The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Jenny Higgins and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

Albert Einstein and Relativity for Kids Review by Holly Johnson

Jerome Pohlen
Chicago Review Press
814 North Franklin Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610

Science is one of the hardest subjects for me to teach, but I have a middle schooler who just can’t get enough of it!  Right now, he’s all about physics…of which I know zilch, but we picked up Albert Einstein and Relativity for Kids to read together.  We’ve used a couple of the “For Kids” books in the past – they focus on a biographical sketch along with related several hands-on activities.  I wasn’t sure how we were going to get crafty with relativity, but it worked out well.

The book is 119 pages long and follows the chronological flow of Einstein’s life.  The science experiments are sprinkled throughout the chapters at appropriate sections (ie, after learning about his deep-thought discussions with his mentor, Talmud, we are introduced to Thought Experiments).  They range from the tangible (learning about the expanding universe by blowing up Peeps in the microwave) to the abstract (examining the galaxies).  You’ll also have the chance to build a nuclear chain reaction with dominoes and create a sunset in a coke bottle!

There are several math equations sprinkled throughout the book, as the author is illustrating Einstein’s life work, but it’s not done at a level above their heads.  Everything is broken down into manageable bits for children to understand, and by the end of the book, they’ll be able to explain why E=MC2.  (Can you?  I couldn’t before reading this book.)  Within the book are a timeline and sidebars with ‘extra’ information.  In the back of the book, you’ll find links and suggestions for further learning, including a list of websites to explore.

We read through this book together, doing a chapter each day of his biography, discussing the mathematics that came up within the day’s chapter, and then (the favorite part!) doing the experiments presented.  It took about two weeks to get through the entire book, as we do not do science every day.  My elementary aged child enjoyed the book thoroughly; he loves to be read aloud to, and he also loves completing hands-on projects.  My middle school aged child enjoyed the experiments but was not as thrilled with the text itself.  In his words, “I thought it was going to be more about physics and relativity, but it was more of a biography.”  He is very into physics right now, devouring anything he can get his hands on.  He speaks the truth, though – the meat of this book is a biography of Einstein’s life.

His biography is not your standard fare either; he was a student who didn’t want to follow the rules.  He was Jewish, and therefore discriminated against.  He went to school only when his family’s finances allowed it.  His personal, adult life was less than desirable in (my idea of) a role model for children.  However, he was persistent, flexible, thought outside the box, and observant – these are all traits that I do want my children to develop.  As we went through his biography, it opened up the floor for family discussions about character traits and our expectations as parents for our children.  We spoke about personal and professional (in their current situation, as students) traits, and how Einstein’s example can help guide them in decision-making.

At $16.95, this book is a wonderful addition to the home library, especially for anyone with children interested in science.  I’m sure that there are many homeschool moms, such as myself, who struggle with teaching these ‘big’ topics in a way that young children can understand, but this book does a good job of breaking it down and making it digestible.  For the voracious learner, it offers hands-on challenges, further learning suggestions, and the opportunity to study the history of physics in greater detail.  I highly recommend this book for students looking for a greater challenge!

-Product review by Holly Johnson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February, 2018