When a Curriculum Isn’t Working – Trying Something New for Science

As a new homeschool parent I hit my first “road block” in realizing that a curriculum really was not working out for our family.  Part of me felt like I wanted to stick with something or I could be switching every week with all of the fantastic resources out there.  Yet, another part of me knew that it is so early on, that if something is not working that I should trust my gut and look for something new!

I was not liking our Kindergarten Science book with Seton, simply because it was becoming a lot of work for me to gather the proper things necessary for the experiments each week and so it was not getting done.  We are loving everything else with Seton so I knew I didn’t want to switch curricula entirely!  I was frustrated that we were not doing that much science because both my husband and I love science and want to instill that love within our children.  I decided that if our current selection wasn’t working then I should change it!  Gaining advice from some wonderful homeschool parents we decided to try Behold and See from Catholic Heritage Curricula, which is their science program for 1st grade.  I am so glad that we decided to go in a different direction because after only a few weeks using this new book we are all in love!  Plus, even with enrolling with Seton, during the younger grades Science is a parent graded subject so we are able to change our curriculum and still grade with Seton!

One common complaint about Behold and See is that the lessons are arranged by season and start with the spring (while most people are starting their school years in the fall).  This worked perfectly for us since we were starting this book in the spring.  We got it in the mail and started immediately.  I love that along with fun activities that there are real life stories, teaching pages, explanations of terms and new concepts.

We started learning about plants including seeds, roots, how plants grow, different kinds of seeds, monocots and dicots, etc.  We learned about different seeds, measured the growth of our seeds as we started to grow seeds inside our home, watched as the seeds grew toward the sun and more!  We then took the time to plan our own vegetable and flower garden and learn about the responsibilities of having a garden.  We cannot wait to watch our garden grow this summer.  Finally, we also took a fun field trip to the Children’s Museum and while we were there we talked a lot about what plants we eat at their garden area and grocery store!

Next we started learning about different kinds of animals and the differences between mammals and reptiles.  Our son thought it was fascinating that humans are mammals and to learn what we have in common with some other animals!  They had the most adorable workbook page about the Human Family as well.  I try to let my son do a lot of independent school without me standing over his shoulder so I explained this page to my son before I went to put our little ones to bed and came downstairs to a completed adorable page of our family (including all of our ages and spelling our names by himself!)  We also worked this learning into taking a fun field trip to the zoo to see and discuss the different animals and if they were mammals or reptiles.

Finally, we have been discussing weather and learning how to look up information about the average weather and rainfall in our state, how weather is different in different parts of the world, and about the equator.  It has been really great for him to learn how to use different resources to find information.  He initially just wanted to ask “Siri” on my I-phone all of the questions, but then we also went to the library to learn about what an Almanac is and gain some information from that as well.  We then are starting a weather chart to record our daily weather and learned about weather predictions and patterns.

My work as a parent is minimal and our children are learning so much and having a blast!  Since we are planning on homeschooling year round we are excited to work on the summer projects this summer and continue with this book as the seasons change.  I am so glad that we decided to try something new and that even as a new homeschooling parent that I trusted my instincts when something was not working for our family.

What do you do when a curriculum is not working or you hit a roadblock with homeschooling?  What are some of your favorite science curricula or activities with young children?

Author: Nicole Ernest

Nicole Ernest is loving living out her vocations as a Catholic wife and mother. Nicole resides in Nebraska with her husband and their lovable, energy filled boys. Nicole shares about living the liturgical year, homeschooling and marriage/ family life at her blog Children of the Church http://childrenofthechurch.blogspot.com