Life Science for 1st through 4th grade. This is the first of twelve projected books written to follow the classical model, with four books planned for each of the three levels. Terri has a degree in Biology and has been an animal rehabber for over twenty years, so she has plenty of experience with life science. She also teaches her own kids at home.
This book is designed as a yearlong program and also written to be used start to finish as the topics build on each other. The topics are vast and varied and students will be building their own notebooks as they progress through the year. There are at least two or three labs/activities for each of 28 units.
REAL Science is very easy to use, and I like how Terri introduces each topic with a story/lesson that even beginning readers can join in on. Each lesson begins with a story and has a Big Idea introduced-this is the main point of the lesson, the part you don't want to skip if time is short.
After that there is tons of info, fun activities, and enrichments that Terri Akins calls 'small stuff'-that stuff you can skip if you have to but the kids usually LOVE. These bits of the lesson can really juice up the topic but if you have already covered the area and just want to add to their body of knowledge or if you are short on time and just want the main point emphasized, you have the option of doing so.
I also like the way Terri uses real vocabulary. Some words are big, but with repeated use they will sink in. They are not for memorization, just familiarity so in later years the students will not be intimidated or have to relearn something they already know.
The included list of suggested reading is awesome! It is very comprehensive and listed up front, by unit, so you can look ahead and plan accordingly. The main texts used are easily obtainable and most libraries also carry them. The Usborne Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Natural World and The Usborne Complete First Book of Nature are suggested. Color Anatomy by Christine Becker is also recommended but I have found usable coloring sheets on the internet if you can't find the book. There are other books listed for each unit, by title and author.
There is also included an extremely comprehensive list of websites, again listed by unit, making planning a breeze. Another awesome feature is the instructions for use of a nature journal with activities listed by season so you can jump right in whenever you may start the program.
The materials list is right at the front of the book and supplies are generally easily found household items. The materials are all listed by unit and are noted by asterisk if they will be needed again for later units. I like the clarity with which Terri presents the material in this program. The illustrations are clear and beautiful. Nice heavy cardstock for the activity pages and clear notes for mom-very doable, and with ease!
This book is not written from a Christian perspective and as such, there are those who may shy away from it. Although I can't vouch for what I haven't seen (later books on geology or Earth Science for ex.), I can encourage you to look at this volume seriously, Christian moms too! It is well written no matter your perspective. Clear, easy to understand instructions without too many words or too much fussiness. Building blocks of life science which we all need. I have found this book to be an excellent starting point for my early learner. I plan to use it for first grade as the labs are well laid out and perfect for our needs.
I am a Christian home educator and I hold very dearly the opportunity given me to educate my kids as God directs. I choose my curriculum very carefully as those who read my reviews can attest. This program makes no mention of evolution or sexual education, and the author states clearly that she prefers to leave these issues to parents to teach as they wish. I respect that and Terri has written a good beginning science. I would caution you to use the web site with your God given discretion as there are books on there I would not endorse. My excitement is for this program and the beginning history that I have seen -they are good-plain and simple.
Let me give you an example. The lab on cell part identification examines a chicken egg and has the student inspecting, labeling diagrams, and learning the parts of a cell. From there the next activity helps the students learn the difference between an animal and a plant cell.I also loved the human body unit! Just enough to inform my first grader without overwhelming her. There are very cool illustrations and activities that aren't complicated and don't take hours to set up. I supplemented this unit with some very good books I got from the folks at Creation Science and other places. I agree with the author here that human evolution has no place in Life Science.
I like having the opportunity to teach what my husband and I feel important to our children, our way, without feeling that I have missed an important building block on the way. Terri covers the basics very thoroughly with this program and I like it-a lot. The units covered include-What is Life, The Cell, The Human Body (great activities here), Classifying life-Intro to the 5 kingdoms of living things, Animal Kingdom, seven sub-units here; Plant Kingdom, four sub-units here; Read, Explore, Absorb, and Learn... exactly what you get. Oh, the animal unit includes great optional lessons using butterflies and an ant farm. Look ahead to decide if you will do these lessons and order in time to get your critters! Butterflies and ants are available through the website.