Have you been searching for a comprehensive chemistry course for your early to middle elementary school student? Do you follow a classical education model as described by Susan Wise Bauer in The
Well Trained Mind? R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Chemistry (Level One) may be just the answer. RSO
Chemistry is not just a series of lab activities that focus on chemistry. Like the other level one courses offered through Pandia Press, it is a full-year science curriculum that teaches science theory and scientific method through exciting activities.
In just reviewing the Table of Contents for this study, one can see that RSO
Chemistry follows the same progression of topics as a high school level course. But fear not; the concepts are presented in a manner that is conducive for use with grades 2 through 5. The variety of activities is wonderful. It does not matter if your child is an auditory, visual, or kinesthetic learner. The material is presented with each of these learning styles in mind.
Unit 1 addresses the fundamental question What is Chemistry? The student then explores the concept of the atom and its parts in Unit 2. Beginning in Unit 3, the student is introduced to the alphabet of chemists, the periodic table. Did this scare you in high school? Do not worry. It is presented in such an easy and understandable format that you might just get angry over all those needless hours of stress and frustration from your own educational experience. Unit 4 takes the knowledge about the periodic table learned in Unit 3 and shows how it is applied through the grouping of the elements. Unit 5 introduces the student to molecules and how they are created through the combining of various elements. Unit 6 takes the next step in showing how molecules group together to make matter. If the course ended here, every little boy would be disappointed. Yes, we have not yet touched on chemical reactions. After all, isn't that what real chemistry is all about? Unit 7 brings us to the wonderful conclusion with "Reaction in Action."
Wonderful, accurate science with a good theoretical foundation and hands-on activities--yup, that would describe RSO
Chemistry. However, I would be remiss if I did not mention the other great aspects of this course. After the introduction of the course to parents, the very next section is called "What's the Big Idea?" This page gives so much focus to the text as a whole. Each unit is outlined, identifying the Big Idea that you will want to be sure your child understands and then the Small Stuff that supports the Big Idea. This is a wonderful resource for parents in helping to make sure that their student is getting the main idea.
After the Big Idea page, the parent will find the lab supply list. Kudos to Pandia Press! Not only are the supplies listed with the first unit that they are required in, but there are actually quantities for each supply. These quantities are for the course in its entirety. Now that's a shopping list that every mom will appreciate. I can go get all of my supplies at the beginning of the course, put them in a Rubbermaid bucket, and be all set for the rest of the year. No more last minute trips to the store at midnight to prepare for school the next day. I just love the layout of this list.
A suggested weekly schedule follows the supply list; it has a place for completion dates and notes. The schedule shows that the course can be completed in 26 weeks if science is done 2 days per week. If the supplies have already been gathered, I would estimate that each lesson would take between 30 and 45 minutes to complete. This includes reading the informational sheets, conducting the labs, cleaning up, and putting the student's work in his notebook. The weekly schedule not only lists the assignments but reiterates the exact supplies that are needed for that week.
The publisher has also prepared a suggested reading list for each unit. What a great way to increase your child's knowledge of the material and apply the concepts across academic areas! There are also website suggestions for further research and discovery.
The R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey books are available as downloadable e-books from the www.pandiapress.com website, or they can be ordered as bound texts. The bound books do have perforated pages. Our family used a three-ring binder and dividers to compile a wonderful chemistry resource to refer to in future years. The pages have a kid-friendly layout, with just enough illustrations to be interesting but not so many that they are distracting.
Hate to share and run, but I need to get back out to www.pandiapress.com to see what other R.E.A.L. Science courses we can incorporate into our plans for next year. Have fun and watch the wild reactions you get when you explain to relatives that your 8-year-old is learning how to use the periodic table. They will really start questioning your decision to homeschool. The question may just be, "Why didn't we think to do that?"