And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. Isaiah 54:13 KJV

Monday, May 23, 2016

Homeschool Science Online

Choosing a science curriculum is always tough. Speedy was excited to receive a year of Introductory Science from Science Shepherd for review because it includes online science lessons! This complete curriculum includes 35 weeks of lessons. The student logs on and watches the lesson online, then completes a short worksheet in their student book. The package also includes an answer key for the teacher.

You choose level A or level B for the workbook. Speedy is using the level B workbook. You can order additional workbooks if you are using the program with more than one student. Weeks 1 and 2 are introductions and cover Biblical creation. For week 3, Speedy was studying Science Skills and Tools. Week 4 started Earth Science, and weeks 4-6 were on Meteorology.

The videos are short. Most are under 3 minutes long. In the videos, the teacher is sitting at a large desk talking directly to the student. Some videos feature kids doing demonstrations or experiments to enhance the lessons. Each week includes 5 days of lessons. There are also "Video Activity" lessons between the daily lessons. Those encourage the student to do short experiments or observations at home. Some require a few typical household objects (a list is available), others involve using an extra page in the workbook, or simply observing the video.

Speedy (now 4th grade) was able to navigate this course almost entirely on his own. The only time he ever needed a little guidance or reminder was on the extra video activities and on the end of the week review pages. Usually he just didn't look ahead to make sure he had completed everything. We typically do seat work 4 days a week rather than 5 so he combined days 4 and 5 most weeks. Since the lessons are so short, he had no difficulty doing that. The workbook requires a little writing. Speedy still struggles with writing so he was glad there were no long, involved answers required. He feels good about this curriculum because he has been making great grades on it! He enjoys doing the little extra activities, and they keep him interested in the week's lesson. His favorite so far was leaf rubbing.

Speedy says, "I like the way the teacher describes stuff." Fairly high praise coming from an almost 9 year old boy!

I always appreciate science from a Biblical standpoint. This is one of the reasons we want to homeschool our children, so we can teach them from the viewpoint of our own beliefs. We don't question the Bible or Biblical creation, and that is what we want our children to learn (although we do teach them varying viewpoints for comparison). I also appreciate curriculum that is easy to use and all inclusive. This course from Science Shepherd also meets that standard. A course that my child can follow independently is another bonus. Give me a teacher's manual for easy grading, and I'm over the moon! So that's 4 thumbs up for Science Shepherd Introductory Science!

35 weeks of 5 lessons is a little more than I would typically choose for an elementary science course, but these lessons are so concise that it will be no problem to work it into our schedule. Introductory Science Level B is recommended for students 9-11. It has been just right for Speedy. Apple is 11, but this would have been a little too easy for her and the grade level she is working on. I would say this is a great upper elementary course and the online video format makes it perfect for homeschooling families. Science Shepherd also offers courses in Life Science and Biology. They also offer 3 free Creation Science lecture downloads. Speedy intends to continue this course to completion and is currently continuing the lessons on our "summer" work days. 

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