Charlotte Mason and the Science Curriculum
For those of you who want to follow the Charlotte Mason approach for teaching science you may wish to ask – how does the Charlotte Mason method of doing science compare with the Australian Science Curriculum’s three strands of science?
- in developing the scientific skills through observation (and recording those through notebooking and journaling),
- understanding science was taught through using science based literature and nature study,
- science as a human endeavour was taught through studying biographies of scientists learning about their inventions, discoveries and life .
Marrying the Australian Curriculum and Charlotte Mason Method.
The Charlotte Mason method for teaching science uses an immersion approach for teaching science.
Charlotte Mason believed in using a living book approach to teaching science with lots of observation: Her ideas included lots of:
- stories about nature and scientists,
- science conversations – stimulated by wonder and observation in all the disciplines
- nature study and nature journaling.
The Australian Curriculum uses a spiral approach to teaching science, teaching a little bit of:
- earth and space science—each year.
These are different methods but essentially the content is the same. If you understand this basic difference to teaching science you can look at the Australian Curriculum in a new way. You can see that the main conflict with the Australian National Curriculum and the Charlotte Mason method is one of sequencing when to teach content and not what content to teach.
To marry these two curriculum approaches you can cover all the major areas of science but you can do a different science specialty each year for four years (immersion method) rather than doing all four subjects every year for four years (spiral approach).
You will find most homeschool textbooks use an immersion approach to teaching science.
Evolution and Creation
The Australian Curriculum for Science also teaches from an evolutionary point of view. This is also an area of conflict for many parents. Biblical creation is NEVER taught in the Australian Curriculum whilst evolution is taught as fact. Many Christian parents choose to introduce creation science books as well. Teaching your children about the secular and Biblical worldview from an early age will help them understand why some books seem to support evolution and others do not.
Charlotte Mason Science Textbooks
Children are usually ready to start teaching science in a more formal way around Year 4. You will need to demonstrate that you cover all the major areas of science if you follow the Australian Curriculum but you can do one science specialty a year for four years (immersion method) rather than doing all four subjects every year for four years (spiral approach) if you prefer.
In our home we begin using the Exploring Creation series by Jeanie Fulbright . This resource is a cross between a textbook and a living book. We love them!
Five Tips For Passing Registration When Using A Charlotte Mason Method
- Be confident. Remember that you will be teaching in all areas of the science curriculum, you are just using an immersion approach.
- Nature Study is more than biology. It’s also ecology and geography. When you read nature stories, it’s also English.
- Make yourself a Youtube channel with some chemistry and science videos. They can watch these on rainy days or when your sick. These can also help meet the curriculum.
- Learn to make science a part of your conversation.
- Familiarise yourself with the basic content of the Australian Curriculum. Here is the summary of all the science content.
For more specific recommendations see our free Homeschool Curriculum Guides.