Science Shepherd Courses

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What do you do when you're a homeschooling dad and a medical doctor and you don't see many good options for parents tackling high school science at home? Why, you write your own, of course! And the result is impressive, especially for a newcomer to the curriculum scene. Author Scott Hardin didn't just reinvent the wheel here I think he's added the equivalent of antigravity boosters with some of the excellent features he's built in. The courses currently available include Life Science (for 7th-9th grade) and Biology (for 10th-12th grade). Both courses are written to the student, and intended to be very user-friendly for parents without a science background. They are academically strong with straightforward text that covers challenging concepts in an appealing way. Compared to some of the other science curriculum available to homeschoolers, these stand firmly in the "college prep" category. As you might have guessed from the title, both courses are also written from a Christian perspective. However, the course is written to be as objective as possible. As the author explains in his introductory Author's Note, "Science is the study and explanation of what we observe in nature, and, when you get right down to it, what we observe scientifically is what we observe scientifically irrespective of the creation/evolution debate. In that sense, I try to present the information in a straightforward and easily understandable way that is often lost when the attempt is made to relate the observable science as having a creation or evolution basis." However, that debate is not avoided; origins are discussed in both Life Science and Biology. He clearly distinguishes between the two belief systems by explaining that people who believe life was created for a purpose by a Creator are creationists, and that people who believe there is no God (therefore, life began by chance) are evolutionists.

The structure of the courses is similar. Both courses consist of three main components: a paperback student textbook, an answer key and parent companion, and a test booklet. There is also a lab component to Biology, with a lab manual and a DVD also available. Life Science does not currently offer a lab component. The instruction is primarily found in the student textbook. Browsing through the textbook, I appreciate the page layout. The text is organized well visually, with short, readable paragraphs broken up with full-color, annotated photos and diagrams. Emphasized vocabulary words are in bold and they are defined at the end of the chapter. The visuals are far from amateur, with well-designed computer-generated graphics of cells and simple diagrams, attractive photos and microscope images. Each chapter begins with a chapter preview, containing objectives, and closes with key points, vocabulary and study questions. The study questions are primarily short answer and true/false, with answers found in the answer key. The Answer Key & Parent Companion contains several sections. The first section contains answers to all of the end-of-chapter study questions (answers only; the questions are not repeated). Test questions and answers are found in the second section. The last portion of the key provides a chapter-by-chapter guide for the parent. These contain the same chapter preview and key points as are found in the student text, plus a simple overview of the main concepts in each chapter. Several "Topic Questions" are included here as well; these questions are not found elsewhere, so this provides an excellent way to add some discussion to the lessons and gauge how well the student grasps the material. Tests in the test booklets cover several chapters at a time and are fairly lengthy, with 25-30+ questions in each test. Like the study questions, these are true/false and short answer. Although similar to the end-of-chapter questions, these are not taken word-for-word from them, however, you will see some questions that are very similar to the "topic questions" in the chapter-by-chapter portion of the Parent Companion.

There are not a whole lot of options available for high school science courses especially not academically rigorous ones designed for a teacher without much of a background in science to feel confident teaching. These courses are an excellent choice if you want a good, solid, Christian-friendly science course. As an animal science graduate with a high interest in science, I wholeheartedly recommend these excellent courses. Read on for specifics! Jess

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Science Shepherd Biology Lab Kit with Slides Item #: 049865
Grades: 10-12
Retail: $221.94
Rainbow Price: $172.95

Science Shepherd Dissection Specimens ( Set of 5) Item #: 049866
Grades: 10-12
Retail: $71.98
Rainbow Price: $57.95

Biology Dissection Kit Complete (Science Sherpherd) Item #: 050261
Grades: 9-Adult
Retail: $250.36
Rainbow Price: $184.95

Science Shepherd Biology Book Set (3rd Edition) Item #: 047026
Grades: 10-12
Rainbow Price: $85.00

Science Shepherd Life Science Book Set Item #: 047032
Grades: 7-9
Rainbow Price: $65.00

Science Shepherd Life Science Textbook (h/c) Item #: 047034
Grades: 7-9
Rainbow Price: $50.00

Science Shepherd Biology Textbook (3rd Edition) Item #: 047030
Grades: 10-12
Rainbow Price: $70.00

Science Shepherd Biology Lab Manual Item #: 047028
Grades: 10-12
Rainbow Price: $20.00

Science Shepherd Biology Answer Key & Parent Companion (3rd Edition) Item #: 047025
Grades: 10-12
Rainbow Price: $15.00

Science Shepherd Biology Lab DVD Item #: 047027
Grades: 10-12
Rainbow Price: $50.00

Science Shepherd Life Science Answer Key & Parent Companion Item #: 047031
Grades: 7-9
Rainbow Price: $12.00

Science Shepherd Biology Test Booklet (3rd Edition) Item #: 047029
Grades: 10-12
Rainbow Price: $5.00

Science Shepherd Life Science Test Booklet Item #: 047033
Grades: 7-9
Rainbow Price: $5.00

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