So we aren’t even halfway through this school year and I’m already starting to have those curriculum questions that come up every year. I’ll start with Science, although I’ve got questions about grammar and geography (map skills), too.
I’m sold on using the classical 4-yr rotation in science: biology/botany, earth & space, chemistry, physics. We are on the earth & space rotation this year and using Apologia’s Astronomy book for our first semester. Second semester, we are using my cobbled together Charlotte Mason-inspired “real books” approach with the help of our (limited) local library resources. I have a few experiment books to add to the festivities next semester as my kids really like to do experiments. (I’m not overly fond of them, however.)
So, next year is Chemistry. I still have relatively young kids, so I’m looking at the K-3rd grade level materials. Some that I have looked into are R.E.A.L sciencefrom Pandia Press, Real Science 4 Kids (RS4K), and Noeo Science.
I would say my top pick would be Noeo, but it is SO PRICEY!
$160 for Noeo Chem I (with their 20% package discount) – a whole year’s worth of work
Right now, RS4K would be my second pick, but the curriculum is designed to get through three unit studies (Chemistry, Physics, Biology) in one year. If I just did one (Chemistry Pre-Level I) with them, we would be through in a semester or less. Going onto the next level (Level I) would be problematic as it is recommended for Grades 3 – 5 and would probably be above Child #2’s head. I’d like to continue to teach them together, so I need to _somewhat_ keep that in mind. If I went ahead and purchased both, that is creeping into the pricey range ($130). If I didn’t, what would we do second semester? I’m not planning on spending $55 for one semester (or less) of material and then spend the time figuring out myself what we will do with the second semester. (That sounds snotty, but I’m pretty stingy with my money.)
R.E.A.L. Science rounds out my top three, but it is miles below the other two. My biggest reason? They don’t have a chemistry book out yet for me to examine! However, they are expecting to have one out (sometime) in 2009. Cathy Duffy gives the program a so-so review compared to her glowing one of Noeo.
I also briefly looked at Living Learning Books Chemistry program. It is $32 for the program and they recommend a science encyclopedia to go with it. It is inexpensive for a whole year’s program. I will probably look into this one more in the next several months.
I think that is one of the reasons that I start thinking about these things so early, because I like to research things fully before buying them. Hopefully, we will be able to find something we like.