The Rainbow - Junior High Curriculum

The Rainbow is a two-year, laboratory-based science curriculum for homeschooled children who are (nominally) in Junior High School (grades 7-9). It is sold with all the laboratory equipment and supplies included to make laboratory science safe and easily doable in a home environment. It is a textbook-driven curriculum so the students are exposed to the theory and principles as well as the laboratory practicum.

Where Am I?

You know the feeling. You’ve just walked into a large shopping mall you have never visited before. You know what you came for, but you do not know the layout of the stores and you have a limited amount of time to find it. So what do you do? You go to the map of the mall and find your target destination. But that alone is not meaningful until…until you find that conspicuous red dot with the words emblazoned in bold. YOU ARE HERE. Now, with this basic information― starting point and destination―you can begin to chart your path and get there efficiently.

Now imagine that you are a junior high student. You know that science is big and can be somewhat foreboding. What all is encompassed by this topic called science? And what are its organizing principles?

Then your mom brings home The Rainbow.

You open to the first page and see the first section heading, “Physics ― The Study of Principles that Govern the Universe.” Hmmm. Physics first, huh?

You read through the lessons and quickly begin to see that this heading is an apt description of what you are learning. Gravity. Electromagnetism. Nuclear Forces. Energy and energy transfer. Work. Motion. Efficiency. And you hardly notice that physics begins to lead you to the physical processes that cause chemicals to interact with one another.

Soon thereafter you enter the next section: “Chemistry ― The Study of Substances, Their Properties, and Their Interactions.” There you learn that the reason chemicals react is that they are driven to do so by the physical processes that you learned about in physics.

Then, once again, as you are reading through chemistry, you begin to realize that you are now studying the chemistry of living things ― biochemistry. Fatty acids and lipids. Nucleic acids, DNA and RNA. Amino acids and proteins. This is not arbitrary, as you will learn. The very chemical processes that you learned in chemistry are those that drive the molecules of life to do what living things do.

So now you have seen the layout of science. Physics provides the basis for the workings of chemistry. Chemistry provides the basis for understanding how biology works. In fact, there is a logical continuum from the simplest to the most complex forms of matter:

subatomic particles → atoms → molecules → biopolymers → organelles → cells → tissues → organs → systems → organisms

You will observe that, as we pass from the simplest most fundamental forms (subatomic particles) to the most complex forms (organisms), we pass from the domain of physics to that of chemistry and then to biology.

So then, The Rainbow is not just a science course; it is a map of science. It answers the questions, “Where am I?” and, “How do I get to where I want to go in science?” In a word―perspective. So then, when I take a high school course in Physics, I have an intuitive understanding of where this course fits into the broader subject of science and how this particular branch of science connects to the others. Every career professional has this in mind, whether or not they have ever explained it to themselves.

Laboratories

What do you remember from your junior high science course? If you are like most people, you remember the time you grew mold on bread, or the time little Johnny tormented the other students with a frog liver on the end of a needle probe. The simple fact is, science is remembered not so much by what you read, but by what you did. If you were to become a scientist or a science practitioner (engineer, nurse, etc.), although you will be a reader, you will be primarily paid for being a doer. Science is a practiced discipline.

Furthermore, the concepts of science come off the page when you actually experience an electromagnetic field for the first time, or you create a new substance by adding two entirely different substances together and see the bubbling of released gases or the “pop” of a miniature explosion. These experiences are mind-altering. You have to make a place for this new knowledge among your acquired, undeniable realities. This is what laboratories do, and we do more than anyone else.

And we provide all the stuff. All of it! If you need so much as a straight pin or a piece of paper ― BOOM! ― it’s right there for you in the lab kit. You can count on it to be affordable and safe in the home environment. You can count on not having disposal issues or oversupply of unneeded materials. It was designed for use in your home.

Most importantly, all those laboratories are done as an illustration of a particular principle that is being taught in the textbook. There is no “That was really cool; what did we just do?”

You’ll know what you did and what you learned from doing it.

How It’s Done

All courses designed by Beginnings are done three days a week. Two of those days (let’s say, Monday and Wednesday) are textbook days and the third day (let’s say, Friday) is lab day.

On textbook days students will read the text material and answer the questions. The questions require that the students truly understand the material. We are not given to rote memorization or to the repetition of facts at this stage of development. Lessons will generally be completed in
30 minutes or less. You can check quickly for their comprehension by comparing their answers to the ones we provide in the Teacher’s Helper.

On lab days, students will get out the lab kit and the laboratory workbook. Each lab starts with the list of things the students will need, all of which will be found in the lab kit. The students will do the labs (entirely on their own if you like―they are intrinsically safe). And you will use
the briefing in the Teacher’s Helper to know what they are doing, what they are learning, and when they will need supervision (on days, for instance, when they are lighting a match). Labs will generally be completed in 45 minutes or less.

The lab kits are divided into durable and renewable kits. The durable kits can be handed down to younger students in your family (or resold after you are finished with it). The renewables are the parts that can be refurbished for the next student to go through the course, thus saving money on reuse.

Public School Equivalency and Course Credit

Content-wise, the curriculum covers material that is (generally) equivalent to an eighth or ninth-grade Introduction to Physical Science (IPS) and a tenth-grade Introduction to Biology (Biology I). In contrast to public school curricula, the home environment allows many students to address materials either earlier or later than would be practicable in public or private school because of the variety of performance levels of students in a given public school class. So, while these materials are nominally for 7-9 grades, the actual ages at which students take this course is as varied as the students’ abilities and parents’ plans for them.

The use of this curriculum for high school credit is appropriate, even when done at earlier ages (see the accompanying document The Rainbow for High School Credit”).

The laboratory experiments and demonstrations number 31 per year for the two years. Thus the curriculum exceeds all public school requirements as a laboratory-based curriculum. Experiences in dissection, microscopy and reaction chemistry are integral to the course.

So, that’s The Rainbow. It’s the “YOU ARE HERE” of science, giving your kids solid content, and an abiding sense of perspective on the sciences, driving it home with the doable labs. It’s the course that comes with all the stuff you need to do a lab a week without having to go out and buy anything.

Don’t forget to check out the accolades from people who have used us! We have been serving the homeschool community for over 20 years and have students placed in every imaginable discipline of science. But even if your kids will not be scientists, we want them to be deeply impacted by both the marvels and the intrinsic sense of God’s world.

What Reviewers Have Said

“This course looks like a winner to my husband, Bill, the MIT graduate, who reviewed it. He says, ‘I highly recommend it.’”

“This delightful science curriculum is specifically designed for Chirstian home school students. The full-sized, full-color paperback text is written in a personal, friendly style that makes it fun to read, and concepts are simply and clearly explained. A separate lab manual for the student gives detailed and often humorous instructions for the weekly experiment. Also available is a neatly packaged set of lab materials with everything needed to carry out the experiments.”.

Education without compromise.

Navigate theories on the age of the earth, the dinosaurs, and human evolution with ease and without compromising your children’s developing faith. The Rainbow teaches the Truth while exposing the fantasies of humanistic theories. A brief Parent Fortification is provided to give you the confidence you need in guiding your children.

Finally, the tools you need to teach science — all in one place!

With The Rainbow textbook, the Teacher’s Helpers, the Home Laboratories, and the Laboratory Workbooks, you will need nothing else! Just buy some distilled water at the beginning of your school year. Everything else you need is included, and you don’t have to worry about trips to the store or searches around the house.

Cost effective.

We’ll save you from buying hundreds of dollars in unneeded equipment without letting you miss things your kids should see and know. Each yearly purchase covers everything your child needs for that year. The Rainbow textbook, the Teacher’s Helpers, and the Durable Equipment portion of the Home Laboratory Sets are all reusable. The Laboratory Workbooks and certain supplies and chemicals in the Home Laboratories are renewable for each student.

Order a Complete Set

The Rainbow - A La Carte

What to order.

Do you have multiple students?

After purchasing a complete set for your first student, you can save big by ordering only what you need for each additional student.

What does a first-year student need?

The first-year student will need The Rainbow textbook (a two-year textbook) and the Year One Lab Workbook, Durable Equipment Set and Renewable Supplies.

The second-year student will require the Year Two Lab Workbook, Durable Equipment Set, and Renewable Supplies.

Books

Year 1

Year 2

Optional Lab

“Knee Deep” in Anatomy

An optional lab for the Rainbow curriculum that can also be used as a stand-alone study.

It’s a leopard frog supplied with all the necessary materials and instructions to learn its anatomy through dissection.

Order your patient today. You’ll be knee deep in anatomy before you know it.

Safe.

All experiments are intrinsically safe. They are specially selected using scientific principles to safely demonstrate the facts, right in your own home.

Field trips.

Spend as much or as little time in the field as your busy schedule will allow. Kids can learn from their local museum, arboretum, greenhouse, plant nursery, farm, park, zoo, water treatment plant, or university, as well as their own backyard. We have a treasure trove of suggestions.

A complete curriculum.

We combine two lessons and one lab exercise per week for approximately 32 weeks per year leaving flexibility and freedom in your school year. The first year covers physics and chemistry, and the second year covers biology and applications of science. The curriculum and the Home Laboratories are completely self-contained.

What Homeschoolers Say…

“We LOVE your products!  My oldest son is in 7th grade this year.  At the MTHEA fair last year we purchased your Rainbow 1st year.  Stanley is loving Science even more than he used to. Being able to focus on the core principles and experiments is making him consider a career in the science field.  I couldn’t be more excited myself.  His enthusiasm has made his younger brothers thirst for the same experience.  I had the worst time year after year trying to find a science program that would engage my kids, have real experiments (not just arts and crafts), and make me feel like the might actually remember this down the road. Bravo to you!”

“. . . Having gone through the preparation of a scientist, I knew what I was looking for in a science curriculum, while not having much luck finding quality instruction for the homeschooler. Your text arrived yesterday . . . I am excited, I am thrilled to have at long last found (The Rainbow). Thank you for writing such an outstanding curriculum. It will form the backbone of my science recommendations for jr. higher at the Classical Christian Homeschooling website.

“It is with great delight that I take an opportunity to talk about The Rainbow before our home school support group. We are enjoying the program immensely–I for the clear concept of each lesson, and my daughter for the kid-friendly explanations.”

“This a COMPLETE curriculum…EVERYTHING they will ever need to do their labs is included. It’s one of the best investments I’ve made in curriculum. I’m sounding like a “rep” for Rainbow, but I’m not …I couldn’t speak highly enough about it, even if I were!”

“Those of you who have multiple children coming at you each day needing supplies … will truly appreciate the effort the Dobbinses have gone to to include everything possibly needed for each experiment. The humor helps me get through the grading of what is normally a very dry subject. The kids get a kick out of the humor, too. They have done an outstanding job with the packaged set and I highly recommend it.”

“I had to write and thank you for your wonderful science curriculum! We are a few weeks into it, and my son can’t wait to do more. We have tried many other science books, but yours is the best! Please keep up the good work!”

“I wanted to express my appreciation that (The Rainbow) is so well-organized and easy to implement–as a homeschool mom who is also working full time (nights), I consider that to be a real advantage.”

“We have enjoyed reading the first six or seven sections of The Rainbow. We appreciate your Christian point of view and your style of humor . . . You have the ability to explain concepts in a clear and concise (and humorous) way. Thank you! We are very happy with our decision to purchase your curriculum!”

“Special strengths of The Rainbow: Systematic, sound, thorough explanations and a non-threatening style; Style of presentation (encourages) as much independence as the parents wish; Author flavors text with humor; Strong flavor of reverence–the attitude of a heart deeply struck by wonder at God’s hand in things; Complete supplies . . .fully equipped . . .”

“Thank you for caring enough to give other homeschooling families your knowledge and love of science, it IS God’s world!”

“We have been using The Rainbow curriculum and are very pleased with the program. This has definitely been our best year ever as far as science is concerned . . .”

“I think (The Rainbow) is fabulous. The reading lessons are short but full of concepts terminology, illustrations and beautiful pictures/photographs. The lab book is written to the child so the can do most of the work independently . . . written in a humorous, but not condescending, manner.”

“My son, 12, and I started The Rainbow this fall and it is the highlight of our day at school. We enjoy the great textbook and it is wonderful having all the equipment available to complete the experiments. We love your sense of humor and are having a great time.”

“Thank you so much for writing The Rainbow! My 11-year old son is currently working on the program and he’s eating it up! We’re fairly new homeschoolers . . . finding an appropriate science program was challenging . . . From day one, he hit the ground running with The Rainbow.”

A continuing curriculum

Follow The Rainbow through your student’s eighth or ninth grade equivalent. The Spectrum curriculum is available for high school students. Also look at The Colors: the pre-teen’s pre-science curriculum. Stay with The Rainbow and its companions throughout your child’s education.