Saturday, April 18

Science Geeks Rule

We had taken a break from science because we had finished our chemistry for the year and were waiting to finish our history before going on to physics. After many weeks of no science, we received new science books to review. The courses didn't match up to our rotation schedule, but I gave a book to each boy and told them to give it a couple weeks honest effort so we could give an honest review and then come back to the books next year, after we finish with physics.

Each boy sat down, in misery, to read his science book; Joel with his Zoology book and Ethan with is General Science. After a few seconds of reading, Ethan piped up, "At least I like the author. He says he is aware that lots of people don't like science!" Joel gave a hearty amen.

"Keep reading," I grumbled.

I was saddened that my boys had so quickly forgotten all the fun we've had in science through the years. I was also saddened that they didn't seem to be aware that we "do" science all the time completely aside from curriculum. But twenty minutes later? They were still reading. Each would pipe up periodically and exclaim, "Wow! Did you" What torture for them.

They have each put their time in, trying the curriculum and completing activities, but neither boy is interested in stopping. Apparently, science isn't so lame after all. ;)

Both books came from Apologia, publisher of creation-based science curricula. We had already used their book on Astronomy and fell in love with the company. Several years ago, I was able to hear one of their authors, Dr. Jay Wile, speak at a homeschool conference and I knew it was the company we would go with for our science courses.

For our review, Joel tried the book Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day. This book followed the same basic format we were accustomed to in Exploring Creation with Astronomy. Interesting reading sections, Notebooking, Projects and Experiments.
Joel, working on an experiment

One might argue that it's a waste of time to spend an entire year on just one part of zoology. The book's introduction discusses this and points out that the traditional approach is to scratch the surface of science again and again, year after year...a method that has proven itself to be largely unsuccessful. "Presenting a child with scant and insufficient science fails to develop a love for the subject." This is definitely a subject that I want them to love.

Joel's flight experiment

The lessons can easily be spread into two-week segments, but could be taken faster or slower according to your preference. There are 14 lessons in the book, average for their other Elementary Science books. We divided last year's science into two semesters, squeezing Astronomy into a one-semester course. It worked fine. It could also have easily been stretched to a full year's curriculum. I recommend these Elementary Science books to my friends that use the public school system for use as a fun, family summer program.

Jeannie Fulbright writes this amazing series. The books are colorful and engaging and her conversational tone draws you in, making these scientific discoveries an adventure rather than a chore. When we used the Astronomy book, I read to all of the children as we cuddled on the couch and then I sent them off to work on experiments and build their notebooks. This time, I am letting Joel do the reading and experiments completely on his own and he is still loving it.

Ethan reviewed the book Exploring Creation with General Science. This is a different series and has a different author and format altogether. This is a 32 week course and can be stretched, but probably not rushed. This course is meatier, but no less enjoyable than the Elementary Science series. While the Elementary series is intended for ages 6 to 13, this series is geared toward 7th/8th grade students. This text is written directly to the student and includes thought provoking questions and experiments as well as an engaging text. Each two-week module ends with a study guide. Answers to the study guides and tests for each module are in a separate book.
Ethan's messy experiment

The Apologia products are of excellent quality, I have no doubts that I will be reusing all of these books for the girls when they reach this stage....perhaps even my grandchildren. The content is equally remarkable. It gives the student a thorough knowledge of science and the background to defend their faith with scientific facts, not just religious jargon. From their website: "Apologia Ministries exists to give the home-schooled student a scientific education that will help him or her make a reasoned defense of the Christian Faith." It is an amazing company, dedicated to helping homeschool families learn and enjoy learning. They even share a toll free number for any questions you have along the way as well as a money back guarantee.

For even more activities to accompany these books, check out KnowledgeBox Central. They sell downloadable lapbook journals to coincide with each lesson. For more thoughts on these awesome books, check out the TOS Crew blog.


Mike said...

“We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but it is somewhat beauty and poetry.” - Maria Montessori

Christi said...

I loved science and I want my kids to love it, too. Thanks for the comprehensive review, I have been wondering about the elementary series. My 12 year old would like to do this but I was afraid it might be to simple. Sounds like it might actually be just about right.

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