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Teaching Homeschool Chemistry
Confession: I never took chemistry in high school.
Why not? Probably because I took AP Anatomy and Physiology instead (a class I loved and feel like I still benefit from to this day). This year I wanted to have Hezekiah take chemistry but it is a subject I know little about. And as with anything we learn in our homeschool, I wanted it to be practical and interest-driven. I wanted Hezekiah and Tucker to have a good working knowledge of the subject but not to necessarily fill their heads with facts. I asked on a few homeschool FB groups for recommendations and someone suggested Guest Hollow’s Chemistry in the Kitchen. With a price tag of only $25 I felt like I couldn’t go wrong even if the class ended up bombing.
A few weeks into our school year I can say this is class has become as foundational to our homeschool as Story of the World. The boys are loving it and so am every. Every bit of work, reading, or videos is practical and the boys are already building a good knowledge base of chemistry.
Culinary Reactions Review
Now, I want to take a moment to spotlight one of the best books in the class so far, Culinary Reactions: The Everyday Chemistry of Cooking.
We aren’t done with the book yet because this isn’t a book read from page one to the end. This book is full of recipes and projects that the boys and I are working our way through. Chemistry in the Kitchen lays out the groundwork to use this as a textbook but it can definitely be used as a stand-alone book/curriculum as well.
The first chapter is called Measuring and Weighing which goes over the basics of how and why we measure in the kitchen. Chapter 2 is called Foams and covers egg foams, fat foams, and gluten foams. This chapter gives the how and the why behind foods that foam and the chemical reactions that take place to make that happen.
So far we are only two chapters through the book. Already my boys know more about bread baking and the science behind it than I do after 20 plus years of baking. Hezekiah and Tucker have both made numerous, delicious, loaves of bread with no recipe. They are having fun experimenting and we are all enjoying the fruits of their labor.
Hezekiah and Tucker don’t need a recipe because they know the science behind how bread is made, what makes it rise, what makes it soft, etc. They are gaining so much confidence in the kitchen.
Culinary Reactions is Perfect for Homeschooling
I cannot recommend this book highly enough if you homeschool. I purchased my copy of Culinary Reactions for under $15 on Amazon. If you are teaching your kids any type of cooking or baking skills in your homeschool, grab a copy of this book. The boys are loving this book and it is fulfilling both Science and Culinary Arts class for them. This book should also be on the shelf of every cook.
Other great books we are enjoying:
The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry
What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained
The Disappearing Spoon and Other True Tales of Rivalry, Adventure, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of Elements
Yup, cooking is chemistry! Sounds like a great book, I might have to check it out to explain how the “art” is actually science. I have a hands-on type understanding of how foods work in the kitchen, but it would be interesting to get full explanations. Thanks for sharing!
We used this https://www.amazon.com/Cookwise-Hows-Whys-Successful-Cooking/dp/B00E4YL656/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=cookwise&qid=1571966361&sr=8-2 book in my science Education classes! It may be a good addition to what you are already using!
Thanks so much!
I remember reading The Cartoon Guide to Genetics in high school, and I really enjoyed it as well.
I didn’t realize there was a book about genetics…I’ll have to check it out.
It’s amazing what they have learned so far. I ended up buying my mom Culinary Reactions for her birthday.
LOVE all that!
Hi! I’m coming to this discussion late… but did you finish this curriculum, and if you did, what books besides the ones listed above, did you really use and enjoy?
I have looked at Guest Hollows Chemisrty in the kitchen class too and thought it a little clumsy. I have a few of the books, including Culinary Reactions. I’m curious to know if you ever made up your own curriculum? Please let me know if you have… It would save me from reinventing the wheel!
Ashley, it’s never too late! We have not finished the curriculum…school being cancelled has put a wrench in our daily schooling (with the other kids home). I really like The Disappearing Spoon and Napoleon’s Buttons.
I’m considering GH Chemistry for next fall, but I’m having a hard time finding in depth reviews. Are you all currently using the program? Have you finished? Can you comment more on how it’s working for you?
Dianna, I guess I need to write an in-depth review. Thanks for the suggestion. In a nutshell, I think it is a great deal for $25.
Having said that, here are my thoughts.
1) I have used it as a great jumping off spot. I found the schedule complicated and hard to read. Some of the links felt rather random, and the topics scattered. My boys enjoyed going a bit deeper on the topics they enjoyed.
2) I usually spent a bit of time finding more current, better videos to watch. Sometimes a chapter would have us watched 2 or 3 random videos of varying quality.
3) I definitely feel my boys learned more and will retain more than they would from a standard Chemistry class.
The curriculum has been a great inspiration for me and my boys, but we definitely didn’t follow the daily schedule plan. In fact, I am considering writing my own curriculum for Culinary Reactions (I already sell on Teachers Pay Teachers).
Please let me know if you have any specific questions, and I will definitely work on a more in-depth review.
Here it is! https://www.littleearthlingblog.com/guest-hollow-kitchen-chemistry-review/