Science Shepherd Fundamentals of Chemistry (Gr. 6-9)

Taking a complex topic and making it understandable to students is no light undertaking, and I am thrilled to see Dr. Hardin successfully take this challenging topic and make it student and parent friendly! The course is written to the student in a conversational manner. The concepts are clearly explained, the text sections are clearly defined, and the graphics are plentiful, with thoughtful explanations. Students learn about the study of chemistry and the general pursuit of science. Topics include scientific measurement and standardization, atoms, periodic table of elements, chemical bonding, matter, chemical compounds, chemical reactions, acids, bases, and solutions. Additional topics address chemical quantities (volume, mass and mole), organic chemistry, radioactive chemistry, and conclude with a brief history of science and scientists, with an emphasis on the compatibility of God and science.

The hardcover textbook contains fourteen chapters. Each chapter begins with a key chapter preview and ends with a notable person of science, a review of key points, definitions, and study questions. Labs are not included in the textbook. The author recommends Chemistry: Physical and Chemical Changes in Matter. Using common items, this book covers the key principles taught in this course and the corresponding lessons are included in the recommended schedule found in the Answer Key and Parent Companion. A vibrantly colored periodic table of elements is located inside the front cover in a two-page spread.

The Answer Key and Parent Companion include a four day per week schedule (one day per week is dedicated to catch up or study day) for thirty-four weeks. One thing I really appreciate about the suggested schedule is that concepts considered to be more challenging are scheduled over 2 days, allowing students the time to really grasp the information. It also includes the answers to the chapter Study Questions and Tests. Tests are scheduled every 3 chapters. This is a straightforward, easy to use resource that includes the key points of each chapter but no additional teaching notes, as the course is designed for independent learning.

The test booklet includes a single copy of the five tests. Tests are lengthy and include fill-in-the-blank, true or false, short answer, matching and essay questions. Parents are encouraged to consider their individual student needs and modify tests if necessary. The author has kindly provided suggestions and tips on how best to assess learning, including suggestions for effective modifications. Not reproducible.

Fundamentals of Chemistry is an exceptional course that homeschool families will appreciate for its thorough preparation for high school sciences. Chemistry, in particular, will be beneficial for future biology and chemistry courses. Families using the author’s excellent high school biology course, will find this to be an excellent prerequisite that will set up student’s to succeed in their high school studies! ~Deanne

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