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How To Have A Productive Homeschool Science Year

Mother and son working at table

If you follow a traditional school year, right about now, you’re getting into the swing of lessons and activities.

Most homeschooling families will include reading and language arts, handwriting and composition, and mathematics in their everyday lesson plans.

Of course, we want to give our children a well-rounded education, so we include history, science, perhaps a foreign language, and maybe art and music.

For some, science is an exciting and interesting topic, and making time for the subject is easy. Often, our children will be excited and interested in science simply because we are.

But what if you as a home educator shy away from science? How can you include this important subject while keeping your kids interested and also your sanity?

Let’s explore ways to make science an anticipated part of your homeschool adventure, all while taking out the stress and angst that can come from including a topic that may not be your favorite.

Elementary Homeschool Science

science through history box set

Our science courses are designed to create critical thinkers, no matter what level.

This means you aren’t literally teaching science, but instead are introducing concepts and allowing your student to make observations, form opinions, and reach conclusions.

The comprehension questions at the end of each chapter will show you how well they absorbed the information.

With our Science Through HIStory courses, you can present information as slowly or rapidly as your student desires.

Each course includes enough lessons for you to schedule science every other day or twice per week and cover the entire course in a standard school year.

If you have a science fan in your family, you can go even faster!

IMPORTANT: We encourage you to provide a notebook for each student each year to record observations, questions, answers, and to draw, paint, color, or otherwise illustrate the ideas they learn.

For an every-other-day science schedule, let’s say you plan a science lesson on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

The elementary lessons should only take a few minutes. You’ll introduce the topic and the hands-on experiment, then allow your student to make observations.

Encourage your homeschooler to add what they’ve learned in their notebook.

The review questions will uncover any areas you may need to explain.

And that’s it! You’ve covered science for the day.

Of course, if your student enjoys the topic and wants to explore more, let them! Offer library books or science videos on the topic, head out for a related field trip, or just sit back and see what activity they design on their own.

Elementary homeschool science can be enjoyable for the whole family when you keep lessons light and spend plenty of time allowing pure observation to build enthusiasm.

Junior High Homeschool Science

earth science textbook cover
earth science textbook cover

As your homeschooler moves into junior high, you can move forward with confidence using our courses designed for them.

One thing you’ll need to stress is good math skills as they progress into more difficult topics. This will prepare your student for higher level science, which of course, requires higher level math.

Typically, you’ll cover one course per year unless your student needs to go at a slower or faster pace. You’ll also provide a clean notebook for each course as a repository for concepts and observations throughout the year.

Since junior high science lessons are a bit more in-depth than earlier courses, you may need to schedule time for science every day, including hands-on experiments.

Experiments can become the highlight of the science lesson since your homeschooler will have an opportunity to see the concept as a concrete activity.

Help your student maintain their enthusiasm for science by allowing them to think critically and make their own observations and connections, building on what they learned in earlier years.

Fun topical books, videos, and activities will make science enjoyable for the whole family.

We also offer online classes and self-paced recorded classes for a customizable science experience.

The review and comprehension questions at the end of each chapter will help you and them know what they’ve grasped and what may still need to be investigated.

High School Homeschool Science

Some homeschool parents get nervous when their student reaches high school and is ready for higher level sciences.

We’re here to help with that!

Continue to stress higher math skills. These are crucial to understanding the concepts taught in biology, chemistry, and physics.

Notebooks will also be quite useful to help your student corral all the information they are receiving during their science lessons.

To cover a high school science course in a year, you may need daily science lessons unless your student grasps a concept quickly and wants to move on.

We provide a thorough science education using labs to prepare your student for college. Many of the materials you’ll have on hand at home. The rest we make available to you in our lab kits.

Chapter review and comprehension questions are critical to helping both you and your high schooler understand what material is clear and what is not.

For students who learn better by listening, we offer audio courses. In addition, we have online courses for those who prefer an in-person science experience.

In your school year, also plan to include additional books, documentaries, field trips, or other learning experiences to help your student make the most of their homeschool science adventure.

Homeschool Science With Berean Builders

We’re confident you and your student will enjoy our science courses. With Dr. Wile’s conversational manner of introducing a topic, the straight-forward experiments offered, and the gentle review questions at the end of each chapter, Berean Builders will help your student become a critical thinker in science, and in life.

And as always, if you have questions or need resources or reassurance, we are more than happy to assist as you and your student explore God’s creation with Berean Builders.

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7 Benefits of Using Notebooking for the Best Science Experience

7 Benefits of Using notebooking for the best science experience

Notebooking may seem like a recent invention for homeschoolers, but did you know natural philosophers and scientists from long ago used notebooks? Just look at Leonardo da Vinci’s wonderful collection of pages he used to capture his thoughts and ideas!

The term notebooking is another way of describing journaling. If you’ve ever written your thoughts down in a blank book or dabbled in scrapbooking, you understand the concept of notebooking.

What notebooking is not: a stack of worksheets in a binder. Busy work may seem like a learning tool, but lessons presented in a boring, rigid format don’t allow for free thinking and creativity.

How does notebooking work as a learning tool?

Just like scrapbooking creates a visual representation of the memories you had of an event, notebooking helps your child organize and process what they’re learning to turn their working knowledge into a concrete, visual representation of what they remember from their lessons.

In addition, science tells us that writing down questions and answers creates synapses in the brain that help learners retain information longer. This hands-on approach makes learning personal and fun.

When should students begin using notebooks for science?

Any student can use a notebook to help them record what they see and experience while learning new concepts in science.

Even elementary students can draw pictures or create designs with pieces of paper and glue, just like scrapbooking.

For those students who think faster than they can write, you can take dictation and record their thoughts on pages they can illustrate.

As students move up through more difficult sciences, they can use their notebooks to help them think through ideas and record their theories and the outcomes of their research and lab experiments.

Our preference is for each child to have their own blank, lined, spiralbound notebook for each of our textbooks. This notebook would be used to record study notes as they’re reading/doing activities, copy any questions asked and their answers (lesson review, comprehension checks, chapter review, and practice problems).

Unstructured notebooks offer plenty of room for your student to draw pictures or diagrams, paste in cutouts, or write their own personal thoughts which will further their understanding of a topic.

A blank notebook allows them the freedom to write as much or as little as they want (or make a drawing as big or as little as they want) rather than being constrained by a preprinted box or number of lines or feeling inadequate because they didn’t use all the space available.

But don’t let us restrict creativity! An artist’s sketchbook, a scrapbook, or any other creative journal can be the perfect repository for your student’s science adventure.

Remember, students don’t have to be creative writers to jot down what they observe. But if sometimes the “blank page syndrome” rears its ugly head, and you prefer a preprinted notebook experience, Berean offers free PDFs you can download and print.

Download (free!) the notebook for any curriculum here or purchase preprinted spiral bound products from our resellers on the Where to Buy page.

The 7 Benefits of Notebooking

Recall

Students who use notebooks for questions, answers, diagrams, sketches, and random thoughts recall more about the topic and remember it longer than students who use worksheets or other passive learning tools.

Critical Thinking

Students can use notebooks as a place to capture out-of-the-box trains of thought when they are investigating a new topic.

Skill Building

Students hone their skills through notebooking. Creative writing, technical writing, capturing their thoughts into words, realistic drawing, and recording observations are all skills that will develop or improve within the pages of a science notebook.

Ownership

Creating a personalized documentary of their progression through a science course complete with their writing and drawing helps students own their learning experience.

Review and Study

Notebooks contain the knowledge your student has gained during the course organized in the way they best understand it. This becomes a valuable tool for review and study.

Holding Tank

When a topic causes your student to think of a random unrelated question, the notebook is there to help them record their query to prevent it from interfering with their current point of study.

Follow Up and Evaluation

You will be able to look through notebooks to gauge your student’s comprehension of covered topics. If there is a clear issue, you can review that topic, or pass on the notebook page to someone else for their opinion.

Bonus Benefit: Memories

Avid notebookers have amassed libraries of their thoughts and sketches. How wonderful for your student to have a collection of everything they’ve learned in homeschool science.

How to get started notebooking

The good news is there’s no one right way to use notebooks in your homeschool. Your kids can write, draw, paste, cut, fold, paint, and color their way through their science lessons. All of this creativity and self-expression leads to learning and understanding.

When your student begins a new science course, provide them with a fresh, clean notebook. You can help them decide how they will keep their notes by offering suggestions, then let them continue with their own ideas.

Encourage them to copy comprehension and review questions from each chapter into their notebooks followed by their answers.

Your student can also use the notebooks to study for the tests at the end of each chapter, or a year-end review if you wish.

These notebooks will document science lessons throughout the years and will not only help for standardized test review but may offer fond recollections of their favorite topics.

Get creative! Maybe your student wants to keep a scrapbook-type binder or create fancy folded mini-books. Whatever helps them learn should be encouraged.

If they have an artistic streak, their drawings may become framed decorations for your walls!

No matter how your student proceeds, you and they will find notebooking to be an outstanding way to learn science.

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Discovering Design With Biology

Biology textbook cover

Dr. Wile has joined with Dr. Paul Madtes, university biology professor and lead author of the text, to bring you the latest in our science courses: Discovering Design with Biology.

As he explains in this blog post, Dr. Wile observed the original and second edition of the book Exploring Creation With Biology needed a refresh, but circumstances arranged themselves to allow for Dr. Wile and Dr. Madtes to write a completely new biology text that is lab-based and prepares your student for college level biology.

Like Discovering Design With Earth Science, Discovering Design With Biology gives glory to the One who created it all.

And because the lead author is a biologist, the book “builds biology from the ground up” beginning with  molecules and cells and progressing through to animals, plants, and the ecosystems and biomes they inhabit.

You will find beautiful full-color images, easy-to-understand explanations, and user-friendly experiments in every chapter. The experiments are designed specifically to increase understanding of the biological concepts in the text.

Some of the experiments require particular items available in the optional lab kit. Follow this link for a list of materials included in the kit for the lab experiments, as well as the items you’ll need to provide.

Table of contents list

Scope and sequence

Let’s explore the chapters and the science contained inside.

Introduction

The introduction contains a thorough explanation of how to get the most out of your Discovering Design with Biology book, experiments, and worksheets and how to incorporate science study in your homeschool schedule.

It covers the importance of including hands-on learning through experimentation. It also stresses the need to keep up with notes and record the results of experiments performed.

We want to make sure your student has access to as much support as needed. Dr. Wile is available to answer questions through a dedicated website for students that also contains searchable questions and answers.

Chapter 1  Introduction to Biology

coral

Chapter 1 explains the layout of the units in the book then dives into the basic definition of life. Each section further explains the characteristics living organisms have and how biologists organize these features, including how they come up with the names of organisms. Your student will get a review of the scientific method and how to conduct experiments, plus discover how energy flows through the living world. Finally, the chapter discusses natural selection’s role in biological adaptation.

Chapter 2 The Chemistry of Life

molecule

This chapter explores the chemical building blocks of life from atoms to compounds and how these chemicals are arranged in living organisms. There is a section devoted to water and its characteristics, and the chapter introduces groups of molecules and their functions necessary for life.

Chapter 3 Cells

drawing of a cell

Building on the previous information, this chapter explains the complexity of cells and how they are made up of complex molecules and biomachines. It investigates the multitude of cell types and their functions in living things including energy exchange, protection, and osmosis, all pointing to an intricate design that allows cells to function properly.

Chapter 4 Cell Division

drawing of cell division

Once your student understands cells, they are ready to explore how cells divide and reproduce. This chapter takes them through the cell cycle and discusses the differences between animal and plant cells. It also discusses chromosomes and the human life cycle. There’s even a section on AI and the difficulties robots would face trying to replicate themselves.

Chapter 5 Genetics

drawing of DNA

This chapter breaks down genetics and how traits are passed down from parent to offspring beginning with the simple experiments of Gregor Mendel and working through nature vs. nurture. Your student will discover how each can affect the outcomes of reproduction including mutations and other genetic abnormalities.

Chapter 6 Biotechnology

biotechnology

Our bodies and all living creatures have systems in place to protect from biological invaders such as viruses by destroying important parts of the molecules. Science has created technology that they use to take apart and reconstruct biological molecules to engineer compounds and processes that can keep us healthy. Some topics include insulin, cancer treatments, and gene therapy, plus the bioethics of this technology.

Chapter 7 Microbiology – Archaea and Bacteria

bacteria

Now the course dives into the world of microbes and investigates their hidden world via a microscope. Your student will get to culture some bacteria in an experiment, then go on to explore organisms that live in extreme environments as well as those microbes that can make us sick.

Chapter 8 Microbiology – Protists and Fungi

mushroom

This chapter introduces your student to the “miscellaneous” section of living organisms and explain why they are so difficult to categorize. It also explores different types of protists and fungi and explains their characteristics, such as amoeba, plankton, algae, yeast, mold, and mushrooms. It finishes up with symbiosis in the fungal world as well as diseases caused by fungi.

Chapter 9 Invertebrates

dragonfly on leaf

Time to move on to organisms without backbones and get a brief overview of their characteristics: corals, jellyfish, worms, starfish, snails, shellfish, and insects. This chapter covers the biological makeup of these creatures and their likely habitats, then gives your student a chance to dissect a crayfish.

Chapter 10 Vertebrates: Fish and Amphibians

fish

 

The next group of animals the course explores includes fish, frogs, toads, and salamanders, plus takes a look at their habitats, eating habits, and reproductive cycles. It also considers the evolutionary model that suggests fish evolved into amphibians and why this may not be possible.

Chapter 11 Reptiles, Birds, and Mammals

cheetah

Now the course investigates the vertebrate groups of the snakes, lizards, turtles, dinosaurs, all kinds of birds, and mammals from mice to whales, plus the characteristics of each, and the varied environments they inhabit. The chapter also covers reproductive cycles including hatching eggs, pouch-dwelling offspring, and placental mammals and investigates the problems with the evolutionary theory of dinosaurs becoming modern birds.

Chapter 12 Primates and Humans

drawing of the respiratory system in a human

Finally, this chapter covers the last of the animal classes, primates. It discusses the characteristics of apes, monkeys, chimpanzees, and gorillas. And while humans are indeed considered primates, they are described separately. The chapter breaks down the major systems of the human body and discusses the importance of each and ends with a discussion of what it means to be created in the image of God.

Chapter 13 Plants – Anatomy and Classification

close up of leave with water droplets

The course moves from animals to plants in this chapter and describes their cellular and tissue structure of leaves, stems, roots, and flowers, and how plants are classified. It also explores the varied ways plants reproduce themselves.

Chapter 14 Plants – Physiology

plant with snail

Once your student understands the structure of plants, they’re ready to learn how plants behave. From photosynthesis to pollination to germination and growth, this chapter reveals the physiology of plants throughout the days and seasons. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how some countries have bestowed certain legal rights to flora under their control, and why this does not align with biblical teachings.

Chapter 15 Environmental Science

weather system

Now that the course has covered the living creatures in our world, it moves on to discuss how the physical world impacts the organisms in it and vice versa. It covers the ecological pyramid and explores how energy flows from one group to another. Next up, the text covers global biological cycles that stem from weather and the cycles of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorous around the globe. It also discusses climate, soil, and biodiversity, which contribute to the availability (or not) of important natural resources, and the various stresses and threats to nature.

Chapter 16 Ecosystems

lake ecosystem

Finally, the course takes all the separate parts it presented in the previous chapters and blends them to help your student understand how living organisms interact with their surroundings in different biomes. As species live either independently, cooperatively, or competitively, they thrive or decline according to the resources in their ecosystem. The chapter refers back to concepts presented to tie all the biological information together.

Lab-Based Biology

plants in petri dishes

There are a total of total of 38 experiments that require roughly 40 hours of laboratory work. Of those experiments, 17 use household items. These include extracting DNA from fruit, determining the effects of temperature and pH on proteins, exploring reflexes, and exploring the effect of surface area on diffusion.

There are 14 experiments that use a microscope kit, including identifying different stages of mitosis, examining bacteria cultures, studying blood, and studying invertebrates. The other 7 experiments use a dissection kit and include the earthworm, crayfish, fish, and frog. See the complete lab supplies list here.

Get Started with Discovering Design With Biology

In addition to solid science and thought-provoking questions, this set includes printable Worksheets as well as a Student Notebook for exploring questions and keeping track of chapter review answers.

If this looks like the perfect biology book for your student, take a look at Discovering Design With Biology today.

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3 Benefits of a Historical Approach to Science

science through history box set

If you have multiple children in elementary level studies, good news! Dr. Wile’s elementary science series contains multi-level books you can use for any grade K-6.

Science Through HiStory is elementary science simplified!

And the unique feature of this wonderful course is it uses history as its guide.

Science concepts are presented in the order they were discovered while constantly reminding students of the Creator who fashioned the marvels they are studying.

How We Teach Science: Historical vs. Topical

Most elementary science programs are built around a topical approach to science where students work through a unit focused on one area of science (i.e., weather) before moving to a different topic.

But Berean Builders’ five-volume Science Through HiStory series takes a completely different approach, exploring science through a chronological journey through science.

Students learn science in the order it was discovered by the great scientists of history. As a result, the topics change frequently.

For example, in the first 15 lessons of Science in the Ancient World, students learn about measuring tall things, fire, music, atoms, and medicine. The topics are unified by the people who studied them and the way science was developing at the time.

You may be asking, “Why chronological science?”

3 Reasons to Teach Science Using a Historical Approach

  1. Students learn the enormous debt science owes to Christianity. 

Many unsuspecting students are taught that Christianity has opposed science throughout history. In fact, if it weren’t for Christianity, we wouldn’t have the science we have today. When a

student sees how science developed, this truth becomes obvious.

  1. Students get a more realistic view of how science works.

Science is mostly about making mistakes and then learning from those mistakes. For example, in other curricula, students could be taught a brief synopsis of how the scientific view of the solar system changed over time. In our course, they learn in detail what scientists initially thought and see each major step that produced the modern view of the solar system.

  1. Thanks to frequent review, students have better retention. 

In a historical approach, students continually revisit science topics but in the context of a new person and how he refined an old idea. This narrative method makes science more interesting than a topical approach so children remember the material longer.

For more information about our historical approach to science, see p. 4 of the catalog.

The Eras of Science Through HiStory

science in the beginning book cover

Science in the Beginning uses the Biblical days of creation to introduce a wide range of scientific topics including the nature of light, energy conservation, the properties of air and water, introductory botany, our solar system, basic zoology, and some aspects of human anatomy and physiology.

science in the ancient world book cover

Science in the Ancient World covers the work of the natural philosophers who lived from about 600 BC to the early 1500s AD and presents science as it was developed. The ancient scientists, some who were devout Christians, got a lot right but also missed the mark on certain ideas. We explore these mistakes to advance our understanding of the natural world.

science in the scientific revolution book cover

Science in the Scientific Revolution spends time with natural philosophers from 1543 to the end of the 1600s covering new science concepts as they were discovered. From human anatomy to electricity and the laws of motion, this book shows the scientific thinking of the philosophers who embraced the Christian faith.

science in the age of reason book cover

Science in the Age of Reason sheds light on the discoveries of scientists from the 1600s to the early 1800s. The book covers a wide range of topics being discovered at the time and allows students a peek into the worldview of these pioneers and how that worldview shaped their scientific conclusions.

science in the industrial age book cover

Science in the Industrial Age encompasses the multitude of scientific discoveries that took place during the 1800s and early 1900s. The variety of topics covered includes biology, chemistry, geology, medicine, cell biology, and radiation, and brings to light how the worldview of the scientists affected the conclusions they drew.

Flexible and Engaging Science for Elementary Students

Each of these books can be used as a stand-alone science text and presents plenty of hands-on activities to keep elementary students engaged and curious.

Plus, with three levels of review for the lessons, you can adjust the level of challenge for each individual child. Older students can work with their younger siblings to enrich their science learning experience.

Coordinate Your History and Science Lessons If You Choose

What’s this special approach that no other science program takes? It’s a chronological one.

With this linear approach, it seems a natural fit to synchronize your Berean science to whatever history program you’re using. We have a guide here where you can find detailed notes for meshing these popular history programs with the Science Through HiStory series:

  • Biblioplan
  • Diana Waring
  • My Father’s World
  • The Mystery of History
  • Simply Charlotte Mason
  • Story of the World
  • Tapestry of Grace
  • Veritas

But Should I Synchronize My Science and History Programs?

Yes, aligning your history and science programs may make sense on the surface, but please be forewarned: The process is a bit difficult and not all that beneficial.

First of all, history progressed at a steady pace, but science did not. Science started out slowly and then gained a lot of momentum as the Christian worldview developed. It gained even more momentum as technology developed.

For example, Science in the Ancient World covers about 2,100 years of history. The next book, Science in the Scientific Revolution, covers only 200 years. And the remaining two books, Science in the Age of Reason and Science in the Industrial Age, cover only 100 years each. Science in the Atomic Age (for junior high) also covers only about 100 years.

Your history program’s pace may not match at all!

We think the best thing you can do is cover history and science separately without worrying about matching them up perfectly. When you encounter the same ideas, scientists, or events in a different course, you get a chance to review what was already covered!

Your homeschool is a reflection of you and your family’s needs and goals.

We are delighted to offer this flexible, chronological approach to elementary science you can use in the way that works best for you!

And, as always, we are available to answer your questions about how to get the most out of our courses for your unique homeschool experience.

 

 

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Homeschool Science Labs Made Easy

homeschool science lab

It’s no secret Berean Builders courses prepare your student for university level science.

You’re ready for science at home!

But what about homeschool science labs?

Does the word lab conjure up a large room full of strange equipment and unknown substances?

Does this image make you doubt your ability to give your kids lab experiences equal to public school?

Don’t worry, we have you covered with labs, too.

In fact, Berean Builders science labs are even more real than classroom labs.

Why?

In a rigid school setting, the teacher prepares the labs and offers his or her experience as the students encounter roadblocks as they proceed.

This sounds great right?

Wrong.

If a student is relying on an experienced teacher to think for them, they aren’t thinking for themselves.

And that’s what we’re doing here at Berean Builders…helping students become critical thinkers.

A homeschool student conducting a lab on the kitchen counter doesn’t have the luxury of raising their hand to ask trifling questions.

They really have to think through the problem on their own.

Of course, we’re here for any insurmountable difficulties!

But what we really want is for your student to think about the problem and come to their own conclusions before escalating their questions.

And, since they are not restricted by a set classroom time, they can keep playing with the experiment until it works.

This is actual science, not spoon-fed predictions and outcomes.

Your student can work on their own to find flaws in their processes.

Plus, they’ll have the opportunity to do their own troubleshooting.

Frustrating for them?

Maybe.

But your homeschool science will have better labs for their efforts.

Your children can enjoy having figured it out on their own.

College Prep For Science Labs

Another wonderful result of experiencing labs at home is that your student will be better prepared for college labs.

In Dr. Wile’s opinion, the best of his university science students were homeschool grads!

These students were better at thinking through issues in labs and didn’t need handholding to accomplish the day’s goals.

Fortunately for you, the associated equipment for today’s labs is much more readily available, much better, and much more affordable.

You also have a new realm of experiments available.

You are now able to recreate public school labs right at home.

With non-toxic chemicals and first-class equipment that you can access affordably, your homeschool labs will be equal to the “real” labs you may remember.

And your students will benefit from university level science labs along with the first-rate science courses from Berean Builders.

Take a look at some of the extensive lab kits we have available to accompany our science courses:

Lab Kit for Discovering Design with Earth Science

Lab Kit for Discovering Design with Chemistry

Dissection Lab Kit for Discovering Design with Biology

Microscope Lab Kit for Discovering Design with Biology

You can feel confident offering a college-prep science education in your homeschool along with thorough labs to build your creative thinker.

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Building a Christian Worldview

Berean Builders Christian Biblical Worldview

When homeschoolers consider their different choices for science, one of their questions is “What is the Christian worldview of this course?”

Since worldview can cover multiple topics, a blanket answer doesn’t suffice.

We have spoken of what it means to be a Berean in a previous post.

How can we apply that philosophy to further describe our worldview?

Mark 12:30 says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”

To be a Berean is to search the scriptures to find out what is true.

When we approach science through a Biblical lens, we can focus on God’s revelation, which reduces the chance of misunderstanding.

When we understand the world around us as much as we are able, we are less likely to misinterpret the wisdom of the Bible.

The books by Dr. Wile take a holistic approach to science.

By gaining a thorough knowledge of how Christian thought has changed over the ages, students can have a better view of what is important in our world today.

And by using scripture as a focus for science, they can synthesize and formulate conclusions.

A worldview is based on the collection of things we know.

Scripture addresses many issues but is silent on others.

Science addresses many issues but cannot address every question we as humans have.

It is our goal, then, as Christians, to learn the Bible to the best of our ability and to learn about God’s gifts to us in order to create our worldview.

Building Bereans Through Critical Thinking

Students who are encouraged to think critically about science and the world around them are able to stretch their reasoning based on what they know.

In his science texts, Dr. Wile has presented both sides of certain theological beliefs.

This in-depth consideration allows students to figure out their own understanding of a concept. And this understanding allows them to form their own worldview on the topic.

It is our belief that a proper understanding of the world around us begins with scripture.

The Bible is God’s revelation to us as an infinite being communicating with us finite humans.

Having the Bible as an anchor and a focus allows us to comprehend the world around us as much as we can, making us far less likely to misinterpret the scriptures.

Including God In Science Books

Dr. Wile has been asked why he chose to include God in his science texts.

“It was never my intention to proselytize through my books. If a student found God as a result of my instruction, wonderful. Instead, I realized including God in my texts was simply the right way to teach science.”

Far from claiming any particular doctrinal belief in his science courses, Dr. Wile presents different sides, often opposing, of those beliefs Christians have considered throughout history.

Even prominent men such as C.S. Lewis and Henry Morris, although pioneers in Christian thought, had radically different beliefs.

Students are able to learn these different beliefs and weigh them on the scale of science instruction and hands-on lab work to form their own opinions based on what they discover, both through science and through a study of the Bible.

Through these discoveries, the world of science is open to them, tempered by the Word of God.

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How Berean Builders Prepares Homeschoolers For College Science

homeschool students in college science lab

When your homeschool graduate gets to college, will they be ready for science?

How can you be sure?

Most of us remember science classes and labs in school. The smells, the jars and bottles of strange and wonderful substances and all those instruments! Plus mounds of new and exciting information.

Our teachers guided us through the systems and methods of high school science and lab work, and some of us took that to college where we realized…

We didn’t really know all that much about post-secondary science OR labs.

Our professors had to toss in some remedial instruction so we could succeed without blowing up the chemistry lab or cross-contaminating our petri dishes in the biology lab.

Not to mention the basic stuff we should have brought with us from high school.

And honestly, the last thing a college professor wants to do is fill in the blanks left by a high school teacher, no matter how talented that teacher was.

If you remember those days, or if you are concerned that you can’t possibly prepare your homeschooler for science in college, we’re here for you.

One of the most common homeschool parent worries is how to be sure their student is ready for college. And it’s a legitimate worry.

However, if you are presenting science courses from Berean Builders at home, your homeschooler is already getting college-prep science training.

How Can Your Homeschool Student Receive College Prep Science At Home?

First of all, Dr. Wile is a university professor.

He already knows the skills your student needs to be successful in college-level science.

Not only can Dr. Wile pass on this knowledge through the detailed material and extensive labs included in each Berean Builders science course, but he also helps students hone their critical thinking skills.

Critical thinking is vital, not only in science but in other subjects, as well as life after college.

Secondly, high school science is intended to give students a solid knowledge base on which they can build once they reach college.

This knowledge base is imperative.

In Dr. Wile’s words,

“You can’t stop to Google every time you have a problem.”

Some facts and processes need to be readily available in the quick access section of a student’s memory.

Berean Builders science courses build that base.

Your homeschool graduate will have the body of knowledge in their head that a university professor expects them to know.

So how do the science courses from Berean Builders prepare students for college?

The method behind our science courses combines comprehension checks throughout each lesson with reviews and knowledge tests at the end.

The reviews and tests help your student understand the facts presented, and the comprehension checks train your student how to think like a scientist.

These checks and reviews are balanced to help your student gain the facts they need and the thinking skills to apply them.

Why does this matter?

In order for your student to get the most out of college-level science courses and their associated labs, they can’t have facts at the exclusion of thinking skills, and vice versa.

Rote memorization may result in good grades in high school, but facts without critical thinking skills won’t help them advance in higher learning.

Conversely, thinking skills without facts won’t help them much either. Remember the Google comment above?

With Berean Builders, you can be confident you’ve provided your homeschool student the same level of instruction they would receive from high school college prep courses…if not better.

After all, they’ll be getting their high school education from a university professor. Which means your homeschool students will already be learning science skills at a college prep level.

University Professor On Standby

Not only that, Dr. Wile is easily accessible if your student has questions.

He’s only an email away, and he is eager to help his science students comprehend the concepts he presents in the courses.

Berean Builders brings science to your homeschool with professional labs designed to be conducted right at home.

To be sure your homeschool graduate has a well-rounded science education, include Berean Builders science courses in your planning for next year.

We’re here to help you determine the best sequence to present science subjects, and we’re looking forward to working with you as you help your student get ready for college and life beyond.

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Why We Teach The Sciences In A Specific Order

Remember when you were in high school? You probably took science in this order: Biology, Chemistry, Physics.

What is the reason for this sequence? To keep the subjects in alphabetical order?

Far from it.

The study of each of these sciences requires a certain level of understanding in mathematics for each. This discourages lower grades from leaping right into physics.

But What About Conceptual Physics For Lower Grades?

Some educational institutions have attempted to circumvent this by offering something called conceptual physics in lower grades.

And while it may offer a basic grasp of physics concepts, conceptual physics does not lead to a deep understanding of the science behind the equations.

Math-based physics is a superior approach in order for students to have an appreciation for the operations they are performing to demonstrate a physical concept.

A statement attributed to prominent physicist Ernest Rutherford is,

“All science is either physics or stamp collecting.”

In other words, we must understand the processes of biology, chemistry, and the other sciences through the lens of physics, or we’re simply gathering disconnected facts.

Physics, Or Natural Philosophy, Is The Basis For All The Sciences

Early scientists were all physicists. At the time, physics was called natural philosophy and focused on understanding the laws of the universe.

Speaking broadly, physics is the basis of everything, and to comprehend this broad natural philosophy, scientists needed to understand math.

Galileo stated it best when he said,

“Philosophy is written in that great book which ever lies before our eyes — I mean the universe — but we cannot understand it if we do not first learn the language and grasp the symbols, in which it is written.

This book is written in the mathematical language, and the symbols are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without whose help it is impossible to comprehend a single word of it; without which one wanders in vain through a dark labyrinth.”

And to comprehend physics, students must have a firm grasp of trigonometry.

We Teach High School Science Backwards

So, we teach high school science “backwards”.

  • Our courses begin with biology, which only requires basic math skills.
  • Then we offer chemistry, which needs an understanding of algebra to grasp.
  • And finally, we dive into physics after the student has moved through geometry and trigonometry.

Alphabetical order, maybe, but for a very concrete reason.

If we were to begin with the hardest subject, even though it’s the basis for all science, we’d turn some students off, as they would struggle without strong math skills.

In short, no trig, no physics.

The Importance Of Keeping Students Engaged In Science Courses

Even students who don’t naturally gravitate toward the sciences are more likely to stick with science courses if they start with the easier math-based subjects before they move on to physics.

And it turns out, students who have taken trig-based physics (versus conceptual physics) in high school do better at university with a calculus-based course.

As you’re looking through our course sequence, you’ll notice we have math prerequisites listed for each.

Once your student has mastered the specific math levels, you can confidently approach that science for the year.

Not Ready For Higher Level Sciences? No Problem

But what if your student isn’t mathematically ready for the next subject?

You can fill in their science requirements with any one of the other basic courses we have available while you wait for their math skills to catch up.

Give your student the best chance at learning and appreciating science by following our course schedule to offer the appropriate subject based on the level of math they have mastered.

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Which Science Course Should I Choose?

which science course should I choose

When planning out your homeschool year, you want to include engaging science information to help your student understand our amazing world.

But which course should you choose? And in which order should you use the available courses?

The good news: you can pick any one for elementary grades!

Since elementary years are all about becoming proficient in reading, writing, and math, your student will spend a lot of time practicing these skills.

We want to make science fun while helping your student learn to observe, record, and marvel at the universe around them.

Which is why you can begin your elementary homeschool science adventure with any one of these engaging courses.

We even make it easy by letting you know what concepts your student should already know when beginning a course.

If they need to know a bit more about a topic than the course offers, a quick online search will fill in the gap.

 

Let’s examine the sequence of the science courses offered.

Although the courses explore scientific developments chronologically, you may choose to present them in any order depending on your other homeschool subjects or the time period that interests your student.

For Students in K-6 Grades

Science in the Beginning

You can start with this course to give your student a solid foundation of how our world was created.

Using the days of creation as an outline, the material covers basic concepts such as

  • the properties of light, air, and water,
  • basic botany, zoology, and human physiology,
  • and our solar system.

This examination of how the world began helps students understand the beauty of the Creator and the wonder of His works.

 

Science in the Ancient World

Follow the Beginning with a look at how ancient scientists explored God’s creation to learn more about the Creator.

Covering the years 600 BC to 1500 AD, this course covers the work of these naturalists and philosophers, both the concepts they got right and the mistakes they made.

Since this course examines early science as it was developed, your student will discover a wide range of new ideas including

  • early medicine,
  • basic physics and simple machines,
  • the Earth’s place in the solar system,
  • astronomy,
  • botany,
  • and the effects of erosion.

As they are introduced to the science and the men who furthered fresh ideas, your student will also come to understand the later scientists for the devout Christians they were.

 

Science in the Scientific Revolution

Expand on the fresh scientific ideas from the ancients with the next book in the series.

The time covered in this course is less than 200 years, and the advances made in the basic areas of science were vast.

Also covering science as it was developed, the topics included echo those in Science in the Ancient World, but on a deeper level.

Your student will increase their understanding of

  • astronomy,
  • the physiology of plants, animals, and human anatomy,
  • basic physics,
  • and the scientific laws developed during this time.

The scientists who investigated the world around them from 1543 to the end of the 1600s were pioneers and curious about the world around them. They were also men of God interested in learning more about the Creator and His creations.

 

Science in the Age of Reason

Continuing the tour through the history of scientific development, this next course explores natural philosophers from the early 1600s to the early 1800s as they built on previous discoveries to further their understanding of the world around them.

Topics include

  • astronomy,
  • basic chemistry and physics concepts,
  • human physiology, botany and zoology,
  • and atmosphere and weather.

Not only will your student see how new science discoveries begin with older ideas, but they will also understand how the worldview of the scientist can affect their conclusions.

 

Science in the Industrial Age

The final book in the elementary science series covers discoveries made from the early 1800s to the early 1900s.

As scientists continued to explore the world, they made a multitude of new discoveries and advancements.

Your student can follow these discoveries in

  • medicine and human physiology,
  • basic physics and chemistry,
  • evolution,
  • and explore the development of new scientific laws.

They will also learn the beliefs of the scientists and how those worldviews directed their theories and conclusions.

A Well Rounded Tour of Elementary Science

These five courses follow science through history and demonstrate the growth of scientific discovery and understanding.

Each course includes many hours of hands-on activities to keep the lessons engaging for elementary students, plus three levels of review exercises so you can choose the depth of understanding you wish for your student.

An added benefit of these five courses is they are multi-level.

This means even if you are diving into homeschooling in the later elementary years, you can choose any course to begin your scientific journey.

In addition, you can teach several ages/grade levels using the same course by assisting younger children with the experiments or using the more thorough review exercises for older students.

Middle School Science for Students in 7th and 8th grades

When your student is headed into the middle grades, you may wonder which courses to choose next.

The most important factor in deciding on a course is your student’s level in mathematics.

Since the courses offer problems involving calculations, you’ll want to be sure your student comprehends that math level before you dive into a course to assure their success.

In addition to observing and recording their experiences, your student will be asked to learn and apply specific concepts, both in the abstract and in the concrete with hands-on experimentation.

 

Science in the Atomic Age

Science in the Atomic Age

Modern scientists have furthered our understanding of the world around us, and this course covers these discoveries.

From atoms to biomes, this course covers the organization of our world and God’s design in nature.

Your student will need a firm grasp of 7th grade math to do the calculations presented.

Because this is a laboratory-based course, your student will have plenty of hands-on experiments and activities to help them grasp the concepts presented.

The topics build on what the student has already learned in earlier science studies, and the experiments can be performed using common household items easily found in local shops or online.

Discovering Design with Earth Science TextbookDiscovering Design with Earth Science

This course explores earth in great detail from the formation of rocks to the properties of water and the interaction of each on our earth’s crust.

Your student will be able to exercise critical thinking as they are presented with the opposing ideas of uniformitarianism and catastrophism.

Each of these concepts is presented in a fair and balanced examination with plenty of follow-up questions to generate thoughtful contemplation.

This course also includes 55 hours of laboratory instruction using hands-on activities and experiments.

A kit containing laboratory materials is available for purchase, and some of the experiments can only be performed with items from the kit.

 

As you can see, these seven courses cover science from creation to modern day exploration.

You and your student can decide which of the elementary topics to cover and in which order.

And your middle schooler can move confidently into more complicated science when they have the math proficiency to do so.

We hope this helps simplify your homeschool science curriculum choice!

We’re available to answer any questions and to help your student explore God’s world through hands-on science.

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Discovering Design With Earth Science

Discovering Design with Earth Science Textbook SetThe latest earth science textbook by Dr. Wile is here!

Written in his warm, conversational style, this book is a spectacular introduction to earth science. Filled with stunning images, detailed descriptions, and awesome experiments, this book has it all.

These experiments are designed specifically to increase understanding of the concepts introduced.

Some of the experiments require particular items available in the optional lab kit. You can take a peek here at the list of materials included in the kit for the lab experiments, as well as the items you’ll need to provide.

Table of contents list

Scope and sequence

Let’s explore the chapters and the science contained inside.

Introduction

Dr. Wile gives a thorough explanation of how to get the most out of your Discovering Design with Earth Science book, experiments, and worksheets and how to incorporate science study in your homeschool schedule.

He covers the importance of including hands-on learning through experimentation. He also stresses the need to keep up with notes and record the results of experiments performed.

Dr. Wile wants to make sure your student has access to as much support as needed. He has created a special online library including videos and links to incredible online resources hand-picked to add more understanding to each concept.

And finally, Dr. Wile is available to answer questions through a dedicated website for students that also contains searchable questions and answers.

Chapter 1  Basic Concepts Required to Study Earth Science

Dr. Wile presents the essential concepts students need to understand how to study earth science. From phases of matter to measurements, each topic is spelled out clearly and demonstrated with concrete, hands-on experiments. Students learn different ways to measure matter and the reasons behind each. He goes on to show how different units are used in scientific study with easy-to-understand equations. These basics are applied throughout the rest of the book.

Chapter 2 It’s a Little Crusty

The Rainbow Mountains in China
The Rainbow Mountains in China

This chapter introduces the layers of our beautiful planet with its defined sections of atmosphere, geosphere, and hydrosphere. Dr. Wile digs into the soil to show the makeup of the geosphere and how it is affected by different physical events. He also begins his comparison of uniformitarianism and catastrophism, along with definitions of each and how they compare. These two comparisons continue throughout the book with a fair and balanced approach.

Chapter 3 Minerals

Continuing his exploration of the crust, Dr. Wile makes minerals the focus of this chapter. He explains chemical compositions of rocks and explains how they are formed. There is a section on how we use minerals in our everyday lives to bring the science to life. The experiments help solidify these concepts so students have a wonderful hands-on experience with the rocks provided.

Chapter 4 Rocks

Expanding on the previous chapter, Dr. Wile talks about the different types of rocks and how they are formed, along with discussions of major rock formations.  He describes the rock cycle so students can see how each type is connected.  He also compares and contrasts the views of uniformitarianism and catastrophism. Many of the concepts in this chapter flow into those following, which makes the topics much easier to understand.

Chapter 5 The Lithosphere

Now the book concentrates on the whole crust with its continents and oceans. Dr. Wile takes students through a description of Earth’s magnetic field and its effects. Plate tectonics, the movement of the continents, and crustal displacement feature in this chapter. Again, hands-on experiments make the broad concepts much easier to understand.

Chapter 6 More About Motion in the Lithosphere

Mount Cook
Mount Cook in New Zealand

Continents move, sometimes slowly, sometimes violently. Dr. Wile explores these movements in this chapter with clear explanations of earthquakes and seismic waves. He weaves in concepts learned in earlier chapters to deepen students’ understanding of the different results on our planet such as mountains and rifts.

Chapter 7 Fossils in Rocks

Now Dr. Wile discusses the once-living plants and animals present in different rock formations. He explores the different approaches taken by uniformitarianism and catastrophism to explain the presence of tell-tale evidence of life long past. He also includes cautionary tales of fossil interpretation and introduces the geological column. The lab kit contains fossils students can explore up close and in person.

Chapter 8 Interpreting the Geological Column

In this chapter, students learn about radioactive decay and how this process is used to date rocks and once-living organisms.  Dr. Wile touches on the differing viewpoints of scientists using radioactive decay in determining the age of the earth and those things found on it.

Chapter 9 Uniformitarianism and Catastrophism

Using a solid compare-contrast approach, Dr. Wile explores both the uniformitarianism and catastrophism ideas used to explain the evidence found in the geological record and discusses the bias each side holds. He introduces evidence from both sides that strengthen their viewpoints, but does not push one over the other.  He encourages students to investigate both sides for themselves and draw conclusions from their own research.

Chapter 10 Water and Hydrosphere

Watershed
Watershed

Now Dr. Wile moves from the land into the oceans, lakes, and rivers. He dives into the polarity of water and how water behaves. He includes wonderful hands-on experiments to demonstrate the exceptional properties of water including the stark difference between freshwater and saltwater such as density and freezing points. This chapter includes a detailed explanation of the hydrologic cycle.

Chapter 11 More on the Hydrosphere

The beginning of this chapter focuses on the oceans, their currents, waves, and the effects of the sun and moon on tides. He goes deeper into global oceanic currents and explains how and why they are so important to life on earth. He then talks about the freshwater on the earth and where it is located in the lithosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere.

Chapter 12 The Atmosphere

Up into the air, Dr. Wile now explores our atmosphere. One of the experiments dramatically demonstrates air pressure. He then goes into the composition of our air and the different layers of our atmosphere.  He includes an investigation of ozone, pollution, and an acid-base tangent that leads right back into the effects of carbon dioxide on the atmosphere and the pH of the ocean.

Chapter 13 Weather, Part 1

Expanding on the previous chapter, Dr. Wile goes into a thorough exploration of weather by beginning with a breakdown of the different types of radiation and light coming from the sun. He describes the tilt of the earth during its trip around the sun and how this creates our seasons. He introduces wind, temperature, global wind patterns and trade winds as some background information before heading into a detailed review of clouds.

Chapter 14 Weather, Part 2

Anvil Cloud
Anvil Cloud

Now, Dr. Wile gets into the detail of weather systems and describes weather fronts and how to read a weather map. He talks about precipitation and humidity, then talks about severe weather systems such as thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes.

Chapter 15 The Earth’s Solar System

This chapter heads into outer space to discuss gravity and our neighboring planets. He touches on comets and asteroids and explains why the heliocentric view of the solar system replaced the geocentric view.. Then he focuses on the sun and moon and their properties and behavior.

Chapter 16 Earth’s Solar System and the Universe

Dr. Wile teaches about parallax and its use in determining some distances throughout the universe. He covers the heliosphere and explores the vast tapestry of stars and their colors, brightness, and classifications. Then he describes our galaxy and others in the universe and shares breathtaking images of some of them.

In fact, every page of the book has incredible images or detailed illustrations to help further understanding. Dr. Wile sums up his wonderful earth science book with this passage:

Psalm 24:1-2, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, The world, and those who live in it. For He has founded it upon the seas And established it upon the rivers.”

We hope you will add this text to your library and enjoy it not only for a season, but for years to come

.Get Started with Discovering Design With Earth Science

In addition to solid science and thought-provoking questions, this set includes printable Worksheets as well as a Student Notebook for exploring questions and keeping track of chapter review answers.

If this looks like the perfect book for your junior earth science adventure, head over to Discovering Design With Earth Science.