These words and more have been repeated often in this household for the past few weeks. :) Today I will tell you my impressions onScience4Us.com.
Received: Science4Us.com Online Subscription, six month subscription
Vendor: Science4Us.com (http://Science4Us.com)
Pricing: $7.95 per child per month
Age Range: K-2, useful for grades 3-5 for review and for filling in gaps
Received: Six months access to all areas of the program.
Science4Us.com is targeted toward K-grade 2 learners. Interactive activities, hands-on and well as on-line learning, good for homeschools, tutoring or physical building schools. Inquiry based, digital learning.
Science4Us.com has LOTS of different information on it. It has a parent/teacher area where you can pull worksheets and activities off of it to supplement the videos and cement the learning. There are useful videos to watch that will teach you how to use all the different areas of Science4Us.com. It is indeed a very well-written program that can be used in so many different ways. :)
Part of my goal with my son is to start fostering some independence with his learning. So my focus with this program was to let my son direct his learning. He LOVED watching the videos and he LOVED watching them by himself. As a mostly grade three student, we used this science program as a review of work already accomplished.
I walked him through the teacher part (and showed him what I could print off and the activities he could do), showed him how he could just do lessons, or just do videos or do a mixture of the two etc....he opted to just watch the videos. As he said "Mom, I learn lots just watching the videos and some of this I already know... we did it before." Given that we are a science oriented family and he has done lots of science already his statement was quite accurate. Watch the videos lad...make good choices here. :)
First day reviewing the materials my son was at the start "Do I have to do this mom?" and then he watched one video... and soon watched another and then watched another and then looked at the time and said "I think three is enough right mom? Can I do three everyday?"
I said sure. Sounds like a plan to me. :)
And that is exactly what he has done.
Every day he watches three videos/assignments (some are interactive activities). What he learns pops up in conversation usually a couple of days later. Sometimes he calls me over and says MOM, you have to watch this. See??? Isn't that neat? Mom, isn't he funny?
Finding videos to watch is SO easy. If you notice the graphic below you will notice there are four books to one side.. these are the four branches of science covered: Physical, inquiry, life and space. If you click on a book, it opens up sub-areas, and those sub-areas open into other subareas. Then if you notice the middle section it shows you the most recent activity. The scroll bar allows you to see the entire area of study, and if you've completed the video/work section it will have a start on it. My son learned quickly to look for those stars, chose the ones that had no stars, finish/watch those and once everything was starred he could choose another book to look at. Each of the sub-areas (or modules) is divided into 8 sections so could conceivably take you 8 days to accomplish if you did just one a day. The helpful teacher aids turn them into a full curriculum and is very easy to use.
At the bottom of the screen area you will see "are you a parent or teacher? label. This section includes helpful areas to teach you how to get the most of your time with the program.
To access the teacher area for activities and printables, you log into the Teacher section, look for the area you want your child to study, find the teacher aids and activities, print off and you are set to go. :) The activities are broken down in grades K, 1 or 2. One of the grade two activities in learning about simple machines was this "This hands-on activity provides students with the opportunity to reveal prior knowledge while generating interest in and curiosity about simple machines by using the internet to research objects that use simple machines." Students were then directed to find pictures demonstrating different types of simple machines, and then to think of a simple machine that have ever used and to draw a picture of it.
Figuring out the controls for the Notebook exercises were a source of frustration for my son. They weren't intuitive for him, I needed to help him figure it out and he wanted to be able to do it all himself. The Hot/cold challenge he found too difficult and got very frustrated by.
But this enabled us to test out the customer service response of Science4Us. Their turn around time was very quick (yeah), the helpfulness of the response (not so great). :) But that encouraged us simply to figure out a different solution on our own and lean on dad for help so it all worked out. :)
Frustration of having to sign in new every single day. Would like to be able to sign in every two weeks, or just have it so it was an automatic login. Since my lad simply doesn't remember login information it means I have to login him in daily. Would be so nice to just say.. Click on the Blue Bar, or find your name. :)
When I asked him what he thought of the program he said "I liked it".
What did you like? "Pretty much all of it"
What didn't you like? "I had no parts that I didn't like."
Did you find anything difficult? "No and once I knew how everything worked it was easy to do and figure out".
I loved that I could see what he had accomplished. By saving his work I could see what he did for the interactive activities.
I loved that my son was able to work independently.
I thought it did a great job of reinforcing the learning he had already accomplished WHILE teaching him new information (that's a win-win).
I appreciated how easy it was for him to pick out a new area to learn from and if he didn't know what it said it would read out what the section was all about.
Bottom Line: would I recommend this product?
YES. It's a great curriculum. Reasonably priced. Effective and engaging. Has worked excellently as a review tool with my grade three student.