Jump to content

Menu

Recommended Posts

We haven't done much science in our home school so far. We've done some My World Science, and they get some science through scouting, but that's it.

 

Next year, I will have a 7th grader and an 8th grader, and the 8th grader is sort of starting to talk engineering as a profession. So, I am wanting to do a solid year of science next year, in preparation for high school sciences. As I look around, I am very frustrated with the lack of middle school secular science materials! :confused:

 

I have younger dc as well who will be in 4th and 1st/2nd next year. I prefer open-and-go curricula, or curricula with a schedule laid out for me. My dc want to do one science all year, and go more deeply, than doing a little of this, a little of that. And although we would like something meaty, we don't want something that will take more than 2-3 hours/week.

 

Here are what I see as secular options:

 

1. Prentice Hall Science explorer for the older two, MWS for the younger two--something about the SE layouts bugs me. The books I have seen look busy, with lots of sidebar-type stuff; they look very "schoolish." Also, I would have to do all the planning, right? Or are they open and go? I would have to collect materials for labs, right?

 

2. I would really like to use RS4K, but they only have chemistry out at level II. If they had all 3 books out, there would be no question for me what I would do. Since there is only chemistry, it's not be enough science for my middles schoolers. Which leads me to...

 

3. Teaching all the dc together using all of RS4K level 1, but beefing up things for my middle schoolers (and letting the 2nd grader just tag along). Is that even remotely feasible without a ton of work on my part?

 

4. NOEO chemistry III--I don't know very much about this level of NOEO, but if I can get things all in one box, with a pre-made schedule, it is more likely to happen. Some board reviews of the younger levels say it is boring, with too much repetition of the same types of work week after week; I don't know if level III has that same problem. I have just joined the NOEO yahoo group, but am waiting for approval. If we do NOEO, my younger two will still do MWS.

 

5. Singapore science? I looked at this a long time ago, and liked what I saw, but haven't really thought about it lately.

 

Am I missing any other secular science options? I haven't gone back to TWTM to see what is recommended there for chemistry, so I suppose that's another option.

 

Anyone else have any suggestions, thoughts, or recommendations?

 

TIA!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 111
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

We haven't done much science in our home school so far. We've done some My World Science, and they get some science through scouting, but that's it.

 

Next year, I will have a 7th grader and an 8th grader, and the 8th grader is sort of starting to talk engineering as a profession. So, I am wanting to do a solid year of science next year, in preparation for high school sciences. As I look around, I am very frustrated with the lack of middle school secular science materials! :confused:

 

I have younger dc as well who will be in 4th and 1st/2nd next year. I prefer open-and-go curricula, or curricula with a schedule laid out for me. My dc want to do one science all year, and go more deeply, than doing a little of this, a little of that. And although we would like something meaty, we don't want something that will take more than 2-3 hours/week.

 

Here are what I see as secular options:

 

1. Prentice Hall Science explorer for the older two, MWS for the younger two--something about the SE layouts bugs me. The books I have seen look busy, with lots of sidebar-type stuff; they look very "schoolish." Also, I would have to do all the planning, right? Or are they open and go? I would have to collect materials for labs, right?

 

2. I would really like to use RS4K, but they only have chemistry out at level II. If they had all 3 books out, there would be no question for me what I would do. Since there is only chemistry, it's not be enough science for my middles schoolers. Which leads me to...

 

3. Teaching all the dc together using all of RS4K level 1, but beefing up things for my middle schoolers (and letting the 2nd grader just tag along). Is that even remotely feasible without a ton of work on my part?

 

4. NOEO chemistry III--I don't know very much about this level of NOEO, but if I can get things all in one box, with a pre-made schedule, it is more likely to happen. Some board reviews of the younger levels say it is boring, with too much repetition of the same types of work week after week; I don't know if level III has that same problem. I have just joined the NOEO yahoo group, but am waiting for approval. If we do NOEO, my younger two will still do MWS.

 

5. Singapore science? I looked at this a long time ago, and liked what I saw, but haven't really thought about it lately.

 

Am I missing any other secular science options? I haven't gone back to TWTM to see what is recommended there for chemistry, so I suppose that's another option.

 

Anyone else have any suggestions, thoughts, or recommendations?

 

TIA!

 

I'd double check NOEO Science, as I don't believe it is secular. And RS4Ks was written by a woman affiliated with the "Intelligent Design" school of creationism.

 

Bill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, Bill. I don't mind if the author of RS4K is an ID'r, as long as what she wrote is not. I didn't know that NOEO is not secular.

 

To the best of my limited knowledge (based solely on samples and reputation), RS4Ks doesn't include any intrinsically ID information, but does evade teaching the Theory of Evolution in biology. Quite an omission in my book.

 

Bill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Would you consider Rainbow Science? It is written by a Christian, and he does overtly say in the beginning that he believes the earth was created by God, but the VAST majority of the book is completely secular. It's not at all like Apologia, which is a bit too "in your face" for my taste (and I am a Christian ;)).

 

HTH.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, I'm pretty sure NOEO is secular, which is one reason we chose it. I'm doing chem II with my 6th & 3rd grader and it's really the only science curriculum I've ever been able to stick with. I need my science curriculum to be highly structured for me with everything I need right at my fingertips or I won't get it done. I really like NOEO. We've only been at it a couple of months, but so far I haven't had to gather anything other than water, cups, food coloring, stuff like that. Really simple. They provide all the hard-to-obtain items in their kit. And the schedule is easy to follow as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've not used Noeo, but I've seen it n many "non-secular" lists.

 

Their web-site says:

 

Our Philosophy

 

The essence of science is simply

observing and describing God's

creation. When scientists make a new

discovery, they are seeing another part

of creation revealed. Romans 1:20 tells

us that His attributes, power, and

divine nature are clearly seen in what

has been made.

 

While some scientists deny that their discoveries are evidence of

God's creation, there are many that do recognize His attributes in

all of creation. Our children should not be protected from science

because of some scientific theories that deny God. They should

instead be immersed in the sciences so that 'His invisible

attributes, His eternal power and divine nature' will be clearly

seen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've not used Noeo, but I've seen it n many "non-secular" lists.

 

Their web-site says:

 

Our Philosophy

 

The essence of science is simply

observing and describing God's

creation. When scientists make a new

discovery, they are seeing another part

of creation revealed. Romans 1:20 tells

us that His attributes, power, and

divine nature are clearly seen in what

has been made.

 

While some scientists deny that their discoveries are evidence of

God's creation, there are many that do recognize His attributes in

all of creation. Our children should not be protected from science

because of some scientific theories that deny God. They should

instead be immersed in the sciences so that 'His invisible

attributes, His eternal power and divine nature' will be clearly

seen.

 

The site does say this, but when I was considering it, I checked out all the books used for the program and they are all secular. We're even using some of the selections for chemistry this year and I only use secular books for science. So it is usable as a secular curriculum. Whether or not you can deal with purchasing from a non-secular seller is a different matter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The site does say this, but when I was considering it, I checked out all the books used for the program and they are all secular. We're even using some of the selections for chemistry this year and I only use secular books for science. So it is usable as a secular curriculum. Whether or not you can deal with purchasing from a non-secular seller is a different matter.

 

The faith of the seller is irrelevant to me, so long as there isn't religious content or an author's extreme political views slipped into curriculmn where they have no place. I hate to say, in the past years I've grown increasingly skeptical of home-school publishers as I feel I've been burned on a number of occasions. So these "declarations of faith" don't comfort me.

 

Bill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The booklist might not send of warning bells, but what about the instuctor guides to Noeo? (I haven't seen them)

 

It seems to me they might be evolution, "light" from reading their FAQ page "Evolution and other secular ideas are occasionally presented in the books that we provide. However, we do not include books that are overly dogmatic in their presentation of these ideas. "

 

I'm not sure what secular ideas they are referring to either.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oak Meadow is what I am considering as well. Very solid. BUT you have to gather all the experimet supplies yourself. I haven't seen anything that can't be found easily...yet.

 

NOEO is completely secular in their choice of source books and TM. Just FYI

Link to comment
Share on other sites

RS4Ks doesn't include any intrinsically ID information, but does evade teaching the Theory of Evolution in biology. Quite an omission in my book.

 

Bill

 

It doesn't matter so much for me if my dc don't know evolution in the younger grades, but, for my older kids, that is a big omission. I do want my dc to learn and understand evolution as part of their science studies.

 

If RS4K ever gets around to publishing biology II, I wonder if they will address this at all.

Edited by LanaTron
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Noeo uses fairly obvious mainstream books. I wouldnt worry too much about having to wade through one statement of faith on the website if I could look at a booklist and not see anything whch sends off warning bells.

:iagree:

 

The introduction talks about God and religion, but I read it as exhorting Christians to approach science with an open mind. If you glue those pages together, there's no God talk anywhere in the lesson book. All the materials are secular. I don't think evolution is covered, but there is evolutionary content in some of the texts (e.g. Usborne).

 

DD the Elder did Physics I, but we didn't like the program enough to continue. If this is representative of the series, NOEO is a set of lesson plans with no added content, not even suggested readings.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

NOEO is a set of lesson plans with no added content, not even suggested readings.

 

Nmoira, thanks for your input.

 

What do you mean, though, by "no added content?" What might you be expecting, other than suggested additional reading? I'm not being snarky, just curious.

 

Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

What do you mean, though, by "no added content?" What might you be expecting, other than suggested additional reading? I'm not being snarky, just curious.
This is based on one level (Physics I), so take it with a grain of salt. It uses a number of different materials and does little to tie them together... it would be nice to have overview material for each unit either as an introduction or a wrap up to help see how everything fits together. Level II might be better because it uses the Useborne science encylopedia. While this is one of the reasons I didn't like the program, the main reason I included the information was to assure that NOEO doesn't have a chance to insert his bias other than materials selection, because it doesn't have a voice per se.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

To the best of my limited knowledge (based solely on samples and reputation), RS4Ks doesn't include any intrinsically ID information, but does evade teaching the Theory of Evolution in biology. Quite an omission in my book.

 

Bill

 

It's not overt, but it's there if you're looking for it. I'll admit I was when we used Chemistry pre-level 1 earlier this year. The word 'designed' showed up at least a half dozen times in places where it was completely unnecessary in my opinion, as well as my dd's opinion. She was quite put off by it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's not overt, but it's there if you're looking for it. I'll admit I was when we used Chemistry pre-level 1 earlier this year. The word 'designed' showed up at least a half dozen times in places where it was completely unnecessary in my opinion, as well as my dd's opinion. She was quite put off by it.

 

I am not sure if that would bug me or not. I know I said I didn't want any ID before, but I'm not sure if that is enough to turn me off of an otherwise sound curriculum.

 

Anyway, as I said, they only have Chemestry at level 2, so I doubt we will end up using RS4K anyway.

 

Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am not sure if that would bug me or not. I know I said I didn't want any ID before, but I'm not sure if that is enough to turn me off of an otherwise sound curriculum.

 

Anyway, as I said, they only have Chemestry at level 2, so I doubt we will end up using RS4K anyway.

 

Thanks!

 

It is a very sound curriculum, even at the pre-level stage, with fantastic explanations, and we may very well end up using levels 1 & 2 at some point in the future. It started my dd on a definite love of chemistry. I just know that some people are more bothered than others by certain references, so I thought I'd give a heads up.

 

About level 3, I thought I'd heard somewhere she was working on it already, but I can't remember where. It might be something to check on.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On the RS4K yahoo group, someone (it might have been me--I forget) asked about the rest of level 2. The answer was that there is no estimation of a publication date. That was a few months ago, so things might have changedbut, I have been watching this curriculum for a long time, and there has been a big gap of time since Chem II was published. I'm not holding my breath that the rest of level 2 could be ready by the fall.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
On the RS4K yahoo group, someone (it might have been me--I forget) asked about the rest of level 2. The answer was that there is no estimation of a publication date. That was a few months ago, so things might have changedbut, I have been watching this curriculum for a long time, and there has been a big gap of time since Chem II was published. I'm not holding my breath that the rest of level 2 could be ready by the fall.

 

Honestly, from what I've seen of Level 1, I don't think I'd want to use RS4K for anything other than Chem even if she did put it out. The Chem is fantastic. I cannot say the same for what I've seen of Biology or Physics. It shows that she's a chemist and that's where her passion lies.

 

Speaking of middle school secular chemistry, though...

For people who have used these, would RS4K Chem Level 2 plus, say, Ellen McHenry's Carbon Chemistry be a good year of chem for middle school? I don't think RS4K is a whole year program, the Carbon Chemistry is for grades 5-9, and I don't think RS4K delves a whole lot into carbon chemistry? - so would those two mesh well, and be challenging enough?

 

And are Ellen McHenry's courses secular (or, secular enough for me)? To define that, I'm actually fine with something like chemistry avoiding the topic of evolution entirely, as I can ad-lib adding it, and I can even handle the word "designed" showing up as long as it's not specifically mentioning God, Genesis, or dissing evolution.

 

I have most of the PH Science Explorer books, and I have to say I'm lukewarm. I'm thinking of putting together my own biology for 6th (which may pull in some things from PH, or not), and the above Chem combo looks more interesting to me than PH, if others think it would work (it would most likely be for 7th or 8th grade, if that helps - a year of Physics or Physical Science will be inserted in there too).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's not overt, but it's there if you're looking for it. I'll admit I was when we used Chemistry pre-level 1 earlier this year. The word 'designed' showed up at least a half dozen times in places where it was completely unnecessary in my opinion, as well as my dd's opinion. She was quite put off by it.

 

Thank you for the clarification!

 

I so dislike the pushing of agendas "by stealth". And when the author of RS4Ks claims not to push ID, and then does so none-the-less it is really disreputable and dishonest. Rrrrrr!

 

Bill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, I'm pretty sure NOEO is secular, which is one reason we chose it. I'm doing chem II with my 6th & 3rd grader and it's really the only science curriculum I've ever been able to stick with. I need my science curriculum to be highly structured for me with everything I need right at my fingertips or I won't get it done. I really like NOEO. We've only been at it a couple of months, but so far I haven't had to gather anything other than water, cups, food coloring, stuff like that. Really simple. They provide all the hard-to-obtain items in their kit. And the schedule is easy to follow as well.

 

I think Noeo Science is a Christian curriculum. It is listed in the Christian magazine The Old Schoolhouse, and their website states,

 

"We feel it is important to learn science from a variety of sources, using a

variety of teaching techniques. Our curriculum does not use the traditional

single textbook approach to science education. We think variety will

encourage more interest in science, particularly with younger students. All

of the books are carefully selected to allow children to discover the beauty,

complexity, orderliness, and wonder of God's design."

http://www.noeoscience.com/curriculum_design.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Science seems to be one of the most difficult areas to find suitable homeschool material for the secular student. I thought Prentice Hall (PH) Life Science would work, yet after a year of use I am looking again. I feel there is way too much information at the expense of teaching the fundamental principles of life science in the PH text. The labs are lame, and we did them when DD was younger.

 

I am returning to Singapore Science. The depth of thinking involved in answering the workbook questions is worth the change. It seems to me that Singapore makes the effort to have the student apply what is learned to other situations. It is this level of application that is missing from PH. I am less certain about the lab text from Singapore I Science. I am not sure I could do these labs safely at home. I did find a lab put out by National Geographic that is a lab in a box, covering topics in biology, chemistry and physics (100) experiments with a lab manual) that may fit our lab needs.

 

P.S. my DD will be in 7th grade next year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Science seems to be one of the most difficult areas to find suitable homeschool material for the secular student. I thought Prentice Hall (PH) Life Science would work, yet after a year of use I am looking again. I feel there is way too much information at the expense of teaching the fundamental principles of life science in the PH text. The labs are lame, and we did them when DD was younger.

 

 

 

Did you do the labs from the textbook or did you use the actual lab book?

Holly

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So...... I guess I'm a little hesitant to share with you that there have been some allegations that these books are full of errors. Sorry! I've been casting my eyes at them for a while, too, but I just can't get past the allegations of error. Here's one site that I just looked up for someone else which discusses this at length:

 

http://www.science-house.org/middleschool/reviews/textreview5.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am returning to Singapore Science. The depth of thinking involved in answering the workbook questions is worth the change.

 

What is covered in Singapore science at the middle school level? Is it one series of books to be covered over multiple years, or is it a new set every year (each set includes life/physical/chem/earth science or??)

 

What's the series you like best from Singapore (isn't there more than one, or all the different books confusing me?) And speaking of confusing books, which ones do you have to buy - all of them, or just some?

 

ETA: I just went and looked at the Singapore site (yes, you made me look :D) I think it was MPH that had all the books that confused me - are you talking about Interactive Science for grades 7-8? Are the A books meant for 7th and the B for 8th? Would it be at all worthwhile to do just the text and workbook (perhaps in addition to something more hands-on?) - do you need the teacher books?

Edited by matroyshka
Link to comment
Share on other sites

An option not yet mentioned is Oak Meadow. Their middle school science sort of follows the WTM and can be purchased separately. The samples look really good, so I'm still debating between it and Science Explorer.

 

 

I was just going to post RE: Oak Meadow.

 

It is very good and you can buy the science separately in grades 5 and up. The syllabus includes all the text, plus questions, assignments, projects/experiments. It will also recommend other books to supplement.

 

I have grade 5 (Environmental Science) and grade 6 (Basic Life Science) and we've loved them.

 

Grade 7 has Earth Science and grade 8 has Physical Science. While these division don't exactly line up with WTM recommendations, they do cover all the recommended fields over the 4 year span.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am looking at the Interactive Science. I am thinking I will start with level A and get the student and teacher text, plus the student and teacher workbook set. Their other offering of a a set of lab books (student and teacher) are the ones I don't feel I can do in a home environment. While I'd like to cover both A and B in one year, I am willing to take it as it comes.

 

When I used MPH I used everything that Singapore offered. I think the work text important.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am looking at the Interactive Science. I am thinking I will start with level A and get the student and teacher text, plus the student and teacher workbook set. Their other offering of a a set of lab books (student and teacher) are the ones I don't feel I can do in a home environment. While I'd like to cover both A and B in one year, I am willing to take it as it comes.

 

Thanks for the info!

 

Once you get the books, report back to us on pacing and whether the teacher's guides for the workbooks and texbook are necessary or nice-to-haves! :) :bigear: :bigear:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please let us know how it works out for you. I'm curious to see if this program would be a good contender for the likes of Prentice Hall, Glencoe, Rainbow Science and others. It looks solid, and it reminds me of the type of textbook we had in our school (one of the best educational systems in the world). I'm afraid it may be boring though, hence my question :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So...... I guess I'm a little hesitant to share with you that there have been some allegations that these books are full of errors. Sorry! I've been casting my eyes at them for a while, too, but I just can't get past the allegations of error. Here's one site that I just looked up for someone else which discusses this at length:

 

http://www.science-house.org/middleschool/reviews/textreview5.html

 

I've never really paid much attention to those threads before. I remember Ria, who was a Biology major in college, I belive, using these texts and recommending them to others on this board. I guess I just always took her word that the books are fine, because she seems to have very high standards for teaching her kids.

 

The link you provided is to a review of Exploring Physical Science texts, all dated in the 90's...are these precursors to Science Explorer? It seems to me, that in this review, at least, the author is splitting a lot of hairs. Many of the cited "errors" are pictures reversed from left to right, or vice versa. I don't see why that matters, really. Other "errors" seem to occur when complex information is brought down to a middle school level, which I am not sure are exactly errors, but greatly simplifying material. I don't know, really.

 

There are other places where one can read other reviews of Science Explorer, and they still claim that there are lots of errors.

 

I don't know what to make of all this, really. :confused: If I look at the big picture, I don't know how much this will really impact my child's science education through the years. It is only middle school, after all.

 

I'll be waiting to see if anyone else chimes in. :bigear:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Singapore Science and Prentice Hall Science Explorers.

 

I'm not sure we could handle both, though. Do you have an idea, even a rough one, of how you will schedule the two together?

 

I looked at Singapore IS again last night, and I really like what I see. But I do want to provide some hands on stuff...I can't tell from the samples if there are any hands-on activities in Singapore.

 

Ahhh...decisions, decisions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure we could handle both, though. Do you have an idea, even a rough one, of how you will schedule the two together?

 

I looked at Singapore IS again last night, and I really like what I see. But I do want to provide some hands on stuff...I can't tell from the samples if there are any hands-on activities in Singapore.

 

Ahhh...decisions, decisions.

 

You could always supplement with a book of experiments or science kits if there aren't any to be safely done at home. The Practical books contain the experiments. They appear complicated from the samples.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You could always supplement with a book of experiments or science kits if there aren't any to be safely done at home. The Practical books contain the experiments. They appear complicated from the samples.

 

The Singapore website does not recommend the practical books for home use. Some of the experiments would not be safe at home. I have a list of which ones can be done at home that Ria posted here a long time ago (it might have even been on the old-style board). I think the list I have is for level 1A, which I believe, would be the previous edition of Interactive Science.

 

I'm also looking at the National Geographic one Wildiris mentioned; I also just looked at TOPS.

 

I think there was some mention of this issue on the Singapore forum for Science. I'll go back over there and read again what Jenny recommended.

 

Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am returning to Singapore Science. The depth of thinking involved in answering the workbook questions is worth the change. It seems to me that Singapore makes the effort to have the student apply what is learned to other situations. It is this level of application that is missing from PH. I am less certain about the lab text from Singapore I Science. I am not sure I could do these labs safely at home. I did find a lab put out by National Geographic that is a lab in a box, covering topics in biology, chemistry and physics (100) experiments with a lab manual) that may fit our lab needs.

 

 

I have been eyeing the Singapore science books for a long time. I think you're right about opportunities to apply what is being learned.

 

I looked at the National Geographic one that you've mentioned both on the National Geographic site and on Amazon. Neither of these places gives very much information, and as a matter of fact the Amazon one pulls up a Thames and Kosmos kit under the same name as the nat'l geographic one. do you have another place where you are getting more information about what exactly is in the kit, or what types of experiments there are?

 

thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd double check NOEO Science, as I don't believe it is secular. And RS4Ks was written by a woman affiliated with the "Intelligent Design" school of creationism.

 

Bill

 

Thanks, Bill. I don't mind if the author of RS4K is an ID'r, as long as what she wrote is not. I didn't know that NOEO is not secular.

 

The site does say this, but when I was considering it, I checked out all the books used for the program and they are all secular. We're even using some of the selections for chemistry this year and I only use secular books for science. So it is usable as a secular curriculum. Whether or not you can deal with purchasing from a non-secular seller is a different matter.

 

Thank you for the clarification!

 

I so dislike the pushing of agendas "by stealth". And when the author of RS4Ks claims not to push ID, and then does so none-the-less it is really disreputable and dishonest. Rrrrrr!

 

Bill

Bill. how have you been burned? What term should be used if a writer is trying to "remain neutral" on the evolution vs. creation issue?

 

Would you mind taking a look at how I attempted to remain neutral in my history curriculum? I think that it is possible for someone to make a mistake with wording when they are attempting to write secular materials.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


×
×
  • Create New...