Thursday, January 22, 2009


Science: Science was another curriculum I couldn't decide on right away, but I'm glad I took my time, because I am very pleased with my final choice. For me, the Christian Kids Explore Science series is for science what The Story of the World is for history. As an added bonus, the narrative lessons are combined with the activities and resources in one handy volume.

My sister began using the series and recommended it to me. I'm so very glad she did. What I like about this program:

*There are four volumes in the series, corresponding with the science rotation recommended in The Well-Trained Mind.

*The series is geared toward grades 3-8, but is easily adapted for younger students. (We will probably use the series a second time during the logic stage, covering the subjects more in-depth.)

*The books are written in a narrative style and from a Christian perspective.

*The lessons are well-organized and cover the information recommended in The Well-Trained Mind.

*The book is self-explanatory and easy to use (especially important as science is not one of my better subjects).

*Lessons include a narrative 'Teaching Time,' related Bible verses, diagrams, review questions, hands-on projects, coloring pages, and some writing and memory work. Each unit lists vocabulary words and materials needed for projects. Resources in the back of the book include reproducible forms and maps, memorization and reference lists, and book lists for further reading.

The only thing I would mention as a negative is the short time spent on the human body. You may want to plan for extra time to delve a little deeper in human anatomy.

While planning for this program could look almost identical to the planning involved for history studies, we did 'science light' this past year. We read all of the lessons, reviewed orally, did just a few projects, watched a related science video on almost every subject (Eyewitness, Bill Nye, Planet Earth, Blue Planet, Magic School Bus, etc.), and enjoyed related science books with great visual components.

Field trips are a fun way to enhance science studies. We went to a zoo, enjoyed nature hikes, planted a garden, and will end our biology unit with a trip to a local aquarium.

We start the second book in the series, Christian Kids Explore Earth and Space, next month. I am hoping to visit a planetarium, Crater Lake, The Oregon Caves, Mt. St. Helens and more during the year.

Levi is attending his second 'Super Science Saturday' at a local school next month with classes on chemistry, our solar system, microscopes, and states of matter. We have a membership at a local children's museum and will most likely participate in a workshop or two this summer. We also plan to visit the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry at least once or twice this year. Both Levi and Luke have subscriptions to Ranger Rick and Your Big Backyard.

(All science updates will be posted with the Science label.)


Christi said...

Thanks, Heidi! I've been going back and forth between this and Apologia Elementary Science (Exploring Creation with...). It's helpful to hear from someone who has used one of them!

Heidi said...

Christi~ Apologia was my other choice. I think it is a wonderful program! In the end, I decided against it because I did want more of an overview of Biology to get the feel for it rather than spending an entire year on just birds, etc. I do get the point of digging deeply into one thing, just not sure I wanted to do it. :) We may use Apologia in later science studies.

Anonymous said...

Oh Crater Lake and The Oregon Caves are super fun! We are going snow shoeing up at the lake in March. Make sure you check the height requirements for the boys, they are SUPER strict about it. Kenzie was finally able to go last tie and had no problem at all. I wish we were closer to OMSI, we spent a day there 2 summers ago and caught the Body World exhibit too.

Anonymous said...

OOPS! The height requirement is for the caves...forgot to clarify that. The first time we went Kenzie was just over the requirement and they didn't let her go, so we walked around and watched banana slugs instead, not nearly as exciting :)

Anonymous said...

Great review of CKEB! I have this, but haven't used it. We opted for ABeka for the past two years instead. Your review was so good that I'll give it a lookie-lookie again before selling it! Love your blog!
Stacy :-)

Jennifer said...

Hi Heidi - thank you for taking the time to share all your hard work. I am really loving these homeschooling posts!

We are using another Bright Ideas product this year - The Scientist's Apprentice - and I had pretty much decided on using CKE next year (2 boys ages 7 and 5)- your endorsement pushes me more in that direction. What's your opinion of their reading lists? My other option is NOEO Science - but it's pricey. I'd love to hear from you that Christian Kids has a robust resource list...


Heidi said...

Kelsey~ Thanks for the heads up. :)

Jennifer~ There are about 32 pages of book and video lists. I would say it is pretty extensive. The book was published in 2003, so I'm sure some titles may have gone out of print (isn't amazing how fast that happens?). I actually didn't use the list. I had enough books on hand for the basic themes, and it was easy to grab a video on most of the subjects at the library. I've heard good things about NOEO science but haven't ever looked at it.

tie-dyed doula said...

Hi there! Just wondering if you could tell the me some names of good science videos and where to get them?

Heidi said...

Tie-Dyed Doula~ Our library has an extensive collection of Bill Nye DVDs as well as the Eyewitness and Magic School Bus DVDs. The Eyewitness DVDs are available on Amazon as well as the Planet Earth and Blue Planet DVDs. (I know that Costco has carried Planet Earth, as well.) The Eyewitness series is probably the best for gorgeous visuals and individual subjects (Volcano, Insect, Mammal, Weather, Butterfly and Moth, Rock and Mineral, etc.).