Exploring Physics

It’s apparently science week here at casa crazy. The birds are singing, the deer are hanging out across the street, and the spring flowers are out in full bloom. I’m ready to jump into gardening… but first, a different kind of science.

Generally when we think of physics, we think high school science. But it doesn’t have to be, and in fact, usually isn’t – it’s just usually hidden under more generic terms like general science. So don’t let the scary “physics” term scare you – it *can* be something that you – and your kids – enjoy, and Christian Kids Explore Physics from Bright Ideas Press is a user-friendly way to do so.

The new 2nd edition of Christian Kids Explore Physics comes with an easy-to-use resource CD that includes printable lesson plans, supply lists, and a student activity book. (The activity book isn’t different material – it’s actually all the reproducible pages from the text, in one place, for easy printing. Makes the task of printing out the student materials MUCH easier!)

Created for grades 4-8, Christian Kids Explore Physics is detailed and thorough. Intended to be used just twice a week, there are 30 lessons and six unit reviews. A daily lesson plan suggests that on the first science day, teaching and discussion of the material, vocabulary, and review questions occur, along with any memory work and supplemental reading, plus a coloring page if desired. On the second day, information would be reviewed and the hands-on activity completed, plus supplemental reading. The review weeks consist of reviewing study materials on day one, and a test on day two.

I have to say, I absolutely adore that everything is totally, completely laid out and scheduled for me. No big long spiel to read, no theories to digest, it’s ready to implement. Print and go. And it’s two days a week. This would have been VERY nice to have about five years ago! I’m not sure this could be made any easier to use – if there’s any hang ups whatsoever, it’s somewhere farther into the book where I haven’t gotten yet!

Christian Kids Explore Physics is a year-long curriculum if used as laid out by the lesson plans. This particular curriculum is the first one in a great while where I can actually see us continuing to use the curriculum as it was intended to be used, at least for the most part. At some point, a few things will migrate a bit toward our more typical patterns of usage.

For example: I have one early bird, one night owl, and a couple of in-betweens, plus we stay pretty busy on top of that. Chances are, the “day 1″ will turn into a series of short conversations, and day 2 will be the only “everyone in one place” type of activity.  That’s more a reflection on our busyness and lifestyle than it is on the curricula, and an adaption that we tend to migrate toward as a rule. The kids are generally fairly independent and can usually be trusted to remain on task and get what they need to done, allowing me to be facilitator rather than taskmaster, which works out much better for all of us – and, imo, serves them much better in the long run.

The Christian Kids Explore Science series is apparently considered classical-style curricula, though it wouldn’t have occurred to me if I hadn’t read it on the website. Perhaps it’s because of the emphasis on reading about the science in additional texts, and the extensive (and much appreciated!) book lists that are included that correspond with each lesson? I’ve never really considered us to do much in the manner of classical homeschooling, but then again, to us, pretty heavy book usage is the norm rather than the exception.

Christian Kids Explore Physics is a huge text, with over 400 pages. (My review copy is in PDF, but I wanted to give you a heads-up that it’s a pretty hefty tome on real paper!) The enclosed CD will work on PC or Mac. Christian Kids Explore Physics is just $39.95 – a great deal, in my opinion, for a text of this quality.

The table of contents and samples of Lessons 18 and 19 are available from this page: Christian Kids Explore Physics. It will give you a very clear representation of what the entire textbook is like. The lesson plans, book lists, and answer keys are just as simple and efficient.

Other Homeschool Crew members also reviewed three additional Christian Kids Explore Science titles; Biology and Earth & Space are written for grades 3-6, while Chemistry, like Physics, is aimed at grades 4-8.

For reviews of Physics and the other titles, check out the links on the TOS Homeschool Crew blog post, Christian Kids Explore Science.

**Disclaimer – I received this product for free as a member of the 2011-12 The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew so that I could provide you with an honest review of it by our family.**

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