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Experience with CPO Earth science?

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I'm searching for secular options for earth science for my 11 yo, and am interested in CPO. I noticed that they seem to have 2 levels or books of different depths; I would only be interested in the deeper version (not Fundamentals of..., I think it's called).


For those of you who have used it, what did you like? What didn't you like? What did you tweak?


I'd like an depth study, but one that lends itself to chasing rabbit trails. I am not good at following a script. :) I'm also looking for something with writing assignments--DS is a Big Thinker, but a reluctant writer. I'm also wondering if the student guide is necessary (did you find the projects worthwhile? Why or why not? DS doesn't need hands on projects to solidify comprehension).



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Check my signature for a link to the CPO Earth stuff we did for dd's fifth grade year (our first year homeschooling). (Please excuse the neglected blog otherwise lol.)


There are two types of CPO middle school books, the "regular" and the "focus on...". The difference is that some topics are shifted among the three book series to align the "focus on..." books with California science standards. Whichever series you pick, stick with it for other books so you don't double up on or skip topics totally. The online resources from CPO match with the regular series---you'd have to work at matching up activities with the "focus on..." series.


What student guide are you referring to? The actual textbook or the "Investigations" (ie lab) book? To properly teach the subject, you need both the student book and the teacher's book. You do not need to purchase the Investigations book because the PDFs are available for free on the CPO website :D Look on the right side under ancillary materials for Student Record Sheets http://www.cposcience.com/home/ForEducators/MiddleSchoolEarthScience/tabid/261/Default.aspx The labs were very worthwhile for dd and were a lot of fun. Science should be hands-on, not just reading and rejurgitating, imo.


We did almost all the labs, some with large adaptations (see blog). We did not do all the "skill and practice" sheets because a large number were busywork for dd. We would read and discuss each day. She'd answer the end-of-sections orally. Some chapter test questions were done orally, while others were written. I chose which chapter questions to be answered---she didn't need to do the math-related questions because she didn't need that kind of practice, for example. She did a number of the chapter projects for fun.


I'd be happy to answer more questions :) Right now I need to go exercise or it won't get done today!

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Your blog is fantastic, Luckymama! I hope you don't mind if I refer to it next year!


Thanks for the helpful info. I must have been really distracted when I posted, sorry to be so unclear. Yes, by the student guide I did mean the Investigations book. Good to know I don't need to buy that. I'm curious about the teacher guide--from the sample online, it looked pretty scripted and not necessarily something that would be needed for working with just one student. Perhaps there is more to it than that?


The book I'm interested in is the regular version, not the "focus on..." version. I've copied the astronomy "skills and practice" pages as a fun end of the year unit, and he's enjoying it even though it's more worksheety than he normally does. It's purely for fun; astrophysics is his primary area of interest right now. I can see how they would just be busywork normally.


Hoping others will chime in with their experiences, or other programs they've been happy with.

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I sure didn't follow any of the scripted portions of the teacher's book!


All the answers to the text questions and to all the lab work are in the teacher's book. Extension activities are in the teacher's book as well. There are suggested reading lists (at three different levels of difficulty) for each chapter.


My books are in the other room, packed away, waiting for me to list them for sale. I can pull them out if you want to know specifics. I know how frustrating it can be to just view a sample!

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I also used CPO earth and space. We had a great year.  There are many threads on CPO in this forum if you can do a search.


I found the teacher's book to be very useful.It has all the answers to the student demonstrations as well as the end of section and chapter reviews. There was useful information about vocabulary and common misconceptions and how to address them.


I didn't find the skills and practice sheets to be busy work. We didn't use them often but they were helpful especially introducing a bit more math into the program. We also liked the scientist biographies that were in the worksheets. I always assigned those.



But what really made CPO work for us were the hands on parts. My son enjoyed all of it. I spent a summer pulling everything together. I got most of it from home science tools, and I had everything all ready to go. It made the year very doable.

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