Saturday, December 19, 2009

Our new science program...

I think I looked at every chemistry program out there during the end of November and the beginning of December before making a decision. Some like the Christian Kids Explore book, I thought would be to simple for Jessie. Some like the Real Science 4 Kids books, I thought were simply too expensive for the actual content covered. I decided against The Elements because I couldn't stand the cartoons. I briefly considered buying just a chemistry kit, but then decided my house is not yet Henry-proof enough to bring in real chemicals. Besides I would be hesitant to let Benny participate as well. What was left? God's Design for Science Properties of Atoms & Molecules and Properties of Matter.

What do I like about it?

I've looked at God's Design previously and decided against it because of its lack of color and textbook-like tone. I have to say, I am impressed with the new 3rd edition color versions. The layout is nice to look at while also being extremely easy to use. There is some type of hands on activity in every lesson, and so far based on what I've read they seem very doable (as opposed to many of the Apologia activities that we ended up skipping). I find the lessons short, focused, and understandable without talking down to the kids (which drives me bonkers). I'm more impressed with the expanded information for middle school students than I remember being last time I looked at samples. I'm going to pick and choose from the reading and activities for Jessie based on what I think she can understand. Even though it's recommended for 3-8, I believe I can present the main information in such a way that Benny can pick up a bit of knowledge while at the same time reinforcing the information for the girls. I also like that the works cited section in the teacher's supplement which includes a lot ofinternet links, although I haven't had a chance to look at any of them yet.

What don't I like about it?

Really my only disappointment was the reading list. I was hoping for a larger recommended reading list so I could assign Jessie a book every week or two to read. There are 7 books listed for the Atoms & Molecules text and 8 listed for the Matter text, but 6 of those books appear on both lists. Most of them are additional hands on activities. I have a few library books that I checked out which cover the same topics as the first unit, but I haven't decided if I will put together my own list or just stick to the information in the books which truthfully could stand alone.

Overall, I'm very excited about starting up in January. If the kids like the books as much as I do, I will probably go ahead and buy the Ecology book, the Earth/Space series, and the Physical science series as I have funds available. After we've worked through a couple of units, I'll come back and give a more detailed review and maybe a few posts covering how we are using the program in our house. Right now, I have some planning to finish up for our current books so I'm ready in a couple of weeks.

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