Bright Ideas Press- Christian Kids Explore Review
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
I am very particular about science for my children and it is very difficult to find a product that I like completely. Combine that with wanting a REAL science course that is unapologetically Bible-based for my younger children that doesn't water down facts, but doesn't overwhelm with too many scientific terms that leave a younger child feeling like they have left the planet earth and are now expected to know a different language entirely.
I was pleasantly surprised to find Christian Kids Explore (CKE) - Earth & Space to meet all these criteria. I realize someone who does not believe in a world created in 7 days by a supreme God would not be interested in this curriculum, but if you- like me- believe this universe was spoken into being by a supreme God, and if you have children are roughly grades 3rd - 6th , this review might be of interest to you.
CKE - Earth and Space ( $34.95)is authored by Stephanie L. Redmond. She is a homeschool mom who saw a need for a science program and decided to write a series to fill that need. Her brother and sister are involved also by illustrated for her books. Bright Ideas Press (BIP) publishes the series (along with several other homeschool curriculum- some of which I have had the opportunity to review before.) I received the physical 360 page, paperback book. The size is 8 1/2 x 11 and the cover has a glossy finish- perfect for wiping free of jelly (I have been told. My angels would never have anything sticky around their school books…)
The textbook is broken down into 6 units are divided into a total of 24 lessons and each unit also ends with a review- called a "wrap up" for a total of 30 weeks of lessons. It is suggested to do all the reading one day of the week and the hands on activities on the 2nd day- for a total of 2 days a week taking approximately 60 - 90 minutes of class time.
Each lesson has material to be read out loud- or by your child(ren) if they are old enough. There are also vocabulary, coloring pages, and labeling exercises. The hands-on activities are a combination of experiments and instructions on making a folderbook that will serve as both a keepsake and review for each unit.
If you find it necessary, there are supplemental materials as well! It would be easy to add books on the non-science days that complemented the text book as well- if you wish. However, I find 2 days of a formal science curriculum at the younger ages is more than applicable. I would recommend reviewing the flashcards daily, though. All the material you absolutely need for this course is provided in this one book- including answer keys for the questions along the way. It is not consumable (though you might wish to have your child(ren) color in the pages in the main part of the book since the drawings are completely black and white). Don't worry if you decide to make copies of the pictures, since there is a whole section of reproducibles in the back.
While not actually necessary, I chose to purchase the Student Activity Book of downloadable reproducibles to make it easier to print out copies of the many pages we will need to make the folders and assemble notebooks. This month of April the downloads are available at a discounted rate of $7.95 (marked down from $12.95). It is hard to get a clean copy from this thick book- it seems. I didn't like the dark lines we got when using the book on my copier. Of course, if you don't own a copier, then I definitely recommend getthing the downloads.
This book spends about 24 weeks on the subject of Earth and the remaining 6 weeks on Space. It is easily adjusted down for younger children. I doubt I would use this with children too much older, but if you have a child who has no interest in science, then perhaps it could be used up to grade 8. I didn't use this with my 14 year old. But my 7 year old did benefit as well as my 8 and 10 year old. My 10 yo even studied and read through this book on his own. Science is "his thing" and he loves to draw too.
Disclaimer: I received this product as a member of the TOS Review crew for free in exchange for my honest review.