Richard and Debbie Lawrence wanted a science curriculum that approached the subject from a creationist perspective, so they wrote one themselves. The resulting God's Design series was initially self-published, until the folks at Answers in Genesis found out about it and decided to champion and publish it. Parents appreciate the simple lesson format and strong Christian presuppositions; kids like the activities and simply written text.
The series is extraordinarily flexible. Each book is independent and appropriate for a broad range of ages (it was written with 1st-8th graders in mind), so parents can start with whichever one they want; there is no imposed order in the series. There are four main subject headings: Heaven & Earth (earth science, astronomy), Life (biology, botany, zoology), The Physical World (physics, technology), and Chemistry & Ecology, and each of these subject groups includes three texts and a Teacher Supplement . There are around 34-35 lessons in each book; doing three lessons per week will allow a student to finish three books per year (the publisher suggests this approach), though parents can move slower or quicker depending on their children's needs. Teacher involvement is also highly flexible—parents can adjust their involvement according to their own schedule and their children's abilities.
For the 1st & 2nd editions, each text was a stand-alone; everything you needed was built-in; this is no longer true in the 3rd editions. The once-scattered consumable quizzes and tests are now consolidated on the CD-ROMs included with the Teacher Supplements. (Printed copies can also be obtained separately.) The answers formerly found in the back of each volume are now completely contained in the teacher's books.
Each lesson is composed of text read by the parent or student and three sets of exercises. The first typically includes an experiment or activity designed for a range of age groups. The second exercise tests student comprehension ("What Did We Learn?" and "Taking it Further"). The third contains more challenging material: this usually means additional reading, but sometimes more difficult projects. If teachers want to add even more, additional worksheets, quizzes and tests are provided in the teacher's supplement CD-ROM. Most of the items for the experiments should already be laying around your house. The text is succinct and easy-to-understand, but not terribly engaging; apparently little attempt was made to liven up the facts. At the same time, there are no wasted words and the information is clearly presented.
The authors have made sure that this is a creationist, Christian curriculum. They do a good job balancing biblical worldview with science fact and theory so Christian students can contextualize what they learn. These books provide a good overview of science; they aren't intended to be exhaustive, but to prepare students for more thorough study in high school.
The emphasis on creationism/Christianity is good. Young students still formulating a consistent worldview shouldn't have to deal with unchristian dogmas like evolution with no in-text criticism. God is consistently given glory for His creation and kids are encouraged to be awed by scientific study. We really appreciate the breadth of the subjects covered (unlike Apologia's Young Explorer Series, this one has twelve topics to choose from, rather than five).
The most common complaint has been that some parents find this curriculum dry and unable to spark their kids' interest. A few of the activities seem purposeless (making construction paper flowers), at least on an educational level, but this is not usually the case. The text is fact-oriented, more like a lecture than a conversation; this will appeal to some students more than others. We think the color of the 3rd editions will make the series more appealing to most kids.
Overall, this curriculum is well-balanced, a good blend of Christian creationism and solid science fact. A little extra parent involvement could conceivably make the lessons more interesting, and the recommended supplementary reading lists included in the Teacher's Supplements have some fun materials in them. You would be hard pressed to find a more thorough yet Bible-oriented science curriculum for elementary students than the God's Design series.