Science Shephard Life Science {Curriculum Review}

It’s only been in the last couple years that we’ve started formal homeschool science studies. With Bug finishing his 7th-grade year, I felt it was time to up the game a bit and move toward being ready for high school science courses. Since he has an interest in being a marine biologist, Life Science is a natural one to start with. This is why I was happy to give Science Shepherd Life Science a review!

What Is Science Shepherd Life Science?

Science Sheperd Life Science - Homeschool Science Curriculum | Busy Homeschool Days

Science Shephard is a homeschool science curriculum with a Christian, Creationist worldview. Currently, they have three courses – Introductory Science, Life Science, and Biology. They also have some free Creation Science lectures available on their website.

We received the Life Science course to review. The Life Science set includes a Textbook, Answer Key & Parent Companion, and Test Booklet. It is written as a complete Junior High/Middle School Life Science curriculum.

The textbook is 280 pages long and has full-color pages with plenty of pictures. There is a daily schedule included in the Parent Companion that schedules out the 19 chapters and nine tests into 5 lessons/week for 36 weeks, making this a full year’s worth of science.

Each chapter is broken down into sections, making it easy to break up the reading. There are many pictures and images with descriptions adding to the text of the chapter. Throughout the chapters, new words are bolded. The last section of each chapter lists all the new words and their definitions. Following each chapter, there are some study questions so the student can check his/her understanding of the material.

The Answer Key & Parent Companion contains the answers to all the study questions and tests. The Parent Companion portion contains summaries of the chapters along with additional questions that can be used to review with your student. The Parent Companion is designed for parents who don’t know the subject material and are not going to read the text themselves.

The nine tests are fairly long, with essay or short-answer style questions designed to be an in-depth assessment of the student’s understanding of the material.

How Did We Use Science Shepherd Life Science?

Bug has some experience with using a textbook for science, but this was a step up in the amount of information presented. I decided I wanted him to work on taking notes while he read so he could learn to really focus on the material and not just skim-read it.

I worked with him to start with, reading the material and showing him what kinds of notes he can take. Then I assigned him the reading as scheduled in the Parent Companion. He would read and take notes one day and I’d follow up the next day discussing with him the subject matter and sometimes using the additional questions presented. At this rate, we were only doing 2-3 days of scheduled material a week.

When he reached the end of a chapter, I had him use the book to answer the study questions into the same notebook he was taking notes in. After the first three chapters, there is a test that covers all three chapters. At the writing of this review, we are just about done with chapter 3 and Bug will be taking the first test this week. My plan is to let him use his notes & study questions to take the test. This will encourage him to take good notes and put less stress on the test.

Science Sheperd Life Science - Homeschool Science Curriculum | Busy Homeschool Days

What Do We Think of Science Shepherd Life Science?

We have mixed feelings about Science Shepherd Life Science. I’ll start with Bug’s opinion.

It needed experiments or something to do than just reading. The reading itself was difficult sometimes. There was a lot to remember. I didn’t feel the study questions focused on the tuff I thought was most important. But I did learn a little from it.

He also let me know he felt it moved too quickly because Life Science is such a broad topic. I informed him that was part of studying something life science in a year. He prefers narrow and deep rather than broad and shallow.

I, too, wish there were experiments built into the text {or in a separate companion}. There is a Science Activity book that is sold as a piece to the set on the Science Shepherd website, but it is not published by them. If we decide to finish using this book next year, we’ll get that book and/or find activities that support the reading. We’ll probably also add some notebooking in and speed up the reading pace a little to fit it all into a year.

I appreciate the depth of the science included, even though Bug thought it was too shallow for the topic taught. He’s just used to studying more in depth on a topic. The topics and structure remind me a lot of the Life Science class I took in middle school.

Overall, the textbook would be a fine stand-alone for a student who doesn’t need/want hands-on activities and learns great through just reading a textbook. It’s a solid homeschool science curriculum in that regard. For us, we will need to add to it so that Bug gets a better understanding of the material.

Have a look at the other reviews from the TOS Review Crew – including the new Introductory Science curriculum!

Science Shepherd Review
TOS Disclaimer
 

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