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Is anyone using Real Science 4 Kids? Open to other suggestions too


Janeway
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I have a 1st grader, 4th grader, and 6th grader. 6th and 1st grader love science and spend spare time reading science. 4th grader does not mind it, but also does not spend her spare time doing it or reading about it for fun (unless making slime counts).

I am trying to decide if I should invest in RS4Kids...and if I should do Focus on or Building Blocks. And if there is a better option? Youngest has been enjoying readying my focus on books just for the fun of it.

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We used RS4Kids elementary edition last year for my kids. We made it through the chemistry books then switched. We did not find it user friendly at all. All 3 books are needed to teach each lesson. Even the experiment directions were in the student and teacher manual. My husband is in charge of teaching science so he needed something more open and go. We switched to TGTB and supplement with books from the library. I’m still not sold on TGTB but it seems to be working out so far. 

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Hi @Janeway.  Here is a copy of what I wrote about this topic in this thread about RS4K.

The Real-Science-4-Kids Building Blocks series has been our only science spine since my oldest started kindergarten. This year we just finished up Level 6. I'm obviously very happy with it! Here are some thoughts:

Dr. Keller's philosophy is basically that you start giving kids foundational science from a young age so that when they hit high school science they aren't caught off-guard and then feel that science is “too hard”. She has a few explanatory videos on her philosophy; here is a short one (three minutes). As an example, chemical bonding is introduced in first grade in a kid-friendly way. Every year the concept is built up. 

Pro: 

1) I think that the text is very strong for what she promises. We almost didn't homeschool because I was so discouraged looking for a meaty science program until I found RS4K. The textbook would work very well as a solid reading text for families that just want a get-it-done science book, but, even better, it also works well as a spine for families with very science-oriented kids (as mine are). We supplement heavily, not because there are any glaring gaps, but because my kids are just interested in going deep in so many areas.

2) The text is intentionally worldview-neutral. You add what your family believes about hot topics, rather than having to explain away someone else's interpretation.

Con: 

1) It's really expensive. We have felt it's worth it to budget for this program, but if expense were the only hindrance, I would suggest getting on the e-mail list and buying when they have sales, and/or buying only the text and skipping the lab notebooks and teacher manual.

2) Some of the experiments rely on websites that were out of date by the time we got to them, so there has been a lot of modifying the experiments on the fly.

For what it's worth, the trajectory of my kids' career plans (which, of course, can change) is right now toward astrophysics or particle physics, and aeronautical engineering. RS4K has certainly not bored them or held them back! 

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On 9/11/2021 at 12:59 PM, McSalty said:

We used RS4Kids elementary edition last year for my kids. We made it through the chemistry books then switched. We did not find it user friendly at all. All 3 books are needed to teach each lesson. Even the experiment directions were in the student and teacher manual. My husband is in charge of teaching science so he needed something more open and go. We switched to TGTB and supplement with books from the library. I’m still not sold on TGTB but it seems to be working out so far. 

Hi @McSalty.  Not denying your experience at all, but mine was just the opposite.  I thought that the teacher manual for the experiments was redundant and didn't really use it at all, and I really thought that except for preparing the experiments, the curriculum really was open and go.  Oh well!  Each family uses each curriculum differently, it seems.  

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I'm using it for grades 4 and 6 (Exploring the Building Blocks) this year for the first time. We're a month in. I picked it because I wanted my kids to get their fundamental science down and it was a priority for me.

I found that the outdated website link is actually just Home Science Tools and I was able to find all the supplies by just searching for it on the site: https://www.homesciencetools.com/

We never use the teacher guide for experiments as well--we just use it if I need to refer to some explanations. It's just open and go from the Student Notebook and I have my kids read the corresponding chapters in the book ahead of time.

We enjoy it so far and love the experiments.

The only things that I wish were a bit different or wish I knew ahead of time were:

  • There is a lot of writing (two pages) to fill out for each experiment beforehand on top of the hypothesis. I think it could've been condensed a bit because I don't necessarily need my kids to have to write out everything they may speculate--although it would be great to discuss it, but my kids don't love that much writing. I think now that I know, I'll probably transition to more verbal discussions for the pre-lab instead of all written. The notes/writing for during the lab and post-lab seem appropriate and are great.
  • I thought the experiments were mostly using household materials but was surprised that you do have to look ahead and purchase some specialized supplies and prepare a bit. You'll probably spend about another $100 in supplies for each grade.

That said, I appreciate the foundational science concepts being taught/addressed and appreciate the neutral worldview approach and just focused on the science. We really love the experiments and topics. I am happy we bought it.

 

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On 9/16/2021 at 9:58 PM, hina said:

That said, I appreciate the foundational science concepts being taught/addressed and appreciate the neutral worldview approach and just focused on the science. We really love the experiments and topics. I am happy we bought it.

What does "neutral worldview" mean? 

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2 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

What does "neutral worldview" mean? 

"Neutral worldview" means it neither commits to Christian nor prevailing secular explanations of parts of science, where these differ. Most commonly, this is from not specifying certain information - e.g. it might present the Big Bang, dinosaurs, fossils etc without specifying the age of the universe. (This is because specifying the age of the universe would commit it to either the "trillions of years old" explanation used by secular science, or "several thousand years old" by Christians who adhere to young-earth creationism).

The assumption most often made by people who write science books to a neutral worldview is that parents/teachers will fill in the gaps with whichever answers make most sense to them. As such, young-earth creationists would say the universe is several thousand years old, adherents to prevailing secular science would say several billion years, and neither would be contradicted by the textbook. Parents who think the science book will contradict them tend not to buy the science book rather than change their views, so the "neutral worldview" approach hopes to get accurate information into more hands than would be possible if it committed to a specific worldview.

At least, this is the theory. I have not seen Real Science-4-Kids to say exactly how it interprets the term.

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54 minutes ago, ieta_cassiopeia said:

"Neutral worldview" means it neither commits to Christian nor prevailing secular explanations of parts of science, where these differ. Most commonly, this is from not specifying certain information - e.g. it might present the Big Bang, dinosaurs, fossils etc without specifying the age of the universe. (This is because specifying the age of the universe would commit it to either the "trillions of years old" explanation used by secular science, or "several thousand years old" by Christians who adhere to young-earth creationism).

The assumption most often made by people who write science books to a neutral worldview is that parents/teachers will fill in the gaps with whichever answers make most sense to them. As such, young-earth creationists would say the universe is several thousand years old, adherents to prevailing secular science would say several billion years, and neither would be contradicted by the textbook. Parents who think the science book will contradict them tend not to buy the science book rather than change their views, so the "neutral worldview" approach hopes to get accurate information into more hands than would be possible if it committed to a specific worldview.

At least, this is the theory. I have not seen Real Science-4-Kids to say exactly how it interprets the term.

Ah, then not for me. Evolution is probably the kids' favorite topic that we've done in science. We keep talking about it. 

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On 9/13/2021 at 6:27 PM, Quarter Note said:

Hi @McSalty.  Not denying your experience at all, but mine was just the opposite.  I thought that the teacher manual for the experiments was redundant and didn't really use it at all, and I really thought that except for preparing the experiments, the curriculum really was open and go.  Oh well!  Each family uses each curriculum differently, it seems.  

Yea. We just couldn’t get a good rhythm with it. My husband loves science so I think the layout just annoyed him. Granted, it was our 1st year homeschooling so we were all just getting into a grove and found we needed something with less prep time for him. He likes the that the TGTB has the PDF version so he can plan while having downtime at work during his breaks. 

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On 9/20/2021 at 3:02 PM, Not_a_Number said:

Ah, then not for me. Evolution is probably the kids' favorite topic that we've done in science. We keep talking about it. 

The thing is though, is that it doesn't really come up naturally or is purposely ignored. There is plenty of room to go whichever direction you want to take it. I am on my 6th kid using the old school book series and we have been super happy with it. I will say we started with it before there was an online element so used the books only.

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On 9/25/2021 at 11:57 AM, saraha said:

The thing is though, is that it doesn't really come up naturally or is purposely ignored. There is plenty of room to go whichever direction you want to take it. I am on my 6th kid using the old school book series and we have been super happy with it. I will say we started with it before there was an online element so used the books only.

I cannot even imagine there would be a way to work the evolution topic in to every single topic of science. I mean, learning about the parts of an atom and then trying to toss in something about evolution and tie it in to the atoms? Then the next lesson on chemical reactions and trying to tie that in to evolution? I think it sounds like it crossed over in to an obsession (thinking ASD now) if someone cannot study something if it is not one topic, like evolution. And how could anyone grasp evolution if they cannot learn basic biology first? Or dive deeply in to biology, if they cannot learn chemistry or physics? Even for my children with ASD, while I accept that they might obsess on one topic, I still make them learn about other topics as well. I remind, for example, my son who wants to be en engineer, that he has to learn things like math, physics, and chemistry in order to be able to be an engineer some day. He also never wants to read anything except whatever non-fiction book he is obsessing on, but I still make him read what we are reading for literature. 

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On 9/25/2021 at 12:57 PM, saraha said:

The thing is though, is that it doesn't really come up naturally or is purposely ignored. There is plenty of room to go whichever direction you want to take it. I am on my 6th kid using the old school book series and we have been super happy with it. I will say we started with it before there was an online element so used the books only.

Hmmm, how could it not come up naturally? I feel like it comes up whenever we talk about basic biology. It's not like it's a main topic, but it's definitely something that we think about whenever we talk about why animals are shaped the way they are and things like that. 

 

6 minutes ago, Janeway said:

I mean, learning about the parts of an atom and then trying to toss in something about evolution and tie it in to the atoms?

Err, no. If we were learning about parts of an atom, we would certainly not work in evolution, lol!! It's just that DD9 has consistently preferred biology to all other sciences for the last 2 years, so pretty much everything we've learned about ties into evolution. I think she partially prefers biology cause it feels more relevant, frankly... and also, I don't push "physics" when they are little, because I think physics before algebra isn't even all that effective. 

For the last couple of years, we learned about viruses, evolution, and DNA, and all of those involve evolution in one way or another. 

 

6 minutes ago, Janeway said:

I remind, for example, my son who wants to be en engineer, that he has to learn things like math, physics, and chemistry in order to be able to be an engineer some day.

I figure that in Grade 4, she just has to learn math to become an engineer. Plenty of kids don't learn any physics in elementary school, for the simple reason that you can't really learn it without more math! 

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11 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Hmmm, how could it not come up naturally? I feel like it comes up whenever we talk about basic biology. It's not like it's a main topic, but it's definitely something that we think about whenever we talk about why animals are shaped the way they are and things like that. 

 

Err, no. If we were learning about parts of an atom, we would certainly not work in evolution, lol!! It's just that DD9 has consistently preferred biology to all other sciences for the last 2 years, so pretty much everything we've learned about ties into evolution. I think she partially prefers biology cause it feels more relevant, frankly... and also, I don't push "physics" when they are little, because I think physics before algebra isn't even all that effective. 

For the last couple of years, we learned about viruses, evolution, and DNA, and all of those involve evolution in one way or another. 

 

I figure that in Grade 4, she just has to learn math to become an engineer. Plenty of kids don't learn any physics in elementary school, for the simple reason that you can't really learn it without more math! 

Yeah, I guess you are right. I am forcing biology on to my children even though they do not like it. I resorted to outsourced classes which is more fun so they are not complaining much so far. But maybe they do not need it. I go back and forth on the suggestion of interest led science, which I believe came from you. But maybe I should drop it. 

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8 minutes ago, Janeway said:

Yeah, I guess you are right. I am forcing biology on to my children even though they do not like it. I resorted to outsourced classes which is more fun so they are not complaining much so far. But maybe they do not need it. I go back and forth on the suggestion of interest led science, which I believe came from you. But maybe I should drop it. 

I am not the only one who does interest-led science in the younger years for sure (I think @8filltheheartis very adamant about it 😄 ) but I've definitely liked letting my kids lead on this one. It's mostly that I don't think one can do super serious science in the elementary years, anyway, so I feel like the goal of "exposure" is met by having them study what they feel like. 

I'm not sure why my kids like biology so much, lol! I didn't even like it at school, but it's by far their favorite thing. 

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On 9/20/2021 at 8:09 AM, Not_a_Number said:

What does "neutral worldview" mean? 

It means that the author is a creationist and and thinks that leaving evolution out of the discussion is somehow scientific.

1 hour ago, Not_a_Number said:

Hmmm, how could it not come up naturally? I feel like it comes up whenever we talk about basic biology. It's not like it's a main topic, but it's definitely something that we think about whenever we talk about why animals are shaped the way they are and things like that. 

Evolution is the organizing principle of modern biology.  If you leave it out, it isn't science.

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1 hour ago, Not_a_Number said:

Err, no. If we were learning about parts of an atom, we would certainly not work in evolution, lol!!

There is the point that atoms are self organizing systems the way biological systems are.  In fact, I would argue that the evolution of life is intimately connected with the self organization of atoms and molecules.

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3 minutes ago, EKS said:

There is the point that atoms are self organizing systems the way biological systems are.  In fact, I would argue that the evolution of life is intimately connected with the self organization of atoms and molecules.

I'm not YE and most definitely believe in evolution, but honestly it just doesn't come up that much the way we study science.

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I'm sure it's just because my kids turned out to be fascinated by biology! The last 3 things I've done with DD9 is read about viruses, then read a graphic novel about evolution, then read a graphic novel about DNA from the same series. All of those obviously involved evolution. 

Right now, we've been reading books about animals, and evolution comes up when we talk about why different animals are different -- like, we talked about how polar bears got smaller ears. I suppose we mightn't have talked about that if we hadn't done a whole graphic novel about evolution, lol, but it's just a natural reference point for my kids at this point, just like genes are. 

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36 minutes ago, EKS said:

It means that the author is a creationist and and thinks that leaving evolution out of the discussion is somehow scientific.

Evolution is the organizing principle of modern biology.  If you leave it out, it isn't science.

I'm not arguing there 😉 

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1 hour ago, 8filltheheart said:

I'm not YE and most definitely believe in evolution, but honestly it just doesn't come up that much the way we study science.

I guess I'm more talking about an orientation to the subject matter than discussing evolution specifically at every turn.

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We tried a few books from Real Science for Kids because I saw so many recommendations for them.   I tried twice, once with a book for elementary about Geology and a couple years later a middle school-ish Chemistry one.  I'm sorry I don't recall the exact product names.   None of us really liked either one.  I ended up letting the kids read them but not do any of the work. 

One set of textbooks my kids did end up liking was the book series from Holt that included these books: 

Microorganisms, Fungi, and Plants

Animals

Cells, Heredity, and Classification

Environmental Science 

 

 

 

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For us personally (as I was the one who mentioned "neutral worldview"), this is our first year homeschooling. We were in California public schools prior and our public school's science curriculum is on the extreme end of one worldview. I personally have no qualms about any of these topics and they're all interesting and important to discuss but I did feel like there was too much emphasis and too much time spent on it without ever touching upon anything else. My kids (oldest is now middle school) came out knowing very little about chemistry, physics, or even much about biology and don't have the basic science fundamentals behind all of these topics and it's been a breathe of fresh air to have a curriculum that can finally introduce more in-depth lessons about atoms, energy, forces, cells, etc to them for the first time. I appreciate the neutral worldview curriculum now that we've started homeschooling because it allows us to focus on what we've missed all this time, after being taught on the extreme end of one worldview for so long.

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2 minutes ago, hina said:

I appreciate the neutral worldview curriculum now that we've started homeschooling because it allows us to focus on what we've missed all this time, after being taught on the extreme end of one worldview for so long.

What do you mean by that? What were they doing that was representing one worldview? 

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7 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

What do you mean by that? What were they doing that was representing one worldview? 

Over half a year is spent on big bang and evolution of mankind, followed by climate change. There's a lack of any other foundational science topics.

Again, not that I mind those topics--I just wish it was more balanced and time was spent on some of the other basic science fundamentals as well.

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5 minutes ago, hina said:

Over half a year is spent on big bang and evolution of mankind, followed by climate change. There's a lack of any other foundational science topics.

Again, not that I mind those topics--I just wish it was more balanced and time was spent on some of the other basic science fundamentals as well.

Whoa. That does seem pretty unbalanced, lol!! How would you even understand those without the basics? 

We first saw evolution when we were reading about viruses. I don't think evolution of mankind is even the best first place to see it, since it's so much slower than lots of other kinds that can be seen in real time... 

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11 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Whoa. That does seem pretty unbalanced, lol!! How would you even understand those without the basics? 

We first saw evolution when we were reading about viruses. I don't think evolution of mankind is even the best first place to see it, since it's so much slower than lots of other kinds that can be seen in real time... 

Yeah, like I said, it's been a huge breath of fresh air to just go through the basics of chemistry, physics, biology, etc with RS4K so we've really enjoyed it, plus my kids love the experiments. Half a dozen of my kids' classmates are pulling out of our old public school because apparently they got a science curriculum that's even worse and it's about training kids how to argue against politicians about hot scientific topics in current events. It's just gotten really political. I think a lot of us just want our kids to learn the science basics! Not to mention, we are actually not 100% homeschooling, but homeschooling through a charter, so we still have CA requirements to fulfill. Our CA history text is going through the ice age and homo halibus/erectus/sapiens/etc progressions as well. So I felt like there was enough of that area of evolution already to go around. No need to keep shoving it into my kids' faces--plus they're not super interested in that--they want things they can experiment with and prove now. Evolution of viruses and mutations would be much more applicable and interesting, although, I would want them to understand some cellular level basics first--which is what we're hoping to work up on now. 

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6 minutes ago, hina said:

Evolution of viruses and mutations would be much more applicable and interesting, although, I would want them to understand some cellular level basics first--which is what we're hoping to work up on now. 

Honestly, I don't think it's that connected. To understand the process of evolution, I don't think you need to understand all that much about the actual organisms -- just the mechanism of the actual evolution. At least, that was our experience with all the biology we've wound up doing. 

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Just now, Not_a_Number said:

Honestly, I don't think it's that connected. To understand the process of evolution, I don't think you need to understand all that much about the actual organisms -- just the mechanism of the actual evolution. At least, that was our experience with all the biology we've wound up doing. 

Thinking some more... I suppose it's important to understand the fact that some traits are genetic, hm. Although of course people were thinking about evolution before they fully understood genetics... 

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On 9/20/2021 at 11:09 AM, Not_a_Number said:

What does "neutral worldview" mean? 

Neutral means the author is trying to sell to the both creationist and secular market, by leaving out much of the actual science.  There is nothing truly neutral about "neutral" science curricula.  It's creation "science" in stealth mode.

12 hours ago, EKS said:

It means that the author is a creationist and and thinks that leaving evolution out of the discussion is somehow scientific.

Evolution is the organizing principle of modern biology.  If you leave it out, it isn't science.

Yes.  All of biology is evolution.  Evolution is the foundational principle.  Without evolution, it's all just stamp collecting  (my own mangled, modernized adaptation of Rutherford's famous quote, haha).  It comes up in just about every single biology

 

14 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

Hmmm, how could it not come up naturally? I feel like it comes up whenever we talk about basic biology. It's not like it's a main topic, but it's definitely something that we think about whenever we talk about why animals are shaped the way they are and things like that. 

Err, no. If we were learning about parts of an atom, we would certainly not work in evolution, lol!!

It comes up in just about every single biology discussion with my kids.  It's hard for me to imagine how it wouldn't.

There had been loads of threads on this in the past, some of them very good. 

SEA and Panda Press have  opinion posts about neutral science that explain from a secular POV all this better than I can.

Evolution doesn't come up when discussing atoms.  But Big Bang theory and deep time sure do (where did those atoms come from?)

Evolution, Big Bang, age of the earth -  these are Big Foundational Science topics that get left out in "neutral" science because of religious beliefs.   That's unscientific.

 

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Well, I'll jump back in to this discussion.  The author of the curriculum, Rebecca Keller, has the philosophy that chemistry and physics are the foundations of all science.  Thus, biology is chemistry and physics applied to a living system, astronomy is chemistry and physics applied to outer space, etc.  It's a broad brushstroke, but it has some validity.  So that's what I really appreciate about this curriculum:  the strength of chemistry and physics, and how those two become the foundation for the other "building blocks":  biology, geology, and astronomy.  With a very strong foundation in chemistry and physics, a future scientist will be in a good position to move to any specialty.  It may be that the benefit of her approach is best seen after several years with the curriculum, rather than just one year in the middle, which is why I'm so glad that we started with it in K and are now finishing with it in Year 7.

One other advantage that my family appreciates that hasn't been mentioned is that each level has 22 chapters, which means that at a chapter a week for a 36-week year, you have about one-third of the year left for going deep.  I let my kids choose Great Courses courses for their science supplement after we finish up RS4K for the year.  Two years ago they chose Nuclear Physics Explained, and The Science of Flight.  Last year they chose The Higgs-Boson, and Paleontology. These are courses designed for grown-ups.  RS4K has certainly not held them back!

@Not_a_Number, I understand what you mean about the heavy dependence of physics on math, but it really hasn't been a hindrance.  Even in public school, kids can take physics long before calculus.  Kids can learn a lot about forces just from thinking and watching, and F=ma is not that advanced.

@wathe, thanking for adding your thoughts, but I do believe that if any science curriculum can be genuinely "neutral" and still do a really great job at what it covers, this is one.  Of course no curriculum is for everyone.  This one happens to work very well for our science-loving family.  We're going through the last year of the series, so I've seen it all the way through.  

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7 minutes ago, Quarter Note said:

@Not_a_Number, I understand what you mean about the heavy dependence of physics on math, but it really hasn't been a hindrance.  Even in public school, kids can take physics long before calculus.  Kids can learn a lot about forces just from thinking and watching, and F=ma is not that advanced.

I'm not so worried about the calculus, but you don't just need calculus! You at the very least need good comfort with algebra, and it's best if you've seen vectors. 

I think the question I always wind up having is whether it's actually science if you can't predict anything and can only observe. 

That being said, it's not like I tried this curriculum and know anything about it! I was just musing, because the science we've naturally come across uses things like evolution all the time, so it'd be hard for me to imagine avoiding it. 

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The author has a published speech where she basically said she is using the curriculum to sneak the idea of Intelligent Design to secular homeschoolers.

Everyone focuses on evolution (and I did actually have a discussion about evolution in a chemistry class, it came about as part of a discussion of cockroaches, which I think came about through a discussion about radioactivity), but the difference between an old and young earth will come up in many more places that that. 

Geology, astronomy in particular have a ton of old earth concepts.   There's a lot of science nuance that is plain left out or contradicted by young earth viewpoints.  In younger kids it probably doesn't matter as much, but by middle school it can make a big difference.  

I'm not saying it can't be done, I'm just saying it leaves out some fundamental concepts.   I know more than a few teens who were pretty annoyed with their parents when they realized how much they missed, and the effect it had on their attempts to do well in college in science fields. 

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Just now, Wheres Toto said:

The author has a published speech where she basically said she is using the curriculum to sneak the idea of Intelligent Design to secular homeschoolers.

Whoa. That's something else. Seriously? 

 

Just now, Wheres Toto said:

Everyone focuses on evolution (and I did actually have a discussion about evolution in a chemistry class, it came about as part of a discussion of cockroaches, which I think came about through a discussion about radioactivity), but the difference between an old and young earth will come up in many more places that that. 

Ah, I forgot about the "young earth" thing. That would also be totally unacceptable (although for us, weirdly enough, it comes up less than evolution.) 

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11 minutes ago, Wheres Toto said:

The author has a published speech where she basically said she is using the curriculum to sneak the idea of Intelligent Design to secular homeschoolers.

I"m sorry to hear that, too.  Do you have a link to it?

But, for whatever it's worth, actually using the curriculum, that never came out.  As I mentioned above, last year we finished out our science year with a 36-lecture course on decidedly not YE paleontology.  We still love RS4K for what it does.  Any sort of Intelligent Design bias really doesn't come through in the text.

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1 minute ago, Not_a_Number said:

Ah, I forgot about the "young earth" thing. That would also be totally unacceptable (although for us, weirdly enough, it comes up less than evolution.) 

LOL...and for us it is the opposite.  With my younger kids (since this is the k8 forum), age of dinosaurs, distance light travels, age of mtns/geological formations, etc are far more common conversations than evolution.  

FWIW, I agree with you about physics. I'll go farther and say chemistry and molecular biochemistry.  Kids don't need yrs and yrs elementary level coverage of those topics to master them at the high school/college level.  You can wait until they can approach the topics with physics first with the math to back the concepts (at least at the algebra level) for formal introduction.  Considering I have a chemE ds and a ds with a masters at this pt in physics and neither one of them studied chemistry or physics as "chemistry" or "physics" in elementary school, I am definitely not swayed by the argument "you start giving kids foundational science from a young age so that when they hit high school science they aren't caught off-guard and then feel that science is “too hard”. She has a few explanatory videos on her philosophy; here is a short one (three minutes). As an example, chemical bonding is introduced in first grade in a kid-friendly way. Every year the concept is built up. "  I have never seen my kids "caught off-guard" by science or thought it was too hard.  My kids tend to love science.  

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2 minutes ago, 8filltheheart said:

LOL...and for us it is the opposite.  With my younger kids (since this is the k8 forum), age of dinosaurs, distance light travels, age of mtns/geological formations, etc are far more common conversations than evolution.  

Yeah, I totally see that, it's just my kids wound up obsessed with evolution-adjacent topics! And no one is all that interested in dinosaurs, to my husband's deep chagrin. I mean, we talk about them, and we go to natural history museums and have dinosaur toys, but they haven't chosen to study them. 

Not that the old earth stuff doesn't come up... they are definitely interested in fossils and stuff. But still... not a main attraction around here. No idea why! 

2 minutes ago, 8filltheheart said:

FWIW, I agree with you about physics. I'll go farther and say chemistry and molecular biochemistry.  Kids don't need yrs and yrs elementary level coverage of those topics to master them at the high school/college level.  You can wait until they can approach the topics with physics first with the math to back the concepts (at least at the algebra level) for formal introduction.  Considering I have a chemE ds and a ds with a masters at this pt in physics and neither one of them studied chemistry or physics as "chemistry" or "physics" in elementary school, I am definitely not swayed by the argument "you start giving kids foundational science from a young age so that when they hit high school science they aren't caught off-guard and then feel that science is “too hard”. She has a few explanatory videos on her philosophy; here is a short one (three minutes). As an example, chemical bonding is introduced in first grade in a kid-friendly way. Every year the concept is built up. "  I have never seen my kids "caught off-guard" by science or thought it was too hard.  My kids tend to love science.  

I've mostly seen kids tripped up by math in later science, for what it's worth. I just saw my sister go through this in high school (she's in college now), and the big stumbling block for her in physics was that her algebra wasn't solid. 

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7 minutes ago, 8filltheheart said:

LOL...and for us it is the opposite.  With my younger kids (since this is the k8 forum), age of dinosaurs, distance light travels, age of mtns/geological formations, etc are far more common conversations than evolution.  

FWIW, I agree with you about physics. I'll go farther and say chemistry and molecular biochemistry.  Kids don't need yrs and yrs elementary level coverage of those topics to master them at the high school/college level.  You can wait until they can approach the topics with physics first with the math to back the concepts (at least at the algebra level) for formal introduction.  Considering I have a chemE ds and a ds with a masters at this pt in physics and neither one of them studied chemistry or physics as "chemistry" or "physics" in elementary school, I am definitely not swayed by the argument "you start giving kids foundational science from a young age so that when they hit high school science they aren't caught off-guard and then feel that science is “too hard”. She has a few explanatory videos on her philosophy; here is a short one (three minutes). As an example, chemical bonding is introduced in first grade in a kid-friendly way. Every year the concept is built up. "  I have never seen my kids "caught off-guard" by science or thought it was too hard.  My kids tend to love science.  

Well, the wonderful thing is that a science-loving child can get there in so many ways.  We happen to love the way that we're getting there.  What's important is that it's a great, big beautiful world out there to be studied, loved, and taken care of.  I'm just happy whenever any kid loves science.

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2 hours ago, Quarter Note said:

I"m sorry to hear that, too.  Do you have a link to it?

But, for whatever it's worth, actually using the curriculum, that never came out.  As I mentioned above, last year we finished out our science year with a 36-lecture course on decidedly not YE paleontology.  We still love RS4K for what it does.  Any sort of Intelligent Design bias really doesn't come through in the text.

I'll see if I can find it.  I actually found out about it on these boards so maybe the person who shared it will also see this post.  

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On 9/27/2021 at 8:02 AM, Not_a_Number said:

I don't push "physics" when they are little, because I think physics before algebra isn't even all that effective. 

I am so opposite. I find physics one of the easier topics to teach little kids. They can actually make hypothesis, experiment and observe in physics. For some of physics they already have some background to make a decent hypothesis balls rolling, water moving, etc. It's a great topic for little kids to try out the scientific method for themselves. 

Of course I may be biased on this because physics is one of my favorite sciences. It's also a favorite along with chemistry among my kids because they love experimentation.  

 

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2 hours ago, Clarita said:

I am so opposite. I find physics one of the easier topics to teach little kids. They can actually make hypothesis, experiment and observe in physics. For some of physics they already have some background to make a decent hypothesis balls rolling, water moving, etc. It's a great topic for little kids to try out the scientific method for themselves. 

Well, technically you can do that in math, too 😉 . You can make hypotheses and test them. 

I've found that kids aren't all that able to make scientific observations. At least my kids aren't. Like, there's a lot of wishful thinking happening when the observations they make don't actually match what they wish happened. "Yes, that paper airplane went farther, but I bet if I threw my favorite one better, it'd go farther." 

We definitely talk about things we see in the world and make small predictions. I don't know if that counts as physics per se, though... I feel like "proper" physics does best with some measurement. 

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8 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

I've found that kids aren't all that able to make scientific observations. At least my kids aren't. Like, there's a lot of wishful thinking happening when the observations they make don't actually match what they wish happened. "Yes, that paper airplane went farther, but I bet if I threw my favorite one better, it'd go farther." 

So for me I make their wishful thinking the hypothesis. Then we do the experiment and so far I make the obvious observations let them make some attempts and show how they know. The conclusions my kids make are way off base usually, so I just state the conclusion.

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7 minutes ago, Clarita said:

So for me I make their wishful thinking the hypothesis. Then we do the experiment and so far I make the obvious observations let them make some attempts and show how they know. The conclusions my kids make are way off base usually, so I just state the conclusion.

I guess I’ve been kind of waiting until they grow out of the magical thinking 🙂 . They don’t do this stuff with math, so we focus on that.

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