Posted by Umm Abdurahman | No Comments yet
Young children are very curious about the way in which the world works and my son is a particularly curious child in this respect. He would ask me questions on a daily basis with respect to the physical world around us and frequently I found myself not being able to answer him. When I was younger my approach to science was very similar and I was often not content with just learning (or should I say memorizing) what I was spoon fed. Frequently I had many questions that began with why, which often were not answered because they were deemed inappropriate as they went outside the scope of the syllabus. I did not want to make the same mistake with our son, and wanted to give him the opportunity to develop his mind and feed his curiosity by giving him a good foundation in science.
Initially due to lack of resources and money, I put together my own science curriculum for him, and although it was very time consuming, it was fun and proved to be a great introduction. Sometime after this I stumbled across a science curriculum called “real science 4 kids”. At the time I was able to view every single page of all the books online at http://www.gravitaspublications.com/elementary-sample-text and was very impressed. I liked what I saw and there was no ambiguity as I was able to see all the content, and know exactly what we were paying for. Although this feature is no longer available, you can still view some of the material in each book. We read through the books and really liked the approach the author took. The language and explanations were simplified for children to understand, but at the same time not dumbed down. She used a lot of simple analogies to explain things and the annotations were funny. The only thing we did not like was the price tag. They are quite expensive, in fact a little too expensive in my opinion. I liked the student textbooks and decided to just purchase them alone and intended to put together my own laboratory workbook for experiments.
We just completed the biology book as a lot of the work I had previously done with him was based around life sciences I thought it would be best to start with biology. So far he loves the lessons and often picks up the book when he has free playtime and reads through it. Initially I would read to him the lessons and ask questions to check his understanding. He really liked this and it was almost like a storybook approach for him. Now he does nearly all the reading. We try to keep the lessons short and brief, especially if there is a lot of new vocabulary involved. I always do a little quiz at the end of each lesson to review what we have learnt for that day and try to stress on the key words. At the beginning of each lesson we will do a quick review of what we covered in the past 2, 3 or 4 lessons. Sometimes we will find a YouTube video to supplement with the lesson but will only watch it at the end of the lesson.
To summarize, the pros of the series are:
- They are written in a very age appropriate way that is easy for children to understand.
- There is no ‘fluff’ and it is all actual real scientific concepts (I guess this is why they are called ‘real science 4 kids’.)
- The books are animated just enough to keep the child interested but not distracted.
- The books cover a very wide range of topics. The following is a list of these topics:
i. Studying life
ii. Sorting living things
iv. Sorting within kingdoms
Cells: A tiny City
ii. The cell
iii. How a cell functions (A tiny City)
iv. Parts of a cell
Food For Plants
i. How plants make food
ii. Different leaves and their purpose
i. The roots
ii. Leaves, stems, flowers
iii. Other places plants live
Growing a plant
ii. Baby plants
iii. Flowers and fruits
iv. The life cycle
i. Tiny creatures
ii. How can we see them
iii. Different kinds of tiny creatures
i. Euglena eat
ii. Paramecia eat
iii. Amoebas eat
iv. Other protozoa eat
iv. Adult butterfly
i. Life on land and in water
iv. Tadpoles to frogs
v. Adult frogs
Our balanced earth
i. What is balance
ii. Keeping the balance
iii. Cycles that help achieve this balance
- Although I haven’t used them I did look through the lab books and all of the items needed to complete experiments are cheap items that you already have at home or can easily purchase.
- This book is not a religious based book. When we looked into science curriculums we ran into the problem where they fell into either one of two categories, either they were secular and included Darwinism or they were Christian based. Unfortunately we did not come across any Islamic curriculums so when we found real science 4 kids we were happy with their neutral approach as this would allow for us to add to the lessons as we needed from an Islamic standpoint and remind our child that Allah is the creator of all these things.
- The price! They are a little expensive therefore I highly recommend trying to purchase them used.
- The books although are available in PDF, cost just as much as the hardcopy.