Science isn’t an easy subject to teach at home. Many times parents place it at the bottom of the list because there’s not enough time for it or they don’t know how to tackle it. The perfect solution to this dilemma is to get an independent science curriculum. Kids will learn on their own, at their own pace, using science unit studies that were made for self-study!
I am happy to let you know kids can learn science virtually unaided provided you have the right materials created exactly for this purpose. Kids have natural curiosities about science. We just need to foster their curiosity and provide them with the right tools to find the answers on their own.
Read till the end to get your 30% off coupon code from Heron Books!
This is a sponsored post. I was given the product to review and I might have been compensated for my time. I would never endorse or recommend programs we wouldn’t use ourselves. Read more about it in my Disclosure.
- Who are Heron Books?
- How does independent learning work?
- Young Scientist Series – independent science
- Circulation of the Blood kit
- What’s in the kit?
- Teacher Resource Packet
- What we learned
- Why we love it
- Video and discount code
Who are Heron Books?
Heron Books have been creating educational materials for small, independent schools for over 45 years, but they recently started expanding their materials for homeschoolers.
There’s a lot to say about Heron Books‘ teaching philosophy but in a few words, they offer highly adaptable learning experiences.
The materials they publish empower students to take charge of their own education. Students will have the tools necessary to learn independently at any age.
Heron Books are focused on high-quality standards and their team is constantly researching and reshaping their packages.
The goal of these books is for the kids to learn independently, hands-on, through observation, engagement, and creative thinking. Kids are able to dive deeper into interests and not just learn things in a broad, shallow way.
“The goal is to foster and support creative and independent thinking in teachers and students.”— Heron Books
How does independent learning work?
We keep hearing the term independent learning or self-directed learning. But how does it work and why do we need it?
We all want our children to eventually become self-reliant learners and to be able to plan and finish their studies on their own.
But parents often forget that independence is a taught skill. Kids need to practice making checklists, reading calendars, or creating study plans for themselves. It isn’t easy being an independent learner if you lack practice and the necessary tools.
Being independent learners allows students to take ownership of their own education. It also creates more responsible and reliable individuals.
And don’t forget, independent learning doesn’t mean being alone in the educational journey. It just means the parent or teacher is there to offer guidance and support when kids need it.
Independent learning takes time to grow and develop, but we can start early with the help of the right tools, like the independent science unit studies from Heron Books.
Young Scientist Series – independent science
Can I say I just love the Young Scientist Series? It’s an impressive blend of art and structured information that’s aimed at 9-12-year-olds (grades 4-6).
These books are a great introduction to the world of science through engaging and independent materials. And this will work even for the most reluctant science learners.
Good news for the busy parents, too. There’s no need for lesson plans, no long teacher books, and no parent information to sift through. The student is encouraged to do it all independently while being supervised by the teacher.
Young Scientist Series is set up as a collection of unit studies and so far they have 5 books and accompanying materials- with more coming soon:
- The Fabulous Human Body – Book and Cards
- Take a Closer Look
- Light Bulbs, Switches and Batteries
- World of Plants
- Circulation of the Blood
Each complete package comes with information books, learning guides aimed at the student, a teacher resource pack (including tests), and a science journal. Some packs also have additional materials, like flashcards.
Heron Books did a great job at presenting these in an engaging format that encourages independent science learning.
Circulation of the Blood kit
I have to stop for a moment and mention that I’ve been deeply impressed by the packaging of this kit and its artistic vibe. So much so, that I’ve made an unboxing reel you can see on my Instagram account.
This kit focuses on blood, the heart, and the circulatory system.
Each of the Young Scientist books treats another science subject, making this a beautiful, information-filled unit-study approach.
These are perfect for learning new information, filling gaps, raising curiosities, or just having a fun summer learning experience (like we do).
What’s in the kit?
The main components of the Circulation of the Blood kit are the book, student learning guide, science journal, and teacher packet. I made a full presentation of what’s included and even a flip-through for every component in my video at the end of this article.
Illustrated book – no textbook
This is the main spine of the Circulation of the Blood package. It’s a blend between a textbook and an illustrated book. It has gorgeous, bold illustrations that pop from every page, highlighting the information presented.
The book is written for the student, talking directly to young learners and making this a perfect tool for independent study.
There are 6 chapters in this book, each treating a different concept from the micro to the macro level. The learning approach is bottom-up, starting from the basics and building up to the whole picture.
The chapters are then split into several lessons (4-7). The 6 chapters are:
- Your blood
- Your blood vessels
- Your heart
- Working with other systems
- Putting it all together
Each chapter has an opener that presents an overview of what the student will learn in that particular chapter. Then, each lesson is focused on a concept within the chapter. For example, in chapter 2 the lessons cover: why blood is red, types of blood cells, platelets, plasma, and how blood is made.
Student Learning Guide- independent science approach
The guide for Circulation of the Blood is a great tool for encouraging independent science work.
It’s basically a booklet with neatly organized checklists for every chapter. And it’s aimed at the student, not the parent!
Unlike other science curricula, Heron Books took the independent science learning one step up, providing a step-by-step student checklist. This is a perfect tool for the kids to learn to become self-driven, involved students and to learn the importance of keeping an organized plan.
The way it’s laid out allows students to work independently and at their own pace, while parents or teachers are there to guide, check work, and help when needed.
All the activities outlined in the learning guide are simple enough to be done by kids, independently. Some require a bit of help from other students or parents.
We’ve never managed to keep consistent with a science journal. Not in an artistic way, because M doesn’t like drawing much. But what’s great about this particular journal from Heron Books is that there’s complete freedom as to how you use it.
The journal included has beautiful pages with examples of science journal drawings. It has various types of lined pages, encouraging kids to make all sorts of notes, drawings, or even append samples of what they are studying.
We have an older science journal where we add anything interesting we’ve come across and it’s very similar to the one Heron Books has sent us.
So we created a special section for Circulation of the Blood in it. I encouraged M to draw, but also take notes, or write down interesting facts he discovers about the circulation this summer. To avoid further whining, I decided to print out images for him to color instead of asking too much sketching.
Teacher Resource Packet
Since this science is aimed at students, the teacher resource pack isn’t your regular lesson planning instructor’s guide where you have a lot of information to sort and plan.
Instead, the Teacher Resources include some tips on how to teach and learn effectively, a list of materials needed for this unit study, a test with answers to check the knowlege of your children and a completion certificate printed on cardstock.
Heron Books really makes parents’ job easier!
What we learned
The Circulation of the Blood is an awesome unit study and M had fun going through it all and doing all the activities.
Like most curricula, this starts with the basics, and we learned about cells in the first chapter; but we also discovered information about Robert Hooke, the scientist who invented the first complex microscope.
Then we went on to learn why blood is red and how the iron helps blood cells transport oxygen to the cells and pick up the waste. We learned about viruses and bacteria and our body’s immune system, notably the white blood cells.
We learned that platelets come to the rescue every time we have a cut and even that new blood cells are formed in the marrow or that plasma is the main ingredient in our blood.
And these are all in the first 2 chapters! There is a lot to explore and learn and plenty of activities to conduct from these gorgeous unit studies.
I am lucky with science because I never have to push M to do it. He is happily working through all things that interest him and Heron Books‘ unit studies are very engaging for him!
He loved pulling out the microscope and comparing the onion skin sample we have with a photo on the internet.
This was the perfect opportunity to let him freely explore science while teaching him the importance of having a well-planned guide. He did great at following the directions in his Student Learning Guide because they are well organized and clear.
Why we love it
Despite M knowing most of the information presented, we both loved working from the Circulation of the Blood kit. Here are some of our favorite points and why we warmly recommend the Young Scientist series from Heron Books for every family (including the science-reluctant ones).
The whole process of learning from the Young Scientist series is an experience in itself.
From opening the beautiful packages to the artistic illustrations, to the hands-on learning experiences and the self-paced approach. You truly are transposed into the Heron Books‘ world of learning naturally, beautifully and we love it!
The format of these unit studies is a unique blend of art, information, and hands-on activities. M loved taking out his microscope to study blood and onion cells after reading about them.
With the help of the science journal provided we documented the most interesting facts for us coloring pictures or sketching what we saw.
And I love another opportunity to do some note-taking and art in our homeschool.
I just love how easy this is to implement at home. No hassle for the parent at all.
I love it when he comes to me all excited to show me what interesting facts he rediscovered or learned about. That’s how all learning should happen!
M just opens his checklist and book and he reads as much or as less as he feels like in a given day. And most of all, he loves it because he is taking ownership of his studies, and becoming a more responsible learner.
This Circulation of the Blood kit has opened his appetite to dig in even more, and he went on looking for more types of cells that are found in our blood.
From the gorgeous illustrations to the quality of the information presented and even the quality of the paper chosen, these Young Scientist kits are real treasures to own and study from.
I really see the work that went into every detail of these to make the learning experience of each family special and unique.
Opening these feels like going through an illustrated book, not a textbook and I love that about Heron Books. Their quality is just exceptional.
Accessible and flexible
The Circulation of the Blood kit is full of information that goes deeper than a regular textbook, but the way it’s presented is very accessible even for more reluctant learners.
The rich illustrations draw kids in, and the many diagrams and labeled drawings help them commit the information to memory.
This kit is targeting all the senses and all types of learners and I highly recommend it for all families who struggle with science.
Video and discount code
Heron Books is offering my readers a 30% off discount code! This coupon never expires, so you have plenty of time to mix and match your desired Heron Books and have a wonderful time learning!
Use code Monkey30 storewide, as many times as you want!
For those of you that prefer watching a video, I made one on YouTube outlining everything in this article. You can also see inside the books!
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