25 September 2009

Elemental Science: Chemistry

You may remember that in August I held a drawing. A classical educator in China, Paige, won the drawing by subscribing to my RSS feed (you can too, click the button on the top right sidebar).

In the course of emailing back and forth with her, I found out that she has written, and continues to write, science courses for Classically educating homeschool families who use The Well-Trained Mind. She generously and graciously sent me the course that my third grader would use (since we follow WTM) called "Chemistry for the Grammar Stage." (find it here)

Her website is www.elementalscience.com and you should go and check it out! She compiled a "Great Scientists of" resource that corresponds to the 4 time periods of WTM, and has a lot of projects in the works for upper grades.

But I wanted to tell you about the book I have worked in with Claire. She sent me two PDF's: a student workbook and a parent book. The parent's book is 44 pages and starts out with a weekly experiment supply list: you could just glance at it before you do your regular shopping and add anything that you don't already have around the house to your list. Then it walks you through the experiments and corresponding worksheets each week. Each week has its own page, listing which books are needed, incl. pages and another equipment list.

The student workbook can be printed as needed. It includes

- Ongoing Projects
- Biography Questionnaire
- 49 Definitions
- Summary Pages- each family from the Periodic table
- 19 Experiment Pages (specific)
- Experiment forms (blank)
- 50 Pictures

Your student will cut out the pictures and glue them to the corresponding pages, and write definitions and summaries. There is an ongoing put-elements-into-the-periodic-table project, in which your student glues down families of elements onto a chart, and she recommends a particular on-line Periodic Table of the Elements that she likes. I am reading The Mystery of the Periodic Table with Claire, and as we proceed through it she is gluing the elemental families onto the chart.

All of her courses are available as an e-book, or in a bound paper book; a set, or separately.

If you really like WTM and believe Susan Wise Bauer's plan for education is the best thing for your children, you could still be pretty frustrated at the freedom she gives. If WTM tells me to get Adventures With Atoms and Molecules and do the experiments, I get the book and start on the first experiment go through them until the end. I create worksheets and have Claire draw an atom and write the definitions in her science notebook.

However, some parents want less freedom to create their own curriculum plan, and more instruction on what, specifically, to do each day. Some homeschool parents would like that all worked out for them, and this course would be a perfect fit for that kind of homeschool. She has done all the work for you, incorporating everything WTM suggests and fits it all together in a comprehensive 36 week course. These courses are inexpensive and use a trusted education plan (WTM) to walk you through each year of science instruction.

In Bauer's own words, "(Your child) will know more chemistry than 98 percent of American third graders." (WTM, p 173)

See the next post for convenient links to Amazon for each of the recommended texts that Chemistry for the Grammar Stage uses.


  1. We have this program as well and find it to be an excellent Chemistry foundation! We've really enjoyed the book selections and the projects especially. Chemistry was my absolute worse subject in high school, so I really appreciate the detailed leson plans and outlines. What a great job she has done putting this together!

  2. I never would've found her if she hadn't subscribed to my rss feed! I'm looking forward to Physics next year, but I really need to look at the Biology one for my son for this year.