Living books can help a subject to come alive in the mind of a student and increase the pupil’s engagement level with the material they are studying. Living books have been a beneficial addition to our homeschool journey. So, I wanted to take a moment this month to share three ways that you can use living book for science education in your homeschool.
What is a living book?
First, let me share my definition of a living book:
Living books are written by someone with a passion for the material or by someone who has experienced the story first hand. The author pulls the reader into the story and presents the scientific or historical facts in such a way that the students hardly realize that they are learning.
How can you use living books for science education?
Living books are typically used as a supplements to a more formal study of a certain subject. While this is an excellent way to tie in this type of resource, I would like to propose three ways you can use living books for science education throughout your students’ educational journey.
- During the preschool years, use only living books for science for a more relaxed introduction to the field. In the preschool years, you can use living books exclusively to introduce your students to the world of science. This approach will gently ease them into this field of knowledge. However, I only recommend this for the very young, since as the students get older you need to be teaching the hands-on aspect of science.
- During the elementary years, use living books for the “spine” for your science studies. There are many living books, both old and new that can be used as the center point of your science studies. Our Sassafras series is an example of that, but you could certainly use books that are in the public domain, such as The Wonderbook of Chemistry by Jeani Fabre. Using a living book as your “spine”, or textbook, will take a bit more work on your part, but it will pay off.
- During the middle school years, use living books to study scientists. Biographies on key scientists are a wonderful way for your students to engage with the face of science. They can also spark their interest in a particular field. Reading living books on these men and woman can help the students to see that these major players in the field were once children just like them. They can relate to the scientist’s struggles and victories, which will personalize the facts that they are studying.
When choosing to use living books for science education, make sure you look for texts that will draw the students in, but are still educationally sound. Remember, the purpose of using these resources for science is to engage your students with the material they are learning so that they will be more apt to remember what they have studied.
Paige Hudson is a homeschooling mom that has a passion for sharing the wonders of science with children. She writes science curriculum aimed at homeschoolers for Elemental Science. You can find her sharing tips and tools for science education at Elemental Blogging. She holds a BS in Biochemistry from Virginia Tech and currently resides in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia with her husband and 2 children.