This year we switched to this curriculum, Christian Kids Explore Biology, and I tried again to find a Christian science curriculum that we would like and that would be easy to use.
I liked the philosophy of this author and many of the points she draws out in the lessons. But, unfortunately, after two lessons, I quickly realized that there were lots of holes in the curriculum and it was difficult for my kids to follow auditorily. There is no student book and the text would be way above their reading level if I were to copy it for them (which isn't legal since the text portion of the book isn't reproducible). I worked through several lessons and assembled additional materials and supplements so that the curriculum would be what I thought it should be.
Here's a quick example. Instead of clearly saying, "There are two types of cells: Eukaryotic and Prokaryotic. Animal and Plant cells are both eukaryotic, but they have some differences." The book says on page 8, "Eukaryotic cells have a particular organelle inside called the nucleus... and on pg. 9, "Some cells do not have a nucleus. They are called prokaryotic." No examples are given of what a prokaryotic cell would be. Then the assignment asks kids to label an animal cell and a plant cell, before first saying that both of these cells are eukaryotic because they have a nucleus. That was Lesson 2 in Unit 1. Honestly, I love the stuffing of this curriculum, but there just isn't enough of it and there are statements that are missing so that me (a non-science lover) can teach it easily. I was constantly running to the internet so that I could thoroughly explain the lessons to my kids. I had to clarify that there weren't more than two types of cells. I also wanted my kids to know the word "mitosis" which wasn't mentioned in the lesson at all.
So, where does that leave me? The reason I had switched because of my concerns about evolution and natural selection and how that teaching permeates secular science curriculum. I've looked for a curriculum that I like as well as Harcourt Science. Now I've tried two and have looked at many others. But Harcourt Science works for my kids and it works for me. As my oldest daughter said to me today. Mommy, "I know creation is the truth, but I like this book and how it teaches." So, I'm switching back through 6th grade and will find another curriculum to use for 7th grade and beyond...
As a side note, make sure you either get a copy of this book with a cd of the reproducible pages or you purchase a download of the reproducibles from the publisher's webpage if you're going to use this curriculum. This is a horrible book to try and copy from. The binding is very tight and it's not possible on my inkjet printer.
The material covered in this book is very basic information. I purchased these to use for all of my children at multiple grade levels, as it is described as such. However, I found that the material was too basic for older grades. I would recommend this book if you just wanted to give your children an overview of biology topics.
We love this program. We used it for 2 years, 2nd and 3rd grade. It's excellent and can be easily adapted to all ages. We benefited from the use of our public library to add a additional resources. I especially loved how hands-on and in depth this book is. Combined with the additional library resources it gave my kids a much better grasp of the topics covered then a traditional textbook ever would have.
This is an awesome science program. I am using it for my daughter in 2nd grade. Even though it is based on 3rd to 6th grade it is easily adptable for younger children and the hands on parts are very fun! With the program having as much hands on time as reading I dont have any complaints from my daughter. She is a visual learner so this is a great product for her. And the projects so far are quite simple and can be done using typical household items wich i love! Another thing I am enjoying about the program so far is that it teaches creaction based but also the evolution view point in a very special way. It shows the child the different view points and offers scripture and creation science to show the children how to defend their beliefs later in life even though the child may not realize this at the time. I as a parent realized it though and appreciated it!
I am using the book with my fifth grader. It is very well written. We are getting a lot of information out if it. The lessons are shorter than expected, but they are very valuable. I select our weekly spelling words from the vocabulary words in the book. Every Thursday my son has to use these spelling words to write an essay about the topic. I do supplement this particular book in order to give my child a deeper understanding. However, it is a wonderful tool for the christian home school teacher.