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What was the rationale behind inserting Mammals in lieu of Astronomy in 3rd Core?

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    What was the rationale behind inserting Mammals in lieu of Astronomy in 3rd Core?

    So in looking to the future, I see that the 3A program simply skips Mammals. I know the rationale behind splitting the Classical studies over the 2 year period. What I can't quite figure out is why a different 1 year pace science curriculum was inserted for 3rd Core and completely skipped for 3A.

    I ask because I'm trying to decide what to do for my rising 3rd grader who will be doing 3A (sort of - he's already done half of LC, CS, GM) next year. I like the Mammals program. I just don't know if I should have him do a rush job of it over the summer or just allow it to be skipped. We are halfway through it with my current 3rd grader so we are actively using the books. If I just let it go, then we will be working together on Astronomy.

    I know I can go either way. I just wanted to know the "why" of it at all, since it wasn't a subject broken up over 2 years like the other subjects for 3rd Core.
    Melissa

    DS (MP4M) - 10
    DS (MP3A) - 8
    DS (1) - 7
    DD (Adorable distraction) 4

    #2
    The Jessica Answer--not speaking for MP. I have never done Mammals because it didn't exist when my older students went through. We are also more on the accelerated track b/c we have tutorial help once per week for the heavy hitting subjects. Astronomy pairs beautifully with Greek Myths, but would be so very slow if spread out over 2 years. Perhaps more significantly the Astronomy content coordinates to the night sky across the fall/winter/spring of the child's academic year. You are studying in real time what you can go outside and see at night if you are using it roughly from August to May. I adore it.
    It sounds like you are in a prime position to wrap up those split subjects and move into Astronomy in the fall.

    My vote would be let Mammals go and move on to Astronomy.
    Festina lentē,
    Jessica P

    '22-'23 • 13th year HSing • 11th year MP
    DS Hillsdale College freshman
    DD 11th • HLN & Latin online
    DD 8th • HLN & Home
    DS 5th • HLN & Home
    Me • Memoria College, MPOA Fourth Form for Adults

    Teaching Third Form Latin and co-directing @
    Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School, est. 2016

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      #3
      I should add: it coordinates with the night sky if you live in the northern hemisphere.
      Festina lentē,
      Jessica P

      '22-'23 • 13th year HSing • 11th year MP
      DS Hillsdale College freshman
      DD 11th • HLN & Latin online
      DD 8th • HLN & Home
      DS 5th • HLN & Home
      Me • Memoria College, MPOA Fourth Form for Adults

      Teaching Third Form Latin and co-directing @
      Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School, est. 2016

      Comment


        #4
        We did Elemental Biology for the Grammar Stage before we came to MP, so we already did a full year of zoological science that is Classical in that it's mastery-based with memory work. We also went back and bought all the MPK, 1 & 2 science readers on animals, so we felt good skipping the 3M Mammals. I can totally see how it would be better to have Mammals, though, before jumping in to Astronomy. There's a big transition students make in 3ed from reading for pleasure and big ideas to reading and inferencing based on a limited set of information. Finding hidden answers in the text develops as children fully understand the concepts and ideas presented. From what I've seen in looking through Mammals, it bridges that divide beautifully.

        And I can see why being in 4th grade would help with the abstractions of extreme pos/neg temperatures (degrees), magnitudes of brightness, phases of matter and understanding of elements, (distance) lightyears, et al. The main take away is that the student notices the constellations in the night sky, can trace a few from memory, and can name the 15 brightest stars, their constellations, and the 12 constellations of the Zodiac. But the level of text analysis required at the end of the book is very challenging. If your child does not fully grasp and understand the differences between rotation and revolution, orbits, axes, states of matter, etc, he will need to master these first, then take notes on moons, planet characteristics, solar systems, etc. It was a distinct shift that we weren't quite prepared for based on how rote the first 3/4 of the program was. I'm certain that had my eldest been doing Astronomy in 4th grade, she would have been even more developmentally ready for the levels of abstraction, inferencing, and study skills required to have it all make sense.

        I think it was wise of MP, at least in the homeschool setting, to allow Astronomy to fall in 4th, when students have the groundwork laid by MP3 Lit and Mammals in looking to the text to pull out answers that are not obvious.
        Mama of 2, teacher of 3
        SY 22/23
        6A, teaching TFL & CC Chreia/Maxim w/ Elementary Greek Year One
        MP2

        Completed MPK, MP1, MP2, 3A, 4A, 5A
        SC B, SC C, SC1 (Phonics/Math)

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          #5
          I like how Jessica prefaced her answer, so I will do the same....The Sarah Answer is coming from memory of how things went at the time that those changes were made. Back in the day when there was just one curriculum track, you had the 3A sequence - putting Astronomy, Greek Myths, and Christian Studies I together, and which is also how HLS had their third grade set up. It was a beautiful set up.

          But in trying to address the needs of the homeschool path and changing that path, inserting a year into it, created that need to decide what to do with each subject. The main subjects were all meaty enough and robust enough that they could be split; but you can’t really say that about Astronomy. So then, a decision would need to follow what is most age appropriate - to give that to a youngish 8 year old to do, or a nine year old. The amount of memorization in that course alone would suggest to me the rationale of putting Astronomy on the older side, and thus, in the 4th grade package. Which then simply left a gap that needed to be filled - and voila! Mammals. (Tanya, it was that quick, right? You just say, “Voila!” And your new products appear on your desk, right?) So the easiest answer to your question is...chain of events. Chain of decisions to deal with the situation they had. And now they have this great additional science - that I will also offer, the kids at HLS never do either because their path still follows the original accelerated track.

          So you are fine either way. You can do one within the curriculum, and the other on the side as enrichment; you can be working on both at the same time with equal vigor; you can choose one for now, keep the other for later; or skip one altogether. It is really ok!

          AMDG,
          Sarah
          2020-2021
          16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
          DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
          DS, 17
          DD, 15
          DD, 13
          DD, 11
          DD, 9
          DD, 7
          +DS+
          DS, 2

          Comment


            #6
            Hello.

            You have some good comments here, and I just wanted to step in and say that everyone is right about why we moved Astronomy up. When I was working on the split to slow 3rd grade down for the homeschool market, I talked extensively with our 3rd grade teachers. For example, I didn't really see the need to split out States & Capitals. It seemed to me to be a fine one-year course, but our teachers said that it is very difficult for a 3rd grader to learn to spell 50 states, so we split it. In the same way, they felt that Astronomy was difficult for their class too, so we moved it up. They said the solar system was challenging, and even drawing all those constellations wasn't a breeze for students. They enjoyed it, but the teachers did recognize that it was a stretch. But they didn't like the idea of stretching it out over 2 years in the way that they liked States being stretched because they thought astronomy would move too slowly and get boring. So we needed a new 3rd grade science and chose mammals. And that's how it came about. The decision was made based on the experience of our 3rd grade teachers, which I rely on heavily.

            That said, you can do either course you wish. The philosophy behind why we do science the way we do is that we want students to recognize the world around them, and to really know it - the birds, the trees, the animals, the stars. Cheryl Lowe felt like that was the best use of a young student's science time. This is knowledge that they will take with them for the rest of their lives - the ability to hear a bird singing and know what kind of bird it is, to look at the leaves on a tree and know what kind of tree it is. I often tell the story of my 5:30 a.m. walks. I'm walking in the dark all year, and I see the stars, but I can barely find Orion. But if someone had given me the gift of an astronomy course as a child, think how much richer the sky would look to me. So all of this nature science is deliberately chosen by MP, for a specific reason - to give students a knowledge and appreciation of the world God created for them to live in. So either course you do will meet those expectations and be a gift to your student. And you could even do one in the summer if you don't want to miss any of them. Either one would make for a nice summer study.

            That is probably way more information than you wanted or needed!

            Tanya

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              #7
              tanya

              No it isn't more than I needed. But I do think I will include it over the summer so that I can have Astronomy move at the same pace as the the 3A and 4th Core. Even though it is harder, I have the benefit of having a 2 student class that way - and these two will quiz each other like they do for Latin and Christian Studies.

              Thank you to all who responded. I actually do like the Mammals class, because there is some real meat to it that has a larger takeaway than the Apologia Mammals I tried to use once before. You guys have done well with that curriculum and I'm grateful for it.

              Melissa

              DS (MP4M) - 10
              DS (MP3A) - 8
              DS (1) - 7
              DD (Adorable distraction) 4

              Comment


                #8
                I am always a fan of a 2-student class!

                Tanya

                p.s. Note my brevity this time.

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