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m0mmaBuck

Any reviews of Ellen McHenry science?

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Hmm..

 

Well, I used it when my kid was 8 and then when he was 12, lol. We used The Elements when he was 8, and The Elements and Carbon Chemistry when he was 12.

 

We def had a better experience at 12 than at 8. It was just a bit much for an 8 year old but YMMV. It wasn't too difficult or anything for an 8yr old, just... retention was better etc.

 

I liked it well enough but it is a bit tricky to use. There aren't really lesson breaks. When he was 8 I read it to my kid and it was difficult to know when to stop. At the end of a chapter? That is a lot of reading for even a 12 year old. It is written in chapters with some breaks, but those breaks aren't necessarily a good stopping point. I guess what I am saying is that there are not discrete lessons. When my son was 8 he found The Elements frustrating because there aren't many actual chemistry experiments. It is mostly geared towards memorizing The Periodic Table. I think there was one hands on experiment. The rest is games and a skit and other things to memorize the table. At 8 (and at 12) my kid wanted more actual chemistry. Or, I should say,blowing things up, lol. What it does present is very good. The games are fun (some need a couple people) and the skits are clever.

 

When he was 12 I used it as part of a larger chemistry year and it worked very well. But there was lots of other things to do beyond memorizing the periodic table.  Oh, there is also work on learning and understanding different kinds of bonds and that was very good. Again, a bit beyond the needs of most 8 year olds, but YMMV. Again, there was very little retention at 8 and it was much better at 12.

 

I am not sure I would use Carbon Chemistry with an 8 year old. I just think there are more interesting things an 8 year old can be doing in the area of chemistry. Carbon Chemistry involves some math etc.

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Using it with my 8 year old DD now. She loves The Elements. I added mystery of periodic table, Lot of chemistry videos (Peter Weatherall dvds), Beakman shows, Happy Scientist .

This is a Chemistry year for us. Both of us love it. I think it depends on the kids. My daughter is crazy about chemistry and this clicked. I considered NOEO chemistry for awhile but I felt it was not meaty enough. Instead I got chemistry kit from homesciencetools and we are set.

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I would hold off on Carbon Chemistry for the 8 year old unless he has a strong interest in organic chemistry. If he doesn't find functional groups fascinating it might be better to wait.

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Carbon Chem, and maybe even Elements, would be way over the head of even most bright, motivated 8 year olds.

 

I think you could do Elements with your 12 year old primarily, having the 8 year old tag along - just don't expect as much understanding or retention from your 8 year old. I wouldn't even attempt Carbon Chem with the 8 year old, though, even if he/she is bright.

 

In general, though, there is no program that I recommend more than Ellen McHenry's for science; it is accessible, fun, and has quality content - high content. I usually recommend a sequence that includes Elements, then The Brain, then Cells, and then Carbon Chemistry, starting in grade 6 or 7, rotating two per year and using through middle school (hitting Elements again - lightly - before Carbon Chem). I can be used younger, but for maximum retention, I don't recommend it.

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What about pairing it (elements) with a kitchen chemistry book? Giving him what you want him to have and what he wants. That's what I'm planning on.

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Thanks for the insight!  It sounds like Elements would be a good start but I need to pair it with something else rather than using Carbon Chemistry if DD is going to be in the mix. So what are some good kitchen chemistry books and/or chemistry kits that I could pair with it to make it fun and accessible for both of my kids?

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