I had a dream the other night that I was consulting other homeschool moms about what curriculum they had planned for next year. There were varying opinions on what was best and I woke up overwhelmed. When I related the dream to my soon-to-be 6th grader, he said, “Whoa, that sounds like a nightmare!” I had to laugh, because in some ways, that’s what it often feels like to choose homeschool curriculum.
We’ve been rather flexible with what we’ve used and I haven’t been afraid to ditch things that just weren’t working for us. But…I’m feeling a pull to have things more formalized. Maybe it’s the fact that no matter how much work the same son is assigned, he’s done every day before noon. In fact, he’s been known to get up at 7am and start his work immediately. It’s correct, it’s well done, and he’s learning a lot, but it’s left me with the uncomfortable “he should be doing more” feeling.
So, I’ve turned my thoughts to curriculum and have put out some feelers to see what others are using. I know for sure that a lot of our science will be based on experiential learning next year. I am working with the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia through next Spring and we’ll be down visiting the museum a lot. So, paleontology and natural sciences will play a huge part in what we do. We’ll actually be heading down to their new exhibit, Animal Grossology, in May to experience the ooey, gooey science of animals. Here’s more about it from their press release:
Oozing with disgusting science, Animal Grossology provides a slight off-kilter view of the animal kingdom starting Saturday, May 16, with its grand opening at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. Get ready to be totally en-GROSS-ed!
Based on the best-selling Grossology children’s book series by Sylvia Branzei, Animal Grossology is packed with hands-on fun that celebrates those yucky topics moms warn their kids not to discuss at the dinner table. Featuring sophisticated animatronics and imaginative animal characters, the exhibit introduces scientific concepts in ways that will make some kids giggle and others say “Ew, gross!”
“A lot of what we think is disgusting in animals is normal, and it’s super important for their role in nature,” said Mary Bailey, the Academy’s special exhibits education coordinator. “For example, we may think it’s disgusting that dung beetles collect elephant poop and eat it. But if they didn’t do that, there would be poop everywhere!”
Animal Grossology offers a fresh take on some of the more disgusting things animals do and engages visitors in how blood, vomit, pellets, dookie, and slime can be fun, funky and even fascinating. Visitors will:
* See larger-than-life bloodsuckers and learn where they store blood in their bodies.
* Learn why a cat’s anatomy is the reason why cats spit up hairballs.
* Unravel the mystery of the incredible tapeworm.
* Discover how snail and slug slime may lead to a treatment for cystic fibrosis.
* Find out why cows chew cud.
In addition to the exhibit, educators at the Academy’s Carts of Curiosity will engage visitors with live animals and animal products with gross origins (honey, silk, perfume and a type of coffee made from a certain animal feces). On most Wednesdays between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., visitors will be able to witness the dissection of a worm, squid, urchin, or eye of a cow.
Sound over the top? Bailey assures that it’s all presented in tasteful and entertaining ways that families can enjoy and learn from at the same time.
“Some people think it’s gross that slugs have a slime trail, but they’ll learn that the slime helps them move around and find each other,” Bailey said. “Slugs are an important food source for other animals.”
Animal Grossology is on view through Aug. 30. Tickets may be purchased online at ansp.org.
Honestly, I could do without the tapeworm part, but oh my gosh, it sounds awesome. So, yes, the Academy of Natural Sciences will definitely be playing a huge part in our science curriculum and studies next fall.
But as for math and language arts and history and….ugh. I’m not even sure where to start, to be honest with you. So, what are you using? What curriculums have you tried and loved? I need some ideas stat! =)