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    4th vs 5th grade science

    I am planning for next year and trying to determine what to do for science. Background- my current 10 yr old 4th grader did MP 2nd grade last year and this year is doing a Catholic 4th grade program. She is a struggling reader who also has trouble remembering things. We needed a break from MP this year especially since the 3rd grade literature program is so intense, but we are doing the 3rd grade grammar, one 3rd grade lit book and the cooresponding sections of the comp book as well as reading through Greek Myths and Christian Studies 1 this year but not doing those quizes and tests. So, last year, doing 2nd grade MP, she did not do much science. This year her science is all about the human body, health and first aid. Like I said, we are going to do the 4th grade lesson plans next year (but doing our own math and spelling) and I am considering subbing out the 4th grade science with the 5th grade science. Basically I plan to continue with MP through her 8th grade year (which would be MP 7th grade for us), but I plan to do physical science in 8th grade and earth science in 7th (probably using MP's Tiner books). So I have this year and next year to fill in, but I have 3 grades to choose from- insects, birds (and medicine), trees.

    If you had to pick one to drop from insects, birds (and medicine) and trees, which would you pick and why?

    Is the 5th grade science, birds and medicine, much harder than the 4th grade insects? In determining how "hard" it is, I am looking at reading level, amount of reading, amount of workbook each week and level of difficulty of any quizes and tests and how much memory they involve.

    The insects sample shows review sections, quizes and flashcards. Does the birds book also have review sections, quizes and flashcards? What about the medicine book?

    Of course it would be easiest to just follow the 4th grade plans and do insects, but my daughter thinks "bugs" are "gross" and would much rather study birds and trees than "bugs" and I do have to drop one of the 3. Thoughts please!
    Debbie- mom of 7, civil engineering grad, married to mechanical engineer
    DD, 27, BFA '17 graphic design and illustration
    DS, 25, BS '18 mechanical engineering
    DS, 23, BS '20 Chemsitry, pursuing phd at Wash U
    (DDIL married #3 in 2020, MPOA grad, BA '20 philosophy, pusrsing phd at SLU)
    DS, 21, Physics and math major
    DD, 18, dyslexic, 12th grade dual enrolled
    DS, 14, future engineer/scientist/ world conquerer 9th MPOA diploma student
    DD, 8 , 2nd Future astronaut, robot building space artist

    #2
    Don't skip birds and medicine. Birds can be enjoyed for a lifetime, and the History of Medicine is my favorite Tiner book (and I like them all).

    Her reaction that bugs are icky would prompt me to study them, so she can learn to appreciate this facet of God's creation. If you keep insects, I would do it for 4th grade. The insect study is slightly easier than birds and medicine. The tree book is a little more challenging than birds and medicine, so the books are ordered in increasing difficulty.

    Would you consider either of the following?
    1) Combine Tiner's Planet Earth with the Trees book in 7th grade. Planet Earth is interesting, but not too demanding.
    OR
    2) Delay Physical Science until 9th grade. Physical science can be rigorous, especially if you include lab work.

    Best wishes!
    Cindy
    Cindy Davis
    Science and Math teacher at Highlands Latin School - Indianapolis
    ds-26 college graduate: independent young adult
    ds-24 college graduate: 3rd year med school
    dd-22 college graduate: working as a registered nurse

    Comment


      #3
      Momgineer,
      I would encourage you to do the 4th grade Insects as scheduled. My son is half-way through them this year (he's a young fourth grader) and I have this to offer: the reader text is lovely and flowing with very few pictures or photos. It reads like someone is strolling through the secret garden giving you a personally guided tour of what insects you see around. The study guide that accompanies it is filled with black and white sketches of each of the insects. This has a very different effect than colorful and "slimy" photos. You can see the design and the beauty of each one and students are asked to sketch them themselves in many of the chapter exercises. This drawing goes a long way toward learning the details and uniqueness of each variety, but also helps the child appreciate the beauty of each of their designs. In short, I think it would be very palatable even for someone who doesn't already love "bugs!" Plus you have the added advantage of rolling right along with the lesson plans as scheduled, which is lovely for mom indeed.
      Hope this helps!
      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
        You are getting great help here, and I am in total agreement. Let me just add that the Trees program is difficult because it has some math in it. Our 6th graders are struggling with it this year.

        The birds program does have reviews and tests, and a big facet of those tests is recognition of the birds through pictures and the sounds they make. We haven't found a good way to provide those items, so you have to use the What's That Bird? book or another supplemental book we sell (Common Birds and Their Songs) or the internet. Eventually, I'd like to have bird flashcards, but that's another big project!

        And a note about physical science: Our students do physical science in the 8th grade, and this year one of our campuses is using the new Novare Physical Science book. It is very good, and the teacher likes it, but she said it is very difficult for the students. I'm thinking it would be worth looking at if you move physical science up to the 9th grade. Novare is a new company, and they have a classical bent. We really like what we are seeing from them, so I thought I'd mention it in case you haven't found them yet.

        Regards,

        Tanya

        Comment


          #5
          Tanya,

          Could you tell us in what grade the Indiana Highlands is using it? We will be in a co-op next year that will be deciding on a science text for eighth and ninth graders....so I was wondering if it was sixth or seventh graders having difficulty with it, or eighth graders. It looks like a fantastic option...definitely checks the boxes of something we have wanted.

          Thanks!
          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
            Sarah,

            HLS -Indy is using Novare in 8th grade, so it isn't really young students struggling. I have a review from the teacher who is teaching it, and I feel like she would be fine with my sharing it with you:

            I am quite satisfied with the text, although it is very challenging. I explain *below some of the modifications we have implemented. My favorite part about the program is the requirement for students to answer in complete sentences (no multiple choice “guessing”) and to remember the material throughout the course (cumulative mastery).

            If there is any “dissatisfaction”, it is only that I must create my own answer keys to end-of-section questions, end-of-chapter questions, and quizzes. If I had an answer key, it would be easier. But I’m only doing what I ask my students to do, and that gives me perspective on the effort required.

            Our school is a Christian classical school, and our students and families are pleased with the Christian content of the book. I don’t find it to be preachy or pushy, but rather the author positions a Christian viewpoint and contrasts it with other viewpoints. He is not a young-earth creationist, and is careful to support his position with scientific evidence. He offers a good model of scientific reasoning about many issues our students will face now and in the future.

            *Mid-course modifications:

            I plunged in enthusiastically, assigning an aggressive reading schedule, with end of section questions and flashcards to be completed at home. We meet for 8th grade science only 2 days per week, and a number of my students were swamped by the amount of material I expected them to learn at home. I have consequently slowed the pace, and cover most of the material in class.

            Our new classroom model looks like the following:

            1) Students pre-read the section for the day (before class).

            2) I begin class with oral review of vocab and objectives from previous sections/chapters.

            3) I cover the essential information from the day’s section, writing notes on the board and clarifying confusing concepts as needed. We do not read the book aloud in class, but we look at figures and diagrams and discuss specific points.

            4) Students answer end-of-section questions in complete sentences. We discuss their answers in class.

            5) Students answer end-of-chapter exercises in complete sentences (homework, which I collect and grade).

            6) Students take a quiz every other week. These quizzes are cumulative, meaning they are expected to remember material from Chapter 2, even when studying Chapter 6. The author provides a review guide to help the students learn how to review for cumulative quizzes/tests.

            7) We try to do a lab or hands-on demonstration for each chapter. Sometimes we write up the labs in a formal report; sometimes we graph the results, but not write a formal report; and sometimes we just observe and explore, without written documentation. Writing lab reports is very challenging for this age group, so I try to keep these requirements manageable.

            We will not cover every section in the book this year. But the material covered is more advanced than typical 8th grade science, and the study skills gained will prepare our students well for biology, chemistry and physics.

            I hope this helps!

            Tanya

            Comment


              #7
              So much to think about. I was hoping to have her do Physical science in 8th grade so she can do biology, chem and physics in high school and still have a year to do college level science. This is what all my older children are doing. Actually, my 15 yr old did physical science in 7th (he also did algebra in 7th so he was ready for the math needed). He then went to public school and was allowed to take geometry and biology in 8th grade which left him time in high school for one year each of high school level chem and physics and one year each of AP chem and physics. My current 7th grader is on the same track but he will homeschool and take science at a college in 11-12 grade.

              The one I am planning for now, my current 4th grader, is strong in math so I am not worried about math being in science. It will actually please her as she is much better with concepts and numbers than with memorizing names which is soooo much of what life science is. Being the engineer that i am, I always hated biology and thrived on chemistry and physics because of the math! I am actually much more concerned about her needed to memorize all the hard names in insects and birds, but we are going to attempt it. I can always scale back on the tests and just do the concepts. We skipped Astronomy because I knew she would do poorly with having to memorize all those star names and how to spell them. She still has trouble spelling "what" since it does not spell like it sounds. She would totally get overwhelmed with memorizing what to her are random sounds stringed together to make strange star names. We are studying the human body and nutritution this year and that is going well, but I don't require her to memorize all the body part names, just to be familiar with how they work. She would be one who prefers a very hands on science, but I am just not able to make that happen. I know my own weaknesses. She has hands on stuff she can do "when we get around to it" or play with on her own. Having a workbook based science will make me feel like I am at least teaching something (I am totally not an unschooler at heart- can you tell).

              Thanks for all your thoughts. I will ponder it awhile and might just go with the easier option of doing insects then birds and medicine and maybe skipping trees or doing some of trees and some earth science in 7th. Or maybe I will see that she needs a slower pace and put off physcial science till 9th. I am interested to see what this new physical science curriculum you found is like. We currently use Prentice Hall and it is very through but a bit hard to implement in a homeschool. Having done it 4 times now, I am mastering it though!
              Debbie- mom of 7, civil engineering grad, married to mechanical engineer
              DD, 27, BFA '17 graphic design and illustration
              DS, 25, BS '18 mechanical engineering
              DS, 23, BS '20 Chemsitry, pursuing phd at Wash U
              (DDIL married #3 in 2020, MPOA grad, BA '20 philosophy, pusrsing phd at SLU)
              DS, 21, Physics and math major
              DD, 18, dyslexic, 12th grade dual enrolled
              DS, 14, future engineer/scientist/ world conquerer 9th MPOA diploma student
              DD, 8 , 2nd Future astronaut, robot building space artist

              Comment


                #8
                Momgineer,

                I wish you well in planning for your next young one. It reminds me of the treasure of homeschooling so we can adjust to each child. I have so much admiration that you have done Prentice Hall so many times...we have close friends who tried it this year in their co-op, and everyone struggled, across the board. Which is why I was excited to hear of another option....with no intention of detracting from your original post!

                Tanya, thank you for the lengthy response....it is a very helpful suggestion for our kids. And I believe the website said he was coming out with teacher's manuals either this spring or summer, which may help from the teacher workload side of things.

                AMDG,
                Sarah
                Last edited by KF2000; 01-30-2014, 02:40 PM.
                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

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