrated in with the oral.

Piano: Lesson 1x a week for 30 min. with private tutor, 15 minutes of practice each day independently.

Reading Aloud: I read aloud history, science and another book at night, in all I probably read for 1.5-2 hours a day. History averages 20-30 minutes, science 20-30 minutes and our read aloud is a chapter at a time or until the children tire of it. We are reading engaging books that the kids wants to narrate. Even Danny will retell the story when he really gets enthralled.

Nature Study: Informally every day, 1x a week we go out to do our Green Hour assignment.

Science: Reading, experiment and notebooking. Camille wants to do a "planet book" so we're notebooking this, she thinks it's an art project, not writing. I'm not following my own science lessons I wrote, we're just reading The Space Book and going from there. We do watch an occasional science video or Discovery Education but it's not on a regular basis.

Music: We play our Themes to Remember cd when the kids are playing, they both sing along.

Art: We're using Artistic Pursuits as TOG schedules it.

Exercise: We love our exercise videos but they eat up time in the morning, I haven't figured out how to incorporate them into our day seamlessly yet, but I will. Maybe after lessons?

TV: The kids watch Liberty Kids on History Channel probably 1x every two days, otherwise I try not to have the tv on during the day after breakfast until dinner time.

This blog contains ideas I've had, things we've tried- but we're not doing it all. I'm concerned that some may read this blog for the first time and feel like we're super homeschoolers or we're doing unattainable things. We're not. We are normal. We have problems, we change gears and we are very real.

I will be adding a few things into our days in 3rd grade. I want to learn about 1 poet for two quarters, learn about 1 composer each quarter and a few other small things. We are forever changing, just in small ways. Hopefully, good ways.


Weekly Report, TOG2, Week 16

We started second grade in July 2007 and it is hilarious to me to be on Week 16! In actuality, we would be at the end of SOTW 2 now and in the next two weeks. We had a light November and December but we've accomplished 132 days as of March 1st. So by the state of Georgia's standards, we only have 48 days left, meanwhile by my standards we have 100 days left. At least we'll be done (May 30) by Georgia's standards before we move in June.

I am really proud of Camille, we both seem to be blossoming with what we're doing and I really feel blessed to be at this place right now. Okay let's get to the pictures...(which I realized this week I can SCAN them with the printer/scanner/copier I've had for most of this year). DUH.

Primary Language Lessons, Lesson 23: Camille's story based on Sir Edwin Landseer's Saved.

Primary Language Lessons: Lessons 24 & 25, using a and an.

Notebook page on Mercury, Camille's doing one on Venus today. She's graduated to regular notebook paper, although she needs to work on her spacing. I just photocopied pictures out of our books and she pasted them to the page.

A little rhyming exercise that involved some investigative work for Camille after we read Mother Goose.

Our first MapAids map and Camille was thrilled. She loves geography.

Camille has worked for two weeks in Unit 1 and she's completing the workbook pages for Unit 1 to move onto Unit 2 next week. She's needed some help but for the most part, she's doing well.

Horizons Math, she's doing great!

We're reading Mr. Pipes and Mother West Wind's Children aloud and having a lot of fun. Camille is doing well with reading aloud and she loves Mother West Wind's Children.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Creating my own Homeschool Mother Notebook

I have a teacher's book but I have outgrown it so I need to revamp it. I want one book to house everything that I need so here is my free write concerning this. I want two sections: Mom and Teacher.

1. Family Calendar - contains birthdays, anniversaries, appointments, events, etc.
2. My Journal and Prayer list
3. Food - Menus, meal planning ideas, recipes to try, master grocery list, phone numbers for take-out.
4. Cleaning- chore schedule for kids, my cleaning schedule, to do list
5. Contacts - Phone numbers, addresses, email addresses of family, friends, acquaintances (divided by permanent and semi-permanent info)
6. Budget and bill schedule

1. GA state forms storage (Declaration of Intent and Attendance), GA homeschool laws and other helps, contact info for area homeschool groups.
2. Weekly homeschool schedule
3. Answer keys to curriculum
4. Master copies of blank pages I need
5. Yearly and quarterly objectives, planning and notes
6. Educational philosophy helps and notes √ empty notebook pages
7. Area for each subject to record thoughts and ideas: Nature Study/Science, Math, History, etc. √ empty notebook pages
8. Character training /practical skills
9. Books: list of ones to read, list of ones we've read , ones to buy, etc.
10. Extracurricular notes and field trips

I'm currently doing a poor job of staying on top of it all, I have a "deal with it when I can" attitude right now and I can be better. Getting organized is the first step, well the second step- the first step is identifying that I have a problem, lol.

Helpful links:

Update: My book is almost done with forms I created myself because I couldn't find what I wanted online for free and with a mix of free printables found online. I'll be posting a link to the pdf file on the sidebar soon.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Her First Story

Saved by Sir Edwin Landseer

Samantha was looking for shells and she fell in the water.
Samantha was falling in the water and Fluffy saved her.
Fluffy brought her to shore.

by Camille, her first written story
Lesson 23 of Primary Language Lessons by Emma Serl and Margot Davidson


Literary Science

I wrote this at the WTM Boards and I wanted to put it here to be a part of our digital scrapbook, a fellow homeschooler asked what I meant by literary science.

Literary science is what I'm calling the approach we're about to take with science, reading books that ignite the spark to explore more or just illuminate science in a different but deeper way than textbooks and modern day surface-level books can.

For example, from Our Humble Helpers by Jean Henri Fabre:

"These curious particulars of the hen's habits," said Jules, "are quiet familiar to us all; we see them everyday with our own eyes. One only is new to me: hens, you say, swallow little grains of sand which takes the place of teeth for grinding the food in the gizzard. I don't know what the gizzard is and I don't see how little stones that have been swallowed can be used as teeth."
"A short digression on the digestive organs of birds," replied Uncle Paul, "will give you the information you ask for."
Uncle Paul then explains how birds eat and how grains of sand or rocks can serve as teeth for birds. There are three children and Uncle Paul in this book, talking to each other and learning about the habits of animals. I'm riveted, I want to read more- my children will be riveted too. I linked the free text above for this particular book.

Then there's the Thornton Burgess books, take any one of them and you can make a mini-study of it. From The Adventures of Chatterer the Red Squirrel, the reader realizes that Shadow the Weasel and Redtail the Hawk are deadly enemies of Chatterer and the reader learns about the habits and life of the animals that surround the Red Squirrel in story form. It is sort of sneaky, here's this animal story and you're learning something.

Just today dd7 read half of the first chapter of Mother West Wind's Children and she was narrating with excitement, wanting to tell me the story that she read because she enjoyed it so much but I know she also read about a skunk looking for beetles, rats have long, smooth, tapering tails and that Happy Jack Squirrel stores his nuts in a hole in a chestnut tree. Not to mention it's much better reading material than the series on the local bookstore shelf.

Or this excerpt from Seed-Babies by Margaret Morley

We're going to read about science and then dig as deep as we want from there and the part that melts my heart is the books that were written for children in 1850-1920 during the heyday of Natural Science, when it was the "thing" to talk a nature walk and observe a mosquito or to talk about the numerous experiments you're working on during a formal dinner.

Plus there are fabulous authors that write with passion in books we miss because we're looking to get science "done". I wouldn't have seen a Jim Arnosky book or even cared about reading about John Muir before, just whatever curriculum we were using and what books they recommended. Now I'm surrounded by books I can't wait to read with my children not because I want my children to learn from them (that will come naturally) but because I want to share the joy of reading these books with them. I want to explore too!

I'm working on a K-8 outline of science studies and then I'll fill with books I don't want to miss. I want it to flow with the seasons but also allow us to study what interests us and ensure we cover certain topics before 9th grade. I just read today in "The Educated Child" by William Bennett that a child's interest in science is dependent on the years prior to 3rd grade, that around 9-10 years of age if the spark for science hasn't been ignited, it probably never will be. I don't want this, science is God's expression and artistry- I feel it's such a crucial part of an individual's personality and character to look outside of themselves and see the wondrous world around them. I think power of curiosity and observation as well learning about God's creation are a few of the many beautiful gifts God has given us.

Okay, I'm rambling. Anyways, the short answer- read inspiring, informative literary books about science: books like above, biographies and passionate authors and go from there. Do experiments to see what the scientist saw, learn how to classify and observe.

This is my pet subject and I'm thrilled to be able to do this with my kids. I'm thrilled to be able to have the time to wonder with them and notice things. As parents, we are SO blessed.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Green Hour Assignments #2 & #3

Evidence of Spring, even amidst the bare trees.

Robin's Come

From the elm-tree's topmost bough,
Hark! the Robin's early song!
Telling one and all that now
Merry spring-time hastes along;
Welcome tidings dost thou bring
Little harbinger of spring,
Robin's come!

Of the winter we are weary,
Weary of the frost and snow.
Longing for the sunshine cheery,
And the brooklet's gurgling flow;
Gladly then we hear thee sing
The reveille of spring,
Robin's come!

Ring it out o'er hill and plain,
Through the garden's lovely bowers,
Till the green leaves dance again,
Till the air is sweet with flowers!
Wake the cowslips by the rill,
Wake the yellow daffodil!
Robin's come!

William W. Caldwell

Assignments #2 and #3 have sort of blurred together, we walked around our yard and listened. We heard a woodpecker, cicada, birds singing and squirrels moving in the trees. The creek near our yard has a lot of run-off water flowing through it from all the rain from last week and we talked about why the water flows faster in some areas and slow in other areas. I saw a place where the water was making a sort of waterfall and before the kids saw it, I had them close their eyes and tell me what they heard. Camille said it sounded like running water, I told her to open her eyes and locate the sound.

We also identified areas where we think nests are being built the trees in our yard. We're going to observe these to see if they do become nests and whose home it'll be.

We also went back to our tree stump and investigated more. Before when we broke off a piece, we saw termites crawling for cover. Now the stump has turned into mud, ahem- termite poop. The red in the stump is loose and has the consistency of mud. Dh took the picture, I'm not usually in any photos because I'm the one taking the pictures.

Spring is right around the corner for us, the next few weeks will bring about a lot of change in our yard.