Science: Textbooks, Apps and Experiments
May 16, 2018
Hey Mama,

When did your littles learn so much from just playing and hanging out with you, sweet Mama, and your husband? But they did learn. Even today they’re learning (and so are you).

Using apps, textbooks, even fun experiments from time to time, they’re learning about science and nature and life. While they’re still little, you might be tempted to save science until they’re bigger. They’re too little now to get this, you think. Wanna know a secret? They aren’t! They will love digging up earth worms, watering the garden, and creating volcanos with vinegar and dish soap. Keep it fun! Keep it real.

Life is the biggest experiment of all. We plant seeds in our children’s hearts and love and nurture them—then *poof!* one day they’re all grown up and you wonder where the time went. In the meantime, while your little seeds grow, take some time to enjoy doing science. Not convinced? See what this writer from The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine have to say:

And remember, Mama . . .

Midweek. Here we are. And the kids have grown. We can’t see that growth over just the last few days, but we know it’s there. Not just physically but mentally, too. Little tiny blocks of growth which, over the months and years, create a massive learning structure, a beautiful completion of what started out as only a tiny seed.

God is faithful to see you through. He knows what your family is dealing with even right now. The trials and challenges are not foreign to Him; He sees. Wide awake, He never sleeps. Never grows complacent, either. The perfect Parent. The trials are deep. But He is using these for our good, our own growth.

What started out in our own lives as just a small seed is daily—in small bursts—moving forward if we are in Him. He is faithful to complete what He has begun. It’s not only our children who are growing . . . we are, too.

Continue to endure. Persevere. Trust. Believe. Obey His Word and just walk. He does all the rest. He is the Builder of our faith; He is the Builder of it all, our whole life. Your children are in His hands, just as you are, Mama. Look up and receive that care because it’s free, and it’s yours. No more snatching the troubles and worries back out of His hands. Why would you want to carry that junk?

Let Him carry you. He actually wants to. Because He will take these problems and turn it all into usefulness and goodness, and you will grow in GRACE. The mind of Christ. That is the goal, Mama.

Seeds now. Joy in the morning. As for today, His hand is on your head.

Michelle Beazer
What are the uses of apps in homeschooling?

I offer apps when I want the kids to practice something they have been learning or if we need a break from our regular routine (which happens quite a lot because my special needs kids get frustrated pretty easily).

My secret weapon is never telling them I have carefully chosen the apps on our tablet to be supportive of the learning challenges they are currently experiencing. Using a tablet is quite a treat for kids. In our home, that is how we use them. My goal is to find apps that are “sneaky” educational. 

I want to keep the tablet usage from taking over our lives. It is important to keep my kids safe from dangerous influences on the internet. None of my kids own their own iPad or tablet. They belong to me. I have bought them for family use. I did it this way to maintain control over how and when they are used until the older children became adults. 

Here is a quick list of the apps with a short review by my 12-year-old son. 
Apps we have used in the past:

Digital Frog
  • I like dissecting frogs, and the best part is that it doesn’t smell!

Explode the Code
  • If you do enough levels, you get to play games. 

Apps Currently on Our iPad: 

Reading Eggs, Eggy apps (all of them)
  • They’re cool. I like that you can do reading or math. 

Endless Word Play
  • I liked making the words but was disappointed because it said “endless,” and I ran out of levels. 

Calc It
  • It’s a math app, but it’s sort of boring.

Garfield Fact or Opinion
  • It was fun. I like Garfield. 

Dragon Shapes
  • I liked it when I was younger. Now, they are too easy. 

  • I really like it because it’s building like LEGOs. It’s really fun to play. 

Where Is Carmen Sandiego?
  • Thumbs up for Carmen. I like that it’s a detective game, and you get to go around the world. 

Human Anatomy 
  • I like that it shows the human body and how it works. 

Pocket Anatomy 
  • I don’t like it as much. You can’t really do anything. 

Making Camp
  • It’s fun because you get to put stuff in your house. I learned a lot about native people's history and culture. 

GeoExpert Lite
  • I don’t like it. It’s not fun. It’s frustrating. 

Khan Academy 
  • It’s okay, but it’s not my favourite. 

Logic City
  • I like that it’s a logic puzzle. 

Ticket to Ride
  • I like it because Mom and I can play it together. 

LEGO Movie Maker
  • It’s fun to make stop motion videos. It works really well. 

Apps can be a blessing if they are used wisely!

Michelle is a Canadian homeschooling mom to four great kids including two on the autism spectrum, one of whom is the owner of She also has two adorable granddaughters. They have been homeschooling for 20 years. Michelle is the Marketing Assistant, Canadian Division, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.
How to Write a Lab Report, (Includes) FREE Downloadable

WHAT IS A LAB REPORT? A lab report is a way to explain what you have done in an experiment. You describe the results you obtained and discuss what you learned.

There are several ways to write a lab report, and depending on your class or your instructor, the requirements will vary. In college, any science course you take will require you to do a lab report. A written report is one of the main ways to share information to other scientists. It communicates the major points of an investigation to others who are in a similar field.

Lab reports have their own unique style and format, too. Though you may have been taught to write poetically and with artistry, lab reports require clarity and accuracy. They convey information in a concise and clear manner as you explain your investigation and results. These reports should only be about two to three pages in length; so excessive background or intensive explanations are not necessary. Just get to the major points. Additionally, when doing these, do not use pronouns in your writing. Instead of, “We took three milliliters of vinegar and added it to our beaker,” you would write, “Three milliliters of vinegar were added to a beaker.” As in all writing, proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation are important. Though a lab might have been “really cool,” you do not want to write that in your report. Lab reports are technical documents, using correct technical terms and incorporating graphs and tables within the body of the text. Think of this lab-writing process as an opportunity to add one more type of writing style to your skill set. Read the complete How to Write a Lab Report guide by visiting the link below.

Download a FREE How to Write a Lab Report Guide by Sherri Seligson. Sherri is the author of Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Marine Biology and is the featured instructor on Apologia’s Instructional DVDs for Biology, Chemistry, Advanced Biology, and Marine Biology .
Kerry Tittle
Science has always been a favorite of my children. I think it’s because it’s natural for God’s creation to want to understand the world around them.

Even as infants, it’s always been about using senses for discovery. As they grow older, their fascination deepens—deepens that is, if they aren’t thrown a dry textbook and left to themselves. Science is very much a multi-sensory subject.

Sadly, in 2013 the U.S. ranked 28th globally by PISA (Program for Student Assessment) in the area of Science. This shouldn’t be! Especially for Christians. We are called to raise up our children in the understanding of who He is! This is through Scripture but also through observing His creation . . . Science!

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Psalm 19:1

I truly believe your children will find delight in making the kitchen a messy science lab. Float random items in different liquids to understand density—this will help them gain a far better understanding than memorizing the definition! Watch videos together or, even more fun, allow them to make their own videos. Make gardens, bird watch, collect bugs, dismantle non-working appliances, build a barometer . . . science is everywhere. Though textbooks are extremely important and have their place, I believe the foundational understanding of science will come when concept is replaced with experimentation. Kids don’t want a bunch of random facts thrown at them to memorize only to forget after the test. They want to know how the world works. Show them!

Take time to take your students out of the books and lead them into the area of exploration. This always opens the door to talk about the character of God and His creation.

7“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you;
the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you;
8or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you;
and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
9Who among all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
10In his hand is the life of every living thing
and the breath of all mankind.” Job 12:7-10

Honestly, we do insane amounts of science in the summertime. Currently, we are “building” a weather lab for the summer. But we do it as fun not “schoolwork.” There are plenty of science museums, apps, and experiments that can foster wonderful family time.

This spring I went to several homeschool conventions and was overwhelmed by the opportunities for homeschoolers in the field of science! We don’t have a lack of good curriculum at our fingertips. Most of them are gospel-centered and are excellent resources. Jump in, get messy, and make memories in creation!

Kerry Tittle is a mother of nine children and a 20-year homeschool veteran. She was the owner of ReformationKidz with her husband Rob until a tornado destroyed their home and business in 2014, taking the lives of Rob and two of their daughters, Tori and Rebekah. Kerry is the founder of  Refined Family , which is created to encourage others to find hope in the gospel in the midst of trials.
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Danika Cooley
Science has long been the study of God's Creation. In Romans 1:19-20a, Paul is speaking of the unrighteous when he says, "For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made."

God has revealed His majesty to His children as well. It's impossible to study the vast array of fish the Lord has created without thinking about how much He values diversity and creativity. When we gain an understanding of the damage a tornado can cause, we grasp a small fraction of the power God has.

Tips for Studying Science:

Point to the Creator - It's easy to get caught up in the details and wonder of creation and forget to point to the Creator. Remind your kids often that the Lord of Heaven and Earth created the laws and creatures you're studying.

Take Your Time - Science always takes longer to study than I think it will. We set aside whole afternoons to study science, and I'm so glad we did. Doing experiments or drawing an accurately-sized humpback whale in chalk in the street was a worthwhile investment of our time.

Get Outside - When we lived in the city, we used to make time to walk in the nearby arboretum on a regular basis. Now that we live on the coast, we set aside time to go to the beach, to visit waterfalls, and to explore tide pools. Wherever you live, there is nature to be explored.

Visit Science Museums - Science museums are a wonderful way to explore chemistry, physics, engineering, and the history of science. They usually have amazing exhibits and great hands-on activities.

Be Willing to Take Detours - If you're studying zoology and your children are fascinated by bugs, it's okay to take a few weeks off from your curriculum to explore all things buggy. Take some time to read books about bugs, learn about the cultures that eat bugs, explore what an entomologist does, and see if you can find some great bug collections nearby. Your children will learn how to delve into a subject that fascinates them!

Studying science with your kids can be a great way to spend time bonding with your kids. More importantly, it's a wonderful way to point to the One Who established all natural laws, Who breathed life into all creatures, and Who "upholds the universe by the word of his power." (Hebrews 1:3)

Grab your free Bible Road Trip™ Year One Sample Pack —you'll find Bible lessons, copywork, and memory verse cards at five levels from preschool to high school.

Danika Cooley is an author and homeschool mother of four. Her passion is equipping parents to teach Scripture and Christian history to their families. You can learn more about Danika's popular  Bible Road Trip™  curriculum  and teen historical novel  When Lightning Struck!: The Story of Martin Luther  at  Thinking Kids .

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in the latest issue of
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.
Contest Corner  
For the month of May

Recently, we had the opportunity to use The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective, by Gina Ferguson. ( . . .) The student text of The Master and His Apprentices contains 19 chapters on art throughout history, plus an appendix with additional information. Every page has at least one full color reproduction or image related to the topic; most pages have several color images! I was blown away by the quality of the graphics and appropriateness of each image chosen.

The introduction to this text explains the author's philosophy of God as the Master and all other artists as apprentices. Right away you can see this will definitely be a text written from a Christian perspective. The author explains how timelines will be used throughout the book to allow the student to relate various artistic periods to historical events and to the Bible. The book was written after the author experienced the need for a more family-friendly approach to art history, where nude works of art are excluded, making the text safe to use in family lessons. Still, the book does not suffer in its ability to provide proper high school level art history instruction.

Even with the Teacher Guide, the author states this text is not intended as a comprehensive art history resource, but as an introduction. She encourages students to research further their favorite artists and periods. Even as an introduction, The Master and His Apprentices covers a good deal of art history in the 19 chapters of the book:

  • Ancient Cultures, including Ancient Near East, Egyptian, and Aegean
  • Classical Antiquity, including Early Greek, Etruscan, and Roman
  • Middle Ages, including Early Christian and Byzantine, Medieval and Islamic, Romanesque, and Gothic
  • Renaissance
  • Baroque to today
  • Non-Western Art

The text is organized chronologically and includes a good deal of history from the time frame and geographic location being discussed. One might even say it is a history text written from an artistic point of view. Each major era includes a timeline that compares the major Biblical events with the comparative world and art events. Then, a complete timeline for all eras is included in the appendix. Major works of art have headings that list the type of work and the estimated, or known, date of completion. Nearly all types of art are covered in this art history text: architecture, sculpture, pottery, painting, mosaics, engravings, and illuminations. ( Read the rest of the review.)

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TO ENTER: Click on over to our entry page and follow the instructions! Contest ends at midnight, the last day of the month.
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