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Tell me about Hakim's Story of Science (general info. & for a YEC'er)

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I had the chance to flip through one of the Quest guides quickly the other day and was impressed & curious. I didn't know this was something geared to different age levels - or is it? I thought it was a set of books like her history books. Both of my homeschoolers will be logic stage next year. Am I too late? Do you have to start at the beginning with these? How helpful are the Quest guides? Is SoS (haha, I keep thinking of Switched on Schoolhouse when I type that) something meant to be used as the main science course or as a "history of science" component of another science course? The math I saw in the guide was pretty advanced for a regular 5th grader. What grades are the books & guides meant for?


Lastly, could this be used by a YEC with paraphrasing & discussion? Does Hakim stick to the secular science content of the subject she's covering and leave it at that, or does she address religious beliefs? What is her tone like towards them?

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I really love the Story of Science. I got a chance to look over the Aristotle one at the Smithsonian, and went & bought them all. I don't have the Quest Guides, just the books.


In the first book (Aristotle) she weaves many creation stories (both current & ancient) into a story-like narrative... which I personally thought was very pretty. It has a "sense-of-wonder" feel. But you should know that she does not come out for any one belief, and there is an implied "Old Earth" position (for example, the Bible story of Jericho is mentioned, then it is mentioned that Jericho was inhabited some 10000 years go; also, the history timeline begins around 7000 years ago, with the Sumerians).


The second book (Newton) picks up the story around 1450CE. There is no discussion about the universe's origin or the age of the Earth (the history of physics is the focus, with some related chemistry & astronomy thrown in).


The third book (Einstein) gets into modern physics (& some chemistry), as well as astrophysics (pretty much the whole second half of the 50-ch. book). There are chapters discussing the red shift, expanding universe, and "Big Bang."


edited to add: as for how old you should be to read this book... I would say this was written at a 9-12 year old reading level... the words, pictures, formatting, etc. remind me of the Kingfisher's children's encyclopedias I have... however, the ideas are sometimes above the comprehension of a 9-12 year old (particularly the math-related stuff).

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I read 2.5 of the books, admittedly without thinking about YE issues since i'm not. But the last book, the modern physics, i think is definitely high school level concepts. My son read them in 9th grade and seemed to enjoy them. I have never seen the guides, so i dont know how much that fills it out to be a full science curriculum, but there is SO much information in there - i feel like they will learn enough to make it worth not having to do other science. we just read the 2.5 books and discussed them, for 9th grade. I will call it 'history of science' on the transcript, tho.


and generally it covers math, astronomy, and physics.

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I'm not going to touch the YEC issues, but I can give you a general review:


First, I would look up the reviews by Miss Moe on her blog, and I believe Quark did one too. I don't have time to search for these links at the moment, but I bet if you do a Hakim Story of Science search they will probably come up.


We're using the first book this year, in the second half of 5th grade. We plan to use the second book next year. I don't think we'll use the third book just after - perhaps we will incorporate it into a 9th grade conceptual physics class as a supplement, but I agree it is more advanced than the other two. My dd is an advanced reader and has lots of science background, but I wouldn't have started it any sooner, I'd definitely say 5th grade is the earliest, and the first two books could be used any time 5th-8th grade successfully. I do read it aloud with my 5th grader, or have her read it aloud to me, rather than sending her off to read (which you could do with an older student).


The Quest guides do add a lot. Without the Quest guide, I think the first book leans more toward the history than the science, but with the Quest guide and the math and science activities, it is a really nice, gentle introduction to physical science.


We're completing the Aristotle book with the Quest guide in about 1 semester, for the second book, I'm planning on expanding it across the whole year (6th grade) adding other resources. The first trimester will focus on Astronomy, the second (longest) trimester on Newtonian physics, and the third trimester on chemistry. We're using the Thames & Kosmos Milestones in Science kit and McHenry's The Elements, along with the Quest guides and other resources to beef it up into a full, 4-5 day a week science course. We'll also do LOF Physics in the second & third trimesters.


I think doing these two books some time between 5th-8th grade, with the Quest guides, is a great intro to physical science.

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Sure. For the Aristotle book (the one we are using now), first thing to note is that the Student Quest guides are the student's lab pages, notebook pages, etc. It's a relatively slim 108 pages. The Teacher Quest guide, however, is quite a tome. It's 425 pages long - although a chunk of that is transparency masters and reproducible pages that are really only relevant for classrooms. But it's way more than just the answers, it is all the background information you need to turn it into a full lesson. Lots of discussion questions, links to other resources, etc. as well as materials lists, background, and optional activities. I think you do need both to get the full effect of the program.


So, looking at the Aristotle guide, the 30 text chapters are divided into 5 units. Some of the math activities include creating a graph of tidal time chart and using it to answer questions, recreating Thales experiment using congruent angles to measure a flagpole, Pythagorean theorem, working with circles & pi, proving Euclidean axioms, prime numbers, measuring angles, number lines. The science activities are pretty basic, but they include putting a jar over a lighted candle and explaining why it goes out, putting food coloring in water and explaining why it diffuses faster in warm than cold water, a retrograde motion activity, density & buoyancy activities, estimating the size of the earth using ancient techniques.


There are also discussion questions, questions to answer, several different types of assessments for each chapter.


Really, if you do a lot of science the Aristotle book wouldn't take a whole year. We're doing it in roughly a semester, working on it 3 days a week, dd does entomology & equine science the other 2 days, and we did biology the first semester. Like I said, I'll take a year to go through the Newton book, but I'll be adding resources as well, both math activities from Zaccaro's Challenge Math and LOF Physics,and activites from the T&K kit.


Hope this helps. It's really an engaging way to do science for a big-picture thinker, who likes to understand why they are doing what they are doing and how it fits into the big picture. It's really ideal for that. If I had a tinkerer, someone who really really wanted to do hands-on projects and figure out how things work for themselves, this isn't the curriculum I'd choose. But it's a really nice intro to physical science for my dd. I've done biology without a curriculum, because that's my area of expertise, but felt I needed more hand-holding for physical science, and this is working well.

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While an old earth is assumed, I don't remember it coming up all that often (although it's definitely mentioned.) If you are sensitive about comments that don't line up with your views, I would not recommend these books. She makes many comments that are a bit mocking of belief systems in general and the Christian church specifically. Granted, mistakes were made, people were ignorant and bad things happened through the church, but her tone is a bit off-putting. We came to disagree with her sentiments, but still enjoy the books as a whole.


The Quest Guide for Aristotle was "OK". The one for Newton seems a bit better with more hands on activities. I have not used the Teacher's Guide.



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