My kids, a boy, age 11 & a girl, age 12, are LOVING science this year, in part, because of these notebooks. The activities keep the kids engaged in the lessons, and help to reinforce what they're reading in the text.
The Student Journal is an excellent aid to the General Science textbook. It is colorful and easy to follow. It gives ample space for all the questions asked in the textbook. It really helps you keep track of what you have learned so that you can easily review it later for the tests. If you do everything in the journal it is a lot of writing. This may be a little hard for slow or hesitant writers, but it has been really good for my child so far.
We've used several different texts that have associated notebooking journals, and when we choose a text for our homeschool co-op, one of the things we always look for in our science class is a notebooking journal, as they are very helpful when trying to keep up with a larger group than the typical homeschool.
This spring (2013) when we began planning for our 2013-2014 co-op year, we had just come off a year of astronomy, which the kids really enjoyed, but we knew we needed a more challenging upper level science course that was still flexible enough to meet the needs of kids from grade 5 (science genius) to grade 9 (average science knowledge & ability). Big task to complete, to say the least!
We looked at several textbooks, and we did like the General Science text and thought it would be a good fit for our group, but the real clincher was this notebooking journal. I have NEVER seen a workbook/notebook product that I have been more impressed by. This notebook has so many features that I really like, such as:
1. There are spaces for the students to take notes on the text. Some of these are somewhat pre-formatted, like the sample unit's pages with the names of the scientists beside a text box which the students are to fill in with his achievements. Others are simply spaces for the students to use to make a note of things they found important in the text.
2. The end of each section's "On Your Own" questions are included in the journal, so answering those questions is convenient and we don't have to worry about pages being lost.
3. The end of the chapter study guides are in the journal (they are also in the text), saving students from having to write the questions / answers out.
4. The lab reports are in the journal. Again, I like having everything in one place. No matter how many times you tell them, students as a group tend to have difficulty keeping a large loose-leaf binder in order! ;-)
5. The chapter summaries are excellent review for each chapter, and provide a more structured method of review for students who are intimidated by the often open-ended nature of the study guide questions.
I cannot recommend this book more highly. I would venture so far as to say it is beyond essential.