March 9, 2011
The two books, How Things Work: The Physics of Everyday Life
and How Everything Work: Making Physics out of the Ordinary
, make an ideal pair for homeschooling students in physics.
The first book, How Things Work: The Physics of Everyday Life, is a textbook and has all of the pedagogical supports that a textbook should have: worked exercises, summary materials, experiments, homework problems and solutions, etc. It is focused on the task of conveying physics systematically to its reader, while maintaining a steady pace and a uniform level of difficulty. That attention to the teaching process requires it to stay on-topic and to avoid digressions. Sometime less is more. For a student, this is the right book.
Important Note: If you wish to have the support of Peoples Education, which provides How Things Work to the K-12 market, you should purchase the book through them.
The second book, How Everything Work: Making Physics out of the Ordinary, is a general readership book and is not meant for systematic study in a class or class-like setting. Freed from that constraint, and from the need for exercises, summaries, etc., this book is able to explore just about everything I could think of in the way of physics in the real world. It is much richer than the textbook and often digresses along paths that are connected by physics concepts, historical developments, and even practical usage issues. It provides a wealth of background and breadth that I could not include in the textbook. For a parent or teacher, this is the right book.
With How Things Work: The Physics of Everyday Life
in the hands of the child and Everything Work: Making Physics out of the Ordinary
in those of the parent, you're good to go.