Review of Science4Us

online science curriculumThis week has already been absolutely crazy. Sometimes life just happens. In that case, how do you carry on? Does homeschooling get done? Well, sometimes at our house homeschooling gets a lick and a promise. If you don’t know what that means, it’s simple… we give it what attention we can and a promise to get back to it later. That’s exactly what happened this week. However, it also gave me a chance to really let my little ones explore a new science program that we’ve recently added to our curriculum. So, I’m going to let this post be a Review of the Science4Us curriculum.

The Science4Us curriculum was designed specifically to foster an interest and excitement in science learning for children in Kindergarten through third grade. Since most schools and even home schools have limited resources to spend on engaging students in science learning, this online curriculum can pique their interest and give them the foundations in science that they need.

The creators of Science4Us have this to say, “The major new development effort over the last three years has been STEM education. After some research, we decided that our contribution was to provide a curriculum to get students off to a good start in science. It strikes us as an ongoing disaster that two thirds of American students are already behind grade level in science by 4th grade and that they are not identifying themselves as interested or gifted in science.After decades of public consensus that a national priority is to make early science education into an investigative experience but with this goal remaining consistently out of reach, we decided to take a big initiative to try to make it happen. We launched development of Science4Us in 2010 with the goal of creating a 5E-based science curriculum which could realistically be implemented in all schools across the country without prohibitive costs or requirements for out-of-class teacher training.

After three years, countless trials, millions of dollars, Science4Us, a K-2nd digitally-delivered science curriculum, was introduced at NSTA in San Antonio in April 2013. Science4Us is based on NGSS, the Next Generation Science Standards, developed by Achieve for the National Research Council.”

It really sounds like the Science4Us initiative started with a sincere desire to improve science education across America. Since this curriculum is relatively new, there aren’t alot of homeschoolers out there that have written reviews. It is with this in mind that I hope to give you our opinion of how this program stacks up in the homeschool arena.

In our homeschool we have a First grader and a Third grader. I am letting the third grader participate as well just to see what she thinks of the curriculum.

Science4Us reaches Kindergarten through Second grade. Each grade covers Physical Science, Inquiry, Life Science, and Earth Science including properties of matter. Each of these topics seemed to be covered specifically with grade appropriate lessons. The program itself is easy to navigate, it is bright and colorful, and very attractive to younger children. My seven year old was able to log in herself and begin lessons with minimal help from me.

The lessons were interesting, and had clear application to the science concept that was being taught. As a Christian, my only issue was the history of the earth section. However, it is easy to skip the lessons that you don’t want to do. I appreciated the mix of things to do online as well as offline activities. I think this is one of the best science for elementary school curriculums that I have seen in a long time.

To sum up, here are the pros:

1) Science4Us was developed by qualified and experienced teachers and curriculum designers. It is obvious by how the various aspects flow with ease.

2) The curriculum itself is easy to follow, easy to understand, and enjoying. The children like logging in and working through the fun and interesting science lessons.

3) The lessons are not long and drawn out, but are pretty concise with a song, video, or story that the kids can watch to reinforce the concept that is being taught.

4) It is simple to track your student’s progress. With one click you can view what they have been doing, when, and what their score is at the moment. Great for an easy homeschool science option.

Teaching Kindergarten Science

States of MatterFor most children, kindergarten is the introduction to school. It’s their first experience with what is expected and how they are required to function for most of the their school experience. It’s kindergarten that teaches the fundamentals… and that’s no different when it comes to learning about science at this fantastic age.

Before you jump in to learning and experiencing science, there is one huge thing that you must remember. The kindergartener learns by play! You can’t expect them to just sit there and read a book and learn everything they need to know. A kindergartener learns through experience via playing. So, as we teach this amazing child science we must remember this first and foremost. Science can be HUGELY fun, if they are allowed to experience the excitement of discovery first hand.

1) Make science fun, and to do this you need a good backbone. What in the world? Sure,  I am talking about your science backbone… your textbook. A really great text/or foundational science program can make a huge difference! We love using Apologia Science, and have recently started using the new Science4Us online program. Both offer very unique kindergarten homeschool science perspectives geared toward getting the young child very interested in science.

2) Use exciting ways to teach the facts. Don’t just assign your kiddos a page to read. Oh, I know not every homeschool parent is a science lover… but we’ve got to at least find a way to get across the facts in an exciting manner. If you have no clue how to teach a particular topic – relinquish it to the experts. You can show a science video for class one day – or watch a cool you tube science how-to, or even watch it yourself and then find a fun way to teach it to your kids.

3) Take that extra time to get prepared. I know… that takes some determination and planning but it will be well worth it in the end. Whenever I have taken the time to teach my kids science in an extraordinary way – they usually remember everything!!! I also love to use interesting and colorful printables for recording the science that we learn. Here’s a free science printable about the scientific method. You can use it to fill out inquiry about particular science projects/experiments that you are working on. Make your science experiments fun and amazing and you’ll have your kids begging for science every day!