I stalked the mailman waiting for these books from Beautiful Feet Books. I was given this product free and I was compensated for my time. However, paid for my time does not mean paid off or that a company will receive a glowing review. I don’t roll that way. ALL opinions are my own and for sure I will always tell you what is on my mind. When I do accept a product it’s because I’m giddy to tell you about it. Read my full disclosure here. Now on to the fun stuff!
Using storytelling as a powerful teacher is not a new concept to homeschoolers. Not only do we love reading stories but we understand their power to captivate and convince readers. However, until I started using Beautiful Feet Books I wasn’t so confident that teaching science through a story or through biographies would benefit my kids all the way through to high school.
First, I need to back up and explain what curriculum we’ve been poring over. For the past couple of months, it has been a delight to use the History of Science. I knew it was geared toward the 3rd to 7th grade level but we were over the top excited to ditch the science textbook and learn the history of science through living literature. Too, I know science biographies can also be used for older kids.
History of Science Living Literature
I already figured out that my worksheet approach, as academic and bookish as it sounds, didn’t work because my boys retained lessons better using a learn-by-doing approach.
Next, early on in my homeschooling journey, I had stumbled upon Early American History with my then first kindergartner. After using it with him, I learned that other equally important elements which stir a child’s thinking are living literature and absorbing history through a story. There has not been a more enriching way to teach him or my other sons to high school than a literature-based approach.
What I’m saying is that storytelling, learning-by-doing, and living literature are inextricably linked. Using those same elements while teaching science are the same ones used in teaching the History of Science and used for teaching an older child.
7 Creative Ways to Adapt Curriculum for Older Homeschooled Kids
Learning how to adapt a multiple age curriculum for upper grades can be challenging, but look at some ways I did this with the features of History of Science. They are the same tips I used with my sons all the way through middle school and into high school.
- With a yearlong program geared toward 3rd to 7th grade, there is a lot of room to allow exploring topics in more depth. Using a yearlong program is key. Your time is valuable and by using a curriculum that is laid out for a year, you have more than enough ideas in place to use as a springboard for all the ages of kids you’re teaching.
- Even though the biographies are geared toward a lower reading level, they are likable by an older child. Many essay points can be gleaned from each biography. For example, previous to studying this curriculum, we hadn’t researched much about George Washington Carver. Reading about this American Pioneer and his many uses of peanuts made for a fun rabbit trail or research project. Even though your younger kids can join in the project to list the many uses of peanuts, I had Tiny delve deeper into this since it piqued his interest. I required that he explain the history of the peanut. I had questions like what is the history of the peanut, why was Carver encouraging farmers during the American Civil War to break away from cultivating just cotton, and explain the growing process of the peanut. For example, he had to know that it wasn’t a peanut at all but a seed and understand that the boll weevil could devastate cotton crops.
- Another fascinating point to glean from the History of Science is understanding and seeing science through the eyes of great scientists. We use this concept for history all the time. We want to learn history through the eyes of a character who lived in a particular time period. Learning science through biographies of Archimedes, Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Sir Isaac Newton, Marie Curie, George Washington Carver, Wright Brothers and Albert Einstein keeps kids equally inspired to learn about the wonders of science instead of dry, boring facts.
- In addition, with many notebook pages, vocabulary words, and hands-on ideas the study guide is just that. It’s a springboard for you to use and add your own ideas. I really love how the guide is laid out because if it was totally scripted it’s hard to use that for older kids or younger kids. A guide on the other hand gives me a nudge or jump to another teaching concept that my son is interested in.
- After I abandoned my wrong and stereotypical view that hands-on learning means no learning at all, I’ve been touting for years how hands-on learning needs to be used through to high school. The best books have been culled through and selected for easy hands-on activity that can be used for a variety of ages. Not only did we start our science portfolio notebook, but we did many hands-on learning activities like this one Day 4. Ancient Greece (Hands-on Science) 3 EASY Activities, ice cutting, and writing the Greek alphabet.
- One more fun way to engage older kids through a story is to let them learn through a timeline. A timeline is a visual and natural way to learn. Kids can race ahead and place figures on a timeline while they read about scientific discoveries, events, and biographies. This is another key benefit to this curriculum. The timeline can stand on its own. It can be used completely separate. Instead of quickly placing the key events or scientists in order, challenge your older kids to learn about them before seeing the dates. Which significant event happened first, next and so on? Your middle school kids can memorize the events in order. It’ll give your kids foundational pegs as they fill in with more information with each time period.
- Another tip that makes this curriculum especially useful to me is that it has scientists from different time periods. It’s organized into 3 parts that coincide with history, which are Ancient Scientists, Medieval & Renaissance Scientists, and Modern Scientists. I can easily add one section in depth this year and come back to this resource another year to focus on a different time period.
- One last tip I do is to completely turn the teaching guide and everything over to my older kid. When you’re finished with the younger kids, let your middle or high school kid work through the lessons at their pace or at their will. For example, Tiny skipped all over the place when it came to reading and what interested him. That is such a liberating feeling for any learner and it’s the way to encourage independent learning. A lot of Beautiful Feet Books curriculum can be used that way, which is why I’ve been a user for a long time and couldn’t be more pleased.
The last thing I know you want to know about is whether it’s Christian or secular. I guess that depends on your definition of those two concepts. It’s easier to tell you that it’s very friendly toward both type of views which I appreciate.
While it has some parts that ask your child to write a Bible verse, you can leave it, use it, or add your own. That part shows they support a Christian view. However, their goal with their curriculum is to leave it up to you as the parent to add your worldview. I can say it’s more easily done with this curriculum than many I use which saturate their curriculum with their Christian or secular worldview and makes it almost impossible to tweak.
If you’re wanting to use curriculum that teaches science through storytelling with a focus on hands-on learning by using a part unit study approach and part Charlotte Mason, you’ll love this curriculum like I do.
Guess what? You read down to here and I told you there was a surprise!
Beautiful Feet Books is giving away $100.00 of living books! Oh, you want this and please don’t think you’ll not win! I have to give this sweet giveaway to somebody! Go ahead and enter below.
How to Purchase It.
►Product Name: History of Science
►Website: Beautiful Feet Books – BFBooks
► Don’t Miss: The Getting Started page. It’s been such a helpful guide for me through the years.
►Type of product: These is a physical product but the study guide is available as a digital download too. From their site: Our newly revised and updated History of Science is a popular and exciting read-aloud approach to the study of science! Rebecca’s course uses biographies to tell the life stories of famous scientists like Archimedes, Galileo, Leonardo da Vinci, Marie Curie, George Washington Carver, Einstein, and others as well as hands-on experiments to prove the scientists’ theories and test their discoveries. An enriching way to introduce biology, chemistry, and physics. For grades 3-7, this one-year study will cover basic scientific principles and the history of scientific study beginning in ancient Greece and continuing through the 1990s. Contains 85 lessons, dozens of experiments, lab reports, and much more.
►Price: Regular Price: $182.49 17% OFF! BFB Price: $150.95 but this is a yearlong curriculum.