Topic: Homeschool Product Review
Okay, this is one of those, "I would have never tried this until I reviewed it and now I love it", type reviews.
I think I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that, although I always liked science, I was never any good in my science classes. That's why I struggle sometimes to teach science to my kids. This year, however, I have been very blessed to review a couple of good science resources. Considering God's Creation is one of the best! I am so glad that we were chosen to review it.
When we began homeschooling with John Allen, we found a very popular and well written science curriculum for him to use. We loved it and he loved it and we have chosen to keep using it. Children, as you all well know, can be different. What works with one doesn't always work with another. I think Joshua may someday be ready for the same books that his brother uses, but not yet. So, I have been piecing together science things for him to use. A unit study here, a lap book there, reading assignments added in, a book found at a used book store - you get the picture. When we received Considering God's Creation and I began to look it over I realized that this was the one for Joshua.
Let me tell you what I like about this course and then I will tell you how Joshua has reacted to it.
- This book is really easy to use. There are actually two books - a student book and a teacher's manual. The teacher's manual is very well written and easy to follow. I like easy to follow! I don't have time to run around looking at different resources and trying to figure things out.
- It covers nine scientific areas (is that what you would call them) in 36 lessons. The topics include Creation; The Universe: Stars, Sun and Planets; Non-Living Things: Rocks and Minerals; Weather; The Plant Kingdom; The Animal Kingdom; Animal Anatomy & Physiology; and, Man: Made in God's Image. I like the fact that there are nine different areas in one year to study. I see the advantage of some other curricula that study one area in a year, like Space or the Plant Kingdom. We have done that type of study with John Allen. However, Joshua is younger than John Allen was when we started and I really don't think that he is ready for an in depth study of something yet. This will give me (and him) a feel for what scientific areas he is interested in and then perhaps the year after next we can do an in depth study.
- The experiments really do use things from around the house. Okay! This is soapbox time! How many times have you gotten a science book that claims to have experiments that use "things from around the house" but then realized "around the house" really meant a drive "around the town" to find the things needed? Well, Considering God's Creation really does use things around the house. We're talking like a shoe box or a cereal box type stuff. The student book often has things that you have to cut out and use as well.
- The lessons are very flexible. I mentioned that there are 36 lessons. Each lesson could take up to a week to do but many lessons will (or could) take you more than one week. In each lesson there is always a list of things that you need (like I said above - simple things), some vocabulary words to put on flashcards for your kids, a song or poem to help reinforce what is being learned in that lesson (did I mention that a CD comes with the books?), an introduction, an activity (science experiment), notebook activities (I'll cover that in a minute), Bible readings that go along with the theme, Evolution stumpers (a really neat little section), review, and a Digging Deeper section for further study if wanted or needed. It sounds like a lot, and it kind of is for some kids like Joshua, but the teacher's manual is so well written that it can easily be broken down into how ever many days that you want. If you do science three days a week. Break it down into three days. If that's too much, extend it into the next week. If you have kids that really thrive on science, do the Digging Deeper stuff. It's all easy and very flexible.
- Do you remember the old Certs Mint commercials - "It's a breath mint, no it's a candy mint, it's two, two, two mints in one"? Well, I am having the same problem with the notebook activities (no, I don't think it's a mint ). One day I look at it and say, "Oh this is a neat notebook activity". Then the next day I'll say, "Oh I like this lapbook section". Finally I realized that it's not a notebook or a lapbook it's "two, two, two books in one". They call it a notebook, but it has a lot of lapbook type things in it. This is really the core of the curriculum. This is where the kids really learn a lot. Joshua loves it. And, don't worry, there are no fill in the blank, boring, worksheet type pages. They are all fun, colored pencil, cut out, scissors, glue, crayon etc. type stuff. The other neat thing is that you can copy the pages of the student book (for your family) so if you have more than one child doing the study at one time, or you have youngers that you want to use it with in a couple of years, then you don't need to buy more workbooks. The student does the activity then you store everything in a notebook, so at the end of the year(s) you'll have a really neat notebook to look at and remember your study.
All right, I think I've gushed enough about how much I like Considering God's Creation. Joshua really likes it as well. This is right down his alley. As I mentioned above, we are going to use this next year with him. Remember, if a review item makes it into our everyday homeschool it's got to be good! If he really likes it (and I'm sure he will) and if we don't want to use one of those "study one topic in a year" studies that John Allen did, I may even use this for two years. The second year we can do some of the digging deeper things. That's the beauty of this curriculum. You could use it in a variety of ways. Do what I said above or extend each lesson and make it a one, two, three or more week lesson by doing the notebook and then the digging deeper studies. Or, if you have children of different ages using it at one time, you can do the basic stuff together then, while the youngers are doing the notebook, the olders can be doing digging deeper stuff.
AAHHH - I've got to stop exuding and finish this review!
Now we get down to the nitty-gritty. This curriculum is adaptable for kids in 2nd through 7th grades and the student book (that can be copied for kids in the same family), teacher's book, and the CD are...get ready for this...just $29.95 . If you plan to use this in a co-op situation or if you just want your kids to have separate student books they are just $13.95 and the audio CD's are just $3 if you want an extra one of those. The company that makes Considering God's Creation is called "Eagle's Wings" and has all kinds of great curriculum. You can check it all out by clicking here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. As always, different members of the TOS Homeschool Crew reviewed this item and you can find out what they thought by clicking here. Happy Home Educating!
As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent free copies of the Considering God's Creation Teacher's Book, Student Book, and audio CD in order to try out and review on my blog.