Great Science Adventures Homeschool Curriculum Review

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Curriculum Review by Harriet Yoder

I think authors Dinah Zike, M. Ed. and Susan Simpson have done a very thorough job. There are presently ten topics (listed below) in the series. The Great Science Adventures Series from Common Sense Press is a multilevel K-8 home school science curriculum.

Standard Format

There are 24 complete lessons in each of the books in the series. The authors have been careful to format them in the same format. Hence, once you have used one Great Science Adventure, you know how to use them all–a great timesaver for the busy homeschool parent.

3D Graphic Organizers

Discovering Atoms, Molecules, and Matter 9781929683253Each Book Uses “3D Graphic Organizers”. This could sound intimidating until you realize that it is neat ways to fold regular 8 1/2″ by 11″ white paper into different little books. The instructions are easy to follow and learnable. I have to tell you that when I saw that part I was going to skip it, but I had to do it for my children and this column. All of us enjoyed making the different organizers and using them for review. In the World of Tools and Technology, we made a nifty timeline and used the graphic organizers to study each type of tool.

Benefits Beyond This Program

My favorite “fold” is the pocket book which has many uses beyond those listed in this book. One of our grandmas was ill and I gave a “pocket book” paper to each child to create a get well card. We glued them together to create a Get Well Book. Needless to say, Gram was impressed! That alone was worth the price of the book for me!World of Space 9791929683078

Lots of Science Library Books

Back To The Review! In each of the 24 lessons, the students make a “Lots of Science Library Book” using the reproducible masters provided. All of us liked the stories. (My fellow product testers ranged in age from 5 to 11.) I appreciated the way the topics were presented in an understandable fashion (with extra explanations in a smaller print for the older crowd.)

One drawback

For those of us who are veteran homeschoolers and former copy machine operators: you are expected to make a copy of each little book by copying on both sides of page MATCHING the little lines so when you cut the book apart all the pages are lined up. Needless to say I only made one little book with my copying skills. I pulled out my handy dandy scissors and cut up (YES, CUT) my copy of The World of Tools and Technology to make those cute little books. I would like to suggest that the publishers offer a separate copy of the reproducibles for those of us who will pay NOT to have to make copies and would like to keep their books intact (preferably in shrink wrapped loose-leaf pages). It’s not a pretty sight when half the book is gone!Discovering the Human Body and Senses 9781929683147

OK, that is my only negative comment about this series! Except for that, I really liked it and we are planning to do either the World of Insects and Arachnids or the World of Plants next–and cut the book!

An Alternative: If you have a local printing company that has a heavy duty cutter, you can pay a fee and have them cut off the binding freeing each page. With the pages free, it may be easier to make the lined up duplexed (copied on front and back) copies so you can make a copy of each book for each child.

Lab Activities

The back cover accurately says the Investigative Loop™ provides lab activities with complete, clear directions, material lists, questions, and data for students to record. The activities were written with the homeschool setting in mind! Everyone benefited from that part.

Enrichment Activities

The World of VertebratesEach lesson offers several individual and/or group enrichment experiences, investigations, and research. Your students will be able to choose an activity that is appropriate for the skill and interest level.

Overall, I recommend the Great Science Adventure series for those who want a homeschool science program that is economical, holds interest, is multilevel, has a structured format, is varied, and enriching. The authors have made it something worth remembering!

Here are the titles that are currently available in the Great Science Adventures series. Each title is on sale for $20.50.

Life Science

  • World of Plants
  • World of Insects and Arachnids
  • Discovering the Human Body and Senses
  • The World of Vertebrates

 Physical Science

  • Discovering Atoms, Molecules, and Matter
  • World of Tools and Technology
  • World of Light and Sound

Earth Science

  • Discovering Earth’s Landforms and Features
  • Discovering the Ocean
  • World of Space

More information About Great Science Adventures