I typically don’t teach science in our homeschool because we utilize a learning center which provides classes for homeschoolers. One of those classes is science and it is incredibly thorough and advanced in what they learn. I do, however, like to provide my girls with science resources so they can explore on their own terms. We love looking up information when we have a question and I want to provide materials which point my girls to God as the Creator.
The Big Book of Earth and Sky from Master Books, a division of New Leaf Publishing Group, by Bodie Hodge and Dr. Carolyn Reeves (View her website here!) grabbed my girls’ attention as soon as I opened it! I put it on a shelf intending to leave it there until I had a chance to look at it with them, but I kept finding one or another reading it and learning on their own. The gigantic, colorful poster/book immediately draws the students (and teacher!) into curiosity mode. The illustrations are beautiful and written content is concise and clear.
By the time I started using this with my daughters I was happy to discover that a teacher’s guide had been published. You can purchase this separately or go follow the link to download it for free. While there are many ways this book can be used and incorporated into your current studies, I like having the teacher’s guide to give me a starting point. This guide includes a section on a variety of topics and provides a glossary of words for each topic as well as suggested activities. The topics included are caves, oceans, meteorology and paleontology. The book is designed to be a springboard for learning and the teacher’s guide greatly aids this process. There are also corresponding charts for students to fill in as you study. My oldest two really enjoyed this part!
If I had the space I would have hung it up on the wall with the land starting at the floor. You can watch the video below to see how this works. I don’t have a good spot to do this, so we stretched the entire book and I thought it would be fun to show how it compares to the height of my girls. They all thought this was fun, but Grace especially got a kick out of it. She’s at the bottom with the biggest smile of the three! The top of the chart starts with the uppermost layers of the atmosphere. It then systematically moves through meteorological and geological information all the way to the earth’s core.
I printed out my teacher’s guide and made the girls their own packets to study with. I used the same picture from the teacher’s guide to make the cover. Beth especially liked this because she felt very grown up having her very own packet to complete.
We started at the top with the layers of the earth’s atmosphere. One of the reasons so many of my friends give for why they couldn’t homeschool is because they aren’t smart enough. While I think each family must choose their own educational course, I try to encourage them that they don’t have to know everything. Wonderful resources like this are available so we can learn alongside one another. I’m sure at some point I had to learn the layers of the atmosphere during my education, but they didn’t stick. I loved how not only were the layers labeled in a vivid way, but they also included the types of things you would find in that layer. Our local children’s museum has a wonderful hands-on weather exhibit. I plan to take this with us the next time so we can look at some of the information along with the displays!
We moved a little farther down and took a look at the mountain zones. We live in the area of North Carolina known as the Piedmont, or foothills. We had a wonderful conversation about our location and how that relates to our family who lives in the mountains of North Carolina. Beth loved that there was a snow zone. The girls love snow even though we don’t see it very often!
The last area we looked at (on this day!) was the core of the earth. Rose studied this in her science class and told us lots of information she had already learned, which inspired Beth to become more interested in reading more on the page. You can see that this folds up nicely so if you don’t have a large floor space it is still easily usable and enjoyable.
This is a fabulous resource with a years-worth or more of curriculum ideas. For me, the best part is I know I can trust what is written within these pages to engage and enlighten my girls while staying within our beliefs that all living things were created by God within a literal 1-week period. I know this makes our family in the minority within our culture and I am forever grateful to New Leaf Publishing for providing amazing resources like this one to teach my girls.
Read the book release blog here and take some time to watch this fun video to see even more of The Big Book of Earth and Sky!