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Our experience with with the Sassafras Science Adventures Series

February 27, 2017 5 min read

At popular request, I am going to pull back the curtains and share with you all how we use our science programs.

Because I am not just the author of the programs here at Elemental Science, I am also a homeschooling mom who uses our curricula to teach science at home. {Oh my . . . that sounded a bit too much like the old Hair Club for Men commercial!}

Retro infomercials aside - Elemental Science really did begin with me writing a science program just to use with our daughter. You can read the story how thanks to a simple suggestion {and a whole lot of work} that one pencil-and-paper plan has become what you see here today.

All that to say that, I am excited to share with you all what science has looked like in our house

First up - the Sassafras Science Adventures!

How we use the Sassafras Science Series Adventures each week

When our oldest was in first grade, the Sassafras Science Series didn't exist - in fact, most of our programs didn't exist! 

However, our youngest is 8 years behind. And he's a bit more . . . energetic and playful. This boy loves adventure!

So, hubs and I decided that the Sassafras Science series would a great fit for him. Plus, it gave me a chance to actually use this series in our homeschool.

What our weeks with the Lapbooking Guide should look like

Right now, we do science twice a week, typically on Wednesday and Thursday. And we are currently using The Sassafras Science Adventures Volume 2: Anatomy along with Lapbooking through Anatomy with the Sassafras Twins.

On the first day of our week we:

  • Read the first part of the chapter we are on.
  • Complete the mini-book for the corresponding topic.
  • Go over the vocabulary words and add them to the pocket.

On the second day of our week we:

  • Read the second part of the chapter we are on.
  • Complete the mini-book for the corresponding topic.
  • Add any information to the body systems booklet.
  • Do the week's demonstration.

It's that simple for us! If time allows, we will read another book about one of the topics or add in another activity from the activity guide, but we don't always get to those.

What our week actually looked like

The above is an ideal week - I thought I would share with you all an actual week, complete with my six year old's responses to give you a better picture!

Here's how the first day of our second week with volume 2 went:

  • My son listened to the first part of chapter 2 while I ran on the treadmill. I'm training for my first 5K and the audiobook has been a lifesaver!
  • After I was done, we opened his lapbook and chatted about the skeletal system. He wanted to add on the purpose page that the job of the skeletal system was "to keep us from being floppy." I wrote that down for him, he stapled the booklet together, and we glued it into his lapbook.
  • Then, we discussed the part where Larry "Snowflake" Maru had held the skull and shared a bit more about it. We laughed about how strange it would be to have a tooth with a picture etched on it. And I asked him, what he remembered about the skull.
  • After he had shared several facts, I asked him what he wanted in his lapbook. He said, "It protects the brain; it is hard," which I wrote down for him. And then we glued the skull mini-book into his lapbook - he didn't want to color it this time.
  • Finally, we read the definitions of the cranium, vertebral column, and skeleton before placing the cards in the vocabulary pocket we had already glued into his lapbook.

Time: 25 to 30 minutes, including read-aloud time

Here's how the second day of our second week with volume 2 went:

  • I read the second part of chapter 2 out loud while our son built with MagnaTiles. He does a lot better at listening when his hands are busy!
  • After I was done, we opened his lapbook and chatted about the skeletal system. He wanted to add on the facts page that the skeletal system had 206 bones, which I wrote for him, and we labeled the skull and backbone on the parts page.
  • Then, we laughed about how scared Snowflake and Raz were and he assured me that he was way braver than they were! I asked him if he could show me where his backbone was and if he could tell me a few facts about that part of his body.
  • After he had shared several facts, I asked him what he wanted in his lapbook. He said, "The backbone holds us up; it is made up of vertebrae," which I wrote down for him. And then we glued the backbone mini-book into his lapbook - again, he didn't want to color the picture on the front.
  • Finally, we did the week's demonstration - entitled "Support System." We were supposed to use mini marshmallows, but I didn't have any - I told you guys this experiment supply tip was for me! We used ripped up hot dog buns instead, but he got the idea!

Time: 30 to 35 minutes, including several laughing sessions over the idea of a hot dog bun being a person's spinal cord! 

And that's what an actual week of our anatomy adventures looked like. I hope you enjoyed this peek into our homeschool! And here's a tour of our completed zoology lapbook...

What a week with the Activity Guide & Logbook looks like

Our son was in second grade when we used The Sassafras Science Adventures Volume 3: Botany along with the activity guide and logbook. We typically did science about four times a week, usually on Monday through Thursday. Then, we save Friday's for nature study. On the first day of our week the plan was to:
  • Read the first part of the chapter we are on.
  • Complete the record page for the corresponding topic.
  • Go over the vocabulary words from the activity guide.
On the second day of our week the plan was to:
  • Do the week’s demonstration explained in the activity guide.
  • Read from one of the suggested encyclopedias.
  • Add any information to the record or biome pages in the logbook.
On the third day of our week the plan was to:
  • Read the second part of the chapter we are on.
  • Complete the record page for the corresponding topic.
  • Add any information to the biome page in the logbook.
On the fourth day of our week the plan was to:
  • Do one of the additional activities from the activity guide.
  • Every other week we complete the quiz from the activity guide.

That's the plan for us!

At this point, I still do most of the writing but we are transitioning to having him write more on his own. You can see more about how we handle writing and science in the following videos:

As you can see, we didn't really use the plant information pages, notes pages, or project record pages. This is mostly because at this point our son doesn't write that much and I don't want to overwhelm him. We'll be adding these pages in the coming years!

Here is a quick video of how we use the activity guide and lapbook in our homeschool...

Learn more about the Sassafras Science Series

Come read more about this series and how it works on the Sassafras Science main page.

12 Responses

Paige Hudson
Paige Hudson

September 27, 2017

Jessica,

That is so wonderful to hear! I am glad you guys are enjoying your journey through anatomy!!

Paige

Jessica
Jessica

September 26, 2017

I bought the Anatomy set for my 8yr old and it has changed how he looks at science. He’s excited to get into it each day. We have both learned so much and love the story that drives us to learn about the different parts of the body.

Paige Hudson
Paige Hudson

March 02, 2017

Shana, the lapbooking guide is a more gentle version of the activity guide and logbook. You can read more about the differences between the two here: http://sassafrasscience.com/frequently-asked-questions/#six.

Shana Putnam
Shana Putnam

March 01, 2017

Hi. I was wondering something. If you buy the lapbooking set do you need the logbook or is that basically the same thing?

Paige Hudson
Paige Hudson

March 01, 2017

Yes, Kristen, the novel and the lapbooking guide would be a good fit for you :-).

Kristen McGinnis
Kristen McGinnis

February 28, 2017

One more question. Just to be clear. If I have a special needs student at about a first grade level, I would just purchase the novel and the lapbook? Thanks! I’m looking forward to using your program. I just want to make sure I purchase the right material.

PAIGE HUDSON
PAIGE HUDSON

February 28, 2017

Aww, Ria, you are so welcome! Thank you for your kind words :-)

PAIGE HUDSON
PAIGE HUDSON

February 28, 2017

Jenn,

The Sassafras Science series is for K through 5th grade, so you could use it with both your students this year – just expect more output from your older student.

Paige

Paige Hudson
Paige Hudson

February 28, 2017

Kristen,

You can read the novel alone or add in the activity guide and logbook to create a complete curriculum. If you have younger students (K or 1st grade), you can use the lapbooking guide instead of the activity guide and logbook. The audio is for convenience – in case you want someone else to read the novel to your kids :-)! Please let us know if you have anymore questions.

Paige

Ria
Ria

February 27, 2017

We love Sassafras Science Adventures here in our home as well! We just finished the zoology and are going to start on Anatomy! Thank you so much for this wonderful curriculum!

Jenn
Jenn

February 27, 2017

What age range is the Sassafrass series for? I have a 1st grader and a 5th grader. Neither have had much science exposure.

Kristen McGinnis
Kristen McGinnis

February 27, 2017

If I wanted to buy vol 1 what do I need to buy? When I went on the website, I wasn’t sure. What is the audio for? Thanks

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