Pocketful of Pinecones
Science / November 12, 2013

Pocketful of Pinecones Content: Nature study Grade(s): PreK – 3rd Perspective: Christian Prep Time: Minimal to Moderate Teacher Manual: N/A Teacher Involvement: Moderate to Essential Cost: $ || ? Pages: 272 Publication Date: 2002 Publisher: www.homeschoolhighlights.com Date of Review: 11/12/2013 Pocketful of Pinecones: Nature Study with the Gentle Art of Learning is not so much a homeschool curriculum, as it is one-part Charlotte Mason method teacher’s guide and one-part inspirational writing for the mother who adores homemaking and raising her children. Written as a fictional memoir of a homeschooling mother from the 1930s, Pocketful of Pinecones presents over 50 different vignettes in the gentle art of mothering and patience that can lead to profound levels of learning in children. The book focuses on the simple explorations of life that happen naturally everyday, such as children crawling through bushes and creating a secret place of solitude; climbing trees to identify pinecones; and taking the time to notice rainbows in the sky. Nature Study is an integral part of the Charlotte Mason method, which believes education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life. Laying the foundation for future science education, Nature Study provides young children with the opportunity to be out in…

Novare Physical Science
Science / November 12, 2013

Novare Physical Science Content: Science Grade(s): 6th – 8th Perspective: Christian Kingdom Prep Time: Moderate Teacher Manual: None Teacher Involvement: Essential Cost: $$$ || ? Pages: 349 Publication Date: 2013 Publisher: novarescienceandmath.com Date of Review: 11/12/2013 Novare Physical Science is a brand new (2013) year-long middle school science curriculum that utilizes a mastery-oriented approach to learning. The book presents science topics in-depth, empahsizing comprehension, practice, and retention. It is intended to be used in combination with a teacher who actively engages the student in regular discussion about the readings. Parents with minimal science background who read along with their children will find that they can implement this curriculum at home, although conducting the experiments will be difficult. (More about that below.) Conversational in tone, the book integrates science history, problem-solving, writing skills, and real-life scenarios and applications throughout the text and homework assignments. The author does a very good job with talking readers through the step-by-step process of solving various mathematically-based problems. Printed on high quality paper and professionally bound with a hardcover, this textbook makes ample use of color, images, and other graphics. You’ll find clearly written objectives and vocabulary lists at the beginning of each chapter. Definition boxes…

Botany in 8 Lessons
Science / March 25, 2013

Botany in 8 Lessons Content: Science Grade(s): 4th – 8th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Moderate Teacher Manual: Yes Teacher Involvement: Essential Cost: $$ || ? Pages: 252 pages Publication Date: 2013 Publisher: www.ellenjmchenry.com Review Updated: 5/7/2014 From Ellen McHenry’s website: The 100-page student text has 8 chapters, and each chapter is divided into two levels. All students complete level 1. Level 2 provides additional information on the same topic for students who want to read more. At the end of each level there are review activities such as quiz questions, crossword puzzles, letter puzzles and Internet links that provide videos or online activities. It takes between 5 to 8 weeks to complete all the lessons. The activity section has over 100 pages of supplemental games, crafts, and experiments. Games provided include two games about photosynthesis, Tree Leaf Bingo, Plant Cell Penny Pitch, “Where Sheep May Safely Graze” (a game about poisonous plants), “Plant Pile Up” (a general review game), a scavenger hunt, and directions for downloading two games about flower identification. Labs include flower dissection, dissecting xylem tubes out of celery, experimenting with growing roots, testing soil pH, testing the strength of germinating seeds, testing percentage germination of seed packets,…

Ellen McHenry’s Cells
Science / March 25, 2013

Ellen McHenry’s Cells Content: Science Grade(s): 4th – 8th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Moderate Teacher Manual: Yes Teacher Involvement: Essential Cost: $$ || ? Pages: 160 pages Publication Date: 2013 Publisher: www.ellenjmchenry.com Review Updated: 5/7/2014 From Ellen McHenry’s website: Topics covered: The history of the discovery of cells, the molecule structure of phospholipids and phospholipid membranes, the cytoskeleton and its functions, motor proteins, ATP and the mitochondria, how the electron transport chain works, amino acids, proteins, DNA discovery, translation, transcription, mRNA, tRNA, ribosomes, chaperone proteins, lysosomes, enzymes, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi bodies, docking proteins and protein synthesis inside endoplasmic reticulum, the structure of the nucleus, the nucleolus and how ribosomes are made, histones, nucleosomes, rRNA, cell metabolism, overview of digestion, chylomicrons, fatty acids, glucose, the Krebs cycle, acetyl-CoA, phagocytosis, pinocytosis, exocytosis, glycolysis, mitosis, meiosis, and overview of common body cells such as epithelial (skin, capillary, goblet, villi), muscle cells, neurons, bone cells and blood cells. Activities included: Fluid mosaic model, membrane simulations, motor protein pen craft, “Motor Protein Relay Race,” diffusion demonstrations, “Electron Transport Chain Relay Race,” protein pencil topper craft, tRNA cookies, hands-on activity about transcription and translation, “Roller Coaster Review” game, “Translation Relay Race,” lysosome simulation game, edible Golgi…

ABC Mouse
Math , Reading , Science , Social Studies / August 31, 2012

ABC Mouse Content: Full Curriculum Grade(s): PreK – 3rd Perspective: Secular Prep Time: None Teacher Manual: N/A Teacher Involvement: Minimal Cost: $ || ?– Monthly Pages: Online Publisher: www.abcmouse.com Review Last Updated: May 28, 2017 Common Core Aligned: Yes ** From the Publisher’s Website: ** ABCmouse.com offers a depth and breadth of educational content for early learners, with more than 5,000 individual learning activities and more than 450 lesson plans. The curriculum includes six different types of activities: Children’s books, children’s songs, animated videos, games, puzzles, art activities, and 1,000+ printables to complete away from the computer. ABCmouse.com includes the following subjects and topics: Language development (vocabulary, listening skills, grammar) Reading (the alphabet, phonics, sight words, comprehension, genres, reading strategies) Math (numbers and operations, shapes, measurement, patterns,) Science and Technology (weather, plants and animals, matter and energy, space science, inventions) Social Studies: families and communities, geography and maps, U.S. history, states, famous Americans) Health: the human body, habits for health and safety, health care Up to four individuals per family account can be logged in at the same time, provided they are each using their own computer or device. About the Publisher: ABCmouse.com was created by Age of Learning, a…

Spectrum Chemistry
Featured , High School , Science / February 17, 2011

Spectrum Chemistry Content: Science Grade(s): 7th – 10th Perspective: Christian Prep Time: Minimal Teacher Manual: Available Teacher Involvement: Minimal Cost: $ || ? Pages: 290 Publication Date: 2000 Publisher: www.beginningspublishing.com Review Last Updated: May 28. 2017 Common Core Aligned: No ** From the Publisher’s Website: ** Spectrum Chemistry is one-year student-directed chemistry course is done three days a week, one of which is a lab day. It is the equivalent of an honors chemistry for college-bound students. The textbook is concept-oriented, concise, colorful, and pictorial. Daily exercises reinforce the concepts while challenging the students to derive solutions to real chemistry problems. There are 32 labs in the year. The labs come complete with everything you need to do them, except a gallon of distilled water. Ten quizzes are distributed throughout the course. A study guide is provided to assure that your student knows before each quiz for what he/she will be held accountable. About the Author: Durell C. Dobbins is a homeschool father and a scientist who wrote the Spectrum Chemistry curriculum with his children in mind. Because one opinion is never enough! Have you ever used Spectrum Chemistry? How did it work for your family? Share your review below.

Carbon Chemistry
Science / February 15, 2011

Carbon Chemistry Content: Science Grade(s): 4th – 8th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Moderate Teacher Manual: Yes Teacher Involvement: Essential Cost: $$ || ? Pages: 83 pages Publication Date: 2013 Publisher: www.ellenjmchenry.com Review Updated: 5/7/2014 From Ellen McHenry’s website: This curriculum is designed to be a follow-up to The Elements. The style of the text (including the bits of whimsical humor) are the same as in “The Elements,” but the student text is more substantial and requires more reading. Topics covered: A quick review of what an atom is, three types of atomic models, an overview of the carbon atom and its allotropes (diamond, graphite, buckyballs), introduction to organic chemistry (alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, e.g. methane, propane, butane), refining of crude oil, isomers, saturated and unsatured molecules, functional groups (alcohols, carboxylic acids, aldehydes, ketones, esters, ethers), combination of functional groups (sodium benzoate, nitroglycerin, soap, pheromones), plastics and polymers, rubber and silicon polymers, carbohydrates (simple sugars, starches and cellulose), fats (saturated, unsaturated, trans and cis fats), proteins (amino acids, polypeptides, protein folding and its significance, the lock and key principle, structure of DNA), and finally the carbon oxides (like CO2) and the carbon cycle. (For those of you are “chemistry-shy”, don’t let this…

Real Science 4 Kids
Science / February 6, 2011

Real Science 4 Kids Content: Science Grade(s): 1st – 8th Perspective: Christian Prep Time: Moderate Teacher Manual: Available Teacher Involvement: Moderate Cost: $$$$ || ? Pages: Varies Publication Date: Publisher: gravitaspublications.com Review Last Updated: May 28, 2017 ** From the Publisher’s Website: ** Real Science 4 Kids has two different product lines: Focus On series, which is a single-subject, semester-long, unit study, that introduces kids to five science subjects (chemistry, biology, physics, geology, and astronomy). Building Block series, which is a rigorous, multi-subject, yearlong, “upward spiral” program where kids build concepts sequentially each year. With either product line, your child will learn science by doing science, much in the same way graduate students and post-docs learn science by doing science: they read, do experiments, research some ideas, read some more, do more experiments, research more ideas, and over time master the subject. All of the books introduce real science to students and this means scientific facts and theories that are currently accepted by the scientific community. However, the books also introduce students to the philosophy of science and encourage students to explore opposing viewpoints when it comes to interpreting what these facts and theories may mean to individuals, groups, and…

The Elements
Science / February 5, 2011

The Elements: Ingredients of the Universe Content: Science Grade(s): 3rd – 8th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Moderate Teacher Manual: Yes Teacher Involvement: Essential Cost: $$ || ? Pages: 60 pages Publication Date: 2013 Publisher: www.ellenjmchenry.com Review Updated: 5/7/2014 From Ellen McHenry’s website: The Elements: Ingredients of the Universe is a basic introduction to the fundamental concepts of chemistry but with the interest level of the text and activities geared to students who still like to play while they learn. The student text combines very “meaty” content with whimsical humor, and the teacher’s section has lots of activities, games, songs, crafts, etc. All of these activities provide high-quality learning– they are not “fluff.” The overall theme of the curriculum is cooking and recipes, using cooking to explain chemistry concepts. The curriculum is intended to prepare students for high school chemistry. Topics covered: The definition of an element, the structure of an atom, the invention of the Periodic Table by Mendeleyev, chemical formulas, electron orbitals and shells, the octet rule, arrangement of elements on the Periodic Table, atomic bonding (covalent, ionic and metallic), plus an up-close look at the families on the table: alkali metals, alkali earth metals, transition metals, true metals,…

Nancy Larson Science
Science / February 5, 2011

Nancy Larson Science Content: Science Grade(s): K – 4th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Moderate Teacher Manual: Included Teacher Involvement: Essential Cost: $$$$ || ? Pages: Varies with each kit Publication Date: 2009 Publisher: www.nancylarson.com Review Last Updated: May 28, 2017 Common Core Aligned: ** From the Publisher’s Website: ** Science K: Ages 5-7. 61 lessons; approximately 20 minutes per lesson, 2 days a week. Covers 5 Senses; Health; Domesticated animals; Motion; Life cycle of plants; Classification skills; and Seasons and weather. Science 1: Ages 5-8. 71 lessons; approximately 30 minutes per lesson, 3 days a week. Covers Human life cycle; Trees; Sun, water, and soil; and Animal habitats. Science 2: Ages 7-9. 80 lessons; approximately 40 minutes per lesson, 3 days a week. Covers Property of matter; Rocks and minerals; Forces; Simple machines; Light and sound; and Birds. Science 3: Ages 8-11. 80 lessons; approximately 45 minutes per lesson, 3 days a week. Covers Solar system; Element and compounds; Matter and physical changes; Atmosphere; Earth’s structure; Seeds and plants; Amphibians and reptiles. Science 4: Ages 8-11. 80 lessons; approximately 45 minutes per lesson, 3 days a week. Covers Cells; Classifying plants; Animal Taxonomy; Ecosystems; Energy; and Electricity. Each Science Kit…