Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Earth Science: God's World, Our Home {a Homeschool Review Crew review}

I have been looking forward to using Earth Science: God’s World, Our Home  ever since I found out that Novare Science & Math was going to be doing reviews with the Homeschool Review Crew this year.

When I was sent over to their website, I replied that I had never heard of Novare Science before but that I was incredibly impressed with what I was seeing there.  I particularly loved reading their Textbook Philosophy, and found myself agreeing with most of what they had to say.  The bit about Integration -- particularly the integration of history and philosophy -- is something that I knew would appeal to my then high school junior.  He struggles with science, and I was wishing I had seen these products earlier.

I've been working with Jeffrey Mays to pull together this review, and in one of our phone conversations he mentioned how they are getting into the homeschool market because of companies like Potter's School and Memoria Press.  When he mentioned Memoria Press, I exclaimed, "THAT is where I've seen you before!"

That was a bit awkward, as I had just told him I had never seen his products.

I hadn't seen the website, nor seen their philosophy and all.  But I had read about Physical Science, Earth Science, and General Chemistry in The Classical Teacher from Memoria Press.  I wanted to try them all out.

The Crew had the opportunity to review either Earth Science, Introductory Physics, General Chemistry, or Science for Every Teacher.  I started using Earth Science with my 5th and 7th graders, and plan to use Introductory Physics with my 10th and 12th graders in the fall.  Most of these books are written by John Mays, but Kevin Nelstead is the author of Earth Science.

Let's talk a bit about their suggested science sequence.  In general, they recommend:
  • 6th: something for Life Science
  • 7th: Physical Science
  • 8th: Earth Science
  • 9th: Introductory Physics
  • 10th: something for General Biology (they are working on a textbook for this)
  • 11th: General Chemistry
  • 12th: something for Anatomy and Physiology
I love this.

Of course, my kids are all going to be working out of this order, but I still love it.  Trina and Richard are using Earth Science now, and they have had some Life Science work.  I plan for Richard to start the high school sequence as a ninth grader, without doing Physical Science.  Trina will go on to do Physical Science, then Life Science, and then do the high school sequence.

So after all that, maybe I ought to actually talk about the course itself.

Novare Earth Science: God’s World Our Home
It is hard to tell by looking at the picture of the cover, but this is a fairly compact book.  Not intimidating at all.  The book includes 15 chapters of about 25 pages each.  These chapters cover astronomy, geology, oceanography, meteorology, and more.  They teach from a mastery approach, so the material you cover is reviewed throughout the year.

The Resource CD includes a lot of helps for teaching this in the home or classroom. The best part is a schedule.  I love having a schedule.  It schedules out 4 or 5 day weeks, for a total of 33 weeks.  There are a total of 153 days of lessons.

Another piece I love is a pdf of sample answers.  Even when I am working on the materials with my kids, sometimes it is really nice to have a nicely formatted answer to the discussion questions.

The CD also includes quizzes, exams, images, weekly review guides, and resources for the experiments.

The Resource CD is indispensable.

How we are using this:

Essentially, we are following the schedule, but we are not accomplishing a week's worth of work each week.  There are too many other things going on in the summer, so when I can work on it, we just do the next day of work.  Because of the integration of subjects like philosophy, I really do want to do this course with my kids, so I am reading the text aloud.  I get my computer hooked up to the TV, and I am able to put the images up on the big screen as we go along.

We started by discussing the objectives and vocabulary at the start of the chapter, but I have to confess that my kids tend to find that overwhelming.  So now I am looking ahead at the reading for the day and starting each reading day by covering the objectives for that day.  After the reading, I go back over the vocabulary terms that we covered.

This works a lot better.

At the end of the chapter, I go back and read all of the objectives.

As we cover vocabulary, the kids are responsible for creating vocabulary cards.  Some chapters have a lot of vocabulary.  This is not their favorite part of the program.

Each chapter contains great illustrations and photos.  The text is pretty easy to read, and has not been over their heads yet.

This is a good place to mention that Novare comes from a distinctly Christian point of view, but they do not support the idea of a young earth.  As I think it is hugely important for my kids to encounter multiple points of view, I think this is a huge benefit of this program.  There are so many young-earth resources available out on the Christian Homeschooling market, and with only 153 days of lessons (and some short days as well) it is easy to supplement if I decide to bring some young-earth alternatives into the teaching.

They do not get into evolution at all, which I appreciate.

At the end of the chapter, there are exercises to perform.  These are scheduled into the class time, not as homework.

There are also eight experiments, which is roughly one for every two chapters.  It doesn't work that way, exactly, but the hands-on aspect is really great.  Some of these experiments require rock samples, which can get expensive, but many are using topographical maps (provided).  A couple use supplies that are fairly easy to obtain.

My bottom line is that I really love this book.  They present scientific information in a systematic way that doesn't intimidate me and doesn't bore my children.  This course is thorough, without going into excessive detail that really is unnecessary. 

My kids like that the lessons are fairly short and that they bring in interesting aspects of other subjects that make it more interesting.  My son loves the lack of worksheets.  He also really wants to get to the meteorology portions of the book, as he thinks that studying weather is a good idea for when he becomes a pilot.

We are going to continue to use materials from Novare Science & Math.

Biblical Based Science {Novare Science & Math Reviews}

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1 comment:

the Mcclanahan 7 said...

Now you have me thinking about buying this one for Alaina. Amber really likes the Introductory Physics.