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Science Shepherd vs Bob Jones Life Science Comparison

June 28, 2019 5 min read

Science Shepherd Homeschool Life Science Curriculum banner of leaf with water droplets

Homeschool Middle School Life Science

We continue our series of homeschool science curriculum comparisons today by looking at middle school Life Science from Science Shepherd and BJU Press Homeschool. Rather than being a detailed review, this is a comparison to highlight some of the similarities and differences between the two programs to help homeschool families decide which would be the best fit for them. Our goal in providing this is to help you get the most appropriate course for your student. If it is Science Shepherd, that’s great! If it isn’t, that’s great, too! The key is bringing you information that is as objective as possible so you can make a good decision for you and your family.

Last month, we compared Science Shepherd Homeschool Biology and Apologia Exploring Creation with Biology. You can read that comparison here.

Textbook

Science Shepherd Life Science

BJU Press Homeschool Life Science

Grade Middle School
7th Grade in their course progression
Middle School
7th Grade in their course progression
Format 1st Edition
280+ Pages
Full-Color
Hardcover
Interactive eBook
4th Edition
620+ Pages
Full-Color
Softbound
Interactive eBook
Topics Characteristics of Life
Biochemistry
Cellular Biology
Genetics
Creation & Evolution
Classification (Seven Kingdom)
Human Anatomy & Physiology
Ecology
Characteristics of Life
Cellular Biology
Genetics
History of Life
Microbiology
Botany
Zoology
Ecology
Human Anatomy & Physiology
Price $50, Print
$37.50, Print
$69.17, Print
$33.06, eBook

Summary: The Life Science textbooks from Science Shepherd and BJU Press Homeschool are similar in scope and recognize God’s Word as absolute truth and the lens through which science is properly understood. Clearly, there is a difference regarding how their similar scopes handle topics, organize information content, etc., considering BJU text is more than double the size of Science Shepherd. Science Shepherd's Life Science text is straightforward, presenting scientific concepts in a step-wise fashion, without introducing worldview/philosophical discussion into the science presentation and avoiding sidebar topics so the students focus on the scientific concepts. Creation and evolution are discussed in depth after the student spends about half the year learning the science upon which the creation and evolution discussion is based. At all points, step-wise knowledge acquisition and integration processes are emphasized so the student learns HOW to learn, not just what to learn, developing critical thinking skills in the process. BJU Press takes a more “standardized textbook approach” and includes side-bar discussions and dedicated sections (called “facets”) to cover critical thinking, creation and evolution, and other concepts. On the topic of origins, both texts include a chapter on creation and evolution; it is confined to that chapter in Science Shepherd’s text but is visited throughout BJU Press’ text. Both textbooks include review questions, and standardized test review is provided in the BJU Press text. Note that the Science Shepherd format for end of chapter questions is short answer, fill-in-the-blank and true/false questions, while BJU relies most heavily on multiple choice, with occasional true/false and fill-in-the-blank questions. Also, both Science Shepherd and BJU Press Homeschool offer their Life Science textbooks in an interactive eBook format. Science Shepherd provides 12 months of access to the eBook, while BJU Press Homeschool offers 16 months.

Answer Key & Parent Companion / Teacher's Edition and Answer Key

 

Science Shepherd Life Science

BJU Press Homeschool Life Science

Format 100+ Pages
Softcover
Interactive eBook
650+ Pages, Teacher's Edition
Spiralbound, Teacher's Edition
130+ Pages, Tests Answer Key
3-Hole Punched, Tests Answer Key
Features Section-by-section overview of the textbook
Key teaching points
Additional review questions
Study Question Answers
Test Answers
Supplemental teaching material
Review question answers
Toolkit CD
Test answers
Test Sheets
Price $12, Print $76.67, Teacher's Edition
$12.22, Tests Answer Key

Summary: Science Shepherd and BJU Press Homeschool have taken drastically different approaches to their parent material. The Science Shepherd Life Science Answer Key & Parent Companion is a condensed, section-by-section review of the textbook, highlighting key concepts, with additional study questions parents can ask to help ensure their student(s) understand and can critically think about the material. The Science Shepherd Answer Key & Parent Companion also includes all chapter review and test question answers. The BJU Press Life Science Teacher’s Edition is a complete copy of their student textbook with additional parent information and review questions added, and other additional resources for parents and students. They also provide a CD with more supplementary material. The test questions for BJU Press’s Life Science are provided in a separate Tests Answer Key. Both parent resources provide a recommended syllabus.

Test Booklet

 

Science Shepherd Life Science

BJU Press Homeschool Life Science

Format Softcover
Interactive eBook
Printable PDF
Softcover
Number of Tests 9 23
Price $5, All Formats $17.06

Summary: No major difference here. The tests for Science Shepherd Life Science occur every few chapters, while those for BJU Press Homeschool Life Science occur every chapter. Science Shepherd testing uses the same formatting as the end of chapter questions, and none of the test questions are repeats of the chapter questions.

That summarizes the core material for middle school Life Science from Science Shepherd and BJU Press Homeschool. Both publishers do offer a bundle of the course; Science Shepherd's Life Science 3-Book Set for $65, and BJU Press Homeschool’s Life Science Subject Kit for $181.30. The BJU kit also includes their student and teacher lab manuals, which we will discuss next.

Lab Manual

Science Shepherd Life Science

BJU Press Homeschool Life Science

Format Softcover
Perforated
90+ Pages
Softbound
380+ Pages
Schedule Labs performed in conjunction with the textbook reading assignments Labs performed in conjunction with the textbook reading assignments
Price $9.50 $30.83, Student Lab Manual
$35.83, Lab Manual Teacher's Addition

Summary: Science Shepherd and BJU Press Homeschool have made lab resources available for their Life Science classes, but the two differ substantially. Science Shepherd Life Science utilizes the Life Science Quest for Middle Grades activity book as the recommended lab material for their class. This book includes labs and other activities, which are performed in conjunction with the Life Science textbook readings, and one of the major goals of this lab experience is to keep it simple but effective, using materials that most houses/kitchens have on stock, or are very cheap to purchase. Science Shepherd provides a schedule to help parents match the Quest for Middle Grades material to the textbook, which you can download here. A parent’s guide is provided in the back of the activity book. BJU Press’ Life Science Lab Manual includes chapter review worksheets, as well as labs and other activities such as research assignments and field studies. BJU Press Homeschool provides a separate parent guide. Similar to the textbook Teacher’s Edition, the Lab Manual Teacher’s Edition from BJU Press includes the full lab manual, with lab guides, answers, and additional resources added in.

Video Course

Finally, a note on video content. As we have begun to expand our video curriculum to include Introductory Science, Biology, and Archaeology, we are often asked if Life Science also has video content. As of this writing, we do not; however, our plan is to make it available as soon as possible, likely sometime in 2020. When it does become available, it will be a comprehensive teaching of the Science Shepherd Life Science textbook, in the same way the Biology Video Course is of the Biology textbook. BJU Press Homeschool does currently have a video course available for their Life Science. It features 145 video lessons, with an average run-time of 13 minutes, and is available for $279.

We hope this has been a helpful (and fair) overview to you of the homeschool Life Science curriculum available from Science Shepherd and BJU Press Homeschool! If you have any questions about our middle school material, please send us a message through our contact page, and we would be happy to help.

Note: Information and pricing accurate, as much as it has been understood, as of May 31, 2019.

Until Next Time!
Science Shepherd

Science Shepherd
Science Shepherd



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