Many of you are familiar with the Institute for Creation Research. I appreciate the fine job they do in providing resource materials from a Christian, young earth creationist point of view. We have supported their ministry and used various materials of theirs for many years. And Dr. Bliss, a wonderful godly man, was an important part of the ICR team until the time of his death some years ago.
The Good Science program consists of a large ringbound teacher's manual and a student workbook for each of the two levels. Additional workbooks can be purchased. Each manual is broken down by grade levels, with lessons in both physical and life sciences. Large families should have no difficulty in teaching several grade levels at the same time, as many of the experiments review similar concepts from year to year, with the expectations being greater for older students. The curriculum is geared toward home schooling families, not Christian school institutions, although it can be used there. Children will develop skills in observation, reasoning, classifying, and recording of scientific data.
Good Science is not a program for the unadventurous or the faint of heart. If you are not prepared to spend a lot of time with "hands-on" science this curriculum is not for you. Advance lesson preparation is a must, particularly because you will need to adapt some of the lessons to your own family's needs and the supplies available. The lessons are not well organized, and are sometimes frustrating to work with as a result.
Some experiments, especially in life sciences, may not work well. For instance, when we built our terrarium, I didn't secure the screen over the top correctly, and before long our crickets had escaped to all corners of our house. After observing the crickets for a few days, we were supposed to introduce a frog into the habitat, but my daughter was not happy with the idea of her crickets becoming lunch, so we abandoned that part of the experiment. (You know, you CAN teach the food chain concept without actually watching it firsthand.) The terrarium smelled terrible after a week or so, and we failed to be thrilled by observing mold and decay in action. Our current aquarium project has also deteriorated into less than the spectacular event it was going to be. The snail did not lay eggs, the guppies did not have live babies, the goldfish died of indigestion after eating the duck weed, and at that sad point, my little one did not feel like discussing the natural processes of death and decay in the environment. We cleaned out the fish tank, removed the rest of the duck weed, and bought another goldfish. I am happy to report that he is alive and well, and doesn't seem to mind the absence of duck weed, eel grass, algae, and water bugs. I think we will keep it that way and forego the pleasure of learning about water habitats.
Dr. Bliss emphasizes the importance of not feeding answers to the children. He encourages parents to develop inquisitive minds in their youngsters by asking questions such as, "Why do you think this happened?" "How can we make this work?" "What would happen if we tried this?" However, many times our response was, "I have no idea why this happened," "Haven't got a clue how to make this work," or "I don't really think I want to try this." My little scientists frequently couldn't get beyond, "I don't know! Do we have to do this?" So much for inquisitive minds. I think something might also be said for not trying to reinvent the wheel. Give me answers!
I do like Dr. Bliss' Christian approach to science: "God's attitude toward science? He loves it!" He stresses that true science, good science, always lines up with God's Word.
For those of you who are still eager to get into hands-on science, and think Good Science might be the key, I would suggest that you also use some supplemental science reading materials, such as Nature Friend magazine, library resources, and World Book. The Institute for Creation Research has some good books for kids as well.