This week on the blog I am sharing some of our curriculum favorites, and why they work so well for our family. After 3 years of homeschooling, I finally feel like I have found my groove and I know what works for us, which means we do a lot less “curriculum hopping” these days.
Our favorite science programs is one I have told you about in the past (you can read our big nuts and bolts Nancy Larson Science Review here) and is one I will keep bringing up.
Nancy Larson Science Works for Us because:
1. I don’t have to gather supplies
I love this program because when I order a level of Nancy Larson Science, everything I need is right there in the box. It comes with the supplies for the activities, all of the reading, all of the worksheets, and even picture cards to be used as examples in the lessons. Every once in a while I will need something, like a piece of foil, that isn’t included in the box, but it’s always something that I really do have laying around the house (not like other programs that just assume I have a balloon and a clothes pin. I don’t.)
2. No pre-reading is needed
Since all materials are generally in the box, I don’t have to pre-read my materials at all. On top of that, the lesson is completely laid out for me. I can open the manual, and read right from the book with my child at the table next to me, and it’s all good to go. It’s actually a “scripted” program, which means I could read the bold lines verbatim, and then it gives suggestions of what the child should be saying as a response. Granted, I don’t always read it line for line- often I read it to myself one line at a time, and say the same thing in my own words, but the script is a huge help in not having to do anything to prepare to teach. It leads the lesson, and is insanely helpful. This is the curriculum that requires the least amount of planning from me. I just open the book, move my sticky note to the next lesson, and teach.
2. Activities are purposeful
Nancy Larson Science doesn’t have huge, elaborate experiments. In most elementary programs, the “experiments” you are given to do with your kids are time consuming, messy, and are more like demonstrations that cause me to loose my sanity instead of teaching the kids anything useful.
In Nancy Larson Science, all activities are short and deliberate. I never once have thought to myself “why are we doing this!” We have done things like boil water to see the steam, and experiment with friction with a toy car and other fun science activities. All of them have been simple, quick, and effective.
3. The Retention level is good
Nancy Larson Science does more than just teach science. It also teaches reading comprehension, note taking, study skills, and more. Bug still remembers most of what he was taught last year in Level 1, and is consistently pointing out when he notices things when we are out and about. For example, when driving in a rainstorm the other day, he say the road sign that said the roads are slippery, and he commented that the “rain is a lubricant, and reduces the friction” which is why I should slow the car down. Smart kid!
4. It’s easy to combine students, or run multiple levels
If you have kids close in age, it’s pretty easy to order just one level, and use it for both of them. Nancy Larson Science has a supplemental reading list you can get to help “beef up” the materials for older kids, which makes combining very easy.
Recently, I’ve been teaching two levels. My middle son is working on Level 1 (and is in the first grade) and my older son (an advanced third grader) is working in Level 2 with the added reading. Even teaching both levels, I am not overwhelmed and science takes me less than an hour, two to three times a week, for both kids.
5. It’s Secular
Secular Science programs are really hard to come by. This program doesn’t include any religious component, but at the same time, I have not seen anything in the two levels I have that would be disagreeable to families homeschooling for religious reasons.
If you want to give Nancy Larson Science a Try-
If you have any questions, feel free to ask me 😀