Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Earth Science: God's World, Our Home from Novare Science & Math ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

Science has always been one of Gavin's favorite subjects. He loves studying about any part of it, whether it's Astronomy or weather. When he hit middle school, I wanted to give him something a little bit more challenging, but I wanted him to also be able to understand it. While teaching science it's important to me to have not only a Christian based curriculum, but also a thorough program to follow. Earth Science: God's World, Our Home from Novare Science & Math is just that.

Who is Novare Science & Math?

Novare Science & Math are fairly new to the homeschooling world. I recently wrote a review on Nature's Beautiful Order from Memoria Press, and while on their website, realized that they had recommended using this program. Being that I love Memoria Press, I know and trust that they would recommend good solid products.

Upon reading more about the company, I learned that they approach these subjects a little different from other curriculum out there. Their philosophy is based on three core principles which are Mastery, Integration, and Kingdom Perspective. They have come to realize that a lot of science and math curriculum have fallen short, and that a lot of college freshman have to take remedial classes to fill in the gaps. They want to use these three core principles to give students a more solid understanding of what they are learning, and actually have them retain what they've learned in the past. Although they are trying to create a teaching philosophy that works for the benefit of the student, they also want to keep Christ at the center of it all. That of course is always important when talking about any subject, but especially when it comes to the creation of Earth.

What did we receive?

We were given the hard bound textbook along with the Resource CD information via download. (The download was for review purposes only. You would receive an actual CD.) I was very impressed with the quality of the book. The textbook is nicely put together with 15 chapters and is meant to be used over one school year.

In this course your student will learn about:

  • 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 History
  • Oceanography
  • The Atmosphere
  • Weather
  • Climate and Air Pollution

How did we use it in our school?

First off when I got the material I was honestly a little confused on where to start. There were several different resources to look at, and I am very thankful that those were given to me. Although I found them a little overwhelming at first, by the time I read through them I had a better understanding of what I was supposed to be doing.

I would definitely start with the resource that is called Recommendations for Teaching the Course. I found this extremely helpful in getting me started. It goes over grading, ideas for teaching the course, and there is even a section dedicated to homeschool use.

They do supply you with a sample course schedule. This was very helpful to me so that I could see how they intended for the material to be used. It gives you a good idea how to plan your assignments.

The Resource CD will also include your quizzes, exams, and keys to both.

Another source that I found really helpful was the Weekly Review Guides. These are perfect so that your student can learn and retain the information.

Ok so now that we have covered the extra resources that compliment the textbook, lets discuss how our family used it. Since I like to have things laid out for me I tried following the suggestions they had first. First, we went over the vocabulary words at the beginning of the chapter we were working on. We even made flash cards for those words, and this seemed to work really well. We would read the text a little bit every day, and then answer the questions. For Gavin, this was a little overwhelming. He loves learning about anything science, but it just seemed like a lot of info for him to retain. Now please understand that this in no way makes me think any less of the curriculum. It is solid, and there is so much wonderful information provided.

I decided that for us we needed to slow down a bit, and take it in smaller sections at a time, and then we would review the questions together. This helped some, but it was still just a tad too much information for him all at once. I honestly think that it's an age thing, and not a problem with the curriculum itself. Gavin is in 6th "ish" grade and I think that he would do better with this around 8th grade. We continued on, but took a relaxed approach with it for now.

What did we think?

I think this a wonderful curriculum for an older middle school student. I definitely want to revisit this again for his 8th grade year. It is solid, and I think that an older student would excel with it. The book is smaller than most text books, and has great color pictures that compliment it. I think this is always a great factor considering how many texts books we homeschoolers have anyway. The Resources they send with the textbook are very nice to have. I think they do a great job explaining their suggestions on studing this program. I honestly am looking forward to getting back to this in a year or two. If you are looking for a good solid curriculum for an older middle school student, Earth Science: God's World, Our Home from Novare Science & Math  is one I would highly recommend.

Please also check out their other products. I am very interested in their Physical Science and General Chemistry curriculum to use in high school.

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