By Carrie Fernandez – Hearts at Home Curriculum
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I was so excited when my box from Truth in Science arrived. I had heard great things about this curriculum from my customers, but I had not yet personally flipped through the pages. It didn’t take long for me to realize that my expectations had been exceeded.
First, let me start off by pointing out some of my favorite aspects. It is in full color and each of the 11 units or “steps” are in their own booklet, which is thin enough to three hole punch. These booklets are not flimsy, thin-papered books with less than stellar images; they really went all out with the colors and graphics. I also like the teacher manual, which is spiral bound so you can easily open it up and keep your place.
Truth in Science takes a spiral approach to teaching science. Starting at grade 3 and going through grade 6, the student will learn material that is built upon year after year. This makes it easy if you are going to be teaching multiple grade levels, since the units are essentially covering the same type of material for each grade level.
What I found to be a great thing about this curriculum is that it can easily be student led and self-paced. The teacher manual is a great asset to this curriculum, although, essentially, it can be used without it. The components are sold separately so you can purchases an answer key without having to buy the teacher manual for the answers. My preference would be to utilize the teacher manual to enhance this wonderful curriculum and get the most out of it.
The Teacher Manual
The teacher manual is a goldmine in itself. I learned a lot reading over the educational philosophy, which discusses why worldview is important to science and how TIS weaves into each concept taught our origin, purpose, identity, and destiny. The teacher manual outlines quick teaching schedules with ideas on how to allot time per lesson based on how many days per week you plan to teach science. This is a very flexible curriculum and will fit into any schedule. There are suggestions on how you can use this curriculum in a way that would reduce the time to cover material without sacrificing the integrity of the lesson, for those with less time to work on science.
The teacher manual has chapter overviews that contain a planning guide that lists lesson titles, objectives, activities, interesting facts, quotes, and a teacher’s commentary. Also listed are vocabulary words, teacher illustrations, and materials required – all at a glance. Each lesson displays a lesson organizer in addition to the above chapter overviews as well as a memory verse. The teacher manual will guide the teacher as they ask questions and teach the material. It is broken down to encourage discussions and interactions.
The Student Books – Units/Steps
There are 11 units included with each grade. There are 10 lessons in each unit. Depending on your schedule for science, you may have your student complete all 10 lessons or eliminate up to 2 of them and still get a lot out of this curriculum - a full year’s worth. There are 5 study lessons with Q&A, one lab, one teacher demo, a project or report, a Bible quiz and chapter review and finally a chapter assessment. The teacher manual suggests that you can eliminate the project/report and the chapter assessment if you need to save time and stay on track.
The writers of TIS are careful to introduce science that the secular world has accepted as standard. It is in a section apart from section one, which integrates a Biblical worldview. Teaching our children science defined by accepted science standards allows them to gain the knowledge to perform well on standardized tests. It also allows us the opportunity to refute inaccurate information by teaching them how to identify theories versus facts and to show where false teachings contradict scripture. Each chapter has two tests, one that integrates science with a Biblical worldview and the other test is written according to secular standards.
I suppose you could leave that out if you did not feel it was important, however, I agree with the writers that it is necessary to know what we believe as Christians so we can develop a Biblical worldview. If your student does not know what secular science is teaching, they may not be well equipped to defend his/her faith.
I have thoroughly gone through grades 3-6 and have found TIS to be an outstanding science curriculum. It is Biblically sound and presents the information in an easy to learn, self-paced format. I like how each of the grades 3-6 build on facts already learned so the student’s knowledge in that particular area is expanded each year. Instead of studying one topic such as biology or earth science for the entire year, you are getting a little of everything each year. At the end of 6th grade, if your student did TIS for grades 3-6, they would be well educated in all areas of general science and have a strong foundation to take into middle school. At the same time, if you jump in at grade 6, your student will still get a well rounded, full year of science. The spiral approach also makes it super easy to teach multiple grades, which is important to homeschooling families.
TIS is a pricier science curriculum than some of the other choices available, but in my opinion, it is well worth it. The teacher manual and student books are very well put together and eye appealing as well. The student books are colorful and have great pictures and the material is broken up into sections, which I find to be a key in not overwhelming my student. It is not a typical textbook, nor does it read like a living book. It engages student and teacher alike and makes learning science fun. I wish I would have found Truth in Science sooner!