by Carol Barnier
I’m not a big fan of textbooks.
There. I said it. I think that giving a kid textbook before high school may be some sort of cosmic brain trust crime. And I’m not just talking about science. I grew up on history textbooks that took amazingly exciting events, then distilled and regurgitated the information till it was little more than dates and something like wah, wah-wah, wah-wa-wa-wa. (Tip o’ the hat to Charlie Brown.) Not only were there amazing books of fiction, non-fiction, and biography that could have enlivened our studies, there was all the stuff written by people who were actually there (otherwise known as primary documentation) that could have been read. (Tip o’ the hat to the Notgrass History program that actually incorporates all these elements exceptionally well.)
So back to science.
In our twenty or so years of homeschooling, if we didn’t use textbooks till high school, how did I wind up with such science-loving kids? How did one fall in love with engines and combustion (the current “project” in our garage bay bears testament), while another is finishing up her senior year of getting a college degree in chemistry? How? By doing science, rather than reading about it.