Monday, June 4, 2012

Review: Elemental Science, Biology Logic Stage {and Giveaway!}

 
 

Confession Time

I have become extraordinarily lazy about teaching science. It's ridiculous, I know. One of the reasons we started homeschooling in the first place was because our older son's public school experience was severely lacking in science education. And my husband teaching biology at a large university, for Pete's sake! 

I did so much science with my firstborn; I am sure he read through every single science book on our well-stocked bookshelves dozens of times. Then the other two kids came along, and I slacked off. I have relied heavily on the science classes that are offered through our co-op's enrichment class program.

It's time for me to start a more serious science program with Duncan (6th grade), so I was excited when I received the opportunity to review Biology for the Logic Stage by Elemental Science.

First of all, let me say that I won't review just any homeschool product that comes along. When I am offered a chance to review a product, I look at the website first to determine if it is something I will actually use in our homeschooling

I knew as soon as I downloaded sample pages that I may have actually found the science program for which I'd been searching.  Biology for the Logic Stage is a 36-week study of plants, animal life, and the human body, geared toward 5th and 6th graders. The package (available via e-book or printed version) includes an easy-to-follow teacher's guide (with 2-day/week or 5-day/week options) and a student's guide.

My Experience with Elemental Science {Thus Far}

First of all, I loved author Paige Hudson's introduction and how-to-use pages. Here is an example (click for a bigger picture) of how clear and concise the instructions are (anything that promises something "in a nutshell" is appealing to me!):


Hudson provides ample flexibility in the teacher's guide. For example, she suggests ways to make this work with older and younger students, to match ability to writing requirements, and to study a topic in a broader context, such as with biographies of scientists.

Once I read the whole teacher's guide, I decided that we would, indeed, be using this for science in the upcoming school year. I ordered the two required spines: DK's Encyclopedia of Nature and The Kingfisher Science Encyclopedia.


Both are lovely, fat books. As soon as I opened the box and put the books on the coffee table, my older two kids (14 and 19) grabbed them up. Reading assignments are given from both books with nearly every lesson, so I knew I'd need to buy them rather than borrow from the library. The text in both is in short segments with plenty of pictures and diagrams.



Hudson's list of materials in clearly laid out. One of the things I loved about Sonlight's elementary science program is that one could buy the box of supplies that were needed. An experiment kit with "all the hard to find or difficult to get materials for the experiments" is also an option with Biology for the Logic Stage. Because I am a terribly last-minute person, I will most likely go ahead and order this kit; however, if you would rather gather your own supplies, the necessary materials are clearly indicated for each lesson. 


Although we are now on summer break, I decided to go ahead and try out the program with Duncan. We started in Week 6 with Mold and Fungi because, well, what 11-year-old doesn't want to grow mold? Here is a shot of the 2-day/week lesson plan:
 And Duncan preparing his experiment:


Each day Duncan observes his bread and records any changes in his student notebook. He knows what's going to happen, of course. Moldy bread is practically a staple in our kitchen. But how much more fun it is for him to actually observe it and watch the changes, rather than announcing, "MOM! The bread is moldy!"



What I Love {So Far} About Elemental Science

1. I can't emphasize this enough: the program is well organized and easy to navigate.
2. The science is good, solid science. Hudson is a good writer, and the two spines that go along with the program are colorful, detailed, and easy-to-read and absorb.
3. Hudson doesn't shove religion into science. As she explains, “although I am a Christian, I have tried to write Elemental Science as non-sectarian. I have done my best to write each program in a manner that focuses on the science being studied instead of a person’s religious viewpoint.” The "science being studied"—hurray!! I am so happy for a program that doesn't try to squeeze Bible verses in everywhere just to make a point.
4. The program is flexible. You can do with it as much or as little as you wish, depending on your own schedule.
5. The experiments are fun and simple. Complicated experiments are frustrating to me and, in turn, frustrating to my kids. Hudson provides clear directions and explicit details.

What Else Does Elemental Science Offer?

Oh, lots and more to come.
  • The current biology programs include (besides the Logic Stage reviewed here) the Grammar Stage for K-2 and several "Lapbooking Through..." titles. (See Fruit in Season's review of Lapbooking Through Habitats for a great example.)
  • The current Earth Science and Astronomy program includes the Grammar Stage (2nd/3rd grades) and Logic Stage (6th/7th grade) as well as lapbooks. (See a review of the Grammar Stage ESA at Meet Penny.)
  • The current chemistry program is Grammar Stage (3rd/4th grades) only but more to come.
  • The current physics program includes Grammar Stage (4th/5th) with Logic Stage (7th/8th) coming soon.

Your Turn!

Would you like to win your own Biology for the Logic Stage program? All you have to do is leave a comment below between now and Thursday, June 7.  For additional entries,
• let me know that you've followed Elemental Science on Twitter
• Take a look at the Elemental Science website and tell me what product you are most interested in.

Please remember to leave a comment for each entry!  Giveaway will close on Thursday night, June 7, at midnight.  The winner will have two days (until midnight on June 9) to reply.  Make sure you include your valid email address with your comments!


Tomorrow, stop by Jessica’s blog at Bohemian Bowmans to read about her experience with Physics Grammar Stage. She’ll be having a giveaway as well. Be sure to visit Aadel’s blog review from Friday to learn more about Lapbooking through the Human Body.

**Legal disclosure: No purchase necessary to enter or win. I received this product for free and will be compensated for the review; however, I was not required to present a positive review and the opinions are my own. The review was arranged by iHomeschoolNetwork.com.


52 comments:

  1. I am loving the flexibility and the simple experiments in our program, too. I enjoyed your review - thanks for the information!!

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  2. Fantastic review! Thank you...I've been on the hunt for something just like this for next year. And what perfect timing for a curriculum review!

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  3. I am now following them as @camomus
    My email is camomus at gmail

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  4. ...and I checked out the website and we could use the Biology for the Logic Stage, but I was super excited to see the upcoming History of Biologist. This year we went through the history of the periodic table and had a blast with it.

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  5. Very helpful review. I was planning on using a science textbook that we have (that I consider rather boring) with Hannah this year, but you've got me reconsidering. If I am the lucky winner of the Bio curriculum, I'll gladly use it. If not, I'm considering the logic stage Earth Science and Astronomy.

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  6. Thanks for the review. You've got me reconsidering what to do with my rising 6th grader. I'm considering either the Biology you reviewed (especially if I win it) or the logic level Earth Science and Astronomy.

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  7. I've looked at their products in the past. It's nice to see that logic stage materials are becoming available. Thanks for the review!

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  8. What a wonderful, thorough and helpful review. And I'm not just saying that because I'd LOVE to win this program. It looks like just what we need.
    Thanks!

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  9. I'm following Elemental Science on Twitter.

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  10. After looking at their website, besides the Biology for the logic stage, I think we'd try the Earth, Science and Astronomy program.

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  11. Oh, this looks wonderful! What an excellent review! We'd love a chance to win this.

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  12. I looked at their page. Physics for the grammar stage would be PERFECT for our next year!

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  13. Between your great review and actually seeing some of Jane's books in person I am leaning more toward this for a science curriculum because I need "easy to navigate" when it comes to science. Like Sonlight, it does have those great books to stock our shelves and the science kit that helps the procrastinators out there (me!). Thanks for the chance to win! I think we would start with Biology for the Grammar stage.

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  14. And I am following Elemental Science on twitter!

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  15. We are currently using their Intro to Science program for my oldest 2 (6 &4). We are all loving it. It's very well-written and uncomplicated. I am thrilled to know they have more curriculum available for the older ages.

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  16. You can ROCK a review, Sarah Small! This is an interesting program...

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  17. I think this looks great and would love to win it. Thank you for the review.

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  18. I think the physics curriculum looks fun.

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  19. Elemental Science is one of the few secular homeschool science programs that made it on my short list. Would love to win a copy!

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  20. I would love to try out a new science program for next year. We have gone through so many and have never found one that we like. This year we did our own inquiry based science and loved it, but it was VERY time consuming for me. I'd like to find a curriculum I can use and then wing it on days when we have time. I'm checking out their website now.

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  21. I just heard about this science program this year and I have also been very interested in it. The organization seems just right, and I would really like to try it. I don't use Twitter, but I follow Elemental science on Facebook and subscribed to the blog, does that count? Pick me, pick me!

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  22. I wouldn't mind trying this out. Thanks for the chance to win!

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  23. Sounds like a great program, and I love that it is about the science being studied. I would welcome something already made for me this year :)

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  24. This is an interesting program! I love the way it breaks down the weeks into 2 day and 5 day programs. Easy at a glance supply list! After looking at their site, I'd pick between Earth Science/Astronomy Logic or the Biology Logic stage.

    neemee1974 at yahoo dot com

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  25. We love science and will definitely check this program out! Thanks for the thorough review! :)

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  26. Thank you for the thorough review. We love science and will definitely take a closer look at this program!

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  27. That was a really helpful review. Sometimes I think various programs don't work because I do them too early or too late. I think Elemental Science at this point might be a good fit.

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  28. Oh I really hope I win. . .I never win these type of things. . .oh please, oh please pick me! My entire homeschooling success may depend on this win. Okay, sorry. . .I was in one of those moods! Great review!!

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  29. Just read your review of Elemental Science and also ventured to their website for more information. We will be homeschooling for the 1st time in the fall. I was wondering what to do with a 5 year old that loves science experiments. I think I may have just found what I am looking for.

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  30. I've been drooling over this program on their website! Thanks for a thorough review that confirms my speculations!
    I'd love to win Biology for the Logic Stage, as my daughter will be in 6th this coming fall.

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  31. Thanks for the review. My daughter loves science and we have been way lacking in that area. Their products look great.

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  32. Thanks so much for the review. My daughter loves science and that is one area where we are lacking basically because I did not have a good program. Their products look wonderful.

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  33. I love the grammar stages either Biology or Earth Science and Astronomy. I would be just what we need for next year... Thanks again for introducing me to such great products.

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  34. I would love to be entered for the drawing! Thanks, Sarah!

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  35. What a great-looking curriculum! I'd sure love to try it - we are total science nerds. :0). My email address is kellysowell at sbcglobal dot net. Thanks for the review!

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  36. Just checked out their website. I am most interested in the "History of..." series because we're planning on making a history of science timeline this next year. My email address is kellysowell at sbcglobal dot net. Awesome giveaway - thanks!!

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  37. I am leaning toward this program for the fall so would love to win!

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  38. I am also interested in the Biology lapbook for my younger ones next year. :)

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  39. Thanks for providing such a good review of this program!

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  40. Right now we are using Chemistry for Grammar stage and will be moving up to Logic stage next year. We would LOVE to have the Biology for Logic stage. Email is odindaph at gmail dot com

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  41. My five year olds will begin homeschooling in the fall and we'd love to try Elemental Science. The Earth Science looks great, but really all of the subjects look great! We'd love to win this! My email is csamples2 at charter . net

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  42. I am considering this program for my 5th grader next fall. I love that it's affordable, and follows the WTM. I considered putting things together for myself, and then I found this. It would be SO much easier this way! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. I love being able to see what other families are doing :)

    My email is tharrup at kc.rr.com

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  43. I followed ES on twitter :) BTW, I didn't mention in the previous post that I was most excited about ES Biology for the logic stage. Thank you so, so much for the opportunity!

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  44. This was a great review. We are currently using Intro to Science and Biology for the Grammar Stage with my youngest too. My oldest will be using Biology for the Logic Stage this coming Fall. All of Paige's programs are great. They have made learning and teaching science so much fun.

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  45. We love Elemental Science around here. It makes sure that science gets done.

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  46. We will be looking for Biology for the Grammar Stage or any of the Logic stage products very soon.

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  47. Thank you for a chance to win!
    dinos_still_exist@yahoo.com

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  48. This looks like a great program - just what I've been looking for!
    D.Benson

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  49. Checked out their website - All the Logic level titles look interesting!
    Bensonhome@charter.net

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  50. Oh, I have been doing end of the year testing with my girls this week and haven't turned on the computer. I am so sad to have missed out on such an awesome giveaway! My oldest will be in 5th grade next year and that science program looks great!

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  51. Did you select a winner yet? I am very much interested in this curriculum.

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  52. Thanks for the review! I'm planning to use the Biology for Grammar Stage with my daughter in the spring. It looks like what we've been searching for in science. We'll see! We're excited!

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