The following is an overview of what makes up my Chemistry Curriculum. The first time I went through this with my big kids, and we took an entire year. It was a breath of fresh air after struggling with an Apologia text book. Now three years later I am doing it again with my son. The only difference is that I don’t do a full year of any one science anymore. Charlotte Mason says, “The study of natural history and botany with bird lists and plant lists continues throughout school life, while other branches of science are taken term by term.” (vol 6 pg 220) In our house this looks like Natural History/Botany/Nature Study always, and a term at a time of Modern Biology, Chemistry, Physics and any other field we wish to study.
I may not know exactly what I am doing, but I am determined that we at least try to do this in a CM fashion. I hope that by sharing what we are doing, others might feel confident enough to jump in there and try it too.
Charlotte Mason said, “Books dealing with science as with history, say, should be of a literary character, and we should probably be more scientific as a people if we scrapped all the text-books which swell publishers’ lists and nearly all the chalk expended so freely on our blackboards.” (vol. 6, pg 218) Therefore, the first step was to choose what living books we would use.
Crucibles: The Story of Chemistry From Ancient Alchemy to Nuclear Fission by Bernard Jaffe
- Ch 3 Becher
- Ch 9 Avogadro
- Ch 14 includes Thomson, but not Rutherford
- Ch 16 includes Langmuir, but not Bohr
- Ch 19 Nuclear Energy Today and Tomorrow
2. Free Reading
In addition to reading the spine text, I have my students choose living science books from my collection of chemistry free reads. This page will give you some ideas of what to stock in your library. Some are longer than others and some harder than others. By allowing each student to choose their own they can pick something suitable for their level and interest. They will read these books for a certain period of time each week, and when they have completed one, they can pick another.
Mendeleyev and His Periodic Table by Robin McKown
Charlotte Mason also clarified for us that, “The only sound method of teaching science is to afford a due combination of field or laboratory work, with such literary comments and amplifications as the subject affords.” Vol. 6, pg 223 The next several items are used as an effort to fulfill these requirements.
Each experiment is pulled directly from the topic being considered that week.
One of my very favorite resources for chemistry experiments is Off The Shelf Chemistry. Each experiment is fun, simple to understand concepts, and easy enough to do. You will need real chemistry equipment, but I was able to get completely stocked for a year worth of experiments for $90 through Home Science Tools. I supposed this is the trade off for getting our “text” for $1.99!
I originally found a great BBC video series called A Volatile History on YouTube which covers the history of chemistry and paralleled the spine text very well. Unfortunately, those videos are now unavailable. I have read that it is is periodically re-run on BBC4, so if you can set your DVR you might get it recorded one of these days.
The kids will keep a science notebook. From what I understand, Charlotte Mason advocated one notebook that included all subjects. In other words, if we dissect a flower for a botany lesson today, we can diagram that in our science notebook. Then if tomorrow we study Binary Compounds of Metals with Fixed Charges, (see below,) we can enter than on the very next page.
Work through the top of this page on Binary Compounds of Metals with Fixed Charges, and try the first set of practice problems. Recorded them in your science notebook.