This year we have been using Elemental Science Physics for the Grammar Stage. It is working very well, including for Cameron even though he is a middle schooler (logic stage). I’ve read complaints about how boring this curriculum is, but that has not been our experience. I suppose it could have been boring, but I chose to do most of the optional experiments along with the required ones making it very hands on and fun.
I bought the ebook version of the teacher and student guides. Before the school year started, I printed the pages they would need to write on and put them in notebooks for the boys. I went through and selected all the experiments we would be doing (and, if you’ve been following along with our homeschooling adventures, you know we’ve done A LOT and we’ve still got another month to go). I made a list of what items we’d need. For the most part, it was stuff found around the house or things we could collect over time (like empty soda bottles or newspapers). Some things normal people probably have laying around, but we didn’t (like a comb or flashlight). So I made a list of everything we’d need over the course of the year and went shopping. Once I had everything I separated them into baggies. Those experiment bags are probably the number on thing that has made science go smoothly this year.
There are three main books I had to buy to go along with this Physics for the Grammar Stage. The Usborne Science Encyclopedia, Physics Experiments for Children, and Gizmos and Gadgets. Most days there is a section of reading from the Usborne book. It is basic quick information with lots of pictures (typical Usborne). I was hesitant about Physics Experiments for Children because it is so old, but it turns out the best experiments (by far) came from that book. Each experiment includes an explanation that is short, to the point, and very understandable. I am not, however, a fan of the other book the experiments come from. It is kind of ironic that the subtitle of Gizmos and Gadgets is “creating science contraptions that work” because quite a few of them didn’t work without adjusting and three or four didn’t work at all.
At the beginning of the school year, we were doing science 2-3 times a week. In January we switched to once a week. Either way, each lesson begins with reading (usually from the Usborne Science Encyclopedia) followed by experiments. When we were doing science 2 or 3 times a week we did one to three experiments each day (the more the better according to my boys!). That meas once a week we do 3-9 each science period. After the experiments, we do a short oral quiz (there is only one per week) about that week’s lessons. Then we open the binders and complete the writing portion of the lesson. Writing takes, at most, a quarter of our science class. I strongly believe science, especially in elementary school, but even after, should be made up mostly of experiments and this curriculum definitely fit that requirement.
There are three types of writing. One is a weekly write-up of an experiment. Some of the write-ups are a single page, some are two. Most include space to draw a picture. The second type is defining words. Each word has a picture to cut out and glue next to the definition (written in the student’s own words). The final type is a description of what they learned about a certain topic that week with a large picture of that topic glued next to their description. They can write as much or as little as they want to in that space.
I’ve been very happy with Elemental Science Physics for the Grammar Stage. In my experience a good, solid, elementary level, experiment heavy science curriculum is not easy to find. This one was very nearly perfect for us. My only complaints are the Gizmos and Gadgets book and the annoyance of finding the correct pages assigned, particularly when more than one is assigned in a single day, since they are not in the order used. For those two things, I knocked my rating down to 4 stars (which, honestly, is pretty impressive since I’ve yet to find a science curriculum I would give 5 stars to).
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
(Note: I was not compensated in any way for this review. I bought everything required to use this curriculum myself.)