Mud. Crystals. Pretty Rocks. Fun little books. Pictures to draw. Experiments.
You may remember me mentioning that my family was not using a Science curriculum and that we relied heavily on Science DVD’s to check that box. I also mentioned that I knew we needed to get more serious about Science. I am happy to say that the next two reviews I will post are Science curriculums (not DVD’s!). This one - Earth Rocks! – is for elementary ages and is published by AIMS Education Foundation. The book is 332 pages long, covers 50 topics, and it comes with a cd to make printing of the student pages really easy. I am currently using this book mostly for my eight year old. However, when we completed the Crystal Growing experiment a couple weeks ago to learn how igneous rocks form, all six of my children (from ages 3 to 13) had to get involved. It was that exciting :). I have had my just-turned-six-year-old sit in on a few of the lessons, and most of it goes over his head. I have asked my just-turned-eleven-year-old sit in once, and he was not challenged enough. I think this curriculum is perfect for 6.5 – 10.5 year old.
Each section of Earth Rocks starts with a page for the teacher and provides information about necessary supplies, the steps to each activity, and background information. Then four to five activity pages are provided for the student. When we were learning about igneous rocks, we started with the Growing Crystals experiment. We charted the crystals for five days, read and answered a series of questions about the experiment, read a little “rubberband” book about igneous rock formation, looked at igneous rocks from our rock kit and drew them, looked at a model drawing of a volcano and placed our igneous rocks on the picture based on where they formed, answered a set of questions about igneous rocks, and took lots of pictures! Each topic takes us about a week to complete, and the book includes 50 topics. It could certainly be done at a faster pace to be finished in one school year if you wished.
What I enjoy most as I teach this to my daughter is how engaged she has become. She is interpolating information, verifying her results, listening to the reading material and generally just enjoying Science. She doesn’t fight me about completing the lesson because she gets interested in whatever we are learning about. I also like how clear and neat the student handouts look. The little books are something my daughter is proud to “show and tell” when someone asks what she is learning. The hands-on aspect of this curriculum has been wonderful for her as well.
My Bottom Line: I love how simple Earth Rocks has been to implement in our home. So far, it has been straightforward and fun. We don’t get bogged down in the text, nor do we get overwhelmed by the hands-on projects. I am already thinking about which AIMS book I want to get next. That being said, I am disappointed in the old-earth perspective in one section of this book. We will probably skip that section. If I could find something this perfect for us with a young-earth perspective I would be ecstatic. Fortunately, most of this book does not include any references to the age of the earth and this one section does not detract from the value — because we are actually getting Science done!
Disclaimer: As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received this book at no cost to me, in exchange for an honest review on my blog. Here you have it. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. If you would like to see what my fellow crew mates have to say about this and other AIMS products, check here.