Sunday, May 18, 2008

Structuring the Course--A Heirarchically Based Science Course for Elementary Students: Part 2

One can spend a lot of time teaching science. I am sure that if I had a half-hour course every weekday that I could fill it with useful information. That's not workable for most families (including my own). Nor do I have the time to prepare that amount of material. I'm working with a handicap as it is. Homeschool courses are generally offered once a week. Thinking of music lessons or co-op classes, they would last for about an hour. It seems that co-ops also run in semesters (two or three in a school year).

My hubby's astronomy course lasts approximately 20 weeks (a very long semester) and he plans on running that in the fall and the spring (there actually isn't enough time--he's counting on a few cloudy nights to catch up). His schedule is ruled by his topic and what he's covering.

What is my topic and what will I be covering? I'm leaning toward physics, but it seems that I won't be able to be exclusive--there's a bit of cross-over. I've been thinking about covering a topic in physics a month and running for four months. That's not very much, though. I will also need to include an introduction.

There are so many topics in physics, too, plus all of the groundwork needed to understand the basics. Magnetism, machines, light and optics, discoveries about planets, electricity, and gravity all require knowledge of force, pressure, volume, matter, mass, and measurement. I do not really plan to talk about every discovery of these bare bones facts. They're pretty concrete and lead themselves to easy discovery by the kids. I will, also, need to skim many of the topics. The depth and breadth of the course are, obviously, inversed. The deeper I go into any one topic, the less the course can cover overall. The more I want to cover, the less I can go into each. I'm currently thinking of a broad, sallow coverage (with the exception of the 'how' and the basic definitions needed for further, in-depth, analysis--which I will cover more in-depth). As recommend by Dr. Peikoff, I will be guided by chronology.

I wish I had David Harriman's physics and I'm also glad I don't have it. His physics course would be a great outline, but I'm completely sure it would be way too advanced for elementary students. I am also looking forward to puzzling this all out for myself.

Part 1
Part 1a

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