How to Best Use Science Shepherd Curriculum in Your Homeschool
We've come a long way since our early days with one middle school Life Science curriculum and a high school Biology course! Over the last few years, we have released new homeschool science curriculum at multiple grade levels and have even more in the works. As we continue to grow and add more classes, we know it is important to help families decide which class is right for them. To do just that, we've put together a recommended course and grade progression that shows each Science Shepherd course and what grades they are intended for.
We do want to stress that this is our recommended course progression. What works best for your family, or even an individual student, may look different. We always encourage parents to leverage the flexibility afforded by homeschooling and modify material or schedules to fit their needs. That might look like using a curriculum at a different grade level than recommended, completing the lessons within a particular course in a different order than the schedule suggests, or completing a course over a longer timeframe than it is presented. The most important consideration is doing what will help your children succeed.
And so, here is the "official" recommended course and grade progression for Science Shepherd Homeschool Curriculum. You'll notice that many classes are listed as "possibly" for a particular grade. This is to indicate that, based on the flexibility mentioned above, it may be appropriate to use a given course for a grade beyond what we normally intend it for. We'll explain this further for each class it applies to.
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We'll update the grid and course descriptions below as new material is released.
Grades 1-5 | Ages 6-11
Our Introductory Science course is recommended for grades 1-5 or ages 6-11. It is an entirely video-based curriculum, with accompanying student workbook (printed or electronic). The workbook is available in two levels; Level A for younger students (grades 1-3, ages 6-9), and Level B for older students (grades 3-5, ages 8-11). Students in both Levels may watch the videos together while completing their own workbook. Introductory Science is a broad course, covering many topics including creation week, meteorology, geology, oceanography, plants and animals, physical science, and more. Some families may find it helpful for a student to complete Level A one year and Level B later on. Introductory Science is presented in a 35-week schedule.
Grades 2-6 | Ages 7-12
Earth Science expands upon select topics from Introductory Science to guide students to a deeper understanding of geology, volcanology, paleontology, oceanography, meteorology, climatology and energy. The video-based curriculum is available in two levels: Level A for grades 2-4 (ages 7-10) and Level B for grades 4-6 (ages 10-12), with an age-appropriate workbook available for each level. Earth Science is scheduled over 35 weeks, with 3-4 (Level A) or 4-5 (Level B) videos per week, on average.
Grades 3-6 | Ages 8-12 (and beyond)
Physical Science builds upon the basic principles established in our Introductory Science, with a focus on chemistry, physics and astronomy. If the student has not taken our Introductory Science course, it is highly recommended that s/he have formal science experience prior to taking this course. Physical Science is a video-based curriculum with a Level A Workbook formatted for younger students (grades 3-5, ages 8 to 11) or Level B Workbook formatted for older students (grades 4-6, ages 9 to 12). Older students who have not yet formally studied physical science (chemistry and physics, in particular) may benefit from taking Physical Science Level B prior to our Fundamentals classes. The course is scheduled over 35 weeks, with 3 video lessons per week. Compared to our Introductory Science course, Physical Science expects a slightly higher reading level for the Level A and Level B students and for the Level B students also expects the ability to do basic two-digit-number addition and subtraction.
Unearthing the Bible
Grades 3-8 | Ages 8-14 (and beyond)
Unearthing the Bible is a unique mix of archaeology, history, social studies, and apologetics, recommended for grades 3-8 or ages 8-14. By studying the field of archaeology, students will learn that the history recorded in the Bible is confirmed by the history found in the ground. It is a video-based curriculum that includes a PDF workbook and answer key. While the level of difficulty is best suited for 3rd to 8th grades, we believe the content of the class is of interest and beneficial to older students (even whole families) and so the class could possibly be used for 9th to 12th grade as a quarter elective or partial credit. The 39 lessons of Unearthing the Bible are presented in an 15-week schedule.
Astronomy: God's Universe
Grades 5-9 | Ages 10-15 (and beyond)
One of our newest releases, Astronomy: God's Universe explores the solar system, stars, galaxies, and more, all while reinforcing the sufficiency of Scripture and the creation account. The video-based curriculum is available in two levels: Level A for grades 5-7 (ages 10-13) and Level B for grades 7-9 (ages 12-15). Each level has its own workbook. Students in Grades 8-12, particularly those who have not previously studied astronomy, may find the material in Level B insightful and challenges their critical thinking, and so the class may be appropriate for them, too. Astronomy: God's Universe is presented in a 36-week schedule.
Grades 6-10 | Ages 11-16 (and beyond)
One of our original releases in 2008 and now on its 2nd Edition, Life Science is a middle school curriculum that prepares students for high school biology. The foundation of the class is the textbook, with a comprehensive video course available for those who prefer that format or find the combined text/video more productive than either format alone. Topics covered include the characteristics and chemistry of life, cells, genetics, classification, human anatomy & physiology, ecology, and more. There is also an optional lab manual integrated into the curriculum. Life Science may be appropriate for grades 9-10 for those students who have not had much science experience or as a "non-college prep" class for those who have no interest in pursuing science further than high school.
Fundamentals of Chemistry
Grades 7-10 | Ages 12-16 (and beyond)
Fundamentals of Chemistry is another high school preparatory class for middle school. The course is text-based, and includes study in the areas of scientific measurement, atoms, bonding, reactions, nuclear chemistry, and more. A comprehensive video course is available that follows the daily reading schedule, as well as an optional lab manual. Fundamentals of Chemistry may be appropriate for 9th and 10th graders who prefer an introductory course prior to taking a full high school chemistry program, or as a "non-college prep" high school chemistry.
Fundamentals of Physics
Grades 8-10 | Ages 13-16 (and beyond)
The final Science Shepherd high school preparatory course available for middle school is Fundamentals of Physics. This text-based class studies the three states of matter, Newton's laws, waves, light, sound, nuclear physics, and more. A comprehensive video course and optional lab manual is available. Fundamentals of Physics may be appropriate for 9th and 10th grade students who need an introductory course before taking a more advanced physics course, or as a "non-college prep" high school physics.
Planning the middle school years? We recommend our three middle school courses be taken in the order Life Science (6th grade), Fundamentals of Chemistry (7th grade), Fundamentals of Physics (8th grade).
Grades 9+ | Ages 14+
Biology, now on its 3rd Edition, is a robust high school program, with a 700+ page textbook that serves as the foundation of the course. There is also an in-depth video course available for students who learn better with that format or with a mixed text/video format. Topics covered include basic biochemistry, cell structure and function, genetics, classification, human anatomy & physiology, a critical review of the creation and evolution origin models, ecology, and more. A lab component with lab manual and optional video presentation of all labs is also available that integrates seamlessly with the class schedule or can be completed as a standalone lab class. Biology is appropriate for any high school grade, but it is recommended that students complete Life Science or a similar high school-prep course before taking the class.
We hope this is a helpful guide as you plan your homeschool science schedule. If you have any questions about our material, please feel free to contact us.
Until next time! Science Shepherd
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