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Science Shepherd Life Science Review by Donna CamposBy Scott Hardin, MD
1405 Capitol Drive, Suite C-202
Pewaukee, WI 53072
The Life Science set from Science Shepherd includes a textbook, a test booklet, and a single book containing the Answer Key and Parent Companion. The 288-page textbook includes an Author's Note and nineteen chapters covering the Characteristics of Life, The Chemistry of Life and Light Energy, DNA Structure and Function, Cell Reproduction, Heredity, Evolution and Creation, Scientific Classification, Human Anatomy and Physiology, and more. The 102-page Answer Key & Parent Companion includes the answers to the study questions and the tests, but the bulk of the book is devoted to the Parent Companion (pages 41-102). The three books are best used as a set. You might be able to use the textbook alone, but you would not have access to the answers and the additional information included in the Answer Key & Parent Companion. No other materials are needed, as this course does not have lab work.
This course is designed for focused, self-directed study by 7th to 9th grade students. (Science Shepherd offers a biology course for 10th to 12th grade students.) Students who are accustomed to textbook-style learning could complete the course independently, but those who benefit from additional discussion and interaction would appreciate a parent's involvement using the Parent Guide. The materials were written for homeschool use by a homeschooling father with a medical degree. The textbook clearly notes when a student needs to stop and take a particular test in the Test Booklet. Figures include photos, drawings, diagrams, and more--with many in color. Chapters end with a list of Key Chapter Points, a list of definitions, and study questions for the chapter. Discussing the Key Chapter Points with your child is a great way to see how much he or she is retaining.
In my opinion, the chapter on evolution and creation makes the textbook a must-have in our library! As a Christian author, Dr. Hardin takes the time to scrutinize the "evidence" that evolutionists use to "prove" evolution so that students can see whether it holds up to objective scrutiny. Darwin is thoroughly exposed as an atheist. The author points out that both a male and female of every animal would have had to "just happen" at the same time for procreation to come about and sustain the species. Amazing!
Following the chapter on evolution/creation, the author naturally progresses into a discussion of Scientific Classification, which is divided into separate chapters: "Archaebacteria, Eubacteria, and Viruses," "Protista and Fungi," "Plantae I," "Plantae II," "Kingdom Animalia I," "Kingdom Animalia II," and "Kingdom Animalia III." The chapter on Human Anatomy and Physiology launched our family into an additional full high school course because of the interest it sparked. The anatomy portion covers the anatomical features in an overview fashion and does not include any nudity.
Our family found the Life Science set from Science Shepherd to be a good middle school level science course. The organization was well thought out. The book covers material, builds upon it, and then refers to previously learned facts while continuing to provide deeper information. We look forward to using this course with our children for years to come!