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2 Stars Out Of 5
Not for visual learners
April 13, 2015
I flipped through this curriculum in the bookstore and loved the bright pictures and the daily experiments/activities. I also loved that the review at the end of each lesson broke it down for different age groups since I have a 2nd and 6th grader. However, once we actually started the curriculum, my "love" quickly faded. My kids and I are all visual learners. The experiments were a big hit. The textbook itself was a failure. There are very few diagrams to help you understand the concepts. For instance, he explains the water cycle in words (lesson 20). I had to pull out Dr. Seuss' "Oh Say Can You Say What's the Weather Today?" and show them the diagram in that book. There were multiple times that I would read a paragraph and say, "Wait, let me read this again" because I didn't get it the first time (and I have a BS in Biology and an MS in Human Genetics). I had college and graduate school science books that had more visual aids than this book. The bottom line is that my kids liked the experiments, but hated the textbook. They both had this look of dread when I pulled out science for the day. We ended up dumping this curriculum over Christmas break and finished the year by checking out living books from the library. They are much happier.
I have 4 girls (11, 8, 6, and 3), and they joyfully come when we get this book out. I have many science curricula, but have not stuck with any of them for various reasons, but I feel this one is a perfect fit for us. I wanted something where we felt we were moving along, one lesson per day, easy to prepare (I've had all the experiment supplies on hand), quick lessons with content, information presented in a way that the children actually retain it, and a review that included the option to notebook - with the notebooking activities laid out for me. This has all of that, and my girls are loving the notebooking so much that they have applied that on their own to their other subjects. We love the fun experiments that actually work and help explain the concepts, and the girls are excited to tell Daddy all about it when he gets home. They have gotten the supplies out again to show him the experiments, and have been able to retain information from previous lessons and explain to him what they are doing. I'm impressed! I love that we can complete a lesson a day, there is a feeling of accomplishment that we weren't getting from other books where the chapters are broken down into lessons. For me, it helps me feel like we are moving forward. The reading is enjoyable and meaty (no extra fluff), well presented & clear, and I'm enjoying it, which means it doesn't get left for last like science has in the past!
Eureka--I've found it!! If you are searching for a fun, easily prepared, multi-level, God-centered science learning adventure then look no further. Dr. Wile takes younger students through a memorable science learning experience following the six days of Creation in his text Science In The Beginning. Some of the great scientific topics coordinating with each day of Creation include Light & Energy, Water & Air, Rocks & Plants, The Sun & Solar System, Fish & Birds, Land Animals & Humans. Each lesson begins with a science experiment using household items that this busy mom of 9 could get her hands on quickly. I loved the joy and excitement that our children (grades 6th, 4th, 3rd, & 1st) displayed whenever I would say, "Time for science." They would run to get their science journals (that contains drawings of experiments and answers to objective questions) and they always looked forward to trying out the experiments. The experiments are awesome! Yes, you get to burn things up and explode things and, well, I don't want to give it all away. The multi-level questions and assignments at the end of the lesson aided me in determining if the lesson objectives were learned and also challenged my oldest with a deeper search for more scientific knowledge. I love the colorful, hardback text, and the Helps & Hints handbook. (I recommend reading the Help and Hints book before each lesson and experiment, as it helps with the success of the experiments and guiding the students to a better understanding of the learning objectives) We were blessed to learn so much about God's world and Creation together in a fun and memorable way. Thank you, Dr. Wile!
We have 6 kids, the 4 kids between 8 and 12 are using it. Science in the beginning is so awesome and fun! As a physician, I have struggled to find curriculum with good range and depth that is from a Christian perspective without asserting specific theological positions. This curriculum is exactly what I have been seeking! It is also very friendly for large families because of the 3 levels of response at the end of each lesson. Each of my kids have a blank sketch book to draw or write their responses to each lesson. I don't have to worry about spending tons of money to purchase workbooks or lapbooks for each child. My life as a mom of many is simplified! Each lesson takes us about 45 min to 1 hour, including the experiment, depending on how much discussion we have. The length of the lessons results in very manageable chunks for busy families! I can pick up the book, and do a lesson anytime, it is that easy. Very little prep time on my part. We love that every lesson has an experiment, and that they are TRULY easy to do with every day items around the house. I have not had to go shopping for science experiment supplies at all. The kids often say "Wow! That's so cool!" when we do the experiments. Perhaps most exciting of all, I see them applying their new knowledge to their observations of the world around them. Using knowledge from the light lessons, my 10 year old came to the correct conclusion on his own as to why sunsets appear the way they do. These lessons stick! You will truly enjoy Science in the Beginning, especially if you have many kids in a wide age range to teach together. Thank you Dr. Wile!
We just got done using this book for our kids in grades 2, 4, and 6. I really liked that the kids studied a variety of topics (based on what was made on each day of creation). I also appreciated that the experiments usually used things that were already available around the house and usually required little prep work. Some of the experiments were pretty amazing, others more simple. The teacher's guide included tests, something else I really appreciated since I didn't have to make up my own.
I had mixed feelings about the complexity level of this book, which is why I didn't give five stars. At times I was thankful that scientific concepts were explained in a very easily understood manner, but other times it was TOO simple. There were lessons that basically felt like wasted lessons, such as the lesson that was solely about how many legs different creatures have. For this reason, I would recommend this book for the lower elementary levels.