The Science Home (or Not So Much?)
August 14, 2019
In This Issue:
We Are Dust

Hey Mama,

God’s Word teaches us that we are weak in nature. Our frame is dust. But out of His kindness and understanding, He recognizes our frailties. Still, He has given us His Word. We are responsible to read it. To apply it, to pick up our cross and follow Him. To strive for holiness, to close our mouths instead of always running them off. To listen, to be slow to anger and quick to forgive.

And we are dust. Weak. Imperfect.

That’s what I love about nature and science. It reminds me that I am nothing . . . and HE is everything! Just as you test different compounds in science to see how they react to each other, God is continually testing us. And God’s Word tells us to test ourselves, too, to make sure we are truly in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).

What a Parent God is! What patience! He tests us, yes. Trials will come. But in them our character will be strengthened. The goal is to have the mind of Christ. It’s what we desire for our own children, too. So we allow them to face trials. We work with them. We have heart talks. By God’s grace, we carry on.

And when you struggle with homeschooling or need ideas on how to teach science, find some practical (free) help in the pages of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine (Read it free anytime at www.TOSMagazine.com).




Also know this, Mama. . .

Your children will utterly fail sometimes. They are a work in progress; so resist the temptation to think they have arrived.

You are setting yourself up for disappointment or potential anger if you do.

Think about your own walk with the Lord. He is the perfect Parent. There is no One more patient, kind, compassionate or merciful, right? His instruction is pure. His Word is clear. Yet we have stumbled repeatedly as new baby Christians . . . and even still as seasoned ones.

Walking with the Lord now for over thirty years, I am sometimes perplexed by my lack of understanding. My failures. When will I ever learn? Why can’t I love my Savior better, obey faster, pray more emphatically, and always do what I know is right?

But it’s easy to think our children should “get it” by now, right? They should make all the right choices. They’ve been told how to behave! We’ve been over this . . . twenty-plus times and counting.

Mama, plan on them blowing it. Plan on the occasional bad day. Plan to be shocked sometimes. Your children, as mentioned, are an ongoing work in progress. Just as the Lord lovingly waits for us to mature, wait for your children—and pray!

When the bad days come, stay the course. It doesn’t mean giving up, anymore than the Lord gives up on us. He sets us right: we repent and start again.

Insist on moving forward with your children. But keep it balanced. Maybe it’s time to change up the schedule, put some of the school work away and just get into the kitchen and whip up a bakery-fest. Or build forts in the living room together. Break out the modeling clay and be Rodin for the afternoon. Relationship. It’s what they will remember.

They are flesh, bone, and blood . . . imperfect. Small frames. Dust. Mini versions of you and me. Smile instead of crumpling at the chaos. No crisis will ensue just because you take a free day of fun with these young souls. In fact, you may just avert one because of your willingness to let the Lord redirect your steps.


As always, weak Mama, yet strong Mama in Christ, because He does it ALL . . . His hand is on your head today.

For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust” Psalm 103:14.

-gena
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Do you or your kids ever open a science book and immediately feel overwhelmed by it all? I can understand. I still feel that way sometimes when I open science textbooks. There are so many definitions and topics to explore, and much of it can seem very unfamiliar and intimidating.

One way you can beat the overwhelm is by chunking the textbook down into daily readings. Place a brightly colored sticky note on the top of the first page and the last page you need to cover in a day. This is an easy way for your kids to see they only have to do a few pages, not the entire book. Before they know it, the daily reading tabs will be inching their way back through the textbook.

Another option that can help is to make sure your child’s science reading area has plenty of light. I know this may sound like an obvious tip, but if science is hard for your student, it’s important to make sure there aren’t other obstacles, such as dim lighting, to overcome as well.

A third option is to do everything you can to make science fun. Science should never just be read. It needs to be explored and experimented with so it can really enter the minds and hearts of your kids.

Fighting science overwhelm is also the reason I wrote the Learning About Science series, a set of bite-sized units that let you approach science in a fun, less-intimidating way. Numerous life, earth, and physical science topics are covered. The pages include plenty of white space. Younger kids can also color the pictures and practice their handwriting with copywork of key terms. Older students can practice vocabulary, label diagrams, and much more. Currently, 39 titles in 5 elementary levels are available. Come and take a look at Learning About Science and save 25% on the bundled collections with coupon THM25 through August 31.

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Benefits of Observing Creation 

Does it have to be one way or the other? 

Melanie’s degree is in the hard sciences and Hal’s is engineering: so you’d expect us to be all STEM all the time, wouldn’t you? But the Lord gave us children with different talents and interests. Some are musical, others artistic; some are into science, and others into philosophy—and that’s just fine. God made all kinds of people for a reason. 

In twenty-five years of homeschooling, we’ve figured out a couple of things about teaching science that might be a help to you:

In the early years, science should focus on the joy of learning and enjoying God’s Creation. The joy part is important. A mom at a conference complained, “My son hates science!” When we asked her more, she shared, “I make sure he uses complete sentences with good grammar and his best handwriting, but he hates answering the questions at the end of the chapter . . . I don’t understand!” 

Well, we do. Boys develop small motor skills later than girls do and all that writing was difficult for him. The fun things he was learning in “science” were being squashed by his handwriting struggles. Why not discuss the questions orally? Don’t make him hate science because writing is hard! Instead, get him outside observing and collecting, drawing and asking questions. 

In high school, make sure they get the sciences they need to be prepared for whatever the Lord calls them to do.

Don’t underestimate what that might be. One mom told us her daughters were going to be wives and mothers; so she didn’t plan to do science at all with them. Well, won’t they need to teach their kids science? And with the average age of first marriage reaching 30, there's lots of time to go to college, get a job, or start a business before the kids come along! 

Another mom said, “My son doesn’t need chemistry; he’s going to be a farmer,” but won’t he need to know how to mix fertilizer by concentration and volume? Yeah. “Science” is more than theories in a lab! 

The heavens declare the glory of God,” says the psalmist, and “ The works of the LORD are great, studied by all who have pleasure in them” (Psalms 19:1 and 11:2). 

We all benefit from observing Creation, but some of our students will go deeper than others. Give them a basic introduction early then lay a foundation for formal study in high school—you can do this! 

Here’s help: Get our FREE Homeschooling High School Resource Pack

Your friends,
Hal & Melanie
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When You Can See the Invisible

There are school subjects that seem pretty scary, right? Teaching things like computer coding and calculus can seem intimidating and out of our league.

But science shouldn't make us feel like hiding in the closet with a bag of Oreos. We should be excited to teach our kids about the wonders of our world, galaxy, and solar system. Why?

Science is worth studying.

Because science makes the invisible visible. “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them” (Romans 1:20 ESV).

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.

When we teach our kids about the truth of God's world, we can teach them truth about the Creator Who made all things and holds all things together. Nature, the solar system, and even chemistry, microbiology, and physics are wonderful opportunities to witness to our kids about God's glory and might. God is an amazing Creator Who cares for His Creation, cares for beauty and wonder, and loves diversity. We can learn so much about God just by observing and studying the world around us!

Fun ways to study science. . .

There are some great curricula out there that bear witness to the majesty of God. We've included science in our studies since our kids were small.

We also made sure we got out in nature and went for walks. We had a basket of our outdoor collections (the ones that we were able to save).

The zoo and aquarium are wonderful places to come face-to-face with amazing creatures our kids wouldn't normally see.

We visited the arboretum at set times during the year, taking in trees from all over the world.

It's fun to visit science museums and play with the exhibits that are especially designed for little hands. Our local science museum had a display of fetuses for every week of development in the womb that was particularly impactful.

We had a wonderful collection of books on various scientific disciplines that we included in our reading. My youngest was fascinated with animals; so we gave him a measuring tape so that he could figure out how big each animal is. With really big animals, I'd help him measure the length of the creature on the sidewalk with sidewalk chalk.

The whole point of studying science. . .

We study science with our kids in order to increase their knowledge base. More importantly, we explore science with our kids so that we can further introduce them to the Creator. God tells us His Creation points to Him.

It's through the visible world that we clearly perceive God's eternal power and divine nature.

Danika Cooley is an award-winning children's author , and the developer of the popular Bible Road Trip™ curriculum. Grab your free Sample Pack of the REVISED EDITION here .
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Micro business, rainbows, and Latin, oh, my! Find these great electives and many more in the “Don't Forget the Electives!” Resource Guide in the Summer 2019 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.
Why are those sharks at the aquarium always moving Which shark can reach a swimming speed of 50 mph ? Find the answers to these and other questions in A World of Animals,  just one of the hundreds of courses available at  SchoolhouseTeachers.com . With core and elective options for all ages (even parents!), there is something for everyone, and during the month of August, you can join for  $169/yr  and receive a  second full year for FREE ! You will also receive a free tote bag, access to 10 full libraries of World Book Online, recordkeeping tools, and so much more! No hidden fees or textbooks to purchase. Valid for new members only. Don’t miss this great BOGO sale!  Use coupon code SHARK by August 30, 2019

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Dr. Wile
Jay Wile
Science: A Form of Worship

Dr. Arthur Leonard Schawlow, a physicist who shared the 1981 Nobel Prize in physics, wrote: 

“In the words of Psalm 19, ‘The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth His handiwork.’ Thus scientific research is a worshipful act, in that it reveals more of the wonders of God’s Creation.” ( Cosmos, Bios, Theos, Henry Margenau and Roy Abraham Varghese, ed., Open Court Publishing 1992, p. 106) 

Have you ever thought about science that way? My guess is that you haven’t. Most likely, you view science as either a chore that you must get through or as an interesting academic subject. However, many scientists of the past and present (myself included) agree with Dr. Schawlow. Science is more than an academic subject. It is a worshipful act that reveals more of the wondrous works of our Creator.

Indeed, the motivating factor for most of the great scientists of the past was to learn more about God. The great English botanist John Ray studied flowers so that he could share the wonders of God’s Creation in his sermons (his main job was as a pastor). The most important scientist of his day, Carl Linnaeus, likened his scientific research to following God from behind. James Joule, the man who taught the world how energy is converted from one form to another, said that being acquainted with the laws of nature means being acquainted with the mind of God. 

What would it look like if you could think about science that way in your home? Would you sigh with frustration when you pulled out your science curriculum? Would you find excuses to avoid science? Would your children grow up worrying that science is a threat to their faith? No! Children are naturally drawn to their Creator, and if we view science as a way of experiencing our Creator’s works, children will be drawn to science as well.

But how do you foster this kind of attitude in your home? First, lead by example. Do you look forward to worshipping at church? Then look forward to doing science. Don’t approach it with fear or dread. Approach it with the idea that you will be learning more about what God has made for you. 

Second, relate what you are learning directly to God. For example, instead of thinking, “Birds have hollow bones so that they are light enough to fly,” think, “God made bird bones hollow so that birds are light enough to fly.” That might seem like a small change in thinking, but the more you do it, the more you will start being amazed at all the details God had to work out to make the world work the way it does! 

Finally, pray before you do science. Ask God to help you understand the wonders of His Creation. If that sounds odd to you, it shouldn’t. Who better to help you understand nature than the One Who created it?

Dr. Jay L. Wile holds an earned Ph.D. in nuclear chemistry and is the author of award-winning K-12 science curricula designed for the home. You can see his materials at www.bereanbuilders.com .
Whether this was your first year homeschooling or you have run the homeschool marathon, we want to hear about your favorite resources! Cast your votes for the 2019 The Old Schoolhouse® Excellence in Education Awards! Complete the survey to receive a $100 gift certificate to our Schoolhouse Store for any digital purchase* and be entered in the drawing to win a Kindle Fire Tablet! Share your opinions with us by August 15, 2019! 

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You’ve done the baking soda and vinegar volcano, and now your kids are ready for more. It’s a good thing you have access to more than 130 simple experiments as part of your SchoolhouseTeachers.com membership! You can find the wet paper towel check, learn the effects of temperature on microwave popcorn and soda pop fizz, find out if plants like salt, and more in your Science Experiments with World Book course!

If you haven’t joined SchoolhouseTeachers.com, come give us a try! If you or someone you know would be interested in teaching or writing for us, let us know. You can email me at bhudson@TheOldSchoolhouse.com. Discover the wealth of materials available right at your fingertips at SchoolhouseTeachers.com. 


Bonnie Rose Hudson
Director of SchoolhouseTeachers.com
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Matthew Mouse , Rachel Rabbit , and Emma Elephant are in a three-book series that shows the timeless wisdom from the Book of Proverbs in a way that children can relate to. Author and illustrator Zoe Carter lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her website, Zoe Craft Book , is a resource of crafts and instructional aids for teaching the Bible to young children. 

I read all three of these books aloud with my three younger children who are ages 3, 7, and 9. These are best-suited for children from 3 to 6, although my older ones did enjoy the simple stories and the big, fun illustrations on each page. 

We first read Emma Elephant , a story about the value of telling the truth. This story shows how important it is to tell the truth and how easy it is for lies to grow out of control.

In Matthew Mouse , we learn the value of carefully choosing our friends. When Matthew Mouse makes a new friend, Cat Burglar, our children see how the friends we spend time with change us. We can always be kind, but we must be wise in whom we choose as our friend.

Rachel Rabbit was a favorite of ours, especially for my daughter Rachel. This book was a great reminder that sometimes it is better to not get everything we want all the time. The book teaches contentment and gratitude. 

While we used these as read-alouds, they were also enjoyable books for my beginning and struggling readers with simple, easy-to-read words and print. The illustrations really bring the stories to life! A wonderful way to introduce the Bible and valuable character traits, these books are a reminder too that God loves us and desires good things for us.


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