Our family stumbled across a series of books by John Hudson Tiner, and we have thoroughly enjoyed them. Suitable for mid-to-late elementary age kids, with some titles sufficient for early middle school students and even as introductory texts for some early high schoolers, the books cover aspects of science and math in a relaxed non-fiction story format. The narrative style works well for homeschooling read-alouds to multiple age levels. The younger kids will follow the engaging stories of inventions, discoveries, and insights, while the older ones will appreciate the context provided for the detailed factual information included in the books.
Our favorites were Exploring the History of Medicine: From the Ancient Physicians of Pharaoh to Genetic Engineering (youngest son) and Exploring The World of Chemistry: From Ancient Metals to High-Speed Computers (middle son).
Each large format paperback has 14 – 20 chapters and 130 – 150 pages. The books are well-indexed and include a glossary and suggestions for further reading. Each chapter has study questions; answers are available in the back of the books. The study questions are pretty straight-forward and provide a good opportunity for kids transitioning to independent work that looks a bit school-like.
These books include Christian content some Biblical-world-view homeschoolers will appreciate. Homeschoolers with other religious viewpoints may still find the books useful since the Christian-oriented passages are fairly self-contained in most cases, which makes them easier to address or omit without rendering the rest of the content useless.
I’ve had some recent correspondence and comments about my post on Joy Hakim’s Story of Science series. If you find Hakim’s books to be a bit advanced for your child to read independently, some of these books may fit the bill. Some of the titles do deal with complex subject matter (chemistry) which in our family still means no matter how good the narrative, from late elementary to early high school stage, an adult clarifier/reader/discussion leader is still needed for maximum benefit.
I’d consider owning both the books of these series to be a wise homeschool investment, though you will find the scope of the Tiner books to be more confined – and perhaps more manageable in a certain way.
Books by John Hudson Tiner
Exploring the History of Medicine: From the Ancient Physicians of Pharaoh to Genetic Engineering Exploring The World of Chemistry: From Ancient Metals to High-Speed Computers
Exploring the World of Biology: From Mushrooms to Complex Life Forms
Exploring Plant Earth: The Journey of Discovery from Early Civilization to Future Exploration
Exploring the World of Mathematics: From Ancient Record Keeping to the Latest Advances in Computers
Exploring the World of Physics: From Simple Machines to Nuclear Energy