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I don't think RS4K is actually very secular, at core. . . It appears so on some levels (I have level 1), but there is some controversy over the author's motivations/etc so I would beware.

 

Prentice Hall Science Explorer - def secular.

 

NEOE? I think this is secular, but not totally positive.

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I don't think RS4K is actually very secular, at core. . . It appears so on some levels (I have level 1), but there is some controversy over the author's motivations/etc so I would beware.

 

 

:iagree: The author of RS4K is on record as wanting to use her materials to get children to question evolution, and to use their "doubts" to help proselytize them into Christianity.

 

Not a secular intent.

 

Bill

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I'll share some things to consider. In the end I think there is nothing perfect out there and that we opinionated homeschoolers will probably find fault with any single product. Simliar to the quest for THE one perfect math or THE one perfect writing composition curriculum. Some fit for some families & some feel none is ever good enough, so they custom blend, taking bits from here and there. Yet that takes work and often costs more than we imagine this one perfect thing would cost.

 

I've done mostly, so far, living book study of science as we wanted to go deeper with information. Yet experiments are then added and frankly I've not done a ton yet but need to get moving on that as my older is in grade 7. Yikes...

 

(In addition to doing nature and botany in an experiential class setting and the living book method) we own & have begun using level 1 of RS4K. Someone on this thread said it is not 'really' secular. I will comment that I heard the author of it speak at a Christian HS conf in 2008. She explained the original draft of it had Christian content but in wanting to market it to public schools her editor convinced her to take it all out and she said she was trying to get it into public schools. This of course was not good enough for some Christians who wanted a strong Creationist theory and also discrediting evolution. One mom said to me then why doesn't she publish two versions? I don't know. I'll not personally comment just sharing this.

 

When I heard Keller speak it reminded me of my readings and hearing the talks of Wise and Bauer about the 3 stages of exposure to content, light exposure in elem, harder in middle grades & then deeper in high school. So when they learn it in high school it is not their first time hearing this info, those terms etc, and they are not scared. The downside to level 1 of RS4K IMO is more shallow learning a little boring to kind of cram the content in to expose them to it, very different than my former focus on Charlotte Mason living books, engaging the reader, etc etc.

 

TOPS is a hands on based program but there are many topics that have to be purchased separately.

 

I have never seen or used Singapore Science so can't comment.

 

Some of what is out there as a big curriculum in one spine winds up being like public school's read the chapter and answer the questions at the back and throw in some experiments.

 

An engineer homeschool mom friend of mine critcizes every single HS program for elem & middle school for not being good enough, wants more questioning, less fact feeding, more experiments *that work*. Wants scientific method, documenting results, etc.

 

I have almost given up on finding that ONE perfect curriculum.

 

I wish you luck on your quest! Curious to hear what you find and how you like it after using it.

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We found RS4K to be a fun 'add on', we are using prelevel for the youngers and using level 1 (and level II chemistry) as a review for my older DD. (We skip the biology for the reasons already mentioned with the author, and since all are doing "Life Science" as their main science this year.) We do it as a lab day every two or three weeks. They read their portion from their books and then we do the level I lab, since it appears they are very similar from one level to the next. We make it a family project with my DS4 tagging along too.

 

We have yet to find "the" science curriculum either, especially from a secular viewpoint, which is how I prefer to teach science. We do an assortment of things that are working for my DC. I'd love to hear if you find the "one". :D

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I am in the throes of beginning to assemble such a thing, and would love to hear some thoughts on what people are looking for in a multi-level secular science program. I won't likely be able to take all of everyone's suggestions, but I would at least like to know what people would LIKE to find in a science program.

 

I'd also be interested in hearing about people's favorite "spine" books, supplementary books, and kits. I'm working toward using other people's books and materials rather than writing and assembling my own, as I have neither the time nor the expertise in all fields to write a textbook of my own. Instead, I'll be putting together a course guide similar to my middle school physical science guide (see signature) that I put together last year, except the new ones will be multi-level rather than middle school only. This year I'm working on Earth science, but I'm collecting resource ideas for other fields of science as well.

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I would like something that works like SOTW. There would be some sort of spine. In the activity guide there would be lists of experiments/activities that go along with the topics as well as a list of extra book suggestions. Oh, that would be heavenly!

 

Thanks. :)

 

I was thinking along the lines of having a schedule that includes a spine and a few supplementary books. I like kits for activities, myself, because then I don't have to wonder so much whether I've got all the odd little doo-dads the projects call for, so I'm kind of hoping to find some fairly inexpensive kits to schedule in as well. But I'm having a hard time finding earth science kits that appeal and cover sufficient ground to be useful, so for that one at least I may pick an activity/experiment book and just schedule coordinating activities from that and include a supplies list. I'm kicking around the idea of making coloring pages for the younger set, and lapbook booklets for the middle crowd. I'd probably expect high school students to do reports and papers, but would likely leave the number and format up to the individual instructor. But that depends a little on how fast I can get the books chosen and scheduled because although illustration is something I love doing, I do only have so much time. So the written component for all levels might have to be left up to the instructor until our next pass through the cycle. We'll see, though.

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I like kits too. I hate having to dig up every little thing. But I do know it is hard to find kits for certain topics. And for whatever reason, it has been particularly difficult to find good earth science books and kits.

 

I recently bought the Usborne Encyclopedia of World Geography. Based on the topics in the book I might try to use it as a spine for a combined geography/social studies/earth science course.

 

I'll have to check that one out, thanks. :)

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I don't like RS4K. Too expensive for what is in it...which isn't much. Too prescriptive.

 

We are now using a UK text book from Cambridge University Press called Balanced Science aimed at GCSE (ages 15/16 I think?) with ds 13. The text is quite simple, but provides a great 'jumping off' point. so we read a page or so about, say, catalysts, and then we talk through their questions and then we set off to find out more about catalysts in industry, or in the kitchen etc. Or not, if catalysts don't fire his enthusiasm, then we just move onto the next. Interestingly it mixes biology, chemistry and physics in one book. We like this, it keeps us interested!

 

I agree with the other poster who said there is no perfect curriculum out there. Ds is my youngest, and more and more I use school textbooks as jumping off points for our own research.

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Stephanie K..have you personally used this curriculum? SpyCar..can you provide the link to that comment? I have personally used pre-level 1 Chem, Chem 1, Bio 1 and starting Physics 1 and in each case, there has been absolutely no mention of evolution in any text. They are written from a very neutral viewpoint.

 

I get very concerned when statements like above are posted without links to support them. If you could please provide the links or PM, I would appreciate it.

 

Thanks,

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Stephanie K..have you personally used this curriculum? SpyCar..can you provide the link to that comment? I have personally used pre-level 1 Chem, Chem 1, Bio 1 and starting Physics 1 and in each case, there has been absolutely no mention of evolution in any text. They are written from a very neutral viewpoint.

 

I get very concerned when statements like above are posted without links to support them. If you could please provide the links or PM, I would appreciate it.

 

Thanks,

 

As Moira stated there have been numerous threads on the topic, including one that appears to have (sadly) been deleted where Dr Keller was quoted from a post she made on her yahoo group where she made her intentions quite clear.

 

She also joined a discussion here (on the mentioned deleted thread) where (from my perspective) she only dug herself deeper in showing that she does have an agenda (that being to undermine "evolution" as a way to lead children into religious creationist beliefs).

 

She is not at all straight forward about the way she presents herself or her materials, and I deeply resent her for her stance. She has an anti-secular (and to my mind anti-science) agenda that she tries to hide, when she is in fact a proponent of Creationism/Intelligent Design.

 

Bill

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As Moira stated there have been numerous threads on the topic, including one that appears to have (sadly) been deleted where Dr Keller was quoted from a post she made on her yahoo group where she made her intentions quite clear.
Now I would have sworn this was in the thread I linked... I wonder where her posts went? And why.
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The free Life Science book here is working very well for us (and sorry if this is a duplicate, I didn't see it, but...):

http://www.eequalsmcq.com/

We are doing the first level but I expect to move on to the next. Scott McQuerry's even going to be doing online classes it looks like, so I will have to see what that is about.

 

We did try RS4K and it was just mediocre in my opinion. It didn't go quite in depth enough and I had to prep more for the experiments or couldn't even get the materials due to seasonal timing. So far with Classic Life Science, we have been able to do most of the experiments without excess prep (like a run to a hobby store or something) and my son enjoys them and can usually write all his own observations. The text is somewhat humorous which goes over VERY well here. He is almost 8 yrs old and somewhat accelerated. Whether these would work with your older children, I wouldn't know but at least the first book, the Life Science book, if free so you could try it out.

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Wow, I wasnt aware of any of this....:)

 

Thanks,

 

I am a member of her yahoo group. :) You might join just to read some of her posts, although she mentions posting them on her blog as well as the elibrary on her home site. I like the books mentioned for the reasons mentioned but am always keeping up with what she is saying so I can counter anything I don't agree with or see as persuasional. I also do this with my SL, which I also use secularly. It would be nice to find a completely secular curriculum that meets the needs of my children but I have frank given up on that one.

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I would like to suggest a compilation of lessons and activities that I have been putting together, Science Logic. The units are secular and include all my favorite activities and lessons from when I was in the classroom. They've been modified for homeschool use.

 

Thus far, I have completed 3 units: geology, chemistry and ecology. There are links to free samples to each on my website.

 

I plan to release additional units in 2010 - electricity/magnetism, zoology, botany, astronomy & weather/climate.

 

Jimmie recently wrote a review of Our Dynamic Earth - the first of the units I released.

 

Take a peak and let me know what you think.

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Stephanie K..have you personally used this curriculum? SpyCar..can you provide the link to that comment? I have personally used pre-level 1 Chem, Chem 1, Bio 1 and starting Physics 1 and in each case, there has been absolutely no mention of evolution in any text. They are written from a very neutral viewpoint.

 

I get very concerned when statements like above are posted without links to support them. If you could please provide the links or PM, I would appreciate it.

 

Thanks,

 

Yes, I do have RS4K level 1, as I mentioned in my earlier post. I think I bought it about 6 years ago or more, when it was very new. We've used it and I think the chem section is pretty solid, the physics OK, and the biology weak (but I am a biologist, so I might have higher expectations there). It is certainly $$ for what you get. Today, I think there are better options.

 

I personally didn't notice any religious content. But I used it a long time ago and wasn't looking for it. However, the OP was specifically looking for secular materials. I had read the earlier threads (mentioned above) regarding the ID/creationist subtext in and/or evangelical objectives of the author of RS4K materials. Given that, I felt it was reasonable to mention that issue given the intent of the OP to find secular materials.

 

Secular (or simply non-creationist or non-Christian) hs'ers can be just as concerned about underlying religious content in schooling materials as creationist or Christian hs'ers can be concerned abt underlying anti-Christian or anti-creationism messages.

 

It is a fair question to ask and I think it is reasonable to mention concerns/issues and then let the inquirer make their own judgments as to what will work for their family.

 

Personally, I am a Christian who is also a biologist who also believes that evolution, biology, etc is FACT and I find the creationist messages woven into science texts unacceptable. (I am one of those *ACK* liberal Christians who reads much of the Bible as metaphor and parable, not literal fact. . . I believe that Truth and Fact are not necc. the same thing. . .)

 

For that reason, much h's science curricula is totally out of the question for me. Suggesting that a science curr. has religious (creationist) biases is not at all odd. . . considering that IMHO, the majority of h's science curr. does! And, I would guess, many pro-creationist or pro-ID, etc Christians would have the reciprocal concerns about the biology texts *I* would find acceptable.

 

Just as I am sure many religious persons would be concerned about the integrity of a Bible study course was being written by someone who purported to be an athiest. . . As a scientist, I am concerned about the integrity of a science curr. being written by someone who has rejected mainstream biology. Now, if you have a religous view that integrates biology into it (i.e., pro-creation anti-evolution), then I can see how you'd be fine (or pleased) with having a religious sub-text to your dc's science books. But, for those of us who do *not* have a religion that integrates biological sciences, then, that is a diff. kettle of fish altogether. (For me, religion has not one thing to do with biology. Not one.)

 

I have no desire to debate the merits of the science of evolution vs. the religious tenets of creationism. My intent was merely to "flag" a curr. that was being suggested as "secular" for further investigation. No offense intended.

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Yes, and she includes it 5 or 6 times throughout the book. Atoms are designed, our tongues are designed, humans are designed.

 

Worse yet, on her blog she attempts to show that the use of the word "design" is some sort of neutral scientific term by pointing to some mainstream scientific articles that include the word design in their titles, as if her purpose is the same. When we all know it's not.

 

There is a level of deviousness and brazen dishonesty on the part of this author that I don't think I've ever encountered before. She is attempting to proselytize by stealth, while maintaining a position of "plausible deniability."

 

It's shameful.

 

Bill

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StephanieZ - as a biologist, do you have any recommendations for a biology crazy kid? Ds6 has already been through biology for the grammar stage cycle, but he found it much more interesting than earth and space (which we are currently doing) and is constantly checking out books about animals, plants, etc. He is very interested in different lifecycles and is starting to ask about comparative anatomy (he has an anatomical model of a human we call Gut Guy, now he wants the same for various animals so he can see the differences - these are hard to find!). He has also started to get interested in different types of cells and what they do.

 

I enjoyed biology in high school, but that was many moons ago, and he eats up info faster than I can remember it. In general he reads on a 5th grade level, but he is usually willing to tackle more challenging material if it is science. Also, we are strictly secular.

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As Moira stated there have been numerous threads on the topic, including one that appears to have (sadly) been deleted where Dr Keller was quoted from a post she made on her yahoo group where she made her intentions quite clear.

 

She also joined a discussion here (on the mentioned deleted thread) where (from my perspective) she only dug herself deeper in showing that she does have an agenda (that being to undermine "evolution" as a way to lead children into religious creationist beliefs).

 

She is not at all straight forward about the way she presents herself or her materials, and I deeply resent her for her stance. She has an anti-secular (and to my mind anti-science) agenda that she tries to hide, when she is in fact a proponent of Creationism/Intelligent Design.

 

Bill

 

Oh, do you mean this deleted thread, where she is attacked and people show their utter ignorance by circular hollow arguments? Where, when cornered, she put her true agenda in the open regarding her own special needs son, making her completely vulnerable and yet you still attacked her or just ignored points made? Where she tried to defend a NEUTRAL curriculum? Gee... I can think of other publishers and writers who are Christian but still are able to create a neutral curriculum. Anyhow, I digress... this argument is in vain and I'm sickened every time it comes up.

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Oh, do you mean this deleted thread, where she is attacked and people show their utter ignorance by circular hollow arguments?
Oh thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this. :) I was starting to think I was a bit touched in the head.
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Oh, do you mean this deleted thread, where she is attacked and people show their utter ignorance by circular hollow arguments? Where, when cornered, she put her true agenda in the open regarding her own special needs son, making her completely vulnerable and yet you still attacked her or just ignored points made? Where she tried to defend a NEUTRAL curriculum? Gee... I can think of other publishers and writers who are Christian but still are able to create a neutral curriculum. Anyhow, I digress... this argument is in vain and I'm sickened every time it comes up.

 

Yes! That's the one. Thank you!

 

I'm sorry but her attempts to undermine the Theory of Evolution (and scientific principles generally) to advance "Creationism/Intelligent Design" (by stealth) and calling the attempt a promotion of "creative tension", rather than what it REALLY IS, is the hight of intellectual dishonesty.

 

And then to claim the promotion of an "anti-science" agenda is all done in the hopes of saving her child from a terminal illness? It's so contemptible that words fail me.

 

Bill

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I'm looking to make it easy, I'd like to go with a science curriculum that covers the whole scope from a secular standpoint. I am looking for this to fit upper elementary and junior high ages for my 6 and 10 year old boys.

 

Any suggestions?

 

TIA!

 

CPO Science has a complete, 100% secular middle school science curriculum that is excellent. The company was founded by a physicist from MIT and the books actually read as if they were written by a scientist and designed by someone who understands BOOK design, as opposed to being written by a committee of "educational specialists" and designed by a Toys R Us advertising specialist so kids will find them "eye-catching." :rolleyes:

 

There are 2 different versions available: CPO Focus on Life/Physical/Earth Science (California Standards version) and CPO Life/Physical/Earth Science. There are slight differences in content, to accommodate different state standards (if you want more specifics on the differences, just PM me). There are sample chapters on the website, and a wealth of free teacher resources:

http://www.cpo.com/home/ForEducators/MiddleSchoolLifeScience/tabid/276/Default.aspx

 

You can get the texts (and often the set of text & lab book) in new or like-new condition on Amazon or ebay fairly cheaply (usually $20-40).

 

Jackie

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CPO Science has a complete, 100% secular middle school science curriculum that is excellent. The company was founded by a physicist from MIT and the books actually read as if they were written by a scientist and designed by someone who understands BOOK design, as opposed to being written by a committee of "educational specialists" and designed by a Toys R Us advertising specialist so kids will find them "eye-catching." :rolleyes:

 

There are 2 different versions available: CPO Focus on Life/Physical/Earth Science (California Standards version) and CPO Life/Physical/Earth Science. There are slight differences in content, to accommodate different state standards (if you want more specifics on the differences, just PM me). There are sample chapters on the website, and a wealth of free teacher resources:

http://www.cpo.com/home/ForEducators/MiddleSchoolLifeScience/tabid/276/Default.aspx

 

You can get the texts (and often the set of text & lab book) in new or like-new condition on Amazon or ebay fairly cheaply (usually $20-40).

 

Jackie

 

These look really promising at first glance.

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StephanieZ - as a biologist, do you have any recommendations for a biology crazy kid? Ds6 has already been through biology for the grammar stage cycle, but he found it much more interesting than earth and space (which we are currently doing) and is constantly checking out books about animals, plants, etc. He is very interested in different lifecycles and is starting to ask about comparative anatomy (he has an anatomical model of a human we call Gut Guy, now he wants the same for various animals so he can see the differences - these are hard to find!). He has also started to get interested in different types of cells and what they do.

 

I enjoyed biology in high school, but that was many moons ago, and he eats up info faster than I can remember it. In general he reads on a 5th grade level, but he is usually willing to tackle more challenging material if it is science. Also, we are strictly secular.

 

UGH, this is a hard question. I have been in a total curriculum mad-zone as I am struggling to find "the best" options for my dc's changing needs (dd13 appraching rhetoric stage. . . ds10 settling into logic. . .). UGH!!

 

Honestly, I can't vouch for any complete biology curr. yet as I still searching for appropriate materials. I am a big fan of TOPS units for hands-on stuff, but you do need a text to go along side and the TOPS units are not complete "years" but more unit studies.

 

I am really enjoying Story of Science with my 5th & 7th graders (and two friends who are 5th & 8th) -- but vol I really hasn't even touched on biology yet. (We are using the Quest guides along side the text.)

 

I like Prentice Hall's Science Explorer series OK for middle school, but have limited experience with it. I'm using the chemistry titles this spring so will have a better feel for it after that. . . I have bookmarked a lot of diff Bio texts that have been mentioned lately on this board but can't vouch for them as I haven't used them.

 

I am trying to sketch out my dd's high school science plan (so I know what gap to cover next year in 8th grade) and I am so befuddled it isn't funny.

 

This is such a frustrating area for me as I love science, my kids love science, my dh loves science, my dh and I have atleast 15-20 yrs college/grad science education between us. . . and I have yet to be truly happy with a hs science curr. The kids have "gotten" plenty of science for grammar/logic just through the mishmash of stuff we do and through osmosis, but I need to find a solid "base" for high school science and settling on a plan is really hard.

 

Sorry I can't be of more help.

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Hi!

 

I am also looking for the perfect curriculum. Sigh.

Until then......

Here is what I am doing in bio this year for a coop class I am teaching for kids aged 7-13 (my DS12, DS10 and DD7 are in the class-the DD7 sits in and skips note-taking when we have it. Disclaimer: I am NOT a biologist--I am a biology enthusiast.

 

spines:

 

  • Princeton Review Biology Coloring Book--I make copies of the pages, we read and discuss and they color.
  • Biology Demystified- mostly for me. I read, write a lecture. I make my own kids take notes at home.
  • I google for any videos I can find that show, for example, mitosis of the cell, or whatever topic we are on. we watch them at home and I email the addresses to the parents of students in the class for them to watch at home.
  • NOVA videos from netflix on different topics--we watch at home

Experiments: aaahh, now this is what we spend most of our time on! We work through each experiment, follow scientific method, etc. I google for experiments.

 

  • I ordered various protists and monera from Ward's Scientific Supply for us to look at in our microscopes. The more active protists are the most fun. ('Chaos' is awesome)
  • http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/sci_edu/waldron/#antibiotic.this site has excellent biology experiments.
  • http://homebiology.blogspot.com/2009/03/yeast-experiments-part-1.html --a great homeschool site
  • http://www.funsci.com/fun3_en/protists/exhibition.htm --movies of protists and monera
  • http://www.lessonplanspage.com/SciExperiments.htm# this has good experiments for plants
  • Wards Fast Fast plant kit--this was a lucky stab on my part. I didn't realize how cool it was until I got it. The kit has seeds for these amazing plants that go from seed to flower in 14 days! and it comes with a little plastic container of 'dried bees'-- dead bees that we are going to glue on to sticks so we can pollinate the plants! A mom in the group has gro lights in her basement (the plants have to be under lights 24/7, and we are doing this in January in the Chicago suburbs.
  • for the animal kingdom, I took the advice from a thread on this forum and we are ordering a bucket of animals to dissect in winter-spring, from simplest to most complex. They can't wait to get to that fetal pig.
  • I am STRONGLY recommending that the students prepare a science project for the coop's annual science fair. Also the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum downtown has a homeschool science fair in June, so I have been pushing that as well.

Because it is so much work to set this up (but lots of fun, imo) our class meets every other week. Theoretically that gives us time to study at home, monitor plant experiments, take notes, watch bio videos.

 

I hope that helps!

Maria

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Thanks for the info! I think we are going to speed up our science plan for astronomy, since he already knows most of the info we were going to cover about the planets anyway (we will probably spend some time on the universe outside out solar system, just because I think it's cool :D) then try a biology unit study or two to finish out the year. I am thinking it would be good to get one of the spines mentioned for him to chew on over the summer too.

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Thanks for the info! I think we are going to speed up our science plan for astronomy, since he already knows most of the info we were going to cover about the planets anyway (we will probably spend some time on the universe outside out solar system, just because I think it's cool :D) then try a biology unit study or two to finish out the year. I am thinking it would be good to get one of the spines mentioned for him to chew on over the summer too.

 

If you're looking for a fun astronomy supplement for a gifted/sciencey 6 yo, check out the Teaching Company's short course called My Favorite Universe. Neil deGrasse Tyson does 12 lectures on cool topics like black holes, supernovae, why things are round, etc. Really entertaining, educational, and thought provoking ~ we all loved it.

 

http://www.teach12.com/ttcx/coursedesclong2.aspx?cid=158

 

Sadly, it's not on sale at the moment, but get on their email list for sales, or look on ebay.

 

Jackie

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If you're looking for a fun astronomy supplement for a gifted/sciencey 6 yo, check out the Teaching Company's short course called My Favorite Universe. Neil deGrasse Tyson does 12 lectures on cool topics like black holes, supernovae, why things are round, etc. Really entertaining, educational, and thought provoking ~ we all loved it.

 

http://www.teach12.com/ttcx/coursedesclong2.aspx?cid=158

 

Sadly, it's not on sale at the moment, but get on their email list for sales, or look on ebay.

 

Jackie

 

You might check your library for it, I know that mine has it.

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If you're looking for a fun astronomy supplement for a gifted/sciencey 6 yo, check out the Teaching Company's short course called My Favorite Universe. Neil deGrasse Tyson does 12 lectures on cool topics like black holes, supernovae, why things are round, etc. Really entertaining, educational, and thought provoking ~ we all loved it.

 

http://www.teach12.com/ttcx/coursedesclong2.aspx?cid=158

 

Sadly, it's not on sale at the moment, but get on their email list for sales, or look on ebay.

 

Jackie

 

Thankyouthankyou! On sale in the UK.:party:

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  • 2 weeks later...

The science that Kolbe Academy sells uses secular spines. The religious aspect of their science programs lie in the supplemental materials which you can choose not to purchase. We are using their Biology this year and I love having a schedule. I did supplement labs with Castle Heights Labs, but overall I've been very pleased with this course. btw, Kolbe is a Catholic school.

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