Sometimes I grow tired of reading aloud from a book during our school time so when I had the chance to use and review Science4Us.com through the Schoolhouse Review Crew I was very excited as was my 7 year old son who is working at a 1st/2nd grade level depending on the subject. I was given the Science4Us.com Online Subscription for the purposes of the review and my son and I worked through it and he had a lot of fun with it – the homeschool version is only $7.99 a month per student. This online science curricula is for grades kindergarten through second and depending on the child you may be able to work at, below or above depending on what they’ve been learning. While it starts at Kindergarten my son and I preferred to use the second grade activities for the purposes of the review and that was a perfect starting point for him, some of it was review while other areas were brand new to him.
Science4Us.com covers several areas of science such as; physical (matter, energy, and force and motion), inquiry (science tools), life (living/nonliving, animals, and plants), and earth/space (history of earth, materials, exploring the universe and more). The whole program is online and is correlated to second grade science curriculum standards which makes sure there will be no gaps or something overlooked in the program. There are over 350 activities including hands-on, worksheets and online activities through the whole curricula and all are a lot of fun and keeps the child engaged through out the learning process. It isn’t all about science though as it also teaches math and language skills (such as the Silly Bulls part which is actually about learning syllables). I had my son begin in inquiry which was a basic introduction to measuring, senses, and note taking – the one issue he had (as did I) was that with the measuring it was all done in the metric system, which I did not learn nor do I teach, so that had me having to help him a lot in that area.
In order to get the most use of the program, in my opinion, make sure you have the ability to print and open PDF documents, so you can use the worksheets that are available and if you prefer you can also print off the days or the weeks lessons if you’d prefer to have a physical copy versus looking at the online version. As the parent I am able to go in and create assignments for my son, and I really liked this feature – I can assign all or parts of the lesson and also give a start date and finish by, I usually just left this as open ended because some days he may do 4 sections or he may only do 1. In the teaching home screen I can watch a video about how to use the program, manage my students, and other items that can help me set up assignments for my students as well as other teaching tools to make full use of the second grade science lesson plans. I let my son decide which area to pursue after he finished the inquiry section and he completed two others, animals and food webs – next he’ll probably move on to space.
Once I set up the assignments for him he’s able to log on by himself and start working although I do ask him to do the first three areas, engage, explore, and explain first after which he can do any of the other assigned areas except for evaluate in any order he would like too. There are lesson plans to go by if you really want to be the one doing the teaching and using the online component after doing the laid out lesson plans. The whole section is laid out down to even how long it will take to teach that area – including print offs for both student and teachers and how to do the offline activities in both a group or an individual setting. My son has been able to work almost independently although he did need some assistance with the syllables part of the lesson but that gave me a reason to get more involved and see him use the program during the review.
I would like to mention that since this science curricula meets national and state standards that it is more secular in it’s approach especially in the sections for Earth. It does teach that there were no rivers, lakes, trees, mountains or animals and it goes by BYA (billions of years) and also teaches that the earth was once a big ball of hot molten rock that no living thing could live on (there was no air either). With that said, this was the only area that I had a problem with and my son hasn’t completed this one but when he gets to that point we will be discussing it from a Christian perspective that God made the Earth and how each thing was created by being spoken and over the course of a seven day week. Of course, the option is there to also skip over that section entirely or as I said cover it but also go over it using an age appropriate discussion of how God really created the world.
Overall, I really liked this science as did my son – I initially also had my 9 year old daughter who is working at 4th grade level do it so she could give me more input but she found it too easy so I didn’t make her continue doing it, opting instead to watch my son and get an idea of the program that way. It was easy to set up and easy to use – even for my son who can become quickly frustrated by the computer this was easy for him to figure out and access. He really enjoyed the student notebook in which he made entries like drawings or activities he had to complete and save and he could pull them up again to look at and review what he’d previously learned. If you’d like to you can also follow Science4Us.com on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+ if you’d like to keep up with them and any changes they may make.
Be sure to visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog to see what other homeschool parents thought about Science4Us.com.