Is Nancy Larson Science secular or religious? We get this question a lot. I’m reposting what Christy wrote, because I think she answers the concerns of many homeschooling parents. – Madon
We are a religious family but our choice to homeschool is not based on religious reasons. Because of that, our curriculum choices are also not solely based on our religious stance. That gets hairy sometimes when trying to find curriculum. In the past I think a lot of American families have chosen to homeschool because of religion. But, I think the tide has turned in homeschooling and, although many do home educate with a heavy emphasis on religion, a lot more families are now homeschooling for a variety of reasons – to address special needs; families who travel a lot; poor, few, or no school choices in their area; bullying; to nurture a special skill. Home educating has become a lot more diverse. And curricula targeted towards homeschool settings are starting to become more diverse as well. There’s more out there now than just the religion-focused curricula.
Science programs for homeschoolers that take a neutral stance to religion can be tricky to find. There’s a lot of heated debate where science and religion intersect. Or don’t intersect, depending on who you ask. But even before they intersect (or not) there’s a lot of science left to be taught. As a family we are a hybrid sort of religious bunch (I’ll elaborate more on that another time). So, of course we would want a science program that left the door open for us to explore freely any connections we might make between our religious studies and our science curriculum. It’s how we study the rest of our subjects as well. We give religion study its own time and then see what connections can be made throughout our other studies.
When I went looking for a homeschool science curriculum I knew it would be tricky to find one without a heavy slant in either direction. I wanted a good middle-of-the-road program that didn’t compromise on the meaty science stuff. Nancy Larson was our girl! I love that Nancy Larson Science provides a strong science education without religious overtones. Nancy Larson science gives us the option to let those connections between different subjects, including but not limited to religion, happen organically. It is the purest approach to teaching critical thinking in my opinion. Which brings me to the other things I love about Nancy Larson:
We take a whole-child approach to home educating so I tend to look for curricula that do the same. Nancy Larson Science does that by encouraging experiential learning. The lessons include discussion that makes the material more meaningful to the student. Because it’s relevant to his own life, I’ve seen Owen’s retention and recall of the information significantly increase. It doesn’t come across as a bullet point he has to memorize. It’s simply his “life” we’re learning so he has an easier time calling it back up when I check to see if he’s absorbed the day’s information. Plus the lessons are scripted so it makes it easier for me to deliver the information in a clear and concise manner.
Nancy Larson also encourages critical thinking, reading, and writing skills. The lessons progress in a gentle manner that build up a new reader’s confidence. The wording is easy to understand and the writing portions are short. I like that all of this is built into a science program. Sometimes we just can’t get to everything in a day so it’s nice when a curriculum covers several things at one time. Of course, our science doesn’t replace our reading or writing. But it does supplement it and I love that.
What do you look for in a science curriculum? Do you prefer one with a religious tone or a secular approach?
Follow along with us throughout the year as we continue to explore science with Nancy Larson.