Sometimes I think back on my high school education and I realize just how blessed I was. My high school years lasted from 1994-1998 in the Bible belt. While many other areas of the country had been shifting towards removing all hints of Christianity from science. I would say looking back we were right on the edge of the big push. I was unbelievably blessed to have Mrs. Lowe as my AP Biology teacher. Not only because she made biology fascinating and gave us opportunity to be creative in whatever way we liked best, but because she unashamedly proclaimed her doubts about evolution based on her faith. She flatly told us that while she thought it was very important to understand and learn about evolution due to its prevalence in our society, she didn't believe any of it. She believed the Bible was the Word of God and that was where she found her truth for creation.
She gave me courage to boldly proclaim what wasn't popular. She prayed for me outside of class when I was chatting with her after school one day. She laughed with us and gave us coloring books the week of the AP test so we could de-stress and then colored with us. After that she told us she was praying daily for our preparation. Teachers like this are now silenced. I definitely didn't realize how unique this was at the time, but now I appreciate her more than I could ever say.
As I began our journey into homeschooling I knew the Bible was true and that we would teach our girls this, but I also knew it was important to teach them the theory of evolution, just as my biology teacher taught me. I don't ever want them to follow a set of beliefs merely because, "I said so." Whether faith in God or a scientific belief I want them to choose for themselves what they believe. Does that mean I take a hands-off approach to the Bible and science like some of my friends do? Absolutely not! It means I teach them from birth about our faith, and as they grow older I help them understand the other viewpoints. I'm not afraid to teach my children about evolution and this seems to shock many of my non-homeschooling friends. Perhaps it stems from the sheltering stereotype. Honestly, I think it's funny that they would think I'd hide this from my kids.
Master Books steps in to help me where I felt I was lacking. For all the wonderful things my biology teacher taught me, I left her class without knowing how to talk about the possibility of an alternative to evolution. I am using the Life Science: Origins & Scientific Theory Curriculum for myself as I anticipate my children using it in a few years, but even if it was only for me I loved working through these DVD's and books!
The layout is very easy to follow with a chapter and then portion of the DVD to show. Everything is clearly presented from both sides with the option then for conversation and debate. Yes, it is written by a Christian who believes in a young earth viewpoint, but I do think he fairly portrays evolution as mainstream evolutionists see it. I think the best part of this are the interviews with those who do not agree with the biblical view of creation. We have the opportunity to hear in their own words not only what they believe but where they see problems.
I also really, really like the parent lesson plans. While I'm not testing myself I have looked through all of the testing materials and feel they are an excellent addition to make this a full science curriculum for a year. It is slated for high school, but I think advanced and interested middle school students would also be able to handle the information. I actually previewed both videos with my oldest daughter, Rose, who is 10. She really enjoyed this and learned a lot. I know she retained what we watched because of our recent trip to our local science museum.
As we made our way through the really amazing dinosaur path, Rose stopped and read a lot of the signs. This one was my favorite because she asked me why those who oppose a literal 7 day creation weren't willing to acknowledge the possibility of Noah's flood being real even when they were willing to admit that events like floods were what created the fossils. It was such a great conversation to have with her.
What I appreciate most about this book in addition to the amazing photography and detailed information is the genuine desire to get at the truth. It never feels forced or condescending. Instead real evidence is shown and reasonable logic is portrayed so the learner can decide for themselves what is possible.
I highly, highly recommend this curriculum whether you are just beginning your journey to learn about creation vs. evolution or you have studied this for a while. Young and old alike can learn and grow as a result of this fascinating text and DVD study.
Disclaimer: I was provided this book to review as part of the Moms of Master Books review program. I was not required to write a positive review. My opinions are my own.