If you’re looking for a science program for your middle or high school student that’s low on content/high on ease, forget about Singapore Secondary Science. One look at these texts will reveal why Singapore students are the top-scoring worldwide in math and science, as each one is packed with information at a level well above comparable American science programs. Textbooks are full-color and engaging, and teacher’s editions are easy to use and contain plenty of instructional aids.
How Do These Work?
Lower Secondary Science Matters for grades 7-8 is a general science course covering all the basics (biology, chemistry, physics, etc.). There is a textbook (which comes packaged with an answer key), a theory workbook and practical book for each grade, both with their own teacher’s edition; while we offer the practical books, the US distributor discourages them for home school use due to the elaborate lab materials required for their use.
Students read text and complete the appropriate pages in the consumable workbook. The workbook teacher’s editions are simply replications of the student workbooks with answers in red included. The number of lessons vary between the 7th and 8th grade texts, though each are intended for one year of study.
Science Matters is a three book course (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) used in Singapore for grades 9-10; however, due to the advanced nature of the material, we recommend it for American students between grades 9-12. Each book covers one year, and is accompanied by a workbook and practical book, both with accompanying teacher’s editions. Again, we don’t carry the practical books because they require specialized lab equipment most homeschoolers are unlikely to own or even have access to. There are two workbooks/teacher editions for Physics: you could make it last more than one year if you wanted or needed to.
Each text is full of information, full-color and engagingly written. Workbooks are challenging and actually gauge students’ knowledge—these aren’t just busy work. Evolution is assumed to be fact,but treatments are limited and it isn’t a recurrent theme. The focus is on observable science and understanding the world as it exists, not on ideology. There are review questions in the student texts, but because there are no accompanying teacher's editions there are no answers anywhere; you will have to read the text yourself to find them.
Be aware that in Book B of Interactive Science there is an extended section about human reproduction. There are illustrations (including some nasty photographs of the physical effects of STDs) and the treatment of the material is fairly graphic, though tasteful. A similar section is found in Biology, and while it is more informative, it is also less graphic with fewer illustrations.
Our Honest Opinion:
These are both excellent science courses, though the Science Matters books are more thorough. They are also well above the level of most comparable American science texts, so if you’re moving to Singapore science from another curriculum be sure your kids are adequately prepared. While the texts are written from a secular perspective, this is mostly just hard science that won’t conflict with a Christian worldview; those sections that do are short and easily passed over. If you want a good challenge for your students (or if they really like science) this is one of the better options available.
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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