I am a huge fan of Lyrical Life Science and wondered if Lyrical Earth Science could live up to my great expectations. The answer is a resounding yes! Doug and Dorry Eldon, together with musician Bobby Horton, have created another homeschool masterpiece with their educational and entertaining repertoire of geology songs. The complete set includes a textbook, reproducible student workbook, and audiotape or CD. Eighteen lessons cover introductory geology, plate tectonics, landforms and intrusions, earthquakes, volcanoes, minerals, igneous rock, sedimentary rock, metamorphic rock, rock weathering, hydrology and erosion, erosion and waterways, groundwater, mass movement, glaciers, wind erosion, soil, and topographic maps. The suggested grade level is fifth through tenth grades, but younger children can certainly benefit from listening to the songs and reading picture books related to the topic. Most of the songs have catchy choruses that young children will easily memorize.
The textbook contains the meat of the program. Each chapter begins with the music and lyrics followed by a well-organized treatment of the subject at hand. Lots of good diagrams clarify concepts and enhance learning. An appendix contains the song lyrics, notes, bibliography, and index. The reproducible student text contains worksheets and an answer key. Each chapter has one page of fill-in-the-blank song lyrics and one page of objective and essay test questions. The objective questions are true/false, multiple choice, and fill-in-the-blank. Essay questions are very good, requiring higher level thinking for older students. Digging Deeper questions are interesting, too, with questions such as, "Why do people who enjoy whitewater rafting want to know the volume of a river?" Depending on the age of your students and how much you supplement with field trips and hands-on experiments, it might take anywhere from a week per lesson to an entire school year to complete if you treat this as your science spine.
For those of you concerned about the treatment of origins, I fairly scoured the books from beginning to end with a critical mind in search of anything that might be an issue. According the Lyrical Learning website, they have not attempted to deal with origins in their materials, focusing rather on observable scientific data. They discuss in depth the difference between uniformitarianism and catastrophism, and it appears that they lean toward catastrophism. They do not discuss age in terms of years, but rather in terms of relative age. On page 10 of the text, they say, "Just as you may not know the exact ages of people, you can probably deduce which ones are older by observing physical characteristics of aging. Just as we do not know the absolute age, the age in years, of landforms and features, we can observe and deduce their relative age by applying geologic laws." I found nothing that I thought would offend even my most sensitive friends on both sides of the young earth/old earth debate, although some might wish they would state some numbers. I appreciate that they do not.
As I listened to the songs, I had to chuckle at the clever, and often quite funny, lyrics and music. I love how the music is coordinated with the topic, such as the wind erosion song set to the old whaling tune of "Blow Ye Winds in the Morning" and the groundwater song set to Handel's "Water Music Suite." The lyrics are catchy and humorous, so learning these scientific facts is anything but boring. Bobby Horton is an accomplished musician who is featured in Ken Burns' Civil War and baseball documentaries. I appreciate that the Eldons did not sacrifice the quality of music in making their Lyrical Learning materials. I LOVE lyrical learning of all kinds (after all, you never forget what you sing!), but I have been disappointed with the musical and vocal quality of just about everything else available. Not so with Lyrical Learning! My children have been exposed to many different styles of music through these songs: classical, patriotic, folk, swing, and others. They often ask what instrument we are hearing, and they love yelling out, "I hear a piccolo!" or "Isn't that a bagpipe, Mom?" I love the old, romantic Irish airs, while my children prefer patriotic and swing. The music is often so fun that I have dreamed of organizing a homeschool swing dance/science class! Maybe I am getting a little carried away.
There are no immediate plans for more earth science volumes, but Doug and Dorry are considering adding meteorology, oceanography, and/or astronomy in the future. I sure hope so! Until then, check out all three Lyrical Life Science volumes and Earth Science: Geology at www.lyricallearning.com, and get ready to have loads of fun singing science!