Creek Edge Press is the provider of the task card approach, which
implements the best of Classical, Charlotte Mason and Montessori
methodologies. Although the company is new, the development and
application of their products are not; homeschool mom Amy Kate
Hilsman has been using this task card approach with her own children
for ten years. I have had the privilege of knowing Amy Kate for
a while now, and have been greatly encouraged by her thorough yet
simple approach to education, and have adapted many of her ideas
in my own homeschool with success. It is truly exciting to me that
these products are now available to everyone!
Physics and Digital Science Task Cards is a K-6 course focusing
on simple machines, motion, energy, digital media, and inventions.
It comes with 30 task cards nestled in a plastic sleeve for the
student's use, and a spiral bound booklet for the parent/teacher.
The booklet explains the goals of the course, how to approach the
tasks, how to prepare the environment, and gives a resource list
composed of several book suggestions.
To get started with the course, some preparation work needs to
take place first. Mrs. Hilsman suggests the use of a dedicated
shelf, cabinet, or emptied closet to house the materials. We use
a bookshelf and it works very well. Next, you'll need to locate
and gather core, reference, and supplemental books. Several suggestions
are listed under each category, as well as books you already own,
or books that are available at your library will work just as well.
Hands-on science kits, workbooks, or any other supplemental materials
you may wish to use can be organized in file folders or other dividers.
The Gallery section on the Creek Edge Press website has several
photos of what a prepared environment can look like, if you want
further inspiration and ideas. You will also need a digital camera
and printer of some sort, as well as school supplies. And of course,
last, but not least, the task cards themselves! These can be displayed
using a clear napkin holder, small basket, book stand, or whatever
you choose, as long as it is accessible and visible to the student.
Task cards are designed to be completed at the rate of one card
per week, but are completely flexible and can fit into whatever
time frame you feel is best. As the student works through the tasks,
he/she checks the items off as they are completed. Since both of
my daughters (ages 10 and 13) used the same set of cards, they
used different color check marks which was easy enough to do. A
sample task card (#6 - Simple Machines) directs the student to
do the following:
Encyclopedia Research: Pulleys
Further Reading: Pulleys
Sketch and label a pulley and explain how it works.
Make a list of familiar objects that use pulleys.
Take pictures of these objects and print them.
Compile the work you've saved from cards #1 through #5 to make
a book called Simple Machines.
Play the game Mouse Trap and see how many simple machines you
can find in the game. (optional)
Other examples of tasks: Make a poster or information booklet
that tells about gears and belts, sketch and label the parts of
a combustion engine and summarize how it works, make a map showing
the location of nuclear plants in your country, read about Isaac
Newton and write a summary, tell how a color photograph is made,
and make a poster that shows how e-mail travels. To see samples
of more task cards, several are posted on their website.
This program is so well-thought-out and designed that it is hard
to think of any cons, other than a few minor ones. The cards themselves,
while printed on lightweight card stock, are not that sturdy. They
work fine for our family, but some may want to consider laminating
them in order to extend their life, especially if used with several
children over a number of years. Also, the course is targeted to
K-6, but because the content moves from simple to complex (nuclear
energy, electricity, computers etc), I think the task cards are
probably best suited to grades 2-8.
My daughters really enjoyed using these task cards. They worked
independently and with focused interest, so much so that it was
not uncommon for me to find them spending much more time on them
than I had allotted, and I'd have to remind them they had other
school work to do! I feel that the strengths of this task
card approach are many, particularly the flexibility of resources,
the ownership it gives to the student over their own work, how
user friendly it is for the parent, and the way in which it fosters
investigation, curiosity and creativity. I highly and unreservedly
recommend Physics and Digital Science Task Cards from Creek Edge