Author: Teresa Dear
When educating your children at home, you have the freedom to teach them sound science that is presented from a Christian worldview. "Christian Kids Explore Earth and Space," geared at elementary students, fits the bill very well. This text is part of a series by Stephanie L. Redmond which include Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. I enjoyed teaching from this text for a number of reasons including: it requires little to no teacher prep time; it is enjoyable to work through; being from a Christian worldview, it is God-honoring; and it is written in a conversational tone that is easy to read aloud and appeals to the younger audience.
The text has 24 lessons, 2 on the Earth in general (including Creation); 5 covering the lithosphere; 4 covering the hydrosphere; 4 covering the atmosphere; 5 covering weather; and 4 covering all of outer space. The maps, forms and coloring sheets are reproducible. An applicable scripture has been chosen for each lesson. In addition, there is an appendix of recipes and additional activities, another on how to make a folderbook, and another including additional books and resources. We took the book to our local copy center and had them cut off the binding. Then we separated the reproducible sheets and had the text spiral-bound with all the glossaries and appendices.
Altogether, I found this course to be a good core text for my second-grader that was easily supplemented in a few areas. I will be using it again with my younger kids when they hit second grade. And although my second-grader and I completed the entire course, we definitely amended and expanded it to be more in-depth. One example of this was finding all nine planets covered in one short chapter! I thought this was neglecting an opportunity to excite kids about outer space, so we expanded on that section with outside materials. There is no chapter at all about biomes, which I found startling, as there is so much to intrigue children about the variety of habitats and temperature zones on this planet we call home. Again, we supplemented the study of Earth with outside materials.
In a few of the chapters it seemed as though the bulk of the reading is about the author's own experiences, although this contributes to the 'talking to a young child' tone. One of the main things I noticed about Christian Kids Explore was the lack of consistency in material from chapter to chapter. It is a curious mix of technical definitions and conversational banter.
It's always great to find a science course that gives glory to God for his creation. The first lesson was about Creation, but neglected the "on the first day, on the second day..." so we supplemented that with some reading from Genesis. In Lesson three she goes over the theory of Pangea and the worldwide flood, how some scientists and theologians have conflicting ideas. She presents it flawlessly and intelligently. Although the coloring sheets are beautiful, they have a lot of black space that can't be colored. In addition, there is one sheet for the entire unit, not individual sheets to work on while mom reads each chapter.
The benefits in this book for the upper elementary students include lots of definitions in the margins and timelines listing scientists and scientific discoveries. One thing that would have been helpful was a 'year-long list of copies to be made' in case you don't have a copier at home to do it chapter by chapter. I think this book is a good value, especially if you supplement with library materials instead of buying them.
Teresa Dear is a homeschooling mother of four. She and her husband do not worry about socialization. You can follow the blog exploration of Classical Christian Education in general and their homeschool lifestyle in particular at http://highereducation-mama4x.blogspot.com. Teresa divides her time between education, the home, shopping for curriculum, and stocking her www.mama4x.etsy.com storefront where you can find handmade cards and vintage photos.