New to CM and need science recommendations for 2nd and 3rd graders

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  • BraintreeMom

    I just discovered the CM method of homeschooling and it is an answer to many many prayers! I could use some seasoned SCMers advice as to what I should do for science with my 9 and 7 year old daughters (3rd and 2nd grade). We tried a science program (Classic Science found here and they did well enough with it but I never understood how to run the experiments and without those it was a lot reading  (but not much in depth learning really) and “twaddly” worksheets.  Understandably it wasn’t long before we all were tired of it.  

    My girls really do enjoy science and so do I, so I really want to find something that will work! We will definitely be doing Nature Study as that is basically what we have been doing very informally lately. They love to identify the birds that come to our feeder and to learn about plants and animals we see in our backyard and on fieldtrips. Since we also have a younger brother (10 mos.old now) that will be along for the ride so to speak, I really would like something that is easy to pull together and that would be more for them to do with me just being there to help. My oldest DD is a very good reader so that part wouldn’t be problematic.  I am tempted to do one of the Apologia Exploring Creation books and buy the lab kit that goes with it, but I am a little concerned that it would also become boring eventually like our last text.  Is Apologia really a good idea or should we do Outdoor Secrets or something else entirely?

    Thank you so much for any and all help!


    My 2 daughters 8 and 6 LOVED the Apologia Swimming Creatures – we did the notebooks that Apologia sells along with them.  If you’ve got the money to buy the lab kits then that’s a great idea to have everything in one place – my girls went to a co-op that did the experiments, but if you read through them, none are too complex or difficult if you’ve got all the supplies on hand.  In fact, my 8 yo dd loved the curriculum so much she asked if I could buy it for her for her birthday so she can keep it and use it for her children (we borrowed it from a friend). 

    I know, that not everyone feels this way about apologia though.  If you do a search, you’ll likely find several threads where people discuss what they do or don’t like about it.





    At those ages we don’t really do a curriculum. My kids have enjoyed reading the Apologia books. We have all but the anatomy one. They love the Chrisitan Liberty Nature Readers. And, one kit that they enjoyed is the Thames and Kosmos Stepping into Science.


    Have you tried the 106 Days from here or the Considering God’s Creation?  They are interesting and if your girls like cut and paste activities, the CGC is just about perfect for their age.  

    With 106 Days, I love that I can add in a lot of things that pertain to our specific area.  It really helps make the science come alive for all of us.  And it is very teacher friendly – there are experiements in there, living books, some science videos, etc.  We have a great state conservation department with huge amounts of free resources to check out, so like I said, we added some of those things in.  We also use the Dept. of Cons. information for our Nature Study.  One of the books that is used with the 106 Days is 101 Great Science Experiments, so you can add some easy and fun addititonal experiments to your days if you want.

    Living books are such a fun way to study science.  Love the Thorton Burgess books – short, interesting chapters, easily read by your children. Here is a list of living science books:


    I am planning to get rid of my Considering God’s Creation — really good curriculum, just not really the right one for my boys who are not fond of all the cut and paste.  We’ve moved to Apologia and they like it better.  If your girls are into the cut and paste stuff you might really like CGC.  You could do it in one year, or cover the topics a little slower and more indept and stretch it over two or even three years.


    For my second grader next year, I am planning to use the Outdoor Hour challenges for Science and Nature study: 

    Barb posts a new challenge each Friday.  There is an assignment for the teacher to read in Comstock’s Handbook of Nature Study and some pointers for what to do during your nature walk that week.  I plan to add in a few books from the library for reference.  You can sign up for her newsletter which comes to your email once per month.  There is usually a grid in the newsletter of nature activities the student can do on his own (at least at the ages you mentioned).  She also has a section on her blog called “Getting Started.”  I have been reading CM’s writings and found that she reccomended nature study as science for the elementary years.  I think if you are purposeful with it, nature study will teach your child as much science as a typical elementary science course – maybe more.


    Thank you,ladies, for your suggestions. I looked 106 Days of creation (and possibly doing CGC along with it) and it looks like there are many different books, movies, and other materials that are listed each lesson. Do you need all of them? I am overwhelmed with all the book choices and purchases needed for all the other subjects as well!!!!! Would Outdoor Secrets be too young for a 7 and 9 year old? If I just the Outdoor Hour Challenge and wanted to supplement with a FEW living books which would you reccomend? Thanks again for the help!


    You can certainly check the books out of the library, and even make substitutions.  In the 106 Days you will need the Thorton Burgess books for sure.  You can get by without the science experiement book (Sonya explains it enough in the text) and most of the things for the experiments are already on your shelves.  It is okay to look at a subject and make substitutions.  It will not harm your children. =)  

    You can take a look at the subjects and look around your area.  Go on field trips to anywhere that will help show your children what you are talking about.  We have lots of geology things here, so I added a bunch of field trips in on that subject.  Using nature videos about places works too – both for science and nature study.  We learn a lot about places when we can see it – and reality is that we are probably not going to South America or Africa soon. lol As we are studying botany, I have the Nature Study kind of focus on plants instead of insects (although we still look at those too and vice versa when studying insects – you get the idea)  You can make this all work together naturally if you remember to think about it.

    If you do the Outdoor Challenge for Nature Study and add living books in for science, you can use those listed on the free curriculum guide (lots of those are free in the public domain) or available for $1.50-3.00 on Amazon.  We are pretty partial to Thornton Burgess. 😉  They are fun and the characters tie in from all the stories.  My children will say things on our Nature Walks that I know they learned from Thorton Burgess books.

    Here is another list of books that perhaps you could get ideas from: 

    There are lots of books choices and lists and at first it seems overwhelming (I even dreamed about it when we first started using CM).  I promise that it gets better. =)


    We do love Apologia. We have done all three zoology books and botany. They are better if you do the experiments. We slipped on that last year with Botany in the 2nd half. So I ordered the lab kit. It was worth it to me for this year.

    You can also order apologia lap book e-files at knowledgeboxcentral for $5. I am seriously thinking on this for our Apologia Anatomy studies this year. I’ll have 12yo, 10yo, 7yo and 6yo working on it together if I order it.

    We also love Thornton Burgess. I wanted to mention many of them are free on amazon for the kindle if you have one. I you don’t you can download a free reader for your computer. Just a thought for cost saving.

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