Reliefs on Giotto's Tower in Florence. Public Domain PD-1923.
SU: Secrets of the Universe, original single-volume edition
LG: Liquids and Gases
OM: Objects in Motion
ME: Matter and Energy
RQ: Relativity and Quantum Mechanics
What is the difference in the editions?
The original, single-volume edition of Secrets of the Universe (SU) is no longer in print. However, it has been updated and reprinted as five separate volumes. I originally posted this on the Ambleside Online Forum almost two years ago to help others make a decision between the two editions. I have made some changes to this post to help it stand alone.
The main difference I have found is that the original, single-volume edition was written for an American audience. The updated, five-volume set has been written for a British audience.
I purchased SU as our main text, and then I also purchased Liquids and Gases (LG) for a few dollars so I would be able to compare them.
In summary: You will be fine with either edition. I would choose the edition based on price and availability.
Text: The books match up almost paragraph to paragraph, though what were two paragraphs in SU are sometimes combined into a single paragraph in LG. The text is almost identical with very minor words changes.
Illustrations: The illustrations in SU are attributed to Patricia Keepler, and they appear to be hand drawn. I like them very much. The illustrations in LG are attributed to Tim Seeley and were commissioned by the publisher. They appear to be computer generated and while very nicely done do not have the charm of the illustrations in SU. While every illustration in LG has an equivalent in SU, SU has several illustrations in each chapter which have been omitted in LG.
Additional Information: All the separate volumes volumes have a Timeline, Biographies of Scientists, For Further Reading, and Glossary Sections at the end of the book which are not present in SU.
Corrections: I believe the updated, five-volume edition will have errors corrected. However, in at least one location, I have discovered the introduction of a new error.
Where do I get the book?
How should I schedule the book?
This section is going to take me awhile to develop. My initial recommendation is one chapter a week spread over three days. This will get you through the book in two terms. Another idea is to just spend one day a week on the book, covering one day's reading. This will get you through the book in two years, and you can cover other science disciplines on the other days. Please see my draft schedule.
I have included narration prompts (currently starting with week 9, but I will go back and add to the earlier weeks in the future). We typically start a narration with, "Tell me what you read." However, if the oral narration does not include the answers to these prompts, I would then follow-up with these questions. An inability in answering these basic questions may show a student did not understand the material. These could be prompts for oral narrations, written narrations, or even drawings in the student's science journal. These questions will be used for exams. This way a student is never being asked on an exam a question he has not had the opportunity to answer during the term. If any of these are duds or seem too leading and not in line with Charlotte Mason, please let me know and share some ideas.
Timeline and Book of Centuries
I have started ending lessons by asking, "Was there anything here you would like to add to your timeline or Book of Centuries?" I have included ideas not so that you can give ideas to your student but so that you can easily find the dates and pictures you might need. Also, when we add to our timeline and BOC each week, sometimes my students are stumped, and it is good for me to have a few things in my back pocket to offer. For example, I might ask, "Where there any people or experiments from the Secrets of the Universe you found interesting?" Sometimes our students don't realize there are actual drawings of these experiments they can put into their BOC.