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I had the opportunity to review the ENTIRE Christian Kids Explore Science books published by Bright Ideas Press. Bright Ideas Press is the publisher for the excellent Mystery of History and All American History Series.
This is going to be a very detailed review of these books. I will start off by reviewing how the books are laid out and what you can expect from this curriculum, and then I will break down a small synopsis of how many lessons and what subjects are covered in each book.
These books are wonderful. They use a very classical approach to teaching using a conversation style of reading, along with notebooking, a comprehensive list of resource books to use alongside the curriculum to make for a very well rounded living book. If you lean towards classical learning or even love the Charlotte Mason method of learning then this curriculum will be just perfect for you. The best thing about these aren’t just that they use a classical approach, but that they are extremely Christ centered, which is hard to find while using a classical approach, especially with a Science curriculum. You can purchase these books knowing that you will not have to filter out or explain unwanted information to your children.
Another plus of this series is how the books are laid out. They were created specifically for the busy homeschool mom with multiple children! The beginning of each book has an entire page of encouragement for you, the teacher. It also gives you a sample idea of what a daily lesson can look like, with ideas of how long each section will take to complete. All the books follow the same schedule, so you can get very used to using this curriculum and not have to change your routine when you switch to a different book. The books vary in the amount of lessons, but each book is designed to be taught ONLY twice a week! They even encourage you that once a week is plenty of Science for early elementary students (K-3) and then the rest of the days you can just read to them from books that go along with what they are studying using the book resource list in the back of the book.
Each Lesson includes a Teaching time and a Hands On Time. They recommend doing the teaching time on one day and the Hands on Time on the other science day. They also advise you that each lesson will take 60-90 minutes a day, but keep in mind this is only twice a week!*UPDATE – We are using CKE Earth and Space and find that we can complete it in about 45 minutes per day.
- At the beginning of each lesson is a list of Vocabulary words that can be used for flashcards for memorization (optional) or for the child to write out and store in their Science notebook
- List of materials needed for that lesson
- A coloring page (to be photocopied from the back of the book) I would suggest having the child color their page during the read aloud teaching time. It keeps them busy and they are still listening to what is being said. The pages are beautiful, younger kids can use crayons and markers, older kids could use colored pencils and make very intricately detailed colored art to store in their notebooks.
- Scripture for each unit
The teaching time consists of a reading that you read aloud to your students, or if you are using the books for the older grades and have an independent student, they could read the materials themselves. Personally, I like doing the reading because I enjoy the lessons too!
The Hands on Time has great tips on the margin of the page for the teacher to help them with ideas to use with the crafts-experiments, etc… There are many options and things you can use, this curriculum does not just have one way of doing things.
There is also a quiz, or review questions at the end of each lesson.
On the side margins for some of the lessons there are random little things titled “Discovery Zone’ These are very cute, very interesting little tidbits of information. There are many things you could use this for. You could make up a random fact book with your child. You could dictate this to them for them to write out in their notebooks, or they could use it for copy work. This would help to incorporate handwriting practice and spelling practice as well!
The back of the book is a plethora of information! There are appendices with reproducible forms, journal pages, observation forms and maps. Memorization word lists, scripture memory verse cards that you can cut out and glue to 3×5 cards to review during the week, the coloring pages, recipes and supplemental activities, quizzes, the answer key and a book and resource list. The book and resource list is very impressive! It includes a key that shows you what books are best geared towards, lower reading levels, upper reading levels, books that can be enjoyed by both, books that are explicitly Christian, and they also include ISBN#’s for easy look up.
Finish reading the rest of the review as well as a break down of each book HERE
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