Science, Naturally! Review

Stem books for secular homeschooling

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Clever STEM books for secular homeschooling families.

Are you looking for a fresh new addition to your secular homeschool toolbox? Look no further than Science, Naturally! With award-winning, National Science Teacher Association recommended books for preschool through middle school, available in multiple languages (and bilingual books too), Science, Naturally! connects kids with STEM education through brainteasers, puzzles, fiction, and nonfiction by merging facts and fun.

Though written for elementary students, my preschooler loves If My Mom Were A Platypus: Mammal Babies and Their Mothers by Dia Michels. It’s filled with information about how 14 different mammals are born, how they grow, what they eat, and more. The colorful illustrations by Andrew Barthelmes invite you into the world of baby bats, elephants, whales, shrews, seals, and other animals from around the world…and of course a baby platypus too.

We recently got a sneak peek at two new bilingual “Beginnings Books” aimed at children 0 – 4 that will be available this summer. Babies Nurse, a book of simple poetry and watercolor illustrations by Phoebe Fox and Jim Fox, introduces young children to mama and baby mammals nursing in the wild. Cuddled and Carried, written by Dia Michels and illustrated by Mike Speiser, is filled with sweet paintings of mother and baby animals and simple text that make it great for reading while cuddled up with your tot.

Upper elementary and middle school students will enjoy the fun fiction in the new League of Scientists and Innovators in Action series. In the first League of Scientists mystery, Ghost in the Water, we meet John Hawkins as he begins 7th grade at a new school. After receiving an invitation to the secret League of Scientists club John joins his new friends Malena, Kimmy, Hector, Natsumi as they solve mysteries using biology, technology, chemistry, and logic. Readers will be pulled into the twists and turns as this exciting story is told from multiple points of view and will feel like a member of the club as they solve interactive codes and puzzles along with the League of Scientists. In Leonardo da Vinci Gets A Do-Over, the first book in the Innovators in Action series, readers join three middle school students on a trip to Florence, Italy, where they meet a man claiming to be Leonardo da Vinci. This entertaining story blends fiction with facts while interweaving academic topics including science, history, math, and art.

101 Things Everyone Should Know About Math uses a Q&A format to connect math to sports, science, hobbies, careers, and pop culture through trivia, challenges, and a bit of math history. We have had a lot of fun in my house using this book to create game show style math trivia nights. I highly recommend adding these buzzers for extra excitement! This book is a great supplement, both for math loving kids and kids who struggle to connect math to real world situations, in mid-elementary through middle school grades.

The One Minute Mysteries series, including 65 Short Mysteries You Solve with Math and 65 More Short Mysteries You Solve with Science, is great for when we are short on time. These books are filled with mysteries and brain teasers that take just one minute to read. Then use your knowledge of math and science, along with logic, critical thinking, and deductive reasoning skills to solve them. The short format of these challenges makes them great for slipping in math, science, and reading when your busy homeschool life keeps you on the go. You can solve a few mysteries in the car, a waiting room, or anywhere you are.

The educational resources page of the Science, Naturally! website is full of free materials and resources that are great for secular homeschoolers. There are teacher’s guides and activity guides to use with many of their titles, as well as lots of resources that can be used with or without the Science, Naturally! books. With interactive activity sheets, STEM education power points, more than a dozen hands-on activities, and a Guild to Children’s Literature that contains 40 resources for students, parents, and teachers, you will definitely want to take some time to browse through their website.

With many titles available in English, Spanish, or bilingual versions (and select titles available in Korean, Dutch, and Hebrew) Science, Naturally! will add to so much more than just your science lessons. These books have been an excellent addition to our secular homeschool, leading us down many interesting rabbit holes, and I’m looking forward to seeing more new titles from them soon.

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Know Yourself Review: A Seriously Good Line of Science Materials

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know-yourself-logoLet me start this review by telling you that I love all the products I have seen from Know Yourself. The quality, presentation and content are excellent. I first saw the Know Yourself series of books at a homeschool conference in the summer of 2016. I was impressed enough by what I saw to tell Know Yourself I would review their products. I called a fellow homeschooler whose children I thought would like to help me with the review. Her kids loved the products as much as I did! Every part of the Know Yourself product line is engaging, and the science is superb. I think Know Yourself products would be a great addition for families using R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Life 1 with older children, especially if you have a younger sibling and older sibling working through it together.

Know Yourself has three distinct product lines all focused on human anatomy. They have a monthly subscription service, a four book series focused on the skeletal system, and a graphic novel. Each product is so well thought out I am sure you will be as impressed as I am. The detail and scope are excellent. The science is taught in an interesting manner and is completely secular

Know Yourself Month 2 Subscription Line
Know Yourself Month 2 Subscription Line

Each monthly subscription box has comic books and experiments and fun extras that make opening the boxes like opening a present. In fact, this wouldn’t be a bad holiday present. The packaging for each month is as special as what is inside. The subscription package for month one comes in its own special box. The month two subscription comes in a backpack with graphic designs on it that kids can color. Many times I caught myself thinking, “How clever!” Sean would have loved these when he was younger. The focus each month is on a different organ system and takes place in a different country. Woven through the anatomy lessons are activities, recipes, history, and cultural information about that country. I would recommend using these for an age range of anywhere from 6 through 12. I know that is a big age range, but the level of parental involvement will vary.

Here is the skeleton I put together, that now hangs in my office!

Here is the skeleton I put together, that now hangs in my office!

SEA Homeschoolers asked two SEA Testers, ages 8 and 10, to give us their opinion on the first month’s subscription to Know Yourself’s Adventure Series. Guess what? They loved it!

At this time, Know Yourself has one four-book series focused on the skeletal system. Each book focuses on a different area of the skeletal system. There is vocabulary taught in an interesting way, puzzles, lessons, games, and a skeleton you (I mean your kids) can put together. It even came with a pair of 3-D glasses, because there are 3-D images on pages of each book. My understanding is that they will have several series focused on other organ systems.

ky-skeletal-system

Know Yourself also has a graphic novel, Anatomics: A Helping Hand. Here is a review about it that is better than any I could give!

Know Yourself Graphic Novel review, by D. B. (10)

Hi! I’m 10 years old, and I’ve been homeschooled since kindergarten. I really like science and history, and I was asked to review Anatomics: A Helping Hand. Now that I’ve read it, I highly recommend Anatomics: A Helping Hand by Know Yourself. Graphic novels are always fun but this one is fun because you learn cool stuff while getting a nice story. I think Anatomics: A Helping Hand is a great book so you should totally read it.

The story is that there’s a walking, talking skeleton named Doctor Bonyfide who travels through time with his friend Pinky Le Darples to discover his true identity. They end up in ancient Greece during the Olympics where Pinky gets mistaken as a competitor and ends up in the pentathlon! You’ll have to read it yourself to learn the end!

My favorite parts of Anatomics: A Helping Hand were the X-ray diagrams of bones. They were really cool because I didn’t know I had so many bones or that they had such interesting names. Lots of the names were like tongue-twisters! The diagrams were well designed and really clear, so I could easily figure out which bones were being discussed. I think that the illustrations were great and loved all of it.

I learned about lots of bones I’d never even knew I had. I also learned some stuff about the original Olympics from this book. I love learning about ancient history, so I was really happy this book was set in Ancient Greece. It was pretty easy to read, it took me about an hour to read it, even taking time to study the pictures, so it’s not overwhelming or long and boring.

Overall I think Anatomics: A Helping Hand was awesome and I am guessing you will like it too. As a dancer (I’ve been Irish dancing for 5 years), it’s really important for me to know about my body and how it works, especially my feet! My little sister does ballet, and I’m going to give her the book so she can learn about her bones too. If you like sports, or gymnastics, or anything athletic, you should read this book so you will know where your bones are and how they work together. If you enjoy graphic novels, anatomy or ancient Greece you should read Anatomics: A Helping Hand, you’ll enjoy the story AND learn cool stuff.

We received free products from Know Yourself for this review. This review contains an affiliate link.

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