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31 March 2011


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I'm interested to know if you've ever read/reviewed Bernard Nebel's "Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding." I suck at science, and I've always felt it was the most poorly taught subject at the elementary level - but I also dislike pre-packaged curricula because I like to have more flexibility to follow the kid's interests. I like Nebel's approach, but I would really like to hear the opinion of someone with some science background.


I'm curious as to how much time you have spent on this planning; and when you are doing it.


My usual co-schooling wasn't happening on Tuesday and Thursday, so I gave my kids a day and a half off this week, and sent them to play outside and watch movies and things while I worked on it some of Tuesday and part of today. I had spent bits and pieces of my weekly planning time on it in the past six weeks or so, but this was the first chance I had to really focus on it for a few hours.

I usually spend a block of about 3 hours a week on school planning, which includes record keeping, short term and long term. Occasionally if I need a burst of work straight through, I'll give the kids a half day off here and there. I seem to recall the occasional early dismissal or teachers; inservice day from my public school childhood, so I figure it won't ruin their education.


"I would be interested to find out if other homeschooling parents get exceptionally irritated about the shortcomings in curricula covered by their particular fields of expertise)."

Yes! Yes! Yes!

My thing is math. I love math. I majored in math. My 6 school aged kids are using Singapore, Rightstart, Teaching Textbooks, Saxon, and Math U See.

...partly because I think the kids each do better with different approaches - but mainly - and TRUTHFULLY I am so annoyed by all the different gaps in the approaches and I have chosen the curriculum for each child based on which gaps they can better deal with.

But, reading your post about designing your own science curriculum has got me thinking......I really don't have time to design an entire math curriculum. But, if I begin with my favorite and work from there I might find the solutuion I'm looking for.

For numerous reasons.....that would be Rightstart. The only thing I see lacking there is not enough built in review. (well, it takes longer to teach too but I have found some way around that already) So, if I create my own review worksheets as I go, I could save them and solve the dilemma for myself. I could use these review sheets, as needed for the next 2 (or more) kids. I currently have my 1st grader in Righstart (after shelving all the books a number of years looking for something better...and less time consuming for me).

Thanks for you post....I hadn't thought about creating this myself....but I will start now and just create as we go.


Real -- I love math too. So far none of my children have had difficulty with Saxon, so I'm content with it (although I skip a lot of the redundant material and I am not sure I will stick with it through high school).


I hope you will be able to review some of the kids cookbooks. I was looking for some for a gift a year or so ago, but ended up not getting one because I didn't know which ones would be worthwhile and usable.


I cannot stand Saxon, though I have tried many math programs and really didn't like most of them. We used Math-U-See for a while and have finally gone to Teaching Textbooks. I think for math lovers out there these two programs are probably irritating. But I love not having to teach those subjects and so far only one of my 6 seems inclined towards advanced math and at that point (in a few years) we will look into more advanced programs.



This is a great post. I love the idea of designing my own curriculum but am really at sea about the nuts and bolts of how to do so. I so appreciate these posts where you walk us through the whole process so I can see how you go about designing a particular course of study. I would love to see a follow up of book lists if you wouldn't mind sharing. This looks like the kind of science unit I'd love to do with my girls, multi-disciplinary with a lot of real-word, hands-on activities and literature tie-ins. And now I've used the word love half a dozen times like I don't even know how to write. Yes, yes, I was an English teacher....


Sounds interesting! I know enough science to be annoyed by elementary science programs and experiment kits, but I haven't done much about it... Other than mainly focus on nature study type stuff and occasionally work through electrical type experiment kits with them. Scattershot, I know... I'm hoping to do better next year, but at least my oldest is only in 3rd.

And yes, I get driven to distraction by incomplete/over simplified/and just plain wrong texts too... But my area is history. I tried to use a lap book kit last year about New World Explorers thinking it would be a fun add on and boy was that an annoying experience! I ended up abandoning it in disgust and frustration.

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