Today, we’ve been doing the spelling test we postponed from Friday (as we were at the Childcare Expo), individual reading, the comprehension final test from our Dinosaurs Before Dark novel unit, our Maths workbooks, and our Science workbooks.

We use CGP Science workbooks as our main Science curriculum. They follow England’s National Curriculum, so I can be confident my children are on track with their school peer group. There’s 4 workbooks for Year 3 and Year 5; we’ve chosen to begin with Rocks, Fossils & Soils* (Y3) and Properties & Changes of Materials* (Y5) to loosely tie in with our Social Studies Stone Age topic.

Everything is neatly laid out, and largely self-contained. We try to do the mini-projects and experiments whenever we can but sample results are usually included for the more impractical experiments that cannot be easily replicated in a domestic environment. (The last one that I deemed impractical was testing thermal properties of various containers. I could just about manage to source plastic and ceramic containers but cork didn’t exactly seem like a store cupboard item. Thankfully, the Properties & Changes of Materials workbook contained sample results for all of them!)

My younger child did a “grouping rocks” mini project, this afternoon. We collected 5 rocks from our garden. Then, we used our hand lens to examine the grains (or crystals), and a water-filled pipette to test for permeability.

Testing whether a rock sample is permeable or impermeable.

Science is a favourite subject for both of my children, and CGP workbooks are great for supporting this interest. Part of the fun is, of course, using “real” equipment and doing experiments whenever feasible. The photo (above) shows a pipette from eBay, and a baking tray and glass dishes from Sainsbury’s. Not pictured is the magnifying glass; I can’t recall where I bought that but I suspect it was at a supermarket. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s strictly genuine laboratory gear so long as it’s only used for Science and, thus, retains its special value.

If you’re interested in using CGP workbooks for your curriculum, I would recommend Amazon* for small quantities of workbooks. For bulk purchases, it’s worth going direct to the publisher as they offer volume discounts to home educators – however, it starts at £30 GBP (which is roughly equivalent to more than 6-8 workbooks) for 10% discount.