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Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers Review by Courtney Larson

By Susan Kilbride

Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers is a book containing 20 science unit studies for ages 4 through 13. There are ten chapters for ages 4 through 7 and ten chapters for ages 8 through 13. Susan Kilbride is a homeschooler, and she wrote this book for homeschoolers. She did field test most of the units in classrooms, so the units are suitable for co-ops or traditional teachers as well.

The unit studies for each age group build on each other, and they cover a variety of topics. Topics for the younger group include "Our Senses," "Fun with Magnets," and "Stars and Planets." Topics for the older group include "Insects," "Atoms and Molecules," and "Simple Machines."

Each unit study begins with a list of supplies needed for that unit, and each unit is broken into several parts. The supplies are items that can easily be found at craft, grocery, pet, or discount stores. The only specialty item is a microscope for one of the units for the older age group, but it isn't absolutely required (though the unit will be a lot more fun with a microscope). After the materials list, there are instructions for introducing the topic to your child. Following the introduction are the remaining parts of the study, and this is where the topic is broken down and studied more in-depth. There are several hands-on activities for each part, and some of the parts include picture book or video recommendations. Finally, each unit for the 8 to 13-year-old age group concludes with a multiple choice test. (There are no tests for the 4 to 7-year-old units.)

Some of the activities the 4 to 7-year-old set will complete are building a bagel stegosaurus, making bird feeders, using paperclips and magnets to study magnetic fields, and making a sundial. Activities for 8 to 13-year-olds include growing crystals, making a water-cycle diagram, studying different simple machines, and observing mealworms as they complete metamorphosis.

Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers includes several great units. I do wish that there were either 20 units that included activities for ages 4 to 13 or that the units for the two different age groups were coordinated. Instead, the book is really two separate sets of unit studies, one set for younger children and another for older children. That said, most homeschoolers could easily modify most of the activities for younger or older children. Also, there are a few references to the Earth being 65 million years old, but this information can easily be left out if you don't agree with it. These issues aside, I think Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers is a good value and provides a lot of fun, hands-on science for homeschoolers.

Product review by Courtney Larson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June 2011