Q & A with Christine Echeverri, author of Earth Party!
Why did you write this curriculum?
The real reason — so many life forms are disappearing before our very own eyes! Many young students are aware of this predicament. Instead of leveling on guilt and sadness about this, we step back provide a broad introduction to all life that will provide an excellent basis for students. Encouraging a closer look, continuing to foster love of life, both for student’s own knowledge, and to add a stepping stone for them as they enter middle and high school biology. They will know (and have experienced) life such as fungi, insects, protozoa, and more!
You previously wrote a history curriculum, California Out of the Box. In what ways is this similar to that approach?
Through story, kids retain what they hear so much better. Given a well-situated context, deeper learning will occur — that will sustain students much longer than facts-oriented memorization. Like the literature-approach in California Out of the Box, this study relies on two excellent story-oriented resources: Tree of Life, and Karl, Get Out of the Garden!
Why should young students study this material that is traditionally taught in middle or high school?
Because — they already notice it! When they see coyotes in their neighborhood, insects on the walls of their room, and need I say: Pathogens like Covid that are so small, yet so powerful…Kids DO get it! They connect and notice!
Is this curriculum religious or secular?
Like California Out of the Box, this curriculum is secular. It does not come from a religious worldview.
What does a typical week look like?
A typical week looks like reading well-illustrated information from Karl, Get Out of the Garden, or Tree of Life; students in grades 3-6 will read from the highly-regarded Kingfisher Science Encyclopedia. Young scholars can answer questions in the Student Book. The week after will be hands-on exploration such as opening up and looking into seeds, exploring insects under the microscope, modeling protozoa and bacterial shapes, playing the review game, observing yeast, etc. One week of story and theory, and the next week hands-on. Most materials can be easily found around home.
If you want more information, see our recent Cathy Duffy curriculum review.
It’s not in Rainbow Resource. Where can I buy it?
You teach California history classes. Do you plan to add this course to your class line-up?
Yes! We have worked hard on solidifying our California classes. Watch for summer and fall classes teaching this material. We are excited to see students responding to it!
Is there anything else you want to share?
Many people have asked me “Why this for my second curriculum?” My answer goes back to the reason I decided to homeschool in the first place. At the time my eldest was in third grade at a local public charter school. It seems the only science they covered, year after year were animal “life cycles.” All my kids enjoy animals — so I thought “Why not teach them about the broader forms of life, using scientific language?” We spent a month exploring the system of classification, culminating in a super quiz and a mobile. (Mobile culmination is a part of California Out of the Box as well.)
And — I want throw this out to the broader community; we would love to hear what our users are looking for in terms of curriculum. In fact, we have a form we would love for you to fill out to let us know what curriculum holes you have found that we should plug. Also, if you want to be notified when our classes are posted, fill this form out!