When Gayle and I began the journey of home educating our children, I applied my efforts to seeking out useful science resources. Since science was my interest and strong point, Gayle welcomed my initiatives. We were encouraged by a friend to add a lot of science to the children’s learning – especially in the primary grades. So, we set off to find books that could help us bring science to life in the minds of our young children.
Gayle made use of a published science curriculum. This was useful for her and saved her a lot of time as the course material was nicely laid out for each day. In contrast, I set out to look for books on specific topics to allow our children to explore their expressed interests more deeply.Along our journey, we have collected many useful books into our home’s science library. While all of these books have useful (and even fun) information, I have found that many of them fall short of delivering the information well – that is, in a clear progression of the topic. They do have great supplementary value. However, the books that I have found to be of greatest core value in our science library are those in the encyclopedia sets.It is the encyclopedia that I now make most use of when preparing and teaching specific science topics to my children. Here are some of my reasons why:The information is written so that it can be easily understood.The encyclopedia has its sub-topics expressed in a logical progression.I can teach directly from the encyclopedia.One topic leads to another. The encyclopedia lists supplemental topic references that complement the topic you are reading about – references that are in your encyclopedia set. This makes teaching even easier.Many science topics in the encyclopedia have project instructions so that you can explore the topic ‘hands-on’.You can direct your children to the encyclopedia set. (It is easily found.)Your children learn the basic skill of researching topics.Your children can enjoy being distracted toward other topics as they page through the encyclopedia. This makes learning a whole lot of fun and it improves your children’s literacy skills as they immerse themselves in reading more and more topics on their own initiative.We have discovered that our children love to pour through the encyclopedias. If some of the volumes in the set are missing from the shelf, we can usually find them in the corner of the couch … or in the children’s beds, under the pillows. (You know you are home schooling when that happens!)In case you are concerned about the cost of an encyclopedia set, they can actually be quite inexpensive. If you don’t mind having a set that is not ‘the newest’ (…the core information will still be the same), an encyclopedia set can be obtained for next to nothing. Our set cost us nothing. It was tenderly and joyfully rescued from being hauled to the dump. It was a fairly recent edition, in perfectly new condition. It has proven to be a learning resource of exceptionally great value.