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help me find a good science program for my 7th grader


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My rising 7th grader has been doing Apologia elementary series.  He is finishing up with the chemistry/physics book this spring.  I have looked at the gen science book and I am not too impressed with it.  So I started a search that has me spending way too much time on the computer.  I think I have narrowed it down to about 6 programs.  Maybe you all can give me some feedback on any of them.  

 

Real Science 4 kids (seems like it might be too easy for a 7th grader, although I know it says that some of the books are good until 8th grade) It is also the most expensive program on my list since each book is only for a semester.  Is it really worth it?

 

Science Shepherd Life Science.  I like it, but it doesn't seem to have labs.

 

Behold and See Life Science: looks good. 

 

God's Design (AIG):  If we were to do this, I would like to the life or earth science, but is it too young for a 7th grader?

 

Elemental Science: looks ok. 

 

Masterbooks: just discovered this one tonight...don't know much about it.

 

PLEASE, PLEASE someone give me some opinions and thoughts.  And, if you have another idea for me, I would be opened to hearing about it.  

 

One thing he really  liked about the Apologia materials is that he coudl mostly do it by himself, so I would like to hang on to that independence if possible.   

 

thanks.

 

 

Edited by NEprairiemom
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If my dd's co-op hadn't offered a class using Apologia General, I was going to have her do the Behold and See Life Science.  I agree with you that it looks good!  Of everything on your list, that's the one I would lean towards trying. 

 

Masterbooks - *I* like these, but they are not your typical science text.  There are a lot of historical connections in the text which made them appealing for a kid with a bent towards history.  There are comprehension questions at the end of each chapter, but no labs. 

 

It's been years since I tried AIG, but I thought it was pretty dry. 

 

FWIW, my 12yo dd is always coming to tell me things she has read in Apologia General.  She likes it.  But I doubt we would follow through much on the labs if she weren't doing them at co-op. 

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thank you so much for these reviews.  I really do appreciate it.  I hope others will chime in with their experiences.  I feel like I have been researching this forever, and I feel like it's getting time for me to bite the bullet and just make a decision, but I am grateful to everyone who share their experience with me. 

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God's Design from AIG would be a step down from what he's used to. I started their life topics one year with a 1st, 3rd, 6th, and 7th grader. The fact depth was appropriate for the little ones but the text was written more for the older ones. The older two found it about as appealing as watching paint dry and I quickly put them in something else. I read it aloud to the little two, modifying the text as I went and tried to use an excited voice. Those two actually finished the book. I wouldn't buy one again for any of them.

 

Master Books tends to be more history and scientist biographies than actual science concepts and wouldn't have much for real labs.

 

I very nearly picked Science Shepherd for one of mine and researched it a lot. I wasn't looking for labs though, because she can participate in older siblings' high school bio labs.

 

 

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Here's one more possibility he might enjoy ~ Human Body & Forensics from Winter Promise. It's Christian, and would have plenty of projects and experiments. To save expenses I'd just buy the guide from WP and buy the books they schedule elsewhere (Amazon, Half Price Books, etc). There wouldn't be a lab kit, but a 7th grade boy would have fun collecting the supplies for the forensics, like paint chips from several different red cars at the junk yard. (We have that CSI book. My DD/10th is taking forensics with a high school textbook this year, and the younger ones are fascinated with it too. We do the CSI activities as a family just for fun.)

Edited by SilverMoon
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Real science for kids would not be enough for that age, IMO, especially with all the science you have already one. None of these are on your list, so ignore if you want. ;)

 

What about Apologia Physical Science? I haven't used it, but I don't see why you couldn't skip the general science book if you otherwise like Apologia.

 

Rainbow Science is fairly independent. He may even want to do both years over one school year. It is good but it doesn't take a lot of time.

 

You could also do TWTM middle school science, and have him choose some experiment kits that pique his interest and then use books to read more. There are lots of good book ideas on the forums that are not textbooks per se.

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Highly recommend RSO Bio 2 - short but solid chapters, quiz, lab, scientist/discovery mini research, and often additional microscope labs. You'll need to supervise labs, and maybe help direct mini research, otherwise they work independently.

 

Don't recommend RS4K. It's scope and sequence is whacky, it's boring to read and look at, and it doesn't give the best balance between scientific tone and access/appeal to age group.

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I was just looking at RSO Bio 2....it looks pretty good...but there would be one whole unit (evolution) that we would skip.  However, would it be fairly safe to assume that since there is a whole chapter set aside for that topic, that evolution is not taught in the rest of the book?  

 

 

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I was just looking at RSO Bio 2....it looks pretty good...but there would be one whole unit (evolution) that we would skip. However, would it be fairly safe to assume that since there is a whole chapter set aside for that topic, that evolution is not taught in the rest of the book?

I didn't realize this was a concern for you. Evolution is an entire unit, and the unit after that (Ecology) has builds from the evolution unit. That's a fair amount of the book you would be skipping, so maybe it isn't for you then.

 

I personally believe that no matter my convictions, understanding the backbone of current scientific thought is important for my kids to be literate member of society. RSO addresses evolution, micro and macro, in non-confrontational way (it isn't anti-theistic).

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We've used AiG and enjoyed it. We used the Apologia Elementary books for a couple of years but then wanted to cover 'life science' in one year and same with 'earth science' so this is where we landed. After our earth science year I actually gave my middle schoolers a choice of AiG or returning to Apologia or something else - they unanimously picked AiG! I don't find it boring but then I'm no longer reading it to them - one of the draw cards for this curriculum was the clearly defined lesson structure (with Apologia, I had to determine where we would start or stop) so they prefer reading it to themselves on their own schedule. We complete a few experiments per unit and sometimes they'll ask to do additional labs on their own time. The lessons are short but I feel they cover sufficient material and it is challenging enough for this level. I have one kid who looooves science and one kid who's more of a 'get it done' science kid but both of them like this series. We did chemistry this year. Next year we will use physics.

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We are finishing up the three Lyrical Life Science books for 7th and 5th grades this year.  They each include a "text" book , workbook, and cd of songs.  My kids are musical so this worked great.  The books are packed with information.  We also used Ellen McHenry Elements, Botany, and will start Cells or Brain next.  

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After being almost done with BFSU 3, next year I'm planning on moving to Conceptual Integrated Science Explorations, which is recommended for grades 7-9. I found the Conceptual Academy, which provides videos and other resources to help you along. Scroll down to see the info for the above-mentioned book.

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