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Finding a good science course for your middle schooler can be a difficult task if, as a parent, you aren’t confident about your abilities to teach science or choose a solid curriculum. Even though I’m a science teacher myself, I still find it troublesome to think about how to teach the subject to younger kids since I currently teach at a high school and college level.
When I found BJU Press Homeschool I was so excited to give the science courses a try with my kids. It seemed to be everything I was looking for. A full and robust curriculum, lessons that are planned out and done for you, limited teaching on my part, and labs built in that the kids can do at home with minimal supervision needed.
Earth Science Course for Homeschool
So far I’ve been using the BJU Press Earth Science course for my 8th grader, and the BJU Press Science 6 course for my 6th grader (read that review here). We started the course late summer because we do school year-round, but you can start in the fall if you want your schedule to coincide with a “normal” school year.
About BJU Press Earth Science
In Earth Science, your student will embark on a journey of discovery as he/she studies geology, rocks and minerals, fossils, oceanography, rivers and lakes, the atmosphere, weather, astronomy, and more. You can view a sample lesson below.
Earth Science Textbook
The textbook that goes along with this course is high quality and contains material that promotes higher-level thinking. My son is not a huge fan of reading, so for him, there is a lot of text versus being more pictured based, as you may find in the more elementary level books, but I think it’s a good challenge for him.
Even though the textbook is there for reading and reference, there are online video lessons to go along with the text so you are not expected to learn by simply reading alone. Many children need a combination of approaches when they are learning, and this course is suited to providing information in a variety of ways.
A lab manual is also included and walks your student step by step through each lab that they are required to do.
So far the labs we have done have been pretty fun and engaging. My son has been able to complete them primarily on his own, without too much help from me. The video lessons do walk students through the labs as well so if your child gets stuck they can reference the videos.
Online Portion of Earth Science
When you are taking this course you will need to access the online portion to view the videos, get your assignments for each day, take your quizzes and tests (graded for you!), and simply keep track of your progress in the course. I really like how the course is set up online because it’s easy for the student to follow and mark off what they’ve completed as they go.
As you can see, everything you need to do for each day is laid out in a clear and easy to understand format. As you complete each task, you simply check the box.
The video lessons average about 14 minutes in length and you can expect 150 video and 30 non-video days for your lessons (180 school days total). A snapshot of one of the videos demonstrating a lab is shown below.
It’s easy for the kids to follow right along with the teacher, and they can pause as needed so the instructor will never go too fast for them!
There is also a parent dashboard that you can log into to keep track of progress and grades. You also get a whole suite of facilitator materials including enrichment project rubrics, guided notes answer keys, lab answer keys, and more! If you have more than one student enrolled in different courses, they all show up in your dashboard so you can select which student you’d like to view without having to log into different websites each time.
Earth Science Lab Materials
While I think you can get by with most things you already have in your home, there are a few essential items you’ll probably want to purchase in order to complete all of the labs for this course. BJU Press offers a full science kit that has everything your student needs. You can get the full Earth Science Lab Kit by clicking here.
Earth Science Course Review
Overall I’m very pleased with this course. As a busy parent who also works outside the home, I find this course is well suited to our needs. My son can complete most things independently with a little help from me here and there when he has questions.
Things to note: every course is designed to be completed in one school year. While the start and end date may vary for each family, BJU Press gives you about 17 months to complete the course before you no longer have access online. If your student needs extra time to work through the material, or you decide to take a few weeks off throughout the year, you should still have enough time to get through all the coursework.
Read More Homeschooling Reviews
Looking for another science class? You can read my Science 6 course review here!
You can see all of my homeschooling articles by clicking my education content tab. I have reviews and information on history, math, spelling, and more!