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  1. #1

    Default REAL Science Odyssey vs. BookShark Science

    Anyone have reviews good, bad or other wise on these two? I was made aware of REAL Science Odyssey on these forums (thank you!). I also started looking in to book shark. I can only watch so many YouTube reviews before my head spins. Plus most of those are all just showing what each comes with and how to use it. I would love some honest opinions on both. They both are SO appealing and I am having a hard time deciding. Everyone here is always so helpful, I appreciate it so much! Thank you!!
    Last edited by MandieB; 02-04-2018 at 08:00 PM.

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  3. #2

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    BookShark is made by Sonlight..... not secular.
    Id be very dubious of any science presented by them.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  4. #3

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    It is a pretty easy breakdown:

    REAL Science Odyssey from Pandia Press is secular.
    BookShark is either neutral or not secular at all.
    A mama who teaches college writing, as well as help her 11-year-old in
    choosing his own life adventure. Using Global Village School to support our desire to develop a sense of social justice and global awareness.

  5. #4

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    It was my understanding Book Shark is the secular curriculum made by the makers of Sonlight. I guess I now I understand to watch for the difference of secular vs neutral. Thanks again everyone! You are all a huge help to this newbie.

  6. #5

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    Neutral science is not neutral. Think about it this way - it's not neutral to leave out the age of the earth in a geology book about how the earth formed. That's just weird. And clearly trying to hide the facts. The last time I looked, BookShark was using RS4K for their science. The author of RS4K is a well-known proponent of intelligent design. I've seen things where people point out all the places where she uses subtle language like "Cells were created to..." and things like that. This is not scientifically accurate and, coupled with her agenda, seems like it's clearly done on purpose.

    If you're looking for a literature based science, Build Your Library is secular. However, if RSO appeals to you, I'd try that.
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  7. #6

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    BookShark is considered faith neutral. Which means any religious or not religious person can use it without getting offended. That also means that you may have to explore more topics in depth on your own.

    I did Level 4 Science with BookShark last year and it did touch on age of earth and evolution, but not in detail, leaving it to me what I taught my kids about evolution. So add in a unit study on it. Level 6 Science, which Iíll do next year, also uses a book that includes evolution in it, though those pages arenít scheduled in the daily schedule, so youíd need to add them in.

    I canít speak to the other curriculum because I havenít used it, but I can say that I really appreciate BookSharkís science curriculum because itís pretty hands off for me (Science is not where my aptitude lies) at the older levels, itís comprehensive and has inspired my kids to further research areas theyíre interested in, and itís an easy schedule to follow that I donít have to plan. Plus, they send you the materials you need for the different experiments so I donít ha e to go to the store every week for more stuff. I love it, and I love that it doesnít preach religion to me. Iíve got my own beliefs, thanks very much.

  8. #7

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    If it isnt presenting the facts about evolution being the basis for what drives species change, how could it be science at all? How does it present the evolution of life from s8ngle cell organisms to fish to reptiles to birds and mammals in a way that isnt contradictory to bizarre religious beliefs?

    What exactly do they say? Perhaps sharing a page would be helpful here. Its the opinion of the secular homeschoolers I know that its not science.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  9. #8

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    I don't consider not mentioning evolution "faith neutral." There's nothing neutral about refusing to discuss accepted science.

    I think individual science units about specific topics might be able to be "neutral", especially in elementary school. But a full science course about biology that doesn't bring up adaptations? That's not neutral. It's misleading from a scientific perspective.

    If one of these "neutral" programs works for someone, I think say that and how you corrected for it to make it secular. But don't pretend it has no perspective. It does. It has a "tiptoe around Christian beliefs/science is not important for students to see in totality" perspective.
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  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by MandieB View Post
    It was my understanding Book Shark is the secular curriculum made by the makers of Sonlight. I guess I now I understand to watch for the difference of secular vs neutral. Thanks again everyone! You are all a huge help to this newbie.
    The word secular has become so ambiguous in meaning that you could ask 10 different homeschoolers who identify as secular homeschoolers what it means and get 10 different answers.

    For some, it is an umbrella term that means anything that is not explicitly religious. For others, it means not only is it not religious in any way but also explicitly teaches evolution and is not marketed or sold by any vendor with any established religious stance. Then there are a variety of meanings in between those two such as any curriculum that stays away from both religion and evolution and allows the parent to teach their own beliefs. Or any curriculum that even mentions evolution. Or any of a million other shades of meaning, none of which are wrong, what secular means to your family is just as personal, in my opinion, as the choice to homeschool.

    I've been in the homeschooling scene long enough to remember when there was very little in the way of secular homeschooling materials. There were materials that were secular and meant for a public school classroom so it had to be altered to be used with a homeschool student or there was Christian homeschool materials that had to be altered to be used by a non-religious homeschooler. It was really just a matter of which one fit your needs the best and was easiest to alter.

    So I guess that colors my views significantly when it comes to choosing curriculum. If I love a particular curriculum like say, Five In A Row whose author is unabashedly Christian and the books have some Christian content, I have no problem making the necessary changes to the curriculum to make it work for me.

    Another example would be Story of the World which has some undeniably Christian content but there really isn't anything else quite as thorough and kid friendly out there today. So we use the Christian content as a springboard for discussion about beliefs. Honestly, I end up adding more religion to SOTW because what is the point of studying different cultures, past and present, if you are only going to gloss over or ignore their beliefs? Though I am atheist myself, I do find religion and belief systems fascinating to study and essential to understanding other cultures.

    I guess what I am trying to say in my typical long winded fashion is that no curriculum will ever be perfectly aligned to anyone's beliefs, religious or secular, unless it is custom made just for your family. There is no prize at the end of your homeschooling years for the most secular, the most religious, the most curriculum sitting on your shelves... don't feel as though you have to use a particular type of curriculum or only buy from certain curriculum providers lest you will be kicked out of the secular homeschooling club lol! Decide what the most important aspects of a curriculum are for you, research to find what curricula meet those needs, then tweak the curriculum to make it work for you.

  11. #10

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    For me, saying that Five in a Row - a curriculum centered around picture books for very young children - is a whole other ballgame from saying a science program can be secularized.

    I think what the market demands in terms of secular products for homeschooling has indeed changed. We used to accept things that weren't good enough because our options were limited. They're a lot less limited now.
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REAL Science Odyssey vs. BookShark Science