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The importance of a history and science curriculum

Posted by on Aug. 19, 2014 at 5:59 PM
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I would like to hear opinions on WHY having a formal history and science curriculum is important.  Is there a crucial reason they need the curriculum now?  Will leaving it out of elementary/middle school hinder them in high school and college? 

I ask for these opinions because we have never really used one.  They learn history and science through library books, online websites, games, random projects, TV shows, and general life experiences.  The one time I tried to use a formal curriculum they lost interest in the subjects, but when we follow our own rabbit trails they love it and retain so much more.  If it won't hinder them in future studies, then I'd prefer to keep it this way. 

by on Aug. 19, 2014 at 5:59 PM
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by on Aug. 19, 2014 at 6:07 PM
I use a curr for this because I want to be sure we cover a variety of topics. Like my sixth grader is spending a month on ancient China right now. My kids spent two weeks on Lewis & Clark a couple years ago. It's good to pursue their natural interests (my son has been fascinated by Egypt for five years, thank you Scooby), but not all kids will have varied interests (my girls have zero natural interest in history, but one loves botany and the other, animal science, both of which are unappealing to their brother!).
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by on Aug. 19, 2014 at 6:10 PM
I think this is a great question. I think at first like in kindergarten and maybe first grade it's ok to not have a formal curriculum. I do think you should cover these topics but not vigorously. Idk though, I'm a homeschooling noob.
by Silver Member on Aug. 19, 2014 at 7:12 PM
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I think that they need intentional teaching, with some sort of streamed guidance. I do believe that it will hinder them to enter high school with only crapshot snapshots of history and science. While history and science in high school assume no prior knowledge, I think it's a bit much to assume they will get everything need out of four years in those subjects (generally only ONE year in each type of history or science - physics, chemistry, biology; world history, american history, european history, etc).

We use a nicely streamed, intentional literature based science until grade one or two; after that, and until middle school, I use a spine base, but build off of that with literature and hands on (Behold and See is my go-to there); in middle school I move to Ellen McHenry for science.

For history I do similar; for pre-k and kindergarten it is intentional, streamed history though literature and videos (but not interest led - I choose it and I guide it intentionally), and then we move to a formal program in grade 1.

Formal program doesn't have to mean boring :)

I am a Home Schooling, Vaccinating, Non spanking, Nightmare Cuddling, Dessert Giving, Bedtime Kissing, Book Reading, Stay at Home Mom. I believe in the benefit of organized after school activities and nosy, involved parents. I believe in spoiling my children. I believe that I have seen the village and I do not want it anywhere near my children. Now for the controversial stuff:  we're Catholic, we're conservative, and we own guns (now there's no need to ask, lol).             Aimee

by Kim on Aug. 19, 2014 at 11:28 PM
I only have a 3 year old & 1 year old now, but my plan is to do a mix of child led interests and activities, with me facilitating or guiding them, especially in the younger grades. Towards the middle of elementary and beyond, I'm hoping that they pick a topic and can do research and projects and learning with them 'doing' most of it, with me 'assigning' certain things like a summary project or whatever. So more like guided unschooling, I guess?
by Silver Member on Aug. 20, 2014 at 8:12 AM
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If that's how your kids learn, then that's how they learn. My DD is far more interested in history if she's under no obligation to read a boring history text then answer a bunch of repetitious questions. Of her own accord, she looked up a documentary about the Terra cotta warriors found in a Chinese archeological sight. That rabbit trailed off into a ton of other things that interested her, and she can remember everything she learned. We've never covered that in a history book. My DS is the same with science topics.
by on Aug. 20, 2014 at 10:17 AM
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We do our own history and science so their is a plan. My sons pick a topic and sometimes I pick one. We take turns leading. Following their interesting is how I help them to be life long learners. They love science and history. This year we are studying famous mathematicians, inventors and scientists. We are using a variety of books. Science is a mix of living books, projects, and an online science curriculum. My oldest is doing time and space and my youngest is doing Life science. He couldn't choose what he wanted so I had to choose for him. I know he will love it though. He is my nature kid. I think as they are reading and learning every day about history and science you are doing great. I think enjoying history and science is what is most important. History and science are awesome subjects.
by on Aug. 22, 2014 at 1:02 AM
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We don't use a history curriculum we using living books, non-fiction books and a wide range of resource to study a wide range of history. 

We do the same for Science as well. Making sure to cover the basics of what he needs and build up from there. My little guy is OBSESSED with science an absorbs everything so fast if I bought a curriculum I doubt it would last a full year. I get more bang for my buck doing my own studies/lessons and a ton of hands on stuff, field trips etc. 

by Group Admin on Aug. 22, 2014 at 6:48 AM
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For history, I use Story of the World as a spine and then read them stories and books about the parts that interest them.  IMO History is something that needs to be taught in a specific order (ancient to today), which is why I have a curriculum.

For Science, I do have 2 science books that I picked up cheap, but I don't follow them as I do other curriculum.  We make a list of 18-25 topics to cover for the year.  I just make sure that we hit topics in all 4 scientific fields of study (Earth/space, physics, biology, and chem) each year.  We still "rabbit hole" sometimes, which is why there are only 18-25 topics for a 36 week year!  LOL  Some wiggle room!  

by on Aug. 22, 2014 at 12:27 PM

I personally find history and science textbooks to be boring and dry. We school through a charter program and have a learning annex that is open year round to check out whatever curriculum we need. I always check out the books and use them as reference or for an outline of topics. My daughter is in 6th grade and my boys just finished 8th. I knew they were going to public h.s. so I wanted them to be aligned with Ca. standards. I teach from an emergent style, meaning I go with what is going on in our lives and tailor our lesson plans to fit that. For example, we're starting off with a study in oceans and climate  because that's what my daughter is into right now, it's not the first "chapter". In history she's doing Mesopotamia so I'll tie it in with a study of changing climates and oceans over time and comparing the climates and oceans of the world etc... I always find a way to tie language arts into history and science. My boys are huge science guys, so our entire curriculum was science based and built around those concepts. 

I guess it all depends on your kids and your long term goals. Every family is different and whatever works in your house might not work in another and that is perfectly okay.

by Bronze Member on Aug. 22, 2014 at 2:39 PM
We follow a science curriculum but tgis year I'm making my own history. We are using library books, videos, and projects instead of a textbook. I'm following the general events in the children's encyclopedia of American history to make sure we cover everything. My son is retaining so much more this way than through a boring textbook!
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