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Noeo Science Curriculum: Biology, Physics, and Chemistry courses for grades 1-9

Publisher: Logos Press
Review last updated: 2014

This is one of my 101 Top Picks!

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Noeo Science Curriculum

See the complete review in 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.

For years I've advocated avoiding traditional science textbooks and, instead, choosing fewer topics to cover using real books and experiments. Obviously, more and more homeschoolers agree with me since publishers are increasingly putting together courses that fit this description. However, I think Noeo Science has done the best job yet! You'll see why as you read on.

Courses are available for three levels. Level I courses target grades 1 through 3, level II courses are for grade 4 through 6, and level III courses might be used in grades 7 through 9. It should take one school year to complete each course. The titles of the eight volumes in the series and their prices (as of this update) are:

Biology I: Seeds, Scales, Feather and Tails! $143.59
Chemistry I: Bubbly, Sticky, Bouncy, and Icky!
$165.22
Physics I: Zip, Zap, Zing, and Zoom!
$157.27
Biology II: Worms, Beans, Germs, and Genes!
$134.94
Chemistry II: Atoms to Alloys and Beyond!
$150.06
Physics II: Gizmos, Gadgets, Gears, and Gravity!
$155.70
Chemistry III: It's Elementary!
$211.42
Physics III: It’s Forceful!
$160.18

You might have noticed that all courses are titled Biology, Chemistry, or Physics. Some science topics such as geology, weather, and astronomy overlap these three areas of science, so they are included at points within chemistry, biology, and physics where they fit most appropriately.

It doesn't really matter which order you use the volumes for each level. Choosing the most appropriate level is more important. However, you might easily shift a student at one end or the other of a level into a lower or higher level if it helps consolidate your teaching of more than one child together. While the titles of the books sound the same, the content at each level changes to cover different topics within biology, chemistry and physics (as well as other areas of science) so that students will have a broad and thorough science education after completing a few levels of these courses.

...the curriculum is designed with lots of experiments and hands-on activity rather than in a traditional format.

The author describes the curriculum's approach as "mostly classical" with elements of Charlotte Mason and unit studies, although it seems to me that the latter two approaches dominate.

Each volume of Noeo Science targets a narrow range of topics under the general heading of biology, chemistry, or physics. For example, Biology I—subtitled Seeds, Scales, Feathers and Tails!—covers weather, bacteria and fungi, sea life, amphibians, plants, insects, birds, and the human body. Despite the number of topics, extensive time is spent on narrower subsets of each of the above topics, using real books, observations, and experiments—all hallmarks of unit studies.

Charlotte Mason’s influence is seen in the use of real books, the use of narration (oral and written), drawing, and creation of a notebook. While children learn some vocabulary, the curriculum does not rely on the memorization typical of many science courses, and neither does it use typical worksheets and tests. That doesn't mean students do no writing. Some reproducible forms in each volume are used by students for notebooking, drawing, recording data from experiments, writing definitions, and taking notes....

For each course, the key component is the Instructor's Guide that comes in a spiral-bound book. Each Instructor’s Guide consists primarily of lesson plans that are laid out for each week in chart form for easy reference. They list the pages in books to be read, experiments to be completed, optional experiments or optional internet links to explore. Notes at the bottom tell you when students need to makes notes or drawings for their notebooks or provide a narration....

Noeo Science sells the Instructor's Guides with sets of the required books and experiment kits that save you money over buying items individually. However, you can purchase all items separately if you prefer....

Chemistry III and Physics III come with larger experiment kits, each of which has its own substantial manual....

The books selected for each course are outstanding. For example, Chemistry II books are the Usborne Internet-Linked Science Encyclopedia; Usborne Internet-Linked Mysteries and Marvels of Science; Fizz, Bubble & Flash; Adventures with Atoms and Molecules; The Mystery of the Periodic Table; and Geology Rocks! These are mostly colorful, illustrated books that children love to explore on their own....

....these courses are perfect for junior high and might serve as introductory courses for ninth graders that would be followed up later with more challenging, math-based chemistry or physics courses.

Each course is laid out for 36 weeks—a full school year. Lessons are provided for four days a week. However, lessons for Level I should take only 15 to 20 minutes a day, lessons for Level II should take only 20 to 30 minutes per day, and lessons for Level III should take 30 to 40 minutes per day....

While the author of the curriculum has a Christian worldview, most of the resource books do not. In the introduction, the author suggests using encounters with secular or materialist viewpoints in the books as opportunities for discussion rather than skipping over them. I might also suggest that since the resource books are your primary source of information, you might want to add discussion about God's design or presence when it seems appropriate.

Check the website for information on various options for purchasing individual components.

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Instant Key

  • Learning Styles: all
    Suitable for: 
    one-on-one or group plus some independent work
    Audience:
    grades 1-9
    Need for parent/teacher instruction: 
    high for lab work
    Prep time needed:
    moderate to high for lab work
    Need for Teacher's Manual:  essential
    Religious perspective:
    underlying Christian view, but most resources are secular

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