Our latest review item from the Schoolhouse Review Crew is in a subject that’s near and dear to our hearts—science!
And science experiments, to be precise! Funtastic Unit Studies‘ Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers is chock-full of experiments in 18 different scientific categories. Even better, the chapters are divided for younger students (ages 4-7) and older students (ages 8-13). Regardless of what science topic you’re studying, you’ll find a chapter devoted to it, and experiments which illustrate the properties being taught.
Author Susan Kilbride has written a book which can be used either as a collection of science unit studies (where a student studies the entire book, moving through it chapter by chapter) or as a supplemental tool for categories in your student’s regular science textbook.
Each chapter contains: short explanations of scientific principles and accompanying experiments; a materials list; and a test at the chapter’s conclusion. Here are some of the chapters for the younger set, ages 4-7:
- The Human Body
- Insects and Their Kin
- Fun with Magnets
- Stars and Planets
- Beginning Plants
- and 5 more
- Microscopes and Microscopic Creatures
- Atoms and Molecules
- Chemistry Fun
- Force and Motion
- and 4 more
There is also an answer key at the end of the book, for all the tests and worksheets. Although, any student who works through the experiments in each chapter will probably be able to answer the test questions, because of the practical ways he’s learned the information.
How We Used Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers:
For the purposes of review, we selected one of the chapters for ages 8-13 (my son Jackson is 13, and going into 8th grade). Although we would have been thrilled to work on ANY of the chapters (yes, they’re really that exciting and we really love science that much), we chose the chapter on “Matter.” And here’s what we found!
As you open a chapter, the first thing you find is a Materials List. Although the Materials List for “Matter” was extensive, we only had to purchase 4 inexpensive items (cabbage, two glass vases from the dollar store, and duct tape). We had every other item at home.
“Matter” is divided into 8 segments (plus the test at the end of the chapter). Each of these segments has a few paragraphs about a particular characteristic of matter, plus the experiments (labeled as “activities” in this book). So, in the chapter we studied, we learned about: the definition of matter; states of matter; its properties; solubility; and four other defining factors.
As a mom/teacher, I found Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers easier to use than any book of experiments I’ve ever taught with. Each segment, in every chapter, basically has a script you follow and questions to ask as you teach the scientific principles. This made it incredibly easy to teach.
It was also highly informative. Each of the activities Ms. Kilbride selected strongly illustrates the principles being taught. Not only that, the activities are incredibly fun to do. And many of them have the “Wow!” factor that captivates both the student and the teacher, and solidifies the information in the child’s memory.
I really appreciated how inexpensively we were able to do the course. Because many of the materials needed for the activities are common household objects, even families on a budget will find Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers accessible. Depending on the chapter you’re working on, however, you may need to purchase some supplies.
Here are some of the questions we were able to answer after learning about matter:
- Does nature really abhor a vacuum?
- How can you illustrate that molecules move more slowly in a solid than a liquid?
- Can you watch oxidation occur?
- What is a chemical reaction?
- What are some visible ways you can measure a chemical reaction?
And here’s what my son Jackson had to say about it:
“This curriculum has some of the funnest chemical reactions you’ll ever see, period. It gives you the opportunity to do fun things from decompressing a bottle all the way to turning cabbage water from purple to red. This curriculum will give fun for all ages.”
We happily recommend Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers. Our experiences were so positive. And I believe that, over time, homeschool moms will be able to pick up this book again and again to supplement their regular science books. It’s a definite win-win, for both moms and students!
One recommendation that I’d add is for the student, regardless of age, to record his experiences and discoveries in a journal or notebook. This will go a long way in enabling the student to really remember the principles being taught, and the scientific truths that go with them. A simple binder with notebook paper, or a composition book, would work well for this.
Would you like to test my recommendations out for yourself? Susan Kilbride is offering two of her unit studies, absolutely free, to you. Just visit Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers and scroll down til you see the book cover. You’ll be able to click on links which will give you free copies of her Plant Unit and her Atoms and Molecules Unit. Try them out! I believe you’ll be just as impressed as we were!
You may purchase Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers via the Funtastic Unit Studies website for $16.95. Trust me, you get a LOT for that price!