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Is classical science weak? {Season 9, Episode 112}

May 09, 2022 6 min read

 Is classical science weak? Or can you have a strong plan for science within classical education? Listen the answer at the Tips for Homeschool Science Show.

You're listening to season 9 of the Tips for Homeschool Science podcast where we are sharing both audio and video for a short season on classical education and homeschool science.

In this episode, we'll be addressing whether a plan for classical science can be rigorous or not.

Key Takeaways

  • At its core, a rigorous, or a strong, science foundation is going to have three things each week - doing, reading, and writing.
  • You'll have those three keys in a well-balanced way. 
  • A strong plan for science will start early and build upon that foundation throughout the years - sound familiar? That's exactly what classical education calls for.

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Episode 112 - Is classical science weak? Transcript

00:00 - 00:30

Is classical science rigorous? Can it be? Or is it just a weak addition to an already rigorous plan for education? Hi, I'm Paige Hudson, and you're listening to the Tips for Homeschool Science Show, where we're breaking down the lofty ideas of teaching science into building blocks you can use in your homeschool.

 (Intro Music)

In our last episode, we talked about the basics of classical education and how science fits into that model.

00:30 - 00:59

And I shared a little bit about how sometimes classical science is seen as this week addition that we HAVE TO add to our classical education plans. So before we move on to how we actually teach through the grammar and logic and rhetoric stage, I just want to address this issue or this idea that classical science is weak and to talk about how I believe science in the classical education model can be can build a strong foundation for science, depending on how you go about it.

01:00 - 01:28

So at its core, a rigorous, or a strong, science foundation is going to have three things each week. You are going to be doing some kind of hands-on science. You're going to be doing some kind of reading. And you're going to be doing some kind of record-keeping. So any solid, strong science program is going to have those three keys, those three most basic components where you're going to be doing, reading, and writing.

01:28- 01:53

You'll have those three keys, but these do need to be balanced, well balanced. If we have too much focus on the hands-on and leave the students lacking in the core knowledge they need to know. While too much focus on just the facts and reading will lead to students not knowing how to apply those principles in real life. If we don't keep any records, if we don't write down anything we do...

01:53 - 02:21

The students are far less likely to remember what they have learned. And too much writing down and the students will begin to despise science. You all have heard in several episodes, me talk about how I almost killed our daughter's love of science by requiring too much writing. So this is why I believe it's important to have regular demonstrations and experiments, alongside of either living books, encyclopedias, textbooks, or some kind of reading material and a way to record it.

02:21 - 02:54

We really want to see those three keys at a minimum, once a week if not more. On top of that, a strong science foundation or a strong plan for science will start early and build upon that foundation throughout the years. Sound familiar? If you listened to the last episode, you will know that we talked about how classical education really has this idea of building a foundation of knowledge - starting out with the basics and then increasing year by year or stage by stage.

Tips for Homeschool Science Show | "A strong plan for science will start early and build upon that foundation throughout the years."

02:55 - 03:15

This idea that we will learn the basics and build upon them is definitely what should be a part of a strong science curriculum as well. A good science program is going to meet your kids where they're at. It's going to recognize that we can't teach everything in the elementary years or the middle school years or the high school years.

03:15 - 03:34

Students shouldn't have to learn everything in four years. Instead, we'll teach the basics and what they can learn and understand in the elementary years, and then we'll build upon that in the middle school years, and then we'll build upon that again in the high school years. So there's already this idea of the progression in the same way that...

03:34 - 04:02

classical education has that same progression through the stages that's in a good or a strong science program - they're building upon previous knowledge. A strong education in the sciences also acknowledges that the fact that introducing these facts and applications early and often helps to build that strong foundation and that foundation will support further growth and provide the ability to understand those tough concepts in science later on.

04:02 - 04:28

This type of plan also fosters a love of the subject because kids are doing the fun and interesting things - learning about science early on and getting excited about it before it gets to the point where many students see like feel like they're slogging through the difficult information. So we really want to start early and work our way up to these more difficult concepts.

04:30 - 04:47

As I shared in our previous episode, science in the classical education model is taught like any other subject. You focus on the skills and the information that the student needs to know that are appropriate for their age. And then you build upon it through the years. So in the grammar stage, you're working on sharing the basics of science.

04:48 - 05:13

In the logic stage, you're building this foundation, teaching them to ask why things are the way they are. And then in the rhetoric stage, you're analyzing this and teaching them to apply it to an unknown situation. So at each stage you're including hands on science and knowledge-building facts. But during the grammar stage, you're doing more of a demonstration where you are sharing the science to your kids.

05:13 - 05:40

You are the driving force and they are the observer, so to speak. You will be reading more of your science to your kids at that age. The questions that you ask before they have to write down a narration will be more basic comprehension-style questions or what-did-you-find-interesting-style questions? Then, as they move on to the logic stage, they're taking over more of the reins.

05:40 - 06:08

They're being the driving force between the hands-on science. They're the ones starting the experiment. You're just kind of there to help them. And as for reading, you can read to them or they can read themselves, but your discussions will be more involved. In other words, the way that you incorporate the three elements - the do, read, and write - the way that you incorporate those will be different throughout the stages, but they'll be balanced together to create a strong base in the sciences.

06:08 - 06:30

I hope you can see that a plan for classical science can be a strong plan for science. Classical education doesn't have to be rigorous only in Latin and literature and history. It can also be rigorous in science as well. So we'll talk more about what that plan looks like and grammar stage, logic stage, and rhetoric stage in the coming episodes.

06:30 - 06:53

But for now, I hope you can see that science is not just a weak addition that we have to teach in the classical education model, but that we can actually have a strong plan for science and classical education. Thanks for listening or watching, and I hope you have a great week playing with science.

(Exit Music)

Have you struggled with finding a science curriculum that fits the classical education model you want to use in your homeschool?

06:53 - 07:18

Rest easy! At Elemental Science, we have easy-to-use, award-winning science plans to help you teach classical science to your students. Each of our classical science programs will focus on an area of science all year long, giving you plans for weekly demonstrations or experiments for reading assignments from visually appealing children's encyclopedias from publishers like DK, Usborne, and Kingfisher.

07:18 - 07:41

Plus, you'll have customized student pages specifically for what you are studying that week. The programs in our classical science series are part of Well-trained Mind’s Top Recommendations, are part of Cathy Duffy's Top Picks, and every year homeschoolers say they love our programs! Come see how we can help you teach classical science in your homeschool at

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