I’m trying to plan science for a 1st grader for next year. I’m torn between using Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding and just doing nature study. I feel like BFSU is “better” (ie more thorough, covers more concepts, etc) but nature study would be easier. Please help me decide!
For a 1st grader, I’d go with nature study. We did solely nature study for our first two years and I do not feel my children missed out at all. We also used SCM’s 106 Days of Creation Studies, but never finished it. We just finished our first full science curriculum, and I’ve got ds8 and dd6.
Sorry, I cannot give advice on Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding, but have you looked at SCM’s Outdoor Secrets? This is what we (ds will be 6) are using this year for science/nature study. I have also heard wonderful things about SCM’s 106 Days of Creation that we will use following Outdoor Secrets. Nature study would also be perfect for a 1st grader.
What are your goals for learning at this age? You’ll need to decide. If your goals include lots of information, more thorough, and very directed activities, you might stick with BFSU. If your goals include getting your children to love nature, then nature study would better fit the bill.
BFSU is pretty high-prep; you’ve probably looked and seen that. It’s also pretty popular in public school classrooms.
So you just need to decide what your goals for your children are. Have you yet read quotes from Charlotte Mason about science and nature study and young children? That would help ME decide, I know.
Since I’m assuming your child is likely 6 or 7, you’ll need to think. What do you think a child of this age needs to know about science? What goals are appropriate for this age? What is the role of books/curriculum/materials? (i.e., are they the most important thing or just a tool to realize a different goal?) At the end of the year, what do you want for your child in this area–that he knows lots of systematically presented science concepts? Or that he has a relationship with nature around him? I’m not saying there’s a right or a wrong answer necessarily here, although I will confess that I just do nature study until at least third grade; it’s just that your GOALS should drive your curriculum selections. Different goals will need different materials/methods/presentation.
My main goal is really to help her see God’s hand in the world. Nature study would accomplish that but I feel like BFSU would give her a more in-depth view of God’s hand in different things (obviously I would have to point out how God put in place different things IYKWIM). But I’m not sure if that’s really necessary.
You really need to read Charlotte Mason’s writings–have you done so yet? She has really, really excellent advice on gently pointing out things like this. You don’t need a “program” or a curriculum to do this. An occasional well-placed comment or question will suffice. In fact, more can backfire. Read Charlotte!!!! We can help you find the appropriate passages if you have a set of the books and haven’t read them yet.
I would recommend that you read the handbook that SCM has put together with Charlotte’s own words about the importance of Nature Study and the its role in teaching our children to reverence and appreciate the Lord’s magnificent creations. It is inspiring and freeing to know that it can be done simply, easily, and effectively.
Here is the link: http://simplycharlottemason.com/books/hours-in-the-out-of-doors/
I have read this and found it very helpful with my littles. All my girls (12, 10, 4, 3 yo) do nature study with me. I of course aim mostly at the older girls when pointing out things to see or observe or hear. However, the other day we were on a walk, and the 4 yo says “listen” so we stopped. After a few seconds of scouring the trees she announced “There’s the cardinal. He’s all red.” This is not from a formal structured program. This is consistently admiring the wonderous world around us by noticing things. =) Your children will pick up the attitude you have about Nature and the Lord simply by being with you in the outdoors.
My vote is for Nature Study all the way!
If you still want a more structured feel to a Nature Study-Science program, look into the Outdoor Secrets and the Outdoor Secrets Companion. They are neat, and my niece is LOVING them…begs everyday to do the Outdoor Secrets. I plan on doing it this next school year (as soon as my sister returns my books, LOL) We also enjoyed the 106 Days of Creation.
Here are the Outdoor Secrets and Companion:
My vote is also for nature study, perhaps adding the Christian Liberty Nature Readers — we love those! There are also some great old books on Google books for free. There is a whole series by Clara Dillingham Pierson, Among the Pond People, Among the Farmyard People, etc. They are great for a gentle, living book introduction to nature studies.
I have those Pierson books on my Kindle, and I have found a few ebooks on Google about nature study as well.
I’ll try to read what CM said about nature study. TBH I have trouble reading her writings…a combination of reading too much twaddle as a kid and chronic sleep deprivation with the related brain fog makes them hard for me to get through.
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