Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Earth Science (Homeschool Review Crew)

I need to tell you about we've been reviewing as of late. Earth Science: God's World, Our Home by Novare Science & Math
Novare Earth Science: God’s World Our Home

Science. In college I only took what I needed to. I had little interest in the "whys" of things...rather, I enjoyed reading about the "whos" and "what-fors." The only science course I enjoyed was a course entitled "Science for Teachers." In this class, our instructor filled our class times with unique hands-on experiences that we could pass along to our future students. Considering my own science classroom experiences had been a mixed bag, I knew that science should be exciting and challenging. 


I do have a son who is naturally curious about the order of things. This means that any science curriculum I use in our homeschool needs to be user-friendly and uncomplicated. Cause if you start using big “sciency” words and don’t explain things in real people terms, I start day dreaming. Seriously. That being said, I don’t want a watered down science curriculum. The boy has the right to know how things really work. 

Novare Earth Science was written by Kevin Nelstead. His science credentials are (thankfully) much better than mine. He has cool degrees like a B.A. in Earth Science and a M.S. in Geology. He also worked in a variety of scientific capacities for the US Federal Government.

Earth Science is intended for middle school students and is a mastery program. It is also used by some well-known homeschooling companies. Memoria Press (whom I have reviewed for frequently) uses Novare Science with some of their online classes.

Earth Science covers exactly what you might think it covered.




This hardback book contains: 


Chapter 1: Earth in Space

Chapter 2: Visualizing Earth

Chapter 3: Thinking about Earth

Chapter 4: Matter and Minerals

Chapter 5: Rocks and the Rock Cycle

Chapter 6: Plate Tectonics and Mountain Building

Chapter 7: Volcanoes and Earthquakes

Chapter 8: Weathering, Erosion, and Soils

Chapter 9: Surface Water and Groundwater

Chapter 10: Landforms

Chapter 11: Unraveling Earth History

Chapter 12: Oceanography

Chapter 13: The Atmosphere

Chapter 14: Weather

Chapter 15: Climate and Air Pollution

Along with the textbook I received resources that are included the Earth Science: God’s World, Our Home Resource CD.

These resources include:

  • Quizzes
  • Tests
  • Answer Keys
  • Experiments with Instructions
  • Weekly Review Guides
  • Sample Course Schedule
  • Additional Resources to use with the Course




How We Used It

Before I get into the nuts and bolts of the thing, you might need to know that while the curriculum is written from a Christian viewpoint, it emphasizes an Old Earth perspective. This didn’t concern me much. I am not sure what I exactly believe, but I believe that we need to teach our kids a variety of perspectives and theories. Some of those perspectives don’t line up with my view of creation, but I think that we need to be aware of different theories. My concern is that Josiah knows his Creator and has a personal relationship with his Savior.



Now that I’ve stood on my soap box a bit, I will tell you about Earth Science and the philosophy by which it was written. The author believes that science education should focus on 3 core principles. Mastery, Integration and Kingdom Perspective. Most science education programs focus on what the author calls the "Cram-Pass-Forget cycle." Earth Science goes deeper into fewer topics. The students are challenged and encouraged to dig deep. 

Other content areas are emphasized in Earth Science. Students are expected to learn the Scientific process, integrate mathematics and write intelligently about what they are learning. I also found the ideas of Kingdom Perspective to be thoughtful and enriching. Interjecting a few Scripture verses in the middle of a science lecture does not explain the wonder of our Creator and His Creation. 





Now on to more of the content. Because I had access to the Resource CD, I first started by reading the Recommendations for Teaching the Course. The author recommends teaching the course with a group of students (such as a co-op), but gives plenty of recommendations for the single student learning at home. I absolutely love all of the enriching  ideas given to punch up Science class up a notch. For example, ideas for field trips, class discussion methods and student projects are all given. I also like the idea of tying in the science discussion to current events of the day. Are there any hurricanes, eclipses, meteor showers presently? All good stuff. Not the natural disasters, obviously. 


Because Josiah is dyslexic, I have made it a practice to take turns reading with him any lessons that don’t actually “teach” reading. This means that we read the text of Earth Science together. This gave us opportunity to discuss certain things as we went along. There is a sample schedule included in the Resource CD, but I felt it was too vigorous for us.  Not that the reading was long and overwhelming, it’s just that there were rabbit trails that our studies would take us. We had a hard time keeping up with the recommended schedule. This could be because we ATE UP all of the additional resources that were recommended. We had to look up all the videos and images. Both Josiah and I are visual and we had a lot of fun digging in.  


I do need to tell you that this is NOT light and fluffy science. It is challenging. We had to read and read again. There are plenty of ways to mark progress and stay on task. There are weekly review guides and plenty of exams included in the Resource CD. 





The book itself isn't one of those cumbersome, massive textbooks. It's nicely sized and filled with illustrations and pictures. 





If you have a student like my Josiah I don't think it could be one he or she could manage on their own. He might be naturally curious, but he is also limited in the manner in which he can gather certain kinds of information. That being said, this is the kind of curriculum that I KNOW is trustworthy and smart. I wouldn't worry about any gaps! 


Before I leave you I want to point you to a resource I wish I could have received in addition to Earth Science. This Science for Every Teacher would be warmly welcomed into our homeschool library. Check it out! 

You can connect with Novare Science & Math via the following social media outlets. Don't forget to click on the banner below to read more reviews. Members of the Crew reviewed other Science curriculums from Novare Science & Math. 





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