Monday, April 23, 2012

Outdoor Secrets Review

For first grade science, we decided to go with a Charlotte Mason style curriculum - Outdoor Secrets, along with the Outdoor Secrets companion.  The plan was to finish this, then move on to the body on our own.

At first, we did okay.  We'd get the recommended library books, read them as scheduled along with the stories from Outdoor Secrets, and do the experiments.  But after a while, we got really, really bored.  It seemed like we really weren't learning anything that was new, or important.  A lesson on the century plant - a plant which will grow in the desert, blooms once per century, and dies.  Yes, it is important to know there are different plants in different parts of the world.  However, I feel this book was poorly laid out, and the stories were a little hard to follow the way they were written.

The stories are written from the plants (or animals) point of view, but it takes a minute to catch on to what they are saying.  It also personifies pretty much everything in the story.  The sun, the wind, the leaves, etc.  This all would sound lovely, except it just doesn't make much sense, and like I said, is hard to follow what exactly they are talking about.  You don't really get the point until the end, and even then it is not really clear.

Overall, I was very disappointed with this for our Science Curriculum.  I could have (and will next year) done a better job just by looking at my "what your first grader needs to know" guide and getting living books that went along with it.  I don't feel like we learned even half of what we should have been covering this year, which is frustrating.  For second grade, we will either do as I suggested above with the "what your second grader needs to know", or find another guide to go by since it seems to be a bit different than what we were planning.

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