This year I’m trying something new with the younger class (9-13 year olds) of homeschoolers. I’m tired of going through biology/chemistry/physics over and over so we’re going to do the Big History Project but lean heavily on the science component. We’l start with cosmology (big bang), then astronomy (how stars form, solar system, etc), Earth science (how the earth formed, plate tectonics), Life (Paleontology, skimming over biology/evolution because that’s all we did last year), Early Humans (Archaeology and Anthropology). Not sure we’l get much further than that, but if we do to get more recent history we’l do navigation/geography, look at the history of time keeping, weapons and communication.
The Big History Project is a completely free curriculum on line – all the videos and reading assignments, activities are there for down loading. It was created for high schoolers but if you sign up as a teacher you can download the reading material and pick which reading level you need by lexile level. It makes use of some great resources we already use: The Universe Verse by James Lu Dunbar which was a kickstarter project not too long ago, and Crash Course videos on youtube. My kids ASKED to start another Crash Course when we finished their World History series this summer, so we’v been watching the Astronomy Crash Course with Phil Plait and its been excellent. I’l definitely be showing some of those along with the Big History Crash Course during our class.
The other thing I plan to do that is a little different this year is the interactive notebook. Since all the course content is online the kids won’t have a textbook in hand so they’re going to make one as we go along. I found lots of great foldables and interactives on pinterest and will buy a few from TeachersPayTeachers. Yesterday I bought Earth’s Place in the Universe Interactive Organizers and I have my eye on a few others. It can be hard to justify buying these if you’re just using them once with your own kids but since I’ve got a small class it saves me a lot of work.
The only other big purchase I made for this class is a DVD full of astronomy activities, The Universe at Your Fingertips 2.0, and its a gold mine! It was well worth the $30 ($40 with shipping). Some of the labs/activities can be found free on line but this DVD has way more than we can do in a year (over 100) and had reading material as well, which I haven’t had the time to look at yet.
I hope to post here after each class with photos of what we do, what works and what doesn’t.