I’ve had my eye on Noeo Homeschool Science for several years – ever since I first saw their advertisement in a magazine. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was when they sent me Chemistry II: Atoms to Alloys and Beyond! in exchange for this review.
I began reading the Instructor’s Guide first to get an idea of how the program works. Within a few minutes, I realized the Noeo is right up my alley in terms of teaching style. The guide says:
Noeo Homeschool Science is variety-filled with a structure that is best described as a balance between the classical method and the Charlotte Mason approach. We emphasize narration and summarization . . . We do not promote rote memorization or the worksheet and test methodology, as we think that this approach is less valuable for long-term retention.
Fantastic! I could have almost written that myself. I also appreciated the following passage from the manual:
Our children should not be protected from science because of some scientific theories that deny God. They should instead be immersed in the sciences so that ‘His invisible attributes, Hi eternal power and divine nature’ will be clearly seen.
I completely agree with that statement and was getting more and more excited to dive into this curriculum. So how does it work?
Chemistry II comes with the instructor’s guide, experiment kits, and six books:
- • Adventures with Atoms and Molecules: Chemistry Experiments for Young People Book 1
- • The Mystery of the Periodic Table
- • The Usborne Science Encyclopedia
- • Usborne Mysteries and Marvels of Science
- • Fizz, Bubble & Flash: Element Explorations & Atom Adventures for Hands-On Science Fun
- • Geology Rocks! 50 Hands-On Activities to Explore the Earth
These books alone are worth $113 and will be enjoyed by our family long after we finish the Chemistry II course. Some of the books are also used in other Noeo Science courses, which means you’ll save money if you purchase a second course.
Daily Lesson Plans
The manual lays out four daily lesson plans for each week, though it’s easy to combine lessons if you prefer to do science fewer than four days a week. We’ve been having our science lessons twice a week, and the lessons are short enough that doing two in one day doesn’t take too much time or feel like too much work.
Each lesson usually includes reading a couple pages in one of the books, doing one or more experiments, and recording observations.
Noeo Science is really a “pick up and go” type curriculum, which I absolutely love about it. I get overwhelmed and burnt out easily if I have to do much preparation or pre-planning before teaching my kids a subject. I prefer to learn right along with them, and Noeo makes it super easy for me to do that.
There is a list in the manual of all the materials that are needed for the experiments. The list is divided up by week, so that I can easily see ahead of time what we’ll need for the upcoming weeks. (Each weekly lesson plan page also has a list of the materials needed that week.)
The materials needed are all inexpensive and easy to obtain. No special orders required – and I like that! Many items are probably already in your house. For instance, so far we’ve used food coloring, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract from our pantry. I had to buy a pack of balloons and a couple bottles of cola, but those are pretty cheap.
Chemistry II also comes with five experiment kits, each of which include several activities/experiments. We haven’t reached the point in the curriculum where these kits are used yet, but they contain specialized equipment and materials that aren’t usually found at stores near home. That way, you can do ALL of the experiments without ever having to search for hard-to-find items. Great, huh?
You can see in the picture above that their narration pages include boxes for drawing. Depending on their ages, the kids can draw a picture to show what they’ve learned and/or write about it. The Instructor’s Guide comes with four different pages, which you can copy as needed. You pick which one will work best for each of your children.
- • Drawing Only – This page includes only a frame-border around the edge so that a young child can use the whole paper for his drawing.
- • Draw & Write – The top half of this page has a frame for drawing, while the lower half is lined for writing.
- • Draw, Write, and Definitions – Again, the top half is used for drawing and the lower half for writing. On this sheet, however, the lower half has one section for notes and a second section for definitions. If the lesson has new keywords, I write those in the definition section of Nick’s paper for him to define.
- • Writing Only – For student who don’t want to draw anything, this lined page gives plenty of space for writing notes.
- • Lab Pages – These include questions and spaces for writing about each experiment.
These narration pages are, in my opinion, a great introduction to the note taking they’ll need to do in high school and college.
Chemistry II is geared toward ages 9-12 (grades 4-6), and I chose it because my oldest son is 11. At age 8, my middle son is a little younger than the recommended age, but he’s been able to jump right in and do the experiments and learn from them. I expect less from him in the writing portion than I do from my oldest, but he’s still benefiting from this course.
In all, I’m very pleased with Chemistry II from Noeo Science. We read the assigned lesson pages together, and then the boys usually do the experiments alone. Of course, I stick around to ask questions and encourage them to really observe and think about what’s happening.
The Chemistry II course is designed to cover a full year of science with 36 weeks of lessons. The Instructor’s Guide, Experiment Set, and books can be purchased separately or the entire Chemistry II set is available for $150.06. Other Noeo Science courses include:
- Biology I, II, and III
- Chemistry I, II, and III
- Physics I, II, and III
Check out the Noeo Homeschool Science website for more information!
Cindy and her husband, Jon, live in beautiful West Virginia with their three sons – Nick, age 11, James, age 8, and Robert, age 4. They homeschool with a relaxed, eclectic style and enjoy reading great books together as a family, geocaching, and visiting historic and scenic places. Along with teaching Sunday School, knitting, and baking, Cindy loves geography and is the author of Expedition Earth: My Passport to the World. Visit her blog at Fenced in Family.