This course is designed to be flexible. There are suggested activities for most chapters and enough additional suggestions to fill more than a regular school year. You can pick and choose which activities you want to do. If your child is really interested in the subject of one particular chapter, you can spend several extra days doing more activities if you want. If a chapter is really not appealing to your child, you can do the student lessons and move on.

Here is a Pacing Guide for 3 days/week, including all the suggested activities. If you want to add another day/week, add in more activities and documentaries from the suggestions.

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CK12 Textbooks

There are three ways to access the CK12 textbooks.

  1. You can read them directly from their site. Here’s the link to the Middle School Earth Science Textbook. From the table of contents, you can jump to any chapter.
  2. In the menu to the left of the text, you can download a .pdf file. This is where the page number references in the lessons come from and is probably the best way to access the textbook on a laptop. The CK12 site can be confusing and hard to navigate.
  3. You can download a Kindle version from Amazon. Unfortunately, it is very poorly adapted to the Kindle.
DK Book References

Most lessons have some DK Books and page numbers listed under the CK12 reading. If you have a visual learner, DK books are the best. They are widely available at all libraries. The CK12 text has some pictures, but if you want to see what an igneous rock or some pillow lava really looks like, nothing beats DK. These books are not necessary for the lessons, but if you’re in the library, pick them up.

BrainPop Links

Many of the lessons contain a link to a BrainPop clip. If you have a subscription, just make sure your child knows the login and password so they can logon. This is a great way to integrate the BrainPop videos with your child’s lesson and get the most out of your subscription. If you don’t have a subscription, keep an eye out for a sale at Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op. The BrainPop videos are not necessary to complete the lesson.

Supplies Needed

The supplies you need will vary depending on which activities you choose to do. But here is a supply list for the suggested activities.  You can also choose to purchase a science kit and use those experiments instead.

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Chapter Tests

There is a test at the end of most of the chapters. Chapters 19-22 do not have tests because the material does not lend itself to computer-graded tests. If you don’t want your child to take the tests, just have them mark those pages complete as they come to them. If they do take the test, the results will be emailed to the address in your account.

Purchased Science Kits

All of the suggested activities can be done with materials that are easy to find. But if you would rather purchase some kits for experiments, there are several that we recommend. The following three kits cover several different chapters. They are completely optional and you can choose which ones would interest your child most. The attached document shows which kits are used in which chapters and the individual experiments are listed in each chapter’s Parent’s Guide.


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Several other kits that are good for single chapters are listed in the chapter guides.


The Printables Tab is divided into two sections: Plethora Activity sheets and Other Worksheets and Handouts. We are adding more and more of our own Activity sheets as fast as we can produce them. These will not be worksheets in traditional sense (lots of fill in the blank). They will be activities like graphic organizers, crossword puzzles, and illustrations to label. They will also have many short answer questions asking your child to briefly explain a concept. If the writing gets to be too much for your child, ask the questions orally and discuss the answers.

The Lesson Notes for each chapter are in the Parent’s Guide, but if you know that you want your child to do all of them, or if you want to print them off in batches of even numbers of pages so you can duplex print them, here’s a .pdf of all the Lesson Notes in one file.

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The Other category contains links to free, downloadable worksheets all over the web that apply to the lessons. These are great to fall back on when you need a little something extra. Many of them come from, which requires that you register. Once you are logged in, the links will take you directly to the worksheet.

Literature and Movie Suggestions

There are many book and movie suggestions that you can use to extend your child’s learning. Please preview these to make sure that they fit your family and your child.

DIY Skills

DIY is a wonderful site where your child can earn badges in different skill sets by completing activities. Whenever the activities of a chapter line up with one of the badges, it is listed under the Extension Ideas tab.