Indeed, not long after Science for Every Teacher came into our house, my husband picked it up, thumbed through it, and asked if I'd mind if he read it. Of course, I said I wouldn't mind, and, then, quipped, "Would you write our review for it, too?" My husband, then, surprised me by saying he would. So, now, I am handing the keyboard over to him, so you can glean what the more science-minded parent in our home thought about this helpful science aid.
What Makes Dad Look Like Einstein?
As a homeschooling parent, one of my biggest concerns is that as my children advance in their studies, I will not able to teach them more complex subjects. Teaching a seven-year old that “2+2=4” isn’t quite as daunting a task as explaining physics to a teenager.
I took physics in college, but even then, it wasn’t my strongest subject. Now add a 25-year dormancy to the mix, and the topic becomes exponentially more difficult.
Fortunately, Science for Every Teacher, Volume 1:Physics by John D. Mays is here to help. Mays has created a resource guide to help every educator and parent understand basic principles of physics in an easy to follow format. (Well, as easy as physics can be.)
In the first chapter, “The Nature of Scientific Knowledge,” Mays lays the foundation for what science is, and just as importantly, what science isn’t. He tackles some misconceptions about the nature of scientific inquiry and discusses the difference between “truth” and “scientific claims”, which aren’t interchangeable terms as many laypeople (and some scientists) seem to think. Personally, I think that this is a much needed explanation of science for modern times, particularly as everything science is treated as gospel and terms like “settled science” get bandied around in the media and among politicians. As Mays explains, science is never “settled.”
The remaining chapters go into the following:
- simple machines
- heat and temperature
- waves, sound, light
- fields and magnetism
- geometric optics
My two favorite chapters were Chapter 6: Simple Machines and Chapter 13: Electricity.
The chapter on electricity addresses a personal fascination that I’ve always had. For years, I have found the whole concept of electricity amazing and Mays’ explanation about the phenomenon left me wanting to learn even more. As well as discussing principles of electricity, Mays also gives a brief history of the people and events involved in advancing the field. Einstein’s theories of relativity may already be familiar to you, but Maxwell’s Equations may not be, but that doesn’t make them any less important. In fact, Mays believes that Maxwell’s Equations are one of the most influential ideas in the history of human technology.
Speaking of equations, there are several of them in the book. It’s unavoidable. After all, it is physics. However, Mays limits the math to only what is necessary and doesn’t go any further than basic algebra in explaining them. While doing so, he does good job of unpacking each equations in a step-by-step manner with actual examples.
Overall, I found Science for Every Teacher to be an excellent resource. And it didn’t take long for it to pay dividends. The other day, my daughter asked me how telescopes work. I just turned to Chapter 15: Geometric Optics, and read to her the section about telescopes. She quickly understood, and it made me look like, well, Einstein.
Now, It's Mom's Turn
So, there you have it. Science for Every Teacher took my a-little-rusty-on-his-science husband and made him feel like Einstein with his daughter. That, to me, speaks volumes about how easy, useful, and satisfying this 294 page paperback can be for homeschool parents.
As I have been reading the book myself, I have been impressed with how helpful it is. Each topic in it is explained in a concise, easy to understand way that makes physics accessible even for me (the parent with a BFA in acting!). High-quality images, graphics, charts, and illustrations help explain concepts. Shaded text boxes easily call attention to key points, laws of science, goals for chapters, ideas for teaching, questions kids commonly ask, etc. A complete index makes looking up answers to kids' questions quick and easy, too.
- Why is the sky blue? Turn to page 182.
- How do black lights work? Page 187 has you covered.
- Can electricity hurt a person inside a car? Let's see on page 230.
- Can ray guns, light sabers, and photon torpedoes really be made? I don't know. Let's read about that on page 124.
I just love that this concise, well-written book offers expert answers that are relatively easy to understand and equally easy to access (even when the internet is down, for no search engine needed!)
Science for Every Teacher is a trusty guide for parents who wish to understand scientific principles and better equip themselves to teach science lessons.
Novare Science & Math offers high school level science courses, too!
Forty-one Homeschool Review Crew families reviewed Earth Science: God’s World, Our Home , Introductory Physics, General Chemistry, or Science for Every Teacher. See what each had to say.
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