See review of full 2nd grade Lesson Plans.
I love homeschooling and am fascinated with science but frankly I've been pulling my hair out over the past few years trying to keep up with what I'm "supposed" to be doing with science.
Let's see, first my children are to be drawn into the topic through stories that the child will find captivating (Charlotte Mason.) Next they are to memorize facts related to the topic and "think" about it logically (Classical method) and also conduct experiments (hands on.) Finally the little ones are to pull it all together in a journal or lab manual in order to consolidate it in their minds and truly make it their own. The parent-teacher is also to organize these science activities in a logical way and carry them out while simultaneously teaching her other children who also have their own captivating home-grown science programs.
With all these challenges it's little wonder many of us have let science fall to the way-side or have reverted to boring, lifeless textbooks. I'm excited to say that this won't be the case for our younger children anymore. Catholic Heritage Curricula Grade 2 Lesson Plans pull together what will be for many families the ideal science program. Using just two easy to use books, Easy As 1, 2, 3 Science Overview and Catholic Stories from Science 2, the authors have woven a science program that: draws the student into the topic through interesting stories, provides factual information to be discussed and learned, offers links with real life events and experiments, and relates all matters back to God.
Catholic Stories from Science is in a larger and more readable format then the first edition. Each story immediately captures the attention of the student by using events that are in their everyday life. For example, the complicated topic of pheromones is made simple by telling a story about a family cat who marks his territory (and do you know how it is that God has marked you?) Who would have guessed that exocrine glands could be so interesting! After the students interest is caught the author provides detailed factual information that provides a firm foundation for later science studies.
These stories are paired with assignments from Easy As 1, 2, 3. At first glance, this book appears too simple to be helpful, but in reality it is extremely clever for it has broken into chunks the important aspects of science, working first from the most fundamental level, while at the same time providing discussion prompts to encourage the child to "think" about the topic rather then just memorize and regurgitate. How does this play out in the real homeschool. In one of the first weeks of the lesson plans we see that the child is reading a chapter about the physical make-up of an animal in Catholic Stories from Science. During that same week he is assigned the grade appropriate plan in Easy As 1, 2, 3 which instruct him as to a particular family of animals to study (e.g. carnivores.) The family makes use of their own library to read more about that animal family and then follow the suggestions in Easy As 1, 2, 3 for activities such as making comparison charts or tracings along with simple experiments. For the family that wants more experiments specific assignments from Everyday Science Sourcebook are offered. Toward the end of the week the child begins to pull the material together through discussions with his parent-teacher using the discussion prompts in Easy As 1, 2 3. These thoughtful prompts range from questions about the usefulness of the way the animal was designed to thinking of ways that God's faithfulness is seen in the organization of the universe.
So many science programs skip around from topic to topic or start at a high level without offering the fundamental information that serve as the building blocks for higher level science studies. After ten years of creating my own lesson plans I'm delighted with the CHC plans and am especially pleased that the second grade science plans provide structure within which science is connected with real life experiences. Thank you, Catholic Heritage Curricula; this summer will see me laughing in the fields with the children and not inside, cramped over a notebook amidst a pile of science books that refuse to give up the perfect lesson plan.