C is for…curriculum guides

The Noah Plan Curriculum Guides (CG) from FACE are wonderful tools for almost every subject. They are chock full of info on lesson planning, teacher notebooks, foundations of the subject, timelines and more. There are projects and checklists and sample student work. They are a terrific resource for newbies and experienced BPA’ers alike. I talked more about them in this post.

There are CG’s for history/geography, literature, mathematics, art, English, and reading. They are useful for K-12 and are useful for planning lessons because they have quarterly lesson outlines for K-12 in the front of each guide (except art). Science is not available but I hope it they write one. For some BPA help with planning science lessons and laying a science foundation from PMom click here.

They are also excellent resources if you don’t use the Noah Plan and even if you don’t homeschool. They offer each subject’s Christian history, resource lists and more.



The best science and math learning apps

I am a big fan of technology and I love to have it at my fingertips when  educational opportunities present thenselves, at home or while we are out running errands. This list isn’t comprehensive but I tried to cover a variety.



This list is by no means comprehensive. It’s just to give you an idea of what’s out there to enhance your learning and to be your pocket “teacher’s assistant.”

Do you have a favorite science or math app?

Chatting with The Science Mouse

This is our first of [hopefully] many interviews with creative types.

The Science Mouse is a homeschooled kid with a penchant for all things scientific. With a little help from her mom she publishes The Science Mouse, a terrific monthly ezine for kids with a different theme each month.

Tell us about you/your family. (hobbies, stuff you like, stuff you can’t stand)

I have two sisters and two brothers. I like to swim and really like when my dad takes me out for a bike ride. I just started softball and my brother is in t-ball. I have my own dog named Copper. He is a beagle and he is named after the puppy in The Fox and the Hound. We also have gerbils and chickens.

One of my least favorite things is sitting next to my six year old brother in the car because he won’t leave me alone. He always wants my attention, but sometimes I like to do things he isn’t big enough to do or to just read.

What you do like best about homeschooling? What do you like least?

What I like about homeschooling is not having six hours of school. What I don’t like about homeschooling is that I don’t have many friends in my neighborhood.

Have you always like to write? What’s your favorite subject?

No, I haven’t always liked to write. It depends on what I am writing about. I like it more when it is something I thought of. My favorite subject is reading.

Is starting up an online magazine what you thought it would be? How is it the same/different?

It isn’t quite what I thought it would be. It is more work than I thought it would be and I was hoping that I would get more contributions from other children. Mom says to be patient. My favorite part of the e-zine is getting to stay up late to work on it when the deadline is close.

mouse-w-her-stable1Where did you get the idea for The Science Mouse?

I wanted to start a blog and I like science. My mom talked to me about maybe an e-zine and I liked that idea.

What does “creative” mean to you?

Creative means to make up something and draw it or make a model or create something new.

Do you think you are creative? Why or why not?

I think I am very creative. I am always thinking of how to use things in new ways. For example, I made a stable for my horses out of things my parents were going to throw away.

What other creative dreams do you have?

I would like to write a book and have it published. I am writing a book right now called “The Horse Chronicles.”

What inspires you to be more creative?

The things I see.

What advice would you give to other kids who may want to start their own magazine? (How much time does it take to create an issue, what do you need, what’s the most important thing to know, etc.)

It takes a lot of time. Writing takes a lot of time, and so does typing. My mom helps me with that, but it still takes time. It takes time to let people know your magazine published. It takes time to answer emails and to learn about different things. Sometimes there are other things you want to do, but you have to work on your magazine if you want it to be successful. You also have to make sure you spell things right.

If other kids want to write for your magazine, how can they get in touch with you?

They can email me at thesciencemouse@gmail.com. Articles can be any length and it is OK for parents  to help like if a young child wants to dictate something. My mom helps me, too.

Please take a minute to visit The Science Mouse. She has videos, crafts, recipes and lots of articles that your kids will really enjoy, along with a FREE downloadable issue in PDF each month.

My newest school planning helpers

I just love going to my local used home school store. The woman that runs it is a walking home school catalog. Her knowledge of all the different curricula is staggering. And there is where I happen upon most of my home school loves.

My newest favorite resources are these giant, yet unassuming books. They may not sound like a big deal, but they are–at least they should be.

I am in love with all the Teacher’s Book of Lists books (available at Amazon and other online bookstores). They are worth their weight in gold. Yes you can probably find all the information on the Internet, if you took months, and even then you may not find it all. Why put yourself through that? It’s organized and at your fingertips right in this book. For example, some things included in the comprehensive science book are:

  • plant terminology and classification
  • dyeing procedures (from plant sources)
  • animal classification, reproductive and life cycles
  • major terms of the 10 human body systems
  • determining to mole of a compound
  • balancing chemical equations
  • isotopes of chemical equations
  • classification of energy
  • calculating the specific gravity of a mineral
  • codes for weather symbols
  • classification of stars by color and temperature
  • base two
  • checklists for graphing conventions
  • metric conversions
  • professional publications
  • science fair project information and checklists

And that’s just a few of other over 290 lists. In the literature book you can find 247 lists like vocabulary lists for all sorts of writing; lists by theme, genre and author; lists of award winners and books that have been made into movies. You can search by literary period, find a nice list comparing gods and goddesses and even lists of famous characters.

I think you get the point. You will be so glad you have these books on your lesson plan bookshelf. It is saving me so much time looking up things that I need to grab and move on. These book keep me from getting lost in the details, so I can focus on the principles I want to teach. These lists are great for illustrating principles, gleaning ideas for reading lists and essay questions and for just plain fact-gathering and they cover k-12, so there are no other books to buy (always a winner to me!).

If you prefer integrated studies, these are still valuable. You can use them as project starters, essay fodder and just general resource. Because they are broken down by subject you are able to hone in on just the info you need. You can also see who the subjects intertwine. And you can use them to make mini offices for your kids on any subject. If you aren’t convinced by now, you are a hopeless case. Or you  have another easy source for all this information available at the tum of a page. If you’d like to share a favorite resource, please leave a comment. I’m always curious to know what other moms are using in the homeschooling.

The coverings of the buds

In botany last week we discussed bud coverings, structures that serve to protect buds in harsh weather and keep them safe until spring. They are thick shingle-like coverings with a glue-like substance to hold them shut tight. In some plants the inside of the bud covering (sometimes called a “winter-cradle”) is lined with a downy substance to shelter the little bud and keep it warm–its little blanket.

 The trees in warm climates do not have bud coverings, so if you put an orange tree in a cold climate the buds will die, and there will be no fruit or leaves. They will have been unprotected.

Spontaneously G reasoned she was the bud. She went on to say that her dad was the covering and I was the glue that held it all together. I suggest Jesus is the glue, but she did a great job. She is right. We are to shelter our little buds until it is time for them to blossom. We should offer them a soft, warm place to grow, safe from the cold elements.

It’s amazing what children will glean from a lesson if given the chance to reason. God has so much to teach us, using His creation, if we will just listen.

Classic science texts

The book I am using for science is from the 1180′s, entitled The Child’s Book of Nature by Dr. Worthington Hooker. My volume is three books in one that I got on eBay. It contains botany, zoology and light heat and air, etc. The title page says “… for the use of families and schools intended to aid mothers and teachers in training children in the observation of nature.”

I want to give you a peek into his books because it is a gentle science text that your kids will love. It is from a Christian/creationist perspective, so God is glorified throughout. And the writing is eloquent, so I enjoy reading it just for that. Let me give you an example.

Sample of Botany Chapter 1: Our Love for Flowers
Everybody likes flowers. We like them wherever we see them. How pleasant they are to our eyes as we see them in the garden! How their various colors please us as we look along the borders! Some are red, some are white, some are blue, and some are yellow. All these different colors, mingled with the fresh green leaves, make a feast for our eyes….
It was in a garden that Adam and Eve were placed. While they were innocent and pure God surrpounded them with beautiful things, because he loved them so much. Before they sinned they lived among the flowers and trees of the garden of Eden. It was more beautiful than any garden that has been since that time. It was so beautiful that God would not let Adam and Eve stay in it after they had sinned.
Some of the chapter titles in the botany book include:

  • Our love of flowers
  • What live on flowers
  • The sap in leaves
  • The leaves in autumn
  • Lfe in the seed
  • What seeds are for
  • Leaf-buds
  • what roots are for
  • the bark of trees and shrubs
  • the wood in trees and shrubs
  • circulation of the sap

This year-long study of plants will give your child a wonderful understanding of botany–why we need to study plants and the wonderful way God created them to function. And it goes from whole to parts, making it easy for children to understand. It begins with what you see and small and then moves to what you cannot see. Biblical principles are also easy to identify and highlight. And I cannot stress enough how this book, with its gentle approach to learning, excites your children to learn without overwhelming them with information. It’s one of my favorite books to use. (You can see some lessons we have done ubder my “science” heading” and in “general lesson plans”.)

This book also lends itself very well to notebooking, with its reasoning questions at the end of each chapter. The subject matter makes it so easy to develop notebook ideas that kids love to do.

Ms. Katherine Dang has a $10 supplement that follows Dr. Hooker’s books, with experiements and the like. You can contact her for more info (it’s not listed on her site but you can e-mail her about it). I recommend it.

Dr. Hooker also has written volumes on chemistry, natural history, philosophy and more. He has a small bio here. He is known as the “Father of American Medical Ethics.”

I am so happy with this gentle study of the sciences. Princess G begs to study from this book every day (no joke) and she loves for me to read to her from it. She has learned a lot about flowers and I look forward to seeing what she has learned at the end of the year.

You can see some for sale on eBay here. There is a new reprint in softcover you can see there. (I have an origianl 1888 three-in-one edition in good shape that I love.) Or you can get reprints from the publisher here.

About the stars

Princess G (7 yo) is doing a great job of reasoning from the scriptures. She was reading the story in McGuffey’s second reader about the stars. It goes into detail about their beauty and how they point to God. We know that because we reasoned from scripture that all of creation reveals God’s character and nature.

She then looked up the scripture that she remembered a part of:

Phi 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
Phi 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

She reasoned she, like the stars, was a light. She then said according to this scripture she should be obedient and do things without complaining so she can be like a piece of glass and not a piece of cardboard, letting God’s light shine. She said the light is God revealing His character to her. Wow! I don’t think I would see that. God is so good!

She reasoned she, like the stars, was a light. She then said according to this scripture she should be obedient and do things without complaining so she can be like a piece of glass and not a piece of cardboard, letting God’s light shine. She said the light is God revealing His character to her. Wow! I don’t think I would see that. God is so good!

She reasoned she, like the stars, was a light. She then said according to this scripture she should be obedient and do things without complaining so she can be like a piece of glass and not a piece of cardboard, letting God’s light shine. She said the light is God revealing His character to her. Wow! I don’t think I would see that. God is so good!

Ten reasons to study science from the Principle Approach

Science is a terrific subject to view from the Bible because, like mathematics, science is orderly and predictable. Here are ten reasons I encourage you to study science from the Biblical Principle Approach.

  1. Science reveals God’s character: His order, His majesty, His creativity His consistency.
  2. You can study things in-depth, at your own pace. You can stop along the way and cover things as you desire, without being bound to a textbook’s schedule.
  3. Science illustrates God’s idea of government and affords children an appreciation of, and sense of responsibility for, creation (i.e. stewardship).
  4. God has many character lessons to teach us from natural science, such as diligence, patience and fruitfulness.
  5. Learning from whole to parts helps us study science in an orderly and easily understandable way.
  6. Principles can be taught to the youngest children, making it very easy to teach science to multiple grades. You simply add to the principles each year, highlighting what the children need to know at their own level.
  7. Learning science from the Principle Approach gives us a greater appreciation for God and His creation because we study in-depth, receiving inspiration from the Holy spirit and becoming “lively teachers”, not just textbook readers.
  8. Writing and defining science vocabulary gives students an appreciation for language. (And it’s a great way to sneak in some latin!)
  9. Accurate, excellent notebook work becomes future reference material because it becomes a part of the child’s body of knowledge and not just a worksheet that’s ccompleted and tossed.
  10. The child learns to love science and will teach himself as he or she learns the study skills necessary to master the subject.

American Christian Course Development in the Natural Sciences

I am taking this outline from a Biblical Principle Approach course my mother took in the mid-80′s. I hope you find it helpful in creating your science lessons.

from David Holmes, Christian Heritage Academy

American Christian Course Development in the Natural Sciences
1. Develop an American Christian Philosophy
2. 4-R the course title
a. Define the vocabulary and properties which make up the basis for the subject
b. Research the vocabulary from scripture
c. Write a brief course description
3. Deduce the biblcal origin of the subject
4. deduce the biblical purpose of the subject
5. Begin to deduce the principles or rudiments of the subject
6. Uncover the American Christian History of the subject
a. Identify God’s providence in the discovery and development of the subject
b. develop a timeline showing relationship between the subject, America, the Bible, Christianity and America’s Gospel purpose
c. Research individuals who demonstrate God’s providence in the American Christian history of the subject
7. Write American Christian course goals
8. Write a course overview with an approximate time schedule
9. Develop an introductory unit which will lay the foundation for the entire course
10. Develop each succeeding unit until the course is complete

When developing the units, look for the following types of information:
a. Does any of the information in this unit apply to the five statements of an American Philosophy of American Science (see next post)?
b. Are there biblical principles or concepts which need to be stressed?
c. Do any comparisons need to be made between the Christian and pagan (evolution) perspectives on this subject?
d. Does any part of this section fit into the Chain of Christianity moving westward? If so, how can it be stressed? Does it need to go on a timeline?
e. Are there any individuals who made significant contributions to this section? Do these individuals demonstrate American Christian character?
f. What vocabulary words need to be defined by the students for this section? Do these words need to be researched biblically?
g. What is the biblical purpose for this section and how can proper responsibility or stewardship be taught? What is the application of the subject?
h. What principles of the subject should be stressed in this section?
i. Are there other goals which should be met from a study of this section?
j. What facts are necessary for a basic understanding of the subject?
k. Develop questions which will cause the students to use the 4-R’s.
l. Develop test questions which will test for learning levels above knowledge
11. Emphasis at the elementary level:
a. To capture the majesty and greatness of God’s creation
b. To begin to develop an idea of how science fits on the Chain of Christianity
c. To see America’s heritage of Christian Character through the men studied
d. To learn the basic principles which apply to that being studied
e. To understand how the body works to accomplish the specific function being studied
f. Learn how to be a wise steward of that specific function from both a medical and spiritual perspective

I hope you’ll prayerfully consider creating your own science lessons. It is rewarding (like everything PA) and fascinating. There is no end to the wonderful things you will learn about God and the creation He placed here for us to explore and enjoy.

Statement of an American Philosophy of Natural Science

Statement of an American Philosophy of Natural Science

1. God is the Creator who brought into existence all things from nothing. (Heb. 11:3; Gen. 1:1; Col. 1:16-18; Neh9:6; Jn. 1:3)

2. All scientific laws and principles must be in submission to the Word of God, the source and origin of all truth. (Jn. 17:17; 1 Tim. 6:20-21; Job 12:7-10; Col. 1:17)

3. Man, created in God’s image, is given the responsibility of subduing and having dominion over all the creation. (Gen. 1:28; Ps. 8:6; Heb. 2:8; Gen. 9:2)

4. God’s providential hand can be seen in the preparation of the individuals to discover the scientific advancements needed for the movement of the Gospel westward. (Dan. 2:20-22; Amos 3:7; Deut. 29:29)

5. America is unique in the hostpry of science. Its form of government assured the individual the liberty to pursue and enjoy the benefits of his own productivity.

**Also see the post entitled American Christian Course Development in the Natural Sciences.

from David Holmes (Christian Heritage Academy) and Garnett Ingold (Arvada Christian School)