As I transitioned into teaching my kids at home, I was the new student trying to get the lay of the land. The landscape was vast, dotted with an immense amount of information. Feeling overwhelmed with the task of teaching my kids was not a possibility, it was a reality. It seemed a mountain range lay before me. I had to choose one to climb. Even when I settled on a specific mountain (curriculum) to climb (Classical Conversations), I found a valley lay beneath it, filled almost to brimming with books to match every detail of the curriculum.
I saw match-ups for science for each week, nine to ten books a week…and crafts, and worksheets. Then I saw match-ups for history, 4-5 chapter books a week, and crafts, and worksheets. It seemed I could reserve two-thirds of the library and still only be “covering” two subjects with my kids.
Isn’t this whole Classical Conversations supposed to be done with a stick and some sand?
Practicality and the “stick in the sand” motto won out. The wondrous plans I had to read hundreds of books with my kindergartner had to be laid aside. There was only so much time in the day.
The lightbulbs started going off after two years of striving to add something to each and every subject in the grammar for each week of CC. It just isn’t possible. And what’s more: it isn’t necessary! My kids were making connections without my pushing another book in front of them. They were loving learning the little bits of facts in each subject. And they would explore the things they were interested in without me as a superintendent.
Another lightbulb moment came when I realized that the feast we offer our kids can be too large. We can make our kids sick by force-feeding them too much information. They need time to process, to make connections, to run, to play with the basics. The temptation to add more books than necessary to our kids’ education must be overcome for their benefit.
I used to teach new Bible study students how to study the Bible. How to do a word study and the steps for good inductive study were the things I focused on. Because I have been doing Bible study for so many years, it can be difficult to make it simple enough for a new student. The amount of information can be overwhelming. So, whilst teaching my strategies for studying, I would always tell the students to do what was easy and then add one thing more. Most new students weren’t ready for one thing more for quite some time. They had to get used to the basics first. There is, after all, only so much time in the day.
One Thing More
This brings me to the reason for this post. (I know, you thought I would never get there!) What do we do when our kids are ready for one thing more? What do we do when our kids are going through their first repeat cycle in Classical Conversations?
I contend we should focus on one thing more in one subject area. And we should allow our students to pick their one thing more subject. I am encouraging my second-timer to choose a favorite “one thing more” for this year. And I am planning to support her, not with an overwhelming feast of resources, but with one extra morsel.
This post focuses on adding resources (small morsels) to Cycle 2 Science. Look for forthcoming installments for other subjects.
As I stated above, the options for match-ups can be overwhelming. When I pulled together this list, I wanted to be as succinct as possible. It needed to be a super short list of resources for us. And it is! Even I had to fight the temptations to make it too big, reminding myself constantly of the dangers of too much of a good thing. Nonetheless, I have chosen some seriously wonderful and simple resources for Cycle 2 Science!
Here is the list:
- Melissa and Doug Creation blocks
- Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman
- Planet Earth: 24 Environmental Projects You Can Build Yourself by Kathleen M Reilly
- Questions and Answers: Space by Capella
- Questions and Answers: Science by Capella
- STEM Challenges
- Matter: Physical Science for Kids by Andi Diehn
- Isaac Newton and Physics for Kids: His Life and Ideas with 21 Activities by Kerrie Hollihan
- Junk Drawer Chemistry: 50 Awesome Experiments That Don’t Cost a Thing by Bobby Mercer
Some words about the list:
- Many of these resources are also helpful for the other CC cycles, so they are a wise investment if you are planning on being in Foundations for a while (we have four kids, the youngest is almost 2).
- A couple of these resources (the Questions and Answers books), I got at the Dollar Tree recently – 2 bucks for some seriously helpful resources!
- Almost all of the resources are available on Scribd. Scribd is my favorite homeschool mama resource! I have been using it for over a year and it is marvelous! I am always shocked by how many of the books I want to read are included in the membership. And my books-read-per-month average has increased dramatically thanks to the audiobook and e-book combination they have.
I have started writing enough about Classical Conversations that I created a segment of my mailing list devoted to CC. If you are interested in receiving updates on our CC journey, encouragement for your CC journey, and notification of new resources to help you, please sign up here. If you are already a subscriber, it will NOT double-subscribe you.
Just because I couldn’t resist sharing these resources with you:
- Energy: Physical Science for Kids by Andi Diehn – this almost made it to week 15, but I thought an experiment would be more fun.
- Thomas Edison for Kids: His Life and Ideas 21 Activities for Kids by Laurie Carlson – similar to the Isaac Newton book included in the list
- The Story Book of Science by Jean-Henri Fabre – I would definitely use this on Scribd because the print version on Amazon is not always reliable.
- The Night Sky Book by Jamie Jobb – I picked up a used copy of this book and I’m excited to share it with my kids!
- The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth: Understanding Our World and Its Ecosystems by Rachel Ignotofsky – since I already have all these other resources, this is the one I am adding! So beautifully illustrated!!
- Our Gathering placemats touch on CC-related science throughout the year. Check them out in our shop and effortlessly review and discuss memory work with your family during a morning time practice. We have some evergreen placemats, too. These go well with some of the science topics for this year: Oceans & Seas, and Brooks & Streams.
- I am putting this amazing microscope system that attaches to a smart phone or tablet on my wish list! I can’t quite justify using it for this year’s science, but I can envision many years of fun science exploration for my kids with it!