Review: Even the Sound Waves Obey Him

This schoolyear, even though I’m doing Sonlight 1 science with my two younger boys (Grant, 3rd grade, and Wes, 1st grade), I thought I’d choose a different text for experiments.  This is our second time using the Sci1 curric, so in order to use it again, I’d really need to purchase another package of experiment supplies, which is fairly spendy… And, to my recollection, many of the experiments in the suggested book were time consuming, complex (at least for 1st graders), and a number of them didn’t work.  I know that experiments “not working” is just part of the scientific process, but it’s difficult to explain to a 6yo why all his efforts didn’t have the flash and bang as illustrated on the pages.

Also…  in this, our 6th year of homeschooling, I find myself looking for more ways to incorporate our faith into our schooling.  I’m still not of the hyper-Christian-homeschooling bent;  I still don’t see a need for Christian math and Christian handwriting and Christian “recess” or whatever… but I’m a little more flexible on this issue than I used to be.

So, when I saw the book Even the Sound Waves Obey Him — Bible Stories Brought to Life with Science by Nancy B. Kennedy, I thought it might be what I was looking for.  It promised “44 Quick & Easy Experiments,” but as any homeschooling mother knows, an author’s idea of “Quick & Easy” isn’t necessarily the same as the mother’s idea of “Quick & Easy.”  Also, since the book is aimed at Pre-K through 2nd grade, I was afraid it might be a little “young” for my 3rd grader.

The book is a large paperback with bright white pages, attractively illustrated.  It travels chronologically through the Bible, matching paraphrased short Bible stories with an experiment or activity that is more or less related to the story.  Each page is nicely laid out, with a black-and-white illustration of the experiment, a small list of supplies, an overview of what will be done, a three-to-five step experiment, then an explanation of how and why the experiment works. 

We have done seven experiments so far, and all but one has been a success.  I have been impressed by how, with such brevity, the experiments are able to illustrate some fairly complex scientific ideas, like air pressure, the charge of electrons, how warm air expands, etc.  The science is very sound, and has made total sense to both my 6yo and my 8yo.  It’s not too young for my older boy;  indeed, even my oldest son, who is in 5th grade, voluntarily pokes his head in whenever we do an experiment.  Almost all of them have been interesting enough and simple enough for the boys to re-create on their own, later on.  You know something’s a hit when they want to continue experimenting in their free time.

Almost all of the supplies used will truly be found in most houses.  A few, like powdered borax, glycerin or Ping Pong balls aren’t likely to be lying around in your cupboards, but could be very easily obtained.

Start-to-finish, each activity — including reading the Bible story and all written experiment descriptions — takes 15-30 minutes, which is just right for my children.

The Bible story part of each lesson is also sound.  My one minute bone to pick with it is that the author is obviously Baptist, and several bits I’ve read in her commentary under each story (headed “What We Can Learn”) seems to be just a little overt with Baptist doctrine.  For instance:  “With His Word and through Baptism, He washes away our sins…”  I believe in water baptism, but my view is that it is more supplemental to the conversion experience, not elemental.  Still, though, it’s just a minor annoyance that the author gives such emphasis to baptism;  it doesn’t detract from the overall value of this book.  And, whenever we come across comments like that, I’ve turned them into quick lessons on what I believe, and why, but that not every Christian believes the same…

So, long story short, I definitely give this book a thumbs up for your K-3rd graders, either as supplemental to your homeschooling curriculum, or with a church Sunday School class.  Younger students could participate, but probably won’t comprehend the explanations of why that cool experiment works.  Older students will enjoy participating, but the activities here should only be supplemental to their own, more complex, scientific study.   

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About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on October 25, 2007, in Books for children, Christianity, God/Christianity/Church, Homeschooling, The Kids. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Rubber Chicken Girl

    I have become pretty convinced that baptism is not just an optional add-on. Jesus himself insisted he be baptized as an example though he didn’t need saving. All through scripture it says, “Believe and be baptized.” I am now regretting that I did not have my kids baptized post-haste after they accepted Jesus as their Savior. I am wondering why we’ve waited. You should have some understanding, hence avoiding infant baptism, but not all understanding, thus I think a need to do it once ready to repent. Just something to consider. I am just not so sure God says, “And if you feel like it…..take communion OR tithe OR be baptized….etc” KWIM?

  2. Rubber Chicken Girl

    Oh, and the curric looks good. I like fast and easy and cannot stand experiment books where they fail to tell you *WHAT* you were observing!!??

  3. I definitely believe that baptism is important. My oldest two boys, once they understood the significance and the symbolism of baptism, were both baptized. Wes hasn’t; he doesn’t understand. After I understood, I was baptized at 7yo, after believing in Jesus as my Savior at the age of four.

    However, it’s my understanding that Baptists believe that if you HAVEN’T been baptized, then you aren’t really a Christian, and will be rejected at the Judgement. I don’t believe that.

    So… while I believe that baptism is necessary, to an extent, as it is to follow all of Jesus’ commands and his example, does not being baptized (or not taking Communion, or not tithing, etc.) mean that you won’t “make it” into Heaven? I don’t think so. Granted, I’m not the Judge of Hearts, but it appears to me that the most important and significant part of salvation is found in Romans 10:9 “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” And that doesn’t mention baptism, communion, tithing, church-going, etc., although I think ALL those things are HIGHLY significant to one’s Christian experience.

    Hope that makes sense.

  4. zhappyhomemaker

    Thank you for this review. I am looking at purchasing this book and was searching for reviews. This was very helpful to me!

  5. Thank you, Karen, for such a complete and balanced review of my book. I was pleased to come across it, although I’m about a year late!

    I just wanted to let you know that Amazon soon will enable the “Search Inside this Book” feature for Even the Sound Waves Obey Him. That feature always helps me make my purchasing decisions.

    I was very glad to hear that the experiments worked for you, and that the length of the activities and lessons was appropriate for the age group. I have a boy, so I know about short attention spans! I spent many hours making sure the activities worked. I had my own quibbles with books of experiments that didn’t work or weren’t very interesting.

    To address your point about denominational outlook, my publisher (Concordia) is a Lutheran publisher and the lessons were intended to fit within that church’s doctrinal framework. But my editor says that in practice, parents and teachers modify the lessons to align with their own beliefs, just as you did.

    Concordia has now published my second science activity book titled Make It, Shake It, Mix It Up. It is the same concept for an older age group, approximately second through fifth grade. You can find either book by clicking on my Amazon profile link.

    Again, thank you for taking the time to review my book. I had homeschooling families in mind when I wrote it, so I am pleased to hear that it was useful in your context.

  6. I really loved this very civilized exchange regarding Ms. Kennedy’s book. So different than the rants we’re daily exposed to through the media. Way to go ladies. <

  1. Pingback: Preschool science | Encouraging Words

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