Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Eagle's Wings: Considering God's Creation

We tend to be rather eclectic in our choice of curriculum. With six different children, I have learned that a course that worked beautifully with one child, may not work for another. Which means we are pretty much always on the lookout for new material all the time. My high school science choices have stayed fairly consistent but elementary and middle school science is one area where we have tried a number of different materials.

Eagle's Wings was a company I was not familiar with (although it's been around since 1987) but their science curriculum, Considering God's Creation for 2nd through 7th graders sounded very interesting. We have a son in 2nd grade and a younger daughter in Kindergarten who likes doing whatever her older brother does. So I decided to give it a try with both of them.

When we received our shipment for this review, we received a Teacher's Guide with CD as well as a Studen book (the student book is reproducible within an immediate family).
Primarily and life and earth science course, there are 36 lessons covering the following topics:
  • Creation
  • The Universe: Stars, Sun & Planets
  • Earth
  • Rocks & Minerals
  • Weather
  • Plant Kingdom
  • Animal Kingdom
  • Animal Anatomy & Physiology
  • Human Systems
It's nice to have a course that hits on lots of different areas--there will definitely be something to please every student. The chapters that are of greater interest can be studied more fully by following the author's suggestions for additional resources and activities for digging deeper.

The Teacher's Manual is an extremely user-friendly resource providing not only teacher's notes and hints but scripted information to be read to the students. Each lesson includes notes at the beginning regarding what student pages will be used and what supplies students will need for that lesson. Following that, vocabulary words are shared (that can be reviewed orally or made into flashcards as the author suggests). Greek and Latin roots are included with the vocabulary which is a great extension for older students.

An introduction is then given that can be read to the older student (or summarized for younger students) that provides an overview of the lesson. In 23 of the 36 lessons, there is then a poem/song that is read. The CD included with the Teacher's Manual has the poem set to music. The next section includes Bible reading with verses students can look up (another great activity for older students).

Following the Bible work, is an explanation of the work to be done in the notebook. This typically involves one or more pages from the student manual. But the pages are not just writing exercises, but truly activity pages with kids cutting, pasting, assembling and coloring a variety of projects. Some chapters include extra activity suggestions beyond the notebook pages. You can view samples from the student book. Another section is called "Evolution Stumpers" which presents scientific facts which support creation. A fun way for students to develop critical thinking skills.

Review questions are then included (with answers included). Crossword reviews are included in the student notebooks which can be used for testing (answers for the puzzles are in the Teacher Manual). At the end of each chapter is a "Digging Deeper" section with a number of extension activities. These provide ways to incorporate research, writing, reading additional materials or watching a supplementary video. The Digging Deeper ideas are an excellent way to challenge the older student and make more connections between the material and its application to their life.

Our Experience
As I mentioned earlier, we used this material with a child right at the lowest intended age (2nd grade) and another even younger (K). They both really enjoyed this material. Because my younger one is only a beginning reader, I read to her the material on the worksheets. She had no trouble doing the cutting/pasting necessary for the projects. When she needed to fill in words on a page, I provided her the words to copy and she was very proud of having a page that she had completed in her own writing with projects she had also cut and pasted herself.

We loved having the Bible connections for each lesson. My 2nd grader felt like a leader being able to look up the references and read them out loud. It was wonderful for my kids to have a daily connection between their science and the Bible. The music CD is definitely a plus for younger students.

My older daughter in 5th grade looked over the material and she thought the projects were too young for her. If I were to include her in the study of this course, I would pick and choose some of the notebook activities for her to do and then rely more on the Digging Deeper section for her activities.

There is no "set schedule" for how the material is covered which allows the teacher a great deal of flexibility. You could break up the activities over 5 days in a week or spend a bigger chunk of time fewer days of the week. For older students, the course could be accelerated and done in a semester and for younger students, this could easily be used over two school years.

Positive Elements
  • Hands on activities that get kids actively engaged in the material
  • Thorough teacher notes with specific student pages & supplies needed
  • Use of Bible verses to reinforce the lesson
  • Flexibility--select from a number of activities to best suit your students
  • Teacher's manual included helpful information on how to teach multiple levels
  • Questions with helpful answers included for teachers
  • Very affordably priced!
Suggested Improvements
  • Revise information on the planets, explaining Pluto's reclassification
  • For future revisions, include web addresses for suggested resources
  • Include information for older students regarding all seven colors of the spectrum (rainbow)
  • Provide some sample schedules for how to use the material (helpful for those new to homeschooling)
Purchase Information
Grade Level: 2nd-7th (adaptable for younger and older)
Teacher's Guide & CD with the Student Edition can be purchased directly from Eagle's Wings for $29.95. That's an incredible price for 384 total pages of material! Although the student book is reproducible within a family, you can also order a supplemental book for $13.95.

Eagle's Wings has an excellent Frequently Asked Questions page about Considering God's Creation. You can view samples from the teacher and student books here.

For additional reviews by other homeschool families, visit the TOS Homeschool Crew Blog.

Additional Products
Eagle's Wings carries products for science, history, Bible, phonics, math and geography. To view their complete product line, follow this link to the Eagle's Wings website.

Contact Information
Phone: 580-252-1555
Address: Eagle's Wings, P.O. Box 502, Duncan, OK 73534

Disclaimer: We received a free copy of Considering God's Creation from Eagles Wings for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

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