This is a guide for how to create your own science courses for all grade levels, but especially for high school. Author Susan Stewart suggests a number of ways to design your own science courses. She suggests beginning by using what is essentially the Principle Approach's method of defining a subject such as biology or physics, finding what the Bible has to say about the subject (more than you would suspect), and writing down your own conclusions from your reading and research. Teacher and student(s) work on this together, probably spending no more than a day to lay a foundation for study.
This doesn't mean that you have to create your entire course from scratch, but it does give you direction as you decide what topics to pursue and how to approach each one. In the book, Stewart describes different approaches—using a textbook but choosing which sections to use and when to use them, using a encyclopedia in conjunction with some sort of lab manuals or sources of experiments such as Boy Scout Merit Badge books, or using a lab book as the foundation by teaching information in conjunction with the labs you choose to do.
Stewart strongly recommends activity-based learning even if you choose to use a standard science textbook. She also recommends developing science courses based on student interest and practicality more than on covering what's in a textbook.
The "kitchen" in the title reflects author Susan Stewart's reliance on household chemicals and equipment for lab work rather than specialized, dangerous, and expensive equipment and supplies we often associate with science labs. She might also have added "garage" to her title because many items on her resource list are likely to be found there.
Stewart says in the introduction, "There is nothing magical about the traditional school science lab. In fact, more science is discovered outside the building…. You're about to find out that smelly frogs, black lab tables, and exploding basements are not the essentials of science learning."
The book has suggested outlines and some ideas for experiments and activities for biology, chemistry, and physics. There are a few sample labs and experiments included plus lists of basic equipment, safety precautions, resources, and internet resources.
Since this book is only 55 pages, none of this is comprehensive. The value of this book is in giving you a fresh perspective on science itself plus some ideas of how and what to teach. It does not give you detailed plans for entire courses.
I found some of the lists and charts within chapters a little confusing—they could use better labeling as to the purpose of each and what one might do with them.
In general, Stewart takes a very laid back approach to science that might not suit every family. She suggests that if you (the teacher) don't understand an explanation or an experiment in a book, then skip it since your student isn't likely to understand either. She also wisely suggests that parents not worry about "gaps"—you can never cover every science topic well.
This book is available in print edition, on CD-ROM or as a downloadable e-book. The latter two choices are really a bargain. Sample pages are available on the internet so you can see before purchasing.