There are a lot of you out there now who have been quarantine schooling for a few months. You’ve discovered you actually like homeschooling, and maybe when schools open back up, you want to give this homeschooling thing an actual go, and now you need to find homeschool curriculum. With that in mind, why not check out By Design Science? It’s a Christian science curriculum that is a great way to transition from public school to homeschooling, and it has some amazing science lessons.
(there are affiliate links in here, and this post is sponsored by By Design Science, an amazing Christian science curriculum)
What is By Design Science?
Why I’m glad you asked.
By Design Science is a Christian science curriculum for grades 1-8. This means you are working with similar materials for all of your kids and don’t have to learn a different science program for each child you’re homeschooling.
Believe me, that can be a huge help as you’re figuring out this whole homeschooling thing. Knowing that your science curriculum has the same idea for your 1st grader, 5th grader, and 7th grader (and yes that does sound awkward as I read that in my head) can make your life easier.
Let’s address the Christian science curriculum elephant in the room
Christian science curriculum has a stigma. And just to clarify, I don’t mean Christian Science, which is a different thing entirely.
In the 1980s and 90s, there was some bad curriculum, that opted to go for indoctrination and was more worried about the Christian part over the science part.
I don’t have an example of science, but I do have an example of a history textbook. When I was looking for a Texas history book, one I looked at literally said on the first page, rough paraphrase.
The United States is God’s chosen country, and Texas is God’s instrument. It is blessed by God, and God is using it to fulfill His Will.
It took some truths (God’s providence), some theories (God’s chosen country), and then stretched it until the ideas were screaming in pain, and I felt wrong just reading that first paragraph. My rough paraphrase does not give you an idea of how truly far this textbook was reaching to grasp the idea.
Thankfully, that’s not the case anymore. Now when you see a Christian science curriculum, it’s more of a happy marriage. We learn all about how science works, and how our amazing God is reflected in nature.
I like how this curriculum combines the two.
Now, my kids are older, so they’re ready for some fun topics, like confirmation bias. This particular curriculum is tackling the difficult topic of comparing Creationism and Evolution in some units, and how your worldview will affect what you see. It works through how some evidence supports Creationism and some support Evolution, and some are argued over between the two viewpoints.
And yes, for those of you wondering, there are scientists who are Creationists, and are looking at evidence from a scientific viewpoint. I’ve attended some fascinating lectures and debates on these topics, and there are Christians holding to all of the viewpoints (Old Earth, Young Earth, Biblical Evolution, Day-Age, believe me there are a lot of arguments). You can see a generic description of all those ideas I pulled from the textbook.
I like when the curriculum says “here are several viewpoints”, it helps everyone figure out what they believe and why.
But, is it REALLY a Christian SCIENCE curriculum?
I talked about how it’s Christian, and how that addresses a different viewpoint, but yes it is a SCIENCE curriculum.
It looks at the National Science Education Standards and designs their curriculum. The teacher’s manual will tell you what standard each lesson is addressing. This isn’t just, “whee, let’s talk about cute little bunnies!”
Not only is it aligned to the National Science Education Standards, it also tells you how the different grade levels align.
“To assist teachers with instructional planning, the program includes a cycle chart, a yearly scheduling chart, curriculum maps for grades 1–4 and grades 5–8, and four Teacher Guides with yearly cycles of lesson plans for grades 1–4 and four-yearly cycles of lesson plans for grades 5–8.Student materials include 16 Science Journals with one Science Journal per cycle provided by unit for grades 1–4, and 16 Science Journals with one Science Journal per cycle provided by unit for grades 5–8. These customized journals follow the topic alignment chart developed specifically for multi-grade classrooms”8th grade teacher manual p. xiii
But what does this homeschool science curriculum look like?
I used their materials a few years ago, and they’ve changed the design, and I like the changes.
First, the By Design teacher manual is now online!
I love this because, previous teacher manuals (I’ve used their curriculum before) were big and huge, which meant I couldn’t lose it, but it was bulky to work with.
It means I can save the teacher manual to my tablet, or phone and have it with me to answer questions when the kids run into stuff they don’t know without carrying a ten-pound book.
It is broken down into chapters and units, so you don’t have to go through hundreds of pages to find what you’re looking for. It’s a small detail, but helpful.
Like most good teacher manuals, it starts off explaining to you how to use the curriculum and what each part looks like. Then settles down into giving you tips for how to use the curriculum with your kids.
The student textbook will be familiar
If your student has been in public or private school before, this textbook will feel familiar to them. It’s designed like a traditional school textbook with lots of bright colors and information broken up into easily digestible chunks.
There are tons of charts comparing viewpoints or data, and lots of information to capture their attention.
At the end of each lesson are questions to review, each chapter is divided into several lessons.
The workbooks are designed to go with the material
You will need a workbook per child. These are designed to be consumed and written in as your kids work through the materials.
Since I didn’t have an entire year to work through this material, I let each of my kids choose a unit to work through so we could try out as much of the material as possible. I know, ideally, you want to cover the material in order, but this lets us see what there was.
Here’s what we discovered:
- Pretty much all of the labs we worked through used materials I could easily get ahold of.>> Not all homeschool science curriculum does this, so this is a HUGE benefit.
- The labs occasionally referred to relevant Bible verses.
- The labs walk you through the scientific process, and give you room to work on your projects.>> Always helpful to help kids organize their thoughts.
Science Tests and Science Fair materials are all online
The 9th-grade science curriculum I picked, does not have this, or the particular version of it I bought does not have this, and I miss this luxury.
It is nice to be able to just go to my computer, and print off the test, rather than copying it from the workbook for all of the kids (and yes, this was a workbook designed to be copied, not consumed).
Sometimes small things are a big deal.
Many homeschool co-ops put together science fairs. Ours has from time to time, and the science fair materials gives both you, the teacher, and your kids a good place to get started. Including a super awesome rubric, and I love my rubrics.
The bottom line on By Design Science?
This is a great Christian science curriculum for the homeschooler just starting out. It’ll help you get started, and give you the structure and framework to become a confident homeschooler.
It’s also a great curriculum for a confident homeschooler who doesn’t want to have to figure out exactly what to do, and just wants an open and go curriculum, they don’t have to spend a lot of time thinking of what exactly to do.
If you are a homeschooler who does not like having a lot of structure or a textbook, this is not the curriculum for you.