I love history. My son loves science. We both love great books. So when I had a chance to take a look at Beautiful Feet Books’ History of Science, I was couldn’t resist. Learning science history through a literature-rich curriculum seems like the perfect compromise.
I’ve long thought that learning subjects through stories is the way to go, so Beautiful Feet Books has always attracted my attention. When I told Raisin what I’d received in the mail and we went to open it, he got excited. Science History! Books! What could be better!
(Note: I received this product for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are entirely my own.)
Learning Science History Through Literature
In the past for our history, we have listened to an audio textbook overview of world history. But Raisin especially loved when I would share my own memories of the most recent events. It prompted his little sister to make statements like, “You were alive when the Berlin Wall came down! You’re so old, Mom!”
Learning science through history, then, would be all the better for my science-loving son, when it is told through a story. The discoveries and understanding of science would be put in context.
We were not disappointed in Beautiful Feet Books. Approaching both history and science with stories has been a lot of fun, and not just for the fifth grader doing the program!
Here’s the back story: A few months ago we heard a funny story about Archimedes and did a kitchen science lab on displacement after listening to it. In fact, this similar story came up in one of the first lessons from the History of Science that Raisin and I read. Raisin was delighted to remind me about the concepts he had learned. Hearing it again helped it make all the more sense for him.
His preschool sister was playing as we read the chapter aloud. She even stopped playing and said, “Mom, we’ve heard this story!” Although I realize that Strawberry is a bit young to fully understand displacement, the fact that she retained the story and recognized it is evidence of the power of story. (FYI, it’s the naked Archimedes running through the streets story. Maybe the nakedness made it so memorable!) Stories for the win!
Science labs have always stressed me out, so I was curious to see what was suggested in this curriculum. The text book How Science Works (which discusses in further detail some of the concepts introduced in the stories) provides some sample labs that required materials I did not have. But so far many of the labs have gotten done. Some of the most difficult labs I found online, and so far the stories and suggested websites and readings have prompted Raisin to try and design his own experiments. Because there is so much information, I get to choose what we will do in our house.
So far, his favorite lab was creating an Archimedean screw. I love how he explains his understanding. See the video below.
The History of Science Middle School Curriculum
The History of Science curriculum box was like opening a present on Christmas: a box full of gorgeous books! Raisin was eager to thumb through them.
I was immediately drawn to the Lesson Guide. It is so pretty and smelled so nice I almost did not want to put it down that first day. I wanted to read through it all and see how it all fit together! It provides details for 85 lessons, with 1-4 tasks for each lesson. It is split in to three time eras: Ancient Scientists (16 lessons), Medieval and Renaissance Scientists (14 lessons), and Modern Scientists (55 lessons).
The suggested grade range is 3-7 and so my son is right in the middle of that. In the six weeks we’ve done the curriculum, we did 1 to 2 lessons a week. The great thing is, nothing about the curriculum requires a speedier time. As indicated by the huge age range, this is a curriculum to customize for ourselves. I liked that it was not scripted, and that it provides ideas in fun story-like books as well as a science specific textbook. There is an outline to color and paste together as we learn of new scientists, as well as suggested vocabulary, labs, and scriptures. Some lessons mentioned websites to go to for further exploration.
The History of Science curriculum is not secular. As I mentioned, there are suggested scriptures in various lessons. I am a Christian, but I tend to approach homeschool curriculum (especially science) from a secular perspective. What I did appreciate, however, was that it did not, as some religious curriculum do, dismiss scientific theories because of the religious bias. For example, see this page with “theories” about the creation of the universe.
So many people, Christians and not, have strong feelings about this subject.I love how just a few concepts are introduced. It allowed us to start our own conversation about what we know versus what we don’t know, as well as how we interpret the Bible and what that may mean as well. Raisin had great insights to share!
Literature-Rich Learning with Beautiful Feet Books
Raisin may be finishing fourth grade but he still likes to cuddle on the couch and read with me. He does not want to do everything on his own, even though he really could if he wanted. So that’s what we did when it came time to read: we curled up together and read. He liked that we read together. It is always a nice bonding time to do so.
The first book under the history of science deals with the ancient Greek scientist Archimedes. It essentially is telling his life story, with plenty of discussion about his contemporary and predecessor scientists in his society.
I personally loved the details about Archimedes’ life. For example, Archimedes sat on the floor of his home in Syracuse and drew his mathematical equations in the sandy dirt. Of course, there is also the naked Archimedes Eureka story. It’s one of those that is apocryphal, so who knows if it really happened. But that fact is not important: what is important is that the concepts are remembered because they are wrapped in a fun story.
The Importance of Customization in Curriculum
Charlotte Mason style learning has always scared me away. I know an important part of Charlotte Mason’s philosophy is lap books, copywork, and so forth. My son has difficulties with handwriting, despite three years of determined practice. Now we’ve reached the point in his schooling where I’m fine with type-written reports, and he is a fast typist. Because History of Science’s teacher guide provides the overview of what to do (and is not a series of lap book pages!), we were able to customize the assignment for Raisin. His work so far has been done on the computer. Even his lab reports.
This works so well for him! His in-progress notebook is somewhat empty, but I think it looks so pretty! I can’t wait to see how it is by the end!
(I recently got a ProClick binder. When we’re ready for the next section of papers to be printed, we’ll enjoy clicking it open and adding the next ones! Oooo, this is so fun for Mom!)
Some children work incredibly well with copywork and notebooking. If that is your child, this Charlotte Mason-focused curriculum would work well for you as well. There is plenty of encouragement to write out and illustrate the pages as the student works.
My son also likes that, because there are a few bullet points for each lesson, we can stop and concentrate on something that interests him the most. We can go on a side-track and find more information if we’d like.
In sum, the History of Science curriculum is great because of it is amazing benefits to our homeschooling days:
- We get a nice blend of science information and historical facts to attract both me and my son.
- I get a clear teacher’s manual and teaching suggestions to give me the direction I lack in understanding and teaching science.
- We get flexibility to allow my son to explore the things he’s most interested in.
- We can customize the lessons as needed.
- And finally, we get time to cuddle and bond as we read engaging stories to learn history and science — together!
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Unless otherwise noted, images on these posts are either taken by myself or are used under a no attribution required license from pixabay.com, Dollar Photo Club, depositphotos.com, or GraphicStock.com (affiliate links).