Thursday, August 29, 2013

3rd Grade Curriculum Choices - Science

Our science picks for this year are Spectrum Science, Christian Kids Explore Biology, Christian Kids Explore Earth and Space and Health Science (by Edward Shevick).

I have a kid who loves science.  I'm a mom who isn't great with science.  About all I have going for me here is that I'm really good with researching, but that still doesn't make me a science teacher.  Not only do I have a kid who loves science, I have a kid who passionately loves two completely different areas of science:  marine biology and astronomy.  That led me to the decision to knock out some of the physical science he needs for the year and then let him focus on his two favorites for the rest of our year in science. 

That's why I again chose Spectrum.  The low cost and the fact that it covers the majority of the physical science areas we need allowed me to spend more of our budget on his areas of interest.  I'm also using Pinterest, Teachers Pay Teachers, and other internet sources for supplemental ideas with Spectrum, but we're pretty well covered here.  (We used A Reason For Science last year and learned that it is not a good choice for homeschooling.  It was way too classroom-oriented and very difficult to adapt to homeschooling one child.)

We'll also need to cover some health science topics this year.  Along with our Health Science book, we'll use library resources and the internet for this.  We'll also see how Sid the Science Kid and The Magic School Bus can help. 

I really fell in love with Apologia's Exploring Creation series and knew that it seemed perfect for our in depth studies of sea life and astronomy.  However, I knew I'd need to spend big money on math. I also knew that these textbooks were $26 each (I needed two: one for Swimming Creatures and one for Astronomy).  Add that to the corresponding journals for both subjects at $20 each.  I just couldn't do it, so I kept looking.

I ended up choosing two books we'll be able to use quite a bit.  When I found the Christian Kids Explore series, I felt so relieved.  I knew that I found the perfect fit for us.  After having time to look through both books, I know we'll get plenty of use out of them and we'll be able to use them more flexibly than the Apologia series.   I love the biblical vantage points, the hands-on activities, and the notebooking instructions.  We'll probably spend a month, maybe two, going through parts of Christian Kids Explore Earth and Space and a month or two on Christian Kids Explore Biology.  Both will allow The Boy plenty of insight on his favorite topics.  I'm looking forward to teaching this and exploring The Boy's favorites with him.  If we fall in love with these -and I expect we will- we'll purchase the Physics book in this series next year. 

Lastly, I was able to find all of these for a reasonable cost.  Although I linked all of these through Christian Book Distributors*, I didn't purchase them all there.  I was able to get both of the Christian Kids Explore books used on eBay.  Since neither are workbooks, buying them used doesn't hurt anything.  Also, with the exception of Spectrum Science, all of these books can be used again and again.  I'll still be able to use both of the Christian Kids Explore books next year (and maybe even in 5th Grade) with The Boy and I'll be able to reuse those and Health Science with Prissy in a few years.  If I'm going to spend the money, I at least feel I'm being a good steward by buying materials that can be reused down the homeschooling road. 

*I link through Christian Book Distributors because they generally show page samples on their site.  It's very helpful when making curriculum decisions. 

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