As many of you are well aware, earth science is the discipline where young-earth creationists inject the most inaccuracies into their texts. Consequently, there are some tough choices that have to be made.
Choice #1: Do I use young-earth (creation science) curriculum or secular curriculum?
Personally, I chose secular. I'd rather teach the kids good science than try to work around all the crazy flood geology in the creation science textbooks. I can always add my own biblical integration.
Choice #2: Now what?
I mean seriously, it was all lovely for me to choose to use secular curriculum, but there aren't a lot of options out there for younger kids on these subjects.
So here was my journey...
In the beginning, I tried using Myrna Martin's geology curriculum. I had review copies on hand that I bought a couple years ago for work. That lasted only a few weeks. I had high hopes for it, but it just wasn't very interesting. I was bored and I don't get bored very easily.
Then, I bought a geology text for middle schoolers through Glencoe. I totally wasn't expecting it to be two inches thick. I was thinking it would be a little more scaled back because, after all, it was for middle schoolers, not high schoolers. I'll probably use this text with the girls a few years from now, but for this year it wasn't real helpful.
Plan C. So then, I went to the educational store to investigate other options. I ended up buying some workbook-type resources. This actually worked out pretty well. I particularly like the Evan Moor series.
- ScienceWorks for Kids, Planet Earth
- Just the Facts: Earth and Space Science from Carson-Dellosa (used with the fourth grader)
- Fossils & Prehistoric Life, Milliken Publishing (used with the fourth grader)
I went to the library and checked out short books on whichever topic we happened to be working on at the moment to read aloud. This provided more details than were given in the workbooks.
The girls filled out lab sheets after each experiment and I had the fourth grader write a paragraph on each major topic we did.
I also bought a set of rocks, minerals, and fossils. If you do that, I'd also suggest investing in a good magnifying glass (not a cheap plastic one).
Here are the topics we covered:
- layers of the earth
- plate tectonics
- layering (e.g. superposition, etc.)
- reliability of dating methods
- how fossils are made
- history of life/fossil record
- types of rocks and minerals
A possible alternative:
- Earth and Space 1st - 4th Grade (from Pandia Press) - I have a review copy of this and have looked through it. This publisher is secular so there is no young-earth content. You can download a sample lesson from the publisher's web site, as well as the Classical Home Education web site. No clue on the fun/boring scale since I haven't actually used this.