I received this product for free. I am being compensated for my time to use the product and write this review. All opinions are my own and I was not required to provide a positive review.
Science is one of those subjects that we’ve been pretty relaxed with so far. I haven’t done any formal science curriculum with Caroline to this point. She’s very interested in science (as long as it’s not gross or messy!), but we’ve been pretty laid back. We’ve read a lot of books and watched a lot of science DVDs and programming on the Kindle. When I had the opportunity to review the Pearson Homeschool Science Curriculum, I was curious as to how Caroline would respond to a science workbook type approach. Although Caroline is a third grader age-wise, we agreed to review the first grade curriculum.
(And, yes, I am aware of the connection between Pearson and Common Core.)
Consumable and Colorful Science Homeschool Textbook
The first thing I noticed when I flipped open the First Grade Interactive Science Book is that it is colorful! It is full of nice layouts such as the following:
Children who like something colorful and full of pictures will like this book. Caroline was very interested in flipping through the book when she saw it and stopped several times to check out the pictures and information.
Becoming a Scientist
The first two chapters introduce children to the topic of becoming a scientist. The first chapter includes topics about how scientists work, their tools, and how they find and share data. The second chapter focuses on design and problem solving. So from the very beginning of the book, children are learning how to be scientists and think like scientists.
The book also introduces scientific language, using terms such as record, predict, investigate, observe, conclude, procedure, infer, etc. So for moms wanting something that includes more “formal” science language in their science program, there is that feature as well.
For moms who are looking for simple science experiments and don’t want to look all over Pinterest to cobble together their own curriculum, this book offers quite a few. They are basic and in keeping in line with the first grade level.
With a right-brained child who doesn’t enjoy writing, minimal writing is always a plus in our home. Students do record answers, but the writing is not extensive. They also learn to record data with some of the experiments so they will be completing charts and such. Oftentimes students are asked to underline or circle something which is a great option for reluctant writers. I think students who are not enthusiastic writers would be able to do well with this book.
Low Prep Homeschool Curriculum
Many homeschool parents desire a low-prep option for their homeschool curriculum choices and I think this fits that description for science. The materials are pretty basic for a science program. It is not a no prep curriculum. The experiments will require rounding up some items, but overall the workbook is pretty inclusive. For a mom who was really pressed for time, you could probably do only the written work and still get a lot out of it. But obviously doing the experiments and observations is what brings it to life for the child.
Secular versus Christ-centered Curriculum
Pearson is a secular publisher so it is a secular workbook. I personally prefer science and history texts in particular that approach the topic from a Christian point of view. There are topics in science especially that leave me in awe of the Creator and it’s impossible for me to think about them or discuss them without also bringing my faith into the discussion!
That said, I didn’t find anything in this book that was blatantly anti-Christian. The topics covered in this particular book don’t delve into the more controversial topics so that was not a concern. When discussing relevant topics, I simply add additional information to what is presented on the page or asked a question that would lead to additional discussion based on other learning we’ve done.
Advanced Reading Level
One thing I wondered about was the actual reading level of the book. I didn’t run it through a check online, but I can’t imagine the average first grader could read this independently at the beginning of the year. Moms should expect to do a fair amount of reading, if not all of it. If you have a child who reads well above grade level, you’ll probably be fine. If you have a struggling reader, you’ll be doing all the reading for your child.
Inclusion of Spanish Translations
If there was one thing I disliked about the book it was the inclusion of Spanish translations in certain parts of the book. There are flashcards the students can cut out for each chapter that help them learn important terminology. The front label and the back definition of each card is in both English and Spanish. For someone like Caroline, it’s distracting. There is also a Glossary in the back of the book that includes all the definitions in both English and Spanish. I’m not sure what purpose it serves to include both when the rest of the book is entirely in English. It just clutters up the page and I really don’t think it adds value to the book.
My overall recommendation is that Pearson’s First Grade Interactive Science Book could be a very good choice for homeschool families. I think for moms who want something that is all organized and laid out, it will fit the bill. It offers enough hands-on ideas to keep it interesting, but not so much you are going to feel like you are constantly prepping.
For moms who lack confidence in pulling together a complicated, hands-on intensive science curriculum, this would be a good choice. it gives your child a real science curriculum and mom the peace of mind that you are doing something structured together.
For visual learners and children who don’t like to write, I think this would be a good fit. If you add in the hands-on experiments, they will probably get a great deal out of it.