(In full disclosure, this article is sponsored by Northwest Treasures, but the thoughts and recommendations are my honest opinions.)
I grew up in a small town in the south, where the population of the town was 500 and the First Baptist Church had a membership of 800. My family attended Sunday School and church worship each week (in a different southern Baptist church the next town over), and I was educated in the public school system, often by teachers who attended one of these churches. I loved science from a very young age, and none of that changed as I entered high school. I had a great biology and chemistry teacher, who was not a believer, but was smart, engaging, and challenging.
I can recall one Sunday morning the topic of the six days of creation being discussed in my youth Sunday School class. I distinctly remember my beloved teacher making the statement that “we don’t really know how long a day is to God”. And that one day could have been “millions of years.” Also, that God could have used “evolution” as a part of His plan for creation. I don’t remember doubting those statements, and I have no recollection of anyone ever debating young earth vs. old earth or evolution vs. creation either in my church or my school. I was a mom before I began learning that there were people out there who believed wholeheartedly in a literal six days of creation and a young earth of about 6000 years. I soon became one of them.
Sadly, I don’t think this scenario is all that unusual in churches today, and of course, we know it’s not a discussion happening much in the public school system. However, it is a vibrant topic in the homeschool community among parents and publishers, and thankfully there is no shortage of homeschool science curriculum rich in the teachings of science from a truly biblical worldview (young earth with six literal days of creation). In Kentucky, we are even blessed to have the Creation Museum about an hour down the road, helping us visualize the first 3 chapters of Genesis in a very real way. And last year, the Ark Encounter opened not much further away to add an, even more, life-changing and realistic experience for those who visit.
When I asked Ben what kind of science he would like to study this past year (grade 10), he asked for something that would go along with his study of ancient history. It seemed fitting to choose earth science. But before I share more about the science curriculum we chose, let’s talk for just a moment about why it’s so important to teach earth and other sciences from a biblical worldview, and what criteria to use in choosing curriculum to help you do so.
Earth Science from a Biblical Worldview
Whenever one wishes to teach any science from a biblical worldview (not just “Christian”) there are some criteria that must be considered. It is important to define what that means exactly since there are many Christians who do not necessarily hold to a biblical worldview. These are the areas that for me are not negotiable:
- Creation account according to Genesis (literal 6 days of creation about 6000 years ago)
- Death was the result of the Fall, and is the judgment for sin
- Global, catastrophic flood during the times of Noah
What to Avoid
There are also theories that must be avoided in order for a science curriculum to be biblical. Be careful of even a homeschool curriculum that claims to be “Christian” if it holds these false evolutionary ideas to be true (or even possible):
- Big Bang theory
- Millions or billions of years
- Natural selection
- Animal to man evolution
- Genesis creation account held as symbolic
- Death occurring before sin
- Flood theories that are not global
Is there a place for teaching the theory of evolution?
The fact is, your student will likely face many opportunities to debate creation vs. evolution in his lifetime, especially if he attends college (even Christian universities). It will be important for him to be able to defend his worldview. It’s very difficult to debate a topic you know little about. While teaching science from a biblical worldview is important to build a solid foundation of Christian apologetics, educating your student about theories such as evolution is important for his ability to defend his stance. If you have been building a solid biblical foundation from a young age, high school is likely a good time to expose him to other theories, such as evolution.
Our Earth Science Curriculum
Like most kids (even teens) with ADHD, it was important that I find a science curriculum that not only meets the standards of a biblical worldview, but is also engaging and hands on. I didn’t want a dry textbook or video-only resource, and I knew that earth science lends itself well to the opportunity of touching and feeling many artifacts.
When I was searching for an earth science curriculum that would meet all of our needs, I happened upon a company that I had barely heard of and that I knew very little about. Northwest Treasures and The Northwest Treasures Curriculum Project: Building Faith for a Lifetime of Faith seeks to pass on the author’s passion for geology from a biblical perspective. Patrick Nurre is the author of the 4 textbooks in this series meant for high school students.
After Ben and I spent some time on the website of Northwest Treasures (and I also have a trusted friend who had recommended them highly), I allowed Ben to choose which two semesters worth of curriculum kits we would order. The kits do not need to be taught in any particular order and each is a stand-alone one-semester course, but it made sense to Ben to begin with Bedrock Geology, and of course anything with the word “dinosaur” in it was going to be hit, even at 15.
Bedrock Geology (grades 7-12)
For his first semester of earth science, Ben began with the flagship curriculum of Northwest Treasures, Bedrock Geology. The Kit includes a sturdy cardboard carrying case with the textbook of the same name, another book titled, Genesis Rock Solid, and 35 geology specimens (quartz, calcite, granite, graveyard fossil, invertebrate fossil, coal, and more). The textbook can be purchased alone or as a part of this kit.
From the website:
This kit is the heart of the Northwest Treasures Curriculum Project. It has been designed to teach the essentials in Biblical Geology, to impact the faith of young people, and to be cost conscious.
Fossils, Dinosaurs, and Cave Men (grades 8-12)
Ben’s second semester was spent with Fossils, Dinosaurs, and Cave Men. The Kit includes a sturdy cardboard carrying case filled with the textbook and 30 genuine, authentic fossil specimens (dinosaur bone, fossil fish, fossil sea urchin, fossil mammoth bone, crinoid head, shark vertebra, fossil wood, and more!). As with Bedrock Geology, the textbook can be purchased alone or as a part of the kit.
From the website:
This is a study of the differences between the Biblical and secular views of fossils, dinosaurs and cave men. The lessons are designed to help the student understand the philosophy behind the Geologic Time Table, how dinosaurs fit into a Biblical perspective, and the Biblical view of the Tower of Babel event and how it influenced the development of man and civilization. In addition the student will learn how to “read” the rock layers through a Biblical view of Earth history.
There are some simple comments I want to share about the presentation of these kits, because I believe the care in which Northwest Treasures takes in that area speaks to the quality of the company. First of all, as I write this article, we’ve now had these sets for over a year. They have traveled with us, been moved from room to room many times, stored sometimes on a shelf, sometimes on tables, and honestly, sometimes kicked around on the floor. But as you can see in the pictures, the cardboard carrying cases have held up.
Each specimen in both kits are individually packaged in baggies with labeled sheets of papers inside. Ben has been careful to put away the rocks and fossils after examining them so they don’t get mixed up, but I just greatly appreciate how they are stored. In the past when we have received rock specimens from other companies, they have often been glued down to cardboard. And while I appreciate that they don’t get lost or mislabeled that way, you also can’t handle and observe them as well. Ben has enjoyed getting up close and personal with these specimens, even dragging out the microscope many times for an even closer look.
The textbooks for both courses include activities, quizzes, and final exams. Bedrock Geology includes chapters that cover the history of modern geology, the origin and nature of earth, the Genesis flood, and the Ice Age. Nothing else is needed for study apart from the Kit and a few items you likely have around the house (dictionary, colored pencils, ruler, Bible, common kitchen supplies, etc.).
Fossils, Dinosaurs, and Cave Men is structured a little bit differently with 11 lessons total and includes teachings about the two contrasting views of the origin of earth (evolution vs. creation), biblical classification, evidence of a global flood, the geologic time table, dinosaurs and geologic time, transitional fossils, biblical history of man, etc.
Both books are written in an engaging and conversational style and filled with colorful images, maps, and charts. Activities vary from lesson to lesson and include close observation of the rock and fossil specimens, reading supporting articles online, Scritpure study and memorization and critical thinking. One of my personal favorite assignments came in lesson 6 of Fossils, Dinosaurs, and Cave Men when Ben was required to search the internet for a list of the index fossils geologists use today as time markers. He then had to write out an alternative explantion based on the Genesis flood. These are the types of assignments that get our kids thinking about how to defend their worldview.
Rich vocabulary, explanations for commonly held evolutionary beliefs, Scripture referencing, and biblical history are just a few more reasons I highly recommend these resources from Northwest Treasures. I also asked Ben what he liked most and if there was anything he didn’t like. This was his response:
I liked that the books give me the tools I need to discuss what I believe about creation intelligently, especially when faced with someone who believes in evolution. I can use the books as a reference forever and they will not ever be outdated because they are based on the Bible. It was fun learning more about geology, and I really like the cool collection of fossils and rocks I have now. I want to memorize them all so I don’t have to keep them in the baggies all the time, but I’m glad they’re all labeled. My favorite book was Genesis – Rock Solid. It was very interesting to learn about the history of the evolution vs. creation discussion in churches. Before, I always thought about kids learning about evolution in public schools. I had no idea there was so much controversy about that in the church, too!
I shared with Ben how the historical inaccuracy of creation was perpetuated in my own Sunday School class as a teen, and that unlike him, I was never taught differently than an old earth, evolutionary perspective at church or at school. He was shocked to say the least, but I believe he is now more informed and more importantly, he is now better equipped apologetically, to defend his own stance when he is faced with opposition, as inevitably he will be. I am grateful that he is many steps ahead of where I was at his age. I very much appreciated that this curriculum introduces the theory of evolution in a way that compares and contrasts it to the biblical account of creation, leaving no doubt as to what is Truth, and giving clear methods of debating the creation side.
If you have high school students that need a semester (or 4) of science credit, you wish to teach them a biblical worldview of earth science, and you’d like to do so in an engaging, hands-on manner that will grow and stretch the faith of your teen, we highly recommend the Northwest Treasures Curriculum Project. There are products in the Northwest Treasures store for younger children as well, and although I have not personally seen or used them, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend those either solely based on what I have seen from this company.
Visit the Northwest Treasures website to learn more.