We started the homeschool year with intentions of using a well-known science curriculum for my son’s 5th Grade year. Despite it’s popularity, that loved-by-many faith-based science curriculum bombed in our home. Since then, we’ve been exploring other options for homeschool science.
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Since our initial plans for 5th Grade science didn’t work out, we’ve been forced to explore new options and broaden our homeschool horizons. Initially written for use in Christian schools, By Design Science is the most recent of those new options. While it may not be written with homeschool families in mind, my search for another option for faith-based science has shown me how well By Design can work for homeschooling families.
By Design: Inquiry-Led
& Faith-Based Science
By Design: A Journey to Excellence through Science is a faith-based inquiry science curriculum for elementary students through 8th Grade. Through engaging, challenging, and age-appropriate instruction, By Design Science seeks to develop decision making and problem solving skills by studying science through the lens of the Bible.
This is accomplished through By Design’s 5-step teaching model:
- Engage – capture attention and spark interest
- Discover – explore concepts through inquiry-based activities
- Explain – students form explanations of major ideas; a teacher guides the process
- Extend – build on understanding and apply learned concepts to other areas
- Assess/Reflect – evaluate understanding
By Design: A Truly Faith-Based Science Curriculum
Since we’ve used other faith-based science materials in our homeschool before, I’m aware of how difficult it can be to find a curriculum that strengthens faith through science. Other curriculum choices do a good job of including faith aspects in lessons, but they don’t always connect the material to our faith. That’s not the case with By Design.
Between the Scripture Spotlights in the student books, Faith Connection pages in the student journals, and extra notes and points brought out in the teacher edition, it’s easy to help students understand how science connects to their Christian faith.
While By Design is published by Kendall Hunt Religious Publishing, a Seventh Day Adventist publisher, none of the faith-based elements are exclusive the members of Seventh Day Adventist Church. All faith-based elements I’ve come across completely line up with our worldview as a non-denominational Christian family.
By Design: A Homeschool-Friendly Science Curriculum
As a homeschool parent, science is my hardest subject to teach. Thankfully the By Design Teacher’s Guide includes loads of supporting information for each lesson. Background information, additional questions, teaching tips, and elements from the 5-step teaching model are located in the side margins of each lesson of the Teacher’s Guide.
In addition to all of the supporting information included for the individual units and lessons, there’s plenty of help navigating all of the By Design materials. This is a huge help! The Teacher’s Guide provides thorough overviews for the Teacher’s Guide itself, By Design Student Edition, and By Design Student Journals. Through these multi-page overviews, teachers have everything needed to make the most of By Design Science.
In many ways, By Design Science offers the best of both worlds for homeschool students. The textbooks are loaded with information, engaging graphics, and hands-on learning. The student journals contain supporting pages for structured inquiry, ample space for drawing and writing, and Home Connection pages designed for home application. This combination of a textbook approach to science and journaling have been great for my son.
By Design 5th Grade Overview
As a home educator, I appreciate how easy it is to customize the curriculum to fit our needs. We jumped into the physical science unit first because we haven’t covered that area of science in our recent homeschool years. Not having to work our way through to get to the unit we needed most was a huge help!
Our time in the physical science unit was spent covering energy, the electromagnetic spectrum, forces and motion, and machines. While we’ve steered away from traditional teaching methods such as textbooks over time, I was pleasantly surprised how much my son has enjoyed his time covering physical science this way.
In fact, within the first week of using By Design, he lit up and said, “Mom, I’m actually getting this!” That was music to my ears since we’ve struggled to find a good fit for science this year.
We’ve only used By Design’s physical science unit thus far, but we’re looking forward to diving in to the other units when we’re finished. Each By Design level addresses physical science, the human body, earth and space, and life science. Topics within each of those areas vary from year to year. Here are the specific science concepts addressed within these areas in By Design’s Level 5 curriculum:
- Living Things – classification of organisms; adaptation; and how organisms interact
- Human Body – puberty and the reproductive system; conception, pregnancy, and birth; and common diseases and disorders (I particularly appreciate the age-appropriate coverage of these topics!)
- Earth and Space – weather and climate; Earth’s ocean; and people and earth.
- Physical Science – forms of energy; the electromagnetic spectrum; forces and motion; and machines
Learn More about By Design
& Kendall Hunt
Kendall Hunt also provides faith-based programs in Reading Language Art called (Pathways) and a New Kindergarten program (Stepping Stones). In addition, Kendall Hunt offers Talented and Gifted programs in mathematics (M2 and M3) as well as products developed in collaboration with the CFGE (Center for Gifted Education) College of William and Mary in subject areas such as language arts, social studies, and science.