This school year, we'll be using ABeka Books' "Understanding God's World." It's the third edition; you can see a link to a newer edition here. Our pictures are older and the graphics not as catchy, but the text is almost identical on first perusal. This is a fourth grade science text, but I'm thinking (sadly) that since Elf will be gone, it's ok to do more fourth grade stuff.
One thing I enjoy about the books is that D got the science book and answer keys for $2 each. It is an older version of the science books currently on the market, which means Pluto is still a planet. Thankfully, I have a pen and can mark an X over things that Emperor doesn't have to study. D saved us a bunch of money on science materials this year.
The book focuses on each of the state birds throughout the year. I've never seen a science book with that sort of focus before, but I thought that that would be a unique learning experience over the summer. I have also ordered Dover's "State Birds and Flowers" and Emperor and Elf will colour a bird each day over the summer. These books are less than $4 each, and if you get a bunch of stuff, Amazon offers free shipping. :) When it gets nicer, I will take the children out and see if we can't find an Eastern Bluebird, Missouri's state bird. Did you know that four states have the cardinal as a state bird? We share our state bird with New York State.
I'm glad this curriculum doesn't have much in the way of experiments that are difficult to do. Looking at frogs and growing seeds are suggested activities. I will again take the children on nature walks and see if we can match some of the plants we have listed in brochures from the Conservation Department. I imagine it to be possible that we will finish the entire curriculum quite early, or that we may have several nice field trips and be "behind" at the end of the year. Either scenario is fine with me so long as we are learning and enjoying the subject.
Thanks for the books, D! You have to admit, he has a keen eye at the thrift shop for a good bargain.