7 Jul 2011

The science of icecream

No, this is not fun.

Of course it's not.

It's a science experiment.

Don't you know anything?

This is school.

Isn't it great when your science curriculum demands that you eat icecream?

We're studying conduction in our science book, Physics Lab in the Home by Bob Friedhoffer. This is the second in the series that we've studied, and I must say they're terrific little books.

Some weeks we just read a page or two. Other weeks we do a simple experiment. Like eating icecream. Your favourite flavour, it says. In a cone.

We chose the living books and Friedhoffer route over Ambleside Online's alternative recommendation, one of the books in Jeannie Fulbright's Exploring Creation series, for one reason, and that is because I cannot for the life of me work out how you can integrate Fulbright's wonderful books with AO without totally overburdening your child.

We tried Exploring Creation with Astronomy in AO2. It is a great book, and we really tried, but honestly the combination of this with all our AO work almost brought me to my knees. We only got half way through by the end of the year and we've never finished it since.

Jeannie Fulbright makes no apology for the thoroughness of her curriculum. She calls it The Immersion Approach, and she recommends giving kids an in-depth exposure into each science topic from the word go rather than lurching spirally from a minute amount of one topic to the next. Now in part I agree with her - and I love her books, but to get through one in a year requires at least an hour each week. Probably more to get everything from a lesson.

I would really like to use Exploring Creation with Botany. I have it on my shelf, and there is so much wonderful stuff in it. Looking through it though, I think I could get through a lesson in a month only by spending two afternoons on it a week. At least. Probably more. Add to that an afternoon of nature study and that's three afternoons on science alone. It totally unbalances my schedule. It adds hours to our school day. It just wouldn't work.

So the question for those mummas who are cleverer than me is this: Have any of you successfully integrated these books with AO? If so how? Did you leave out the majority of the book and just pick and choose, or do you do it over a couple of years, or do you leave out other AO stuff for science? I'm inclining toward the pick and choose alternative for next year. The book is sitting on my shelf, and I may as well use it. I just want to keep science in balance, that's all.

In the mean time we'll stick with Bob. And eat icecream.

For what it's worth, a cone is a great insulator; your tongue is not. So now you know.


  1. Hey Jeanne...we are working through Fulbrights Astronomy book 1 hour a week and we are enjoying it. We don't do any other science other than nature science. I must admit though I am struggling with AO and how to put everything together for a 6yo and 10yo. We haven't done much poetry, picture study, folk songs or Spanish and I hate that. Anyway, I am a AO learner. xxx

  2. Jeanne, you are so brave to be so honest about these books! Can I be more so..?

    IMMHO, I do not believe every book written in a conversational tone or style indeed deserves the honor of being called a living book. I know you and I agree upon this, too. I did try. I own almost all the books because I've done work pertaining to each, but I would never use them in my homeschool with my elementary aged children. Not only is it overkill, but it feels like overkill because there's no joy, no passion, no life in these books. Basically, these are fact-dense and dry textbooks written in second person augmented with lots of pictures and a few common activities.

    There are better options. Too bad most are out of print... hey, we should write!

  3. Ice cream for science sounds good to me! I don't use AO but I have found that picking and choosing what works for us is way better than following any set plan from someone else, I want learning to be meaningful, relevant and fun, not forced. We use a science series called 'Christian Kids Explore' and are currently working through the 'Earth and Space' book at our own pace and are enjoying that. We do 1 or 2 science lessons a week, usually 1 with the theory and the other with the activity or experiment and that works well for us :-)

  4. Ice-cream for science, chocolate for maths... your homeschool is FUN!

    oh, and toddler fingers are also not a good insulator ;)

  5. I say stick with the ice cream! :) Seriously though, if it's working for you then why change it? We do science on a Wednesday here, except for my high schoolers who do it 3 or 4 times a week. Lucie and Gracie (10,8) are doing Exploring Creation with Astronomy this year. They are doing it on their own though as I am trying to work more with my younger 2 boys this year. They read and then notebook about it using pages from Currclick. It seems to be working. I personally love John Hudson Tiner books a lot more. They are amazing! The girls will move on to those in a year or two. My older two are doing Apologia General Science and loving it. x

  6. Love this science experiment Jeanne! Looks like Jemimah sure does too. Hehe :o)

  7. Poor Jemimah, she is surely overburdened with two ice cream cones. Miss Mason says we should let children make their own connections but I do hope you stepped in and helped her out.

    Keep providing that generous curriculum. Botany is listed in Charlotte's timetables in Class III (approx. 7th & 8th grade here) if that makes the ice cream go down any easier.

    We no longer strictly Amble so, for what it's worth, we have science twice a week (not including our nature walks). We also have four science books with experiments on their free read shelves (Bob's is one of them) which they pull off pretty regularly to read or do experiments from on their own.

    I do like that picture.

  8. I absolutely love your homeschool. We do use the Fulbright books although I must purchase the botany book soon if we are to do it in the fall. We are going to use it in addition to our garden. We read a portion Tuesday/Thursday and it seems to go well. Of course, we aren't eating ice cream for our experiments though. lol I think Jemimah is getting a top notch education just like it is.

  9. I spent time yest trying to catch up and realised I'd missed some of your posts in my busyness. But I just had to comment on this one lol! I think we'll go the ice cream route too. I looked at an apologia book that one of my friends had and it looked very dry to me - not one that Rebekah could narrate from! besides I think Rebekah would also prefer icecreams in cones - the cones being as equally loved as the icecream:)


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