BJUP's elementary science course is informative and straightforward as long as you buy the teacher's manuals. The student texts cannot stand alone. The entire value of the program depends on whether you want to teach your child directly or not. All first through sixth grade texts deal with general science, each year elaborating concepts and helping students think about science in a scientific way.
How Do These Work?
All six levels include a softcover student text, a spiralbound home teacher's edition, an activity manual, test book, and test answer key. In the latest editions, Grades 1-2 offer a printed activity manual teacher's guide/answer key, but the answers for the 3rd-6th grade manuals are found on the CD-ROM in the teacher's manual. You will need additional materials to do the experiments in the student text and teacher's manual (Science Kits may be purchased directly from the Bob Jones website, or you may compile these materials yourself).
While BJU means for their science courses to be used over a full year, there isn't enough content to be taught on a daily basis. With 12-15 chapters per elementary level book, there's about a semester's worth of material for each text. BJU suggests 20-30 minutes of either science or history daily. You can alternate the two subjects on a daily, weekly or semester basis as your schedule/interest dictates.
The layout of the course is straightforward: students read a portion of the text, there is a teacher lecture/instruction period, pages are completed in the activity manual, and experiments are performed as directed. There are typically two pages of written work for every three to six pages of student text, and include short answer questions, multiple choice, and matching.
Our Honest Opinion:
The student texts are technically well written. While the prose is clear, however, it isn't terribly engaging or imaginative; it's mostly just information. The teacher editions offer suggestions for making the material more interesting; we definitely recommend supplementing daily reading assignments with instruction and activities to kindle interest. Student books are colorful, but even cool pictures can't entirely save a dry text.
This series is good if you want your kids to know certain things about science. While the authors encourage students to think scientifically, the emphasis is on fact rather than integration or mindset. This is definitely a Christian curriculum from a strict creationist standpoint, and the authors do a good job of relating scientific information to biblical truth. Overall a good curriculum, it is often too instruction-oriented to be practical in the homeschool setting (unless you use their online support), and many children will find the presentation of material as dull as they always suspected science would be.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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