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Should you use Classical Science or Sassafras Science in your homeschool next year?

January 20, 2020 4 min read

Classical Science versus Sassafras Science - which is better? It's a question we get often here at Elemental Science.

And so today, we wanted to help you sort out the answer to this common question.

Should you use Classical Science or Sassafras Science in your homeschool next year?

Which should you use - the Classical Science series or the Sassafras Science series from Elemental Science?

The short answer...

The main difference is that the Sassafras Science series is centered around a living book, while the Classical Science series uses encyclopedias for the spines of the program. Both programs feature weekly hands-on science activities and notebooking.

In other words - both are good options, but they approach teaching science in a different way. So, it really depends upon which approach fits your unique homeschooling style better.

The longer answer...

We believe that every science program needs to have three keys...

  1. Some kind of hands-on science
  2. A way to gather scientific information
  3. An opportunity to keep a student record with what they learned

There are many different ways that you can put these three keys together to teach science at home. We shared more about how this works in the free conference session - The Three Keys to Teaching Science.

Here at Elemental Science, our different series plan out these three keys in different ways. Here's how this works...

A Look at the Classical Science series

The programs in the Classical Science series are full-year long programs, meaning they contain 36 weeks of plans for you to use. They cover a single broad discipline per year - biology, earth science and astronomy, chemistry, or physics.

Here are how the three keys work in these programs...

  1. Hands-on Science: Weekly demonstrations or experiments (For the grammar stage, these come from experiment books. For the logic stage, these are included in the guides.)
  2. Scientific Information: Readings come from full-color, visually appealing children's encyclopedias by publishers such as DK, Kingfisher, or Usborne.
  3. Student Records: Custom notebook with plenty of pictures and space to write down what they have learned. (There are also optional lapbooks and coloring pages with the grammar stage programs.)

The programs in this series also include...

  • Memory work and additional STEAM activities
  • Plus, quizzes for the grammar stage and tests for the logic stage 

Our Classical Science programs range in age from kindergarten through eighth grade, but you can combine 1st- to 4th-grade students, 5th- to 8th-grade students in groups.

Here is the typical progression through this series...

You can pick up the Classical Series at any point, so find what would be best for your student and start there.

This series is best for...

  • Those who want to dive deep into a discipline of science.
  • Those who subscribe to the classical method of education.
  • Those who don't mind using more than one program with multiple children.

If you want to see what it looks like to use the Classical Science series, check out our experience with the Classical Science series.

If you want to dig more into the philosophy behind this series and what it looks like, check out the following posts: 

A Look at the Sassafras Science series

The main programs in the Sassafras Science series are semester-long programs, meaning they contain 18 weeks of plans for you to use. The novels cover a single area of science per year - zoology, anatomy, botany, earth science, geology, or astronomy, and eventually chemistry and physics. (Note - Summer's Lab is a 32-week long introduction to all of the above topics.)

Here are how the three keys work in these programs...

  1. Hands-on Science: Weekly demonstrations are included in the activity guides for the teacher.
  2. Scientific Information: Readings come from the included text - either the stories in Summer's Lab or the Sassafras Science Adventure novels.
  3. Student Records: Custom notebook with plenty of pictures and space to write down what they have learned. (There are also optional lapbooks and coloring pages with the programs.)

The programs in this series also include...

  • Memory work and additional STEAM activities
  • Plus, quizzes for each of the locations in the novels 

Our Sassafras Science programs range in age from kindergarten through sixth grade, but you can combine all your students into one group, adjusting the writing and reading expectations based on the age of the student.

Here is the typical progression through this series...

It is best to read the novels in this series in order for the sake of the storyline. However, we do have many people who pick up the story with one of the later volumes. We do review a bit from the previous book in the first chapter, so it is possible.

This series is best for...

  • Those who want to cover more than one area of science in a year.
  • Those who wish to teach science at home a bit differently.
  • Those who only want to do one program with multiple children.

If you want to see what it looks like to use the Sassafras Science series, check out our experience with the Sassafras Science series.

If you want to dig more into the philosophy behind this series and what it looks like, check out the following posts: 

Wrapping it Up

The Classical Science series and the Sassafras Science series cover similar broad topics, but the specifics are different.

In other words, you won't miss out on anything important by choosing one series over the other. But the specific topics and types of the methods you use to learn the basics will be different.

If you have any more questions, please don't hesitate to drop us an email using the envelope icon at the top left or bottom right of our website.

Classical Science or Sassafras Science - which science series from Elemental Science is better for your homeschool next year?


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