My kids love science studies that have hands-on activities to teach or apply the concept. Science Unit Studies For Homeschoolers and Teachers does just this. Written by a homeschooling mom who taught co-op classes, these unit studies are tried and true, tested in a classroom setting, and give students a fun application. Funtastic Unit Studies website will acquaint you more with Susan Kilbride and all of the units she has available.
Science Unit Studies For Homeschoolers and Teachers is set up in a simple, easy-to-access way. There are 20 chapters, one chapter for each science unit. These units are broken into two sets, essentially. The first 10 chapters are designed for ages 4-7. They are a bit simpler in concept and application. They begin teaching the students to be aware of the senses and teaching them about observation. Each unit has five to seven parts and each part has a varying number of activities. These can be used one part a day or combined to move through each unit faster. We did both. The age suggestion on this set is pretty accurate by our experience. I included my 9 year old in some of activities and it was fine but she acted in more of a helper role than a student role. The activities were definitely below her needs and interests. Topics covered in this section include:
- Our Senses
- The Human Body
- Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Life
- Insects and Their Kin
- Fun with Magnets
- Stars and Planets
- Beginning Plants
- Animal Ecology
The second 10 chapters are designed for ages 8-13. The concepts are more advanced. Each chapter is a single unit that is divided into several parts, with a few activities for each part. These are more in depth and the concepts are some that the girls wanted to dig into a bit deeper so we didn’t do as much each day but allowed them to explore the ideas a bit more. The amount of time required will depend on the activities you choose. There are plenty of activities to choose from and you don’t need to do all of them. Topics covered in this section are:
- Microscopes and Invisible Creatures
- Atoms and Molecules
- Chemistry Fun
- Force and Motion
- Simple Machines
- Light and Color
- Plants II
Mrs. Kilbride suggests that the units be completed in order. However, she acknowledges that homeschoolers tend to do things a bit out of order and in whatever way fits their needs. These units work either way. For the older age group, there are also 10 question assessment tests at the end of each unit if you need an evaluation system for your records. The answers are given in the back of the book.
J, age 6, had a lot of fun with the units we have done so far. There is plenty left for us to explore at her level and so, as I plan our year, I will evaluate whether this will be added. She did enjoy it. L, age 9, and E, age 11, were a bit less enthusiastic about the activities but did enjoy some of the activities, especially when left to explore a bit more on their own (for example, with the microscope and slides). I have a feeling it was more about the “dog days of summer” and the 100 degree heat sapping their enthusiasm than the units themselves.
A couple of notes:
- There is not a plan of attack for these units. You will need to develop your own lesson schedule and decide which activities from each part of each unit you will use.
- There is a materials list at the beginning of each unit. The list is for a single student so if you are using this for more, you will need to adjust the amounts needed.
- This is a secular curriculum. An example: there is mention that the dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago. This is easy enough to modify with Biblical information if you know it is there before jumping into the lesson.
Science Unit Studies For Homeschoolers and Teachers is a great resource with so many possibilities and a lot of flexibility built in. The cost of this resource gives you a lot of bang for your buck. If you would like to see more about how these units work, Mrs. Kilbride gives access to the plants lesson for free (from the younger set) and the atoms and molecules lesson (from the older set). You can access these by visiting her website – Funtastic Unit Studies. Definitely worth checking out.