Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Novare Science & Math- Homeschool Review Crew Review

Have you noticed that Christian Science books are hard to find?  I have been doing this homeschooling thing for 19 years now, and really, it is one of the main subjects I have the hardest time finding curriculum for. Recently, we had the opportunity to review Novare Science & Math's science book, Earth Science: God's World, Our Home. 

Written by Kevin Nelstead and intended to be used by middle school age children, typically in 7th or 8th grade, this 501 page hard-back book packs a punch.  This is one of the most comprehensive science books I have seen in a long time.  It's 15 chapters cover-
  • Earth in Space
  • Visualizing Earth
  • Thinking About Earth
  • Matter and Minerals
  • Rocks and the Rock Cycle
  • Plate Tectonics and Mountain Building
  • Volcanoes and Earthquakes
  • Weathering, Erosion, and Soils
  • Surface Water and Groundwater
  • Landforms
  • Unraveling Earth's History
  • Oceanography
  • The Atmosphere
  • Weather
  • Climate and Air Pollution

At the end you will find an extensive glossary as well as an appendix of minerals.

Also available is a Resource CD loaded with things you will find most helpful.  For the schedule-loving moms out there, (that's me) a 20 week, 5 day a week sample lesson schedule is provided.  Topics are listed as well as the text reading for the day, any learning checks to be completed, as well as quizzes and tests scheduled.   In line with the mastery based approach that Mr. Nelstead uses, beginning in week 3 there is a weekly Review Guide provided to make sure your student is remembering all they have learned so far. There is also a Learning Check guide for each chapter section that provides you as the teacher sample answers to the Learning Checks.  Short answer quizzes and answer keys are also on your Resource CD and are administered once a week, as well as chapter tests.

What is a chapter like?
Each chapter is set up basically the same.  The chapters begin with Objectives and a list of vocabulary words that will be learned.  The main chapter subject is broken up into smaller sections making for easier reading.  At the end of each chapter is a Learning Check.  These Learning Checks are usually 2-6 questions on the material just read and can be answered orally or on paper, depending on your preference.  At the end of each chapter is a more thorough question section called Exercises.  If your child can answer those questions well, they are prepared for the test for sure!  Chapters are generally about 20 pages in length and usually take a week to a week and a half to work through.

Sprinkled throughout each chapter are exquisite pictures, full color maps, and scientific charts to help break up the text and provide visual interest.  Also to be noted are the numerous Bible scriptures that are quoted and referenced.

Our thoughts and usage-
Normally, before we begin any program, review or not, I try to read through the first few chapters myself before I introduce my kids to the program.  Earth Science: God's World, Our Home was no exception. The preface for teachers is a very detailed conversation on how the author feels is best to use this book in teaching and is very informative.  Immediately I was impressed with his thoughts on Mastery teaching, integration and especially Kingdom perspectives.

"The study of Science provides us with unique ways of seeing God's creative presence in the world."
 Yes, and amen!

Unfortunately, and much to my disappointment, this is also where we parted ways in agreement.

"...we accept the mainstream scientific view the the universe is 13.77 billion years old and Earth is about 4.6 billion years old." (p. xvi)

No, we are not old earth believers.  And I do not ever want to make this a place for that argument.  Like Mr. Nelstead, I agree that this is not a thing that needs to divide believers.  Had his belief been mentioned and then moved on, I was very ready to continue the book in our school, even using it as a conversation with my boys about the differences in beliefs, Old Earth and New Earth in particular.  But after comments such as, "We find that according to the soundest principles of Biblical exegesis"  and "the generally accepted value for Earth's age at present is about 4.6 billion years," our family decided this was not a book we were comfortable having the boys use independently.  Ironically, Mr. Nelstead won't even touch the subject of evolution, which to me is no more controversial than the Big Bang theory he supports.

That being said, if you are an old earth believer, or do not have strong feelings one way or another on those teachings, this is a science book worth using.  I found all other information presented to be well laid out and easy to understand.   Even my youngest son (in 5th grade) and I have enjoyed reading several chapters together.  Since we recently had two tornadoes touch down in our area, the Weather chapter has been his favorite, followed by Earthquakes and Volcanoes.  What's with boys?!

You can see what my fellow Crew bloggers had to say about Novare Science & Math by clicking on the banner below.

Also available-
Introductory Physics
General Chemistry
Science for Every Teacher

Biblical Based Science {Novare Science & Math Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

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