We’ve been using Christian Kids Explore Biology (CKEB), off and on, for a few years now. When I first bought it, I was only officially schooling Brianna. We got about halfway through the book, then put it on the shelf for awhile. There was nothing wrong with it, we just went off to explore different things.
I pulled CKEB back out last year when we began studying the Ancients with Story of the World. As I’ve mentioned, we are eclectic homeschoolers with a classical bent and a little twist of Charlotte Mason. So, I like to study history and science “classically,” which simply means that we study history chronologically in a four year (more or less) cyclical style and we study the science that the people in that part of history would have known about. The ancient people knew or were learning about the human body, for example, so we study biology. The people of the Middle Ages were fascinated with earth science and space, so that’s what we’ll study when we begin the Middle Ages. It’s jut a nice way to add a little cohesiveness to our studies of history and science.
CKEB is a science text written by homeschool mom, Stephanie Redmond, for her family. She struggled with science so her goal was to write a science text that was easy for the kids and the mom to use and understand. CKEB is geared toward students in 3rd-6th grades, but we’ve found that it makes a wonderful spine book and is easily adaptable for a wide range of ages. We began using it again last year when Megan was in first grade and Brianna was in sixth.
In my opinion, CKEB is not a stand-alone science program, but is rather a great spine when enhanced by library books, DVD’s, hands-on activities and field trips. So, if you’re looking for a science program that’s completely laid out for you so that you can pick it up and begin teaching, CKEB is probably not going to be “meaty” enough for you. However, if you’re willing to spend a little time planning some extras and seeking out some supplemental reading, it’s perfect.
I like to spend a week on each lesson. On Monday, we read and discuss the text from the book. The rest of the week, we do supplemental reading and activities. There are also activities in the book which we’ve done and enjoyed, such as the Jell-O cell. While we haven’t found activities that we’ve enjoyed in each and every unit, most are easily supplemented, such as the unit on the human body in which we made life-size outlines of each of the kids and added the organs from a great little reproducible book that I picked up at the local teacher supply store.
One of the simplest, but most useful things that I’ve done to supplement CKEB was picking up some biology textbooks at a local used book store. They were really cheap (a couple of dollars a piece, at most) and we use them for the pictures. For nearly every unit, we make a page for the science notebook we’re keeping, listing facts about whatever we’re studying and cutting out pictures to include from the biology text books.
There is an entire “Christian Kids Explore” series, covering biology, earth & space, chemistry, and physics, with the last two books being written by two college professors and geared toward slightly older kids. As the name suggests, each text looks at science from a creationist standpoint and through the eyes of one who seeks to find God’s hand in the design of His creation.
If you are a Christian who also happens to use Story of the World or another history curriculum that follows history in a four-year pattern, you will enjoy the fact that the Christian Kids Explore series was written to follow the classical style of learning, so that each volume fits nicely with each SOTW volume. The books are reasonably priced, with a full year’s worth of science coming in at just under $30.
You can find out more about Christian Kids Explore Biology, including the table of contents and sample lessons, along with information about the other three books in the series at Bright Ideas Press.