Originally published in Learning Tangent Homeschool Magazine, Spring 2015
This year has been a great one for the boys and science. they have always loved it, and so it’s easier to work it into our schedule. The wonderful organization laid out with Nancy Larson always makes science go more smoothly, because each topic is covered well and with proper terminology. Sound has always fascinated me, although I suppose as a musician thats to be expected! I love the way a violin creates sound, the sweet sound of the bow drawn across the string, and how a recorder causes gentle air blown into it to vibrate, bringing beautiful tones into the world.
I suppose a unit on sound would be an obvious win, and adding light to the mix is an extra bonus for us, and we thoroughly enjoyed the unit. As we have come to expect from Nancy Larson, they explain the concepts in a simple, straightforward manner that makes sense to kids and scientifically challenged parents! My sons had a great time learning about how sounds are generated, and how our ears capture and transmit sound to our brains. By the time we were done with the sound unit, they could name and label the ear’s various parts, and loved using boxes and the rubber bands provided in the kit to make what they dubbed a “Box Guitar.” As much as I am fascinated by sound, I have never explained the inner workings ear, and the scripted lessons came to my rescue yet again, ensuring hat I covered all the bases and he boys did all the review work without a hitch.
Moving along to the light portion of the unit was a pleasure, and the explanations of the light spectrum and hands-on activitiy using a prism were memorable and fun. My boys who do not enjoy “just coloring” suddenly enjoy coloring with the booklets and activities in Nancy Larson. We had to improvise the violet in the color spectrum, because I believe there is a colored pencil eating monster living somewhere in our house, but other than that the lessons went remarkably smoothly. I’m not quite sure why, but it seems that the non-aggressive method seems to invite participation and increase the joy of learning.
Science is one of the areas where they are always excited to show Dad their work, and they were especially excited to show him the lessons on light because has taught them about color and blending. As a side note, he is very impressed and pleasantly surprised to hear proper terminology used in our science lessons, because he sees it being “dumbed down” all too often.
They were able to recite each of the colors of the light spectrum, explain that white light is made up of all the colors, and even said the unit assessment on sound and light was “super easy.” I think that like any test I took in school, if you have done the work and it was explained properly, the test should be easy; and that’s what Nancy Larson does.
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