I had a reader recently asked me to give a thorough review for Guest Hollow Kitchen Chemistry. She had some very specific questions, and after having the curriculum for a year, I decided it was a great time to review the unit.
This curriculum was purchased by me and I am receiving no compensation for writing this. The post does include some Amazon affiliate links.
What is Guest Hollow Kitchen Chemistry?
Guest Hollow High School Chemistry in the Kitchen is a hands-on chemistry curriculum that focuses on learning the basics of Chemistry. It is a great introduction to Chemistry in general and uses real books rather than dry, complicated textbooks. There are tons hands-on projects and no memorizing of the Periodic Table of Elements.
Who is Guest Hollow Kitchen Chemistry For?
This curriculum is geared for highs schoolers. I used it last year with Tucker (9th grade) and Hezekiah (10th grade). The three of us had a great time learning together. Both boys can now confidently bake bread, with no recipe, because they understand the chemistry behind the different ingredients used.
Chemistry in the Kitchen Features
Detailed Book List
This is probably worth the money right here. I would not have found many of these books on my own, without the Guest Hollow book list. You can read my review of Culinary Reactions here.
Our other favorite books from the list so far are
Chemistry in the Kitchen comes with both a digital and pdf or Microsoft Word version of a suggested schedule. I found the schedule visually complicated. Here is a screenshot below.
Maybe you don’t find this confusing, but I did. For me, a list would have been easier to follow.
Pro tip: Print of the pdf of the schedule and check off projects, books, and write notes in teh margin. This way you will have a record of your learning.
I also wasn’t a fan of jumping around between books and topics quite so much, so we simply didn’t (ah, the beauty of homeschooling).
We started each Chemistry class by having me read one chapter out of Dr. Joe and What You Didn’t Know. I had the boys read the pages from Culinary Reactions that were in the schedule, then we would do the projects together.
Fun, Hand-On Chemistry Projects
The boys baked a ton of bread, made an entire Greek meal for us, and made cheese. They attempted marshmallows, but burned them. This class ingnited an interest in cooking for both both boys.
Links to Chemistry Videos Online
I apprecited having all the links in the scheduele, however there a wide spectrum of quality with both information in the video and the recording quality. I woud try to preview the videos and often found ones I preferred.
Weekly Supply Lists
This curriculum includes easy-to-read, detailed supply lists for any projects you plan to do.
This curriculum includes a 197 page workbook. This includes 121 student pages and an answer key. You can easily download this and just print the pages that are useful to you.
I found the workbook pages to be a great way for the boys to take notes and organize what they were learning. They also provided a nice record of their work.
Facebook Group for Support
Once you purchase Chemistry in the Kitchen, you will be invited to join a FB group of families using the curriculum. There you can ask questions, share successes and failures, and connect with other families using the curriculum.
How We Used Guest Hollow’s Chemistry in the Kitchen
I used this curriculum in much the same way I use any curriculum I purchase. We did the projects and read the books enjoyed and ignored the rest. The most used book for us was Culinary Reactions.
I chose to supplementGuest Hollow’s curriculum with Breaking Bad. Yes, Breaking Bad, the TV show about the chemistry teacher turned meth kingpin. Sometime in the future, I would love to write an actual curriculum using the show, but I have too much on my plate right now.
Hezekiah, Tucker, and I would watch each episode of Breaking Bad together (I had the boys keep a record of how many people were killed, how, by whom, and why) and discuss the science.
What is hydrofluoric acid? Will it really melt through a bathtub? What is it used for?
Conclusion: Should I Buy Guest Hollow’s Kitchen Chemistry High School Curriculum?
If you want an introduction to Chemistry and for your kids to have a true understanding of how chemistry works in their daily life, this is a great curriclum. I feel like this thorough enough to give my boys high school credit for chemistry after taking this class. I would much rather have them truly understand chemistry in their lives, than memorize the periodic table of elements and answer questions from a textbook.
If you want your kids to study what they would learn in a typical public high school chemistry class, you may want to use this as a fun supplement, but there are not textbooks and the only lab is your kitchen. This is very different from a typical classroom chemistry experience. If they plan to go onto college chemistry, they will probably need a more traditional curriculum.
For $29 You Can’t Go Wrong
You can borrow books from the library, use your kitchen as a lab, and learn alongside your kids. I didn’t like everything about this curriculum, but it was a great fit for our family.
Other Fun Products We Suggest to Compliment Chemistry
This Periodic Table of Element puzzle can be hard to find, but it is so much fun to put togther.
Chemistry Fluxx is a fun way to become familiar with chemistry vocabulary and to reienforece what your students are learning.
If you have any more questions, feel free to ask them in the comments.