Of all the subjects we do here at home, science is the one that is usually the easiest to drop. I'm not exactly sure why, but by the end of the day, if we still hadn't made it to science, I'd be all, "Oh, we'll catch up with it later."
Not this year. This year, my friend, Susan, and I got together and decided to do the same book: Apologia's Exploring Creation with Botany. They also put out notebook journals to go along with it, and let me tell you, it's worth every penny. Why? Because I'm the kind of mom who says, "Sure, I can do that!" regarding all things homeschool and notebookish, but when it comes right down to it, I don't. We also each got a copy of this Botany Lapbook at the last conference we attended.
All that to say this: in August, Susan and I mapped out which lessons we would do on which weeks. We planned to get all 8 kids together every Friday afternoon to do the big projects and experiments. We take two weeks to do one lesson and the same family takes care of those two weeks' worth of projects and experiments.
We just finished week 4 of our homeschool year and we've done science every single week now….including experiments and projects and everything. I like to call it "science accountability for homeschoolers."
Here's a perfect example of what I'm talking about: I had the responsibility for the last two weeks and the experiment was to do a leaf skeleton. I needed to find washing soda for this experiment, but I had no idea what washing soda was. Normally I would have been all, well, let's just skip this one and read about it instead. But I had this pressure of knowing our friends were coming over, so I started hunting down some washing soda (Target doesn't sell any, in case you wondered). Dierbergs does, and it looks like this:
Even if I had resolved to do this alone, I would have given up after the first attempt to find it. I was pretty thankful I found it at the second store I went to. Here are the science buddies getting ready to attempt a leaf skeleton:
Unfortunately, we experienced an experiment fail of highest proportions. But you know what? Experiment fails are much, much easier to handle when your good friends are over experiencing the same fail with you ("Oh, it didn't work? No matter. Want to go upstairs now and play?"). Besides, failed experiments are part of the scientific process, right?
We work on science for one hour (from 2-3pm) and then we release the kiddos to their own devices while Susan and I grab a drink and unload the week's troubles have the living room to ourselves where we reminisce about what a great school week we just had.
It's beautiful, really, and I have a feeling we're going to complete an entire year's worth of science this year because of it.