Whether your kids like science or not, John Hudson Tiner's Exploring Science series is sure to intrigue them. Written in an engaging conversational style, the books look at everything from physics to the history of mathematics, not as dry lists of facts (the typical textbook approach), but as interesting narratives.
Parents concerned with the evolutionary content of many science programs will be glad to know that Tiner is a Christian, and that while he doesn't spend inordinate amounts of time supplying evidence for creationism, he's clear that evolution is a belief-system rather than a scientific methodology, and that it's a belief-system he rejects.
How Do These Work?
There are currently eight books in the series, covering the basics (physics, chemistry, biology, earth science, astronomy) and a few topics that usually get little attention (history of mathematics, history of medicine, and nature/ecology). Even the basics are approached in a unique way, however: Exploring Planet Earth, for instance, looks at earth science from the standpoint of discovery and explorers.
Each book is around 160 pages long, and includes an index and answers to all in-text questions. Chapters are topical, and always end in a series of questions based on the foregoing material. While all the books are in black and white, they're attractively and abundantly illustrated and (where needed) include tables, charts, graphs, etc.
Tiner writes with a narrative flair, presenting even difficult scientific concepts in story form, usually in the context of the scientists and events that led to their discovery. The style is appropriate for middle and high school readers alike (it isn't dumbed down, but it's also approachable), though Tiner tends to use short Hemingway-esque sentences.
None of these texts are more than introductory: while Tiner isn't afraid to go in-depth and tackle hard topics, he also doesn't present a comprehensive curriculum for any scientific subject. These should be used as supplements or introductions to more complete programs, even though your children will likely preferExploring Planet Earth to most other science books.
Our Honest Opinion
Exploring Science works on two levels: it offers Christian children a strong ideological foundation for scientific study, and it has the potential to get even the most reluctant science students interested in this essential subject. Tiner's prose and information are engaging, and his discussions are thorough enough to adequately prepare kids for more learning.
After completing this series, we'd recommend Jay Wile'sApologia Exploring Creation series for middle and high school students; these texts are complete enough to fulfill curriculum/credit demands, and they supplement with hands-on activities, labs, and experiments. In the meantime, Tiner's books are an excellent choice.
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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