Monday, November 22, 2010

Christian Kids Explore Biology

Christian Kids Explore Biology
By Stephanie L. Redmond
Bright Ideas Press

Stephanie Redmond has created the perfect science program that meets the needs of the Christian homeschool family. Christian Kids Explore Biology was developed by a fellow homeschooling mom, who found it difficult to find a science program from a creationist perspective that met the needs of her elementary aged children. The result is a thirty-five lesson biology curriculum that is geared for children in third thru sixth grade. The program takes a hands-on approach of exploring science, which is wonderful for the targeted population.

As a member of the TOS Crew, I received a free copy of Christian Kids Explore Biology to use in my homeschool in exchange for an honest review of the curriculum. Over the past six weeks I have used this program with my nine year old daughter, Karina. Overall, I found the lessons easy to follow and they took only sixty to ninety minutes twice a week to complete. The program is divided into eight units:
Unit One: Biology Basics- 5 lessons
Unit Two: Plants in God’s World- 5 lessons
Unit Three: Birds of the Earth- 3 lessons
Unit Four: Mammals in the Wild- 5 lessons
Unit Five: The Human Factor- 4 lessons
Unit Six: Reptiles All Around- 4 lessons
Unit Seven: Insects High and Low- 3 lessons
Unit Eight: Water Creatures- 6 lessons

Each unit begins with a list of vocabulary words and materials needed to complete the unit. The author suggest beginning each lesson with "Teaching Time". This includes reading the text aloud or by allowing older students to read the text to themselves. Beautifully detailed coloring sheets are included for children to color as they listen to the lesson. We chose to make our vocabulary flashcards as we read the text. After the text is read, a few minutes are spent reviewing the flashcards from previous lessons. Next, the students should spend a few minutes updating their notebooks by summarizing the reading.Finally, the student will spend time doing outside reading and/or research on the topic being studied.Christian Kids Explore Biology is a perfect fit for those using the classical approach. There is a complete list of living books to use for supplemental reading. The student should then complete a Daily Reading Sheet to document any outside reading. This sheet becomes part of their science notebook.Karina and I found the lessons to be interesting and we were pleased with the inclusion of scriptures in each lesson.

By far, Karina's favorite part of the program was the second part of each lesson.On day two, the studenta have "Hands-On Time", where the students have the opportunity to complete a project that will reinforce the concepts taught during "Teaching Time". Some of the activities include making a papier-mache earth, a 3D cell, building a terrarium and dissecting an owl pellet.

After completing each unit, there is a "Show What You Know" review that can be used as a unit test or just as a review of the unit.The book also has an extensive appendix, including:
*Reproducible Forms and Maps
*Memorization or Reference List
*Scriptures-easily reproduced on card stock
*Introductions and Art For ABC Book -for younger students
* Additional Coloring Pages
*Recipes and Supplemental Activities
* Answer Key
*Suggested Further Reading

Overall, I think this science curriculum is perfect for a family with several elementary age children. The program can also be easily adjusted for students younger than third graders. However, it does not provide enough material to use with students beyond sixth grade. I found that it required little preparation time and the required materials were mostly household items. Many of the recommended books were available at our local library. This 291 page paperback book is sold by Bright Ideas Press for $34.95 and the optional student activity e-book is sold for $12.95. This e-book includes all the reproducible pages found in the teachers book and is sold as a single family license. A co-op licenses is also for sale on their website. In addition to the Biology program, they also sell Christian Kids Explore Physics, Christian Kids Explore Earth and Space, and Christian Kids Explore Chemistry.

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