Can I tell you something? Don’t judge me but I do not like science. I never have. I have terrible memories of struggling through my classes; getting it but not getting it. Biology, chemistry, physics. I know, those are the advanced sciences, but it’s what I remember. And I do not remember it as being any fun. To this day I dread science. But I have two boys who are 4 and 8 who just love it. Especially when they can “do it themselves”. So when I was given the chance to review Science4Us.com Online Subscription from Science4Us.com with full access for both boys, for six months, I was quite excited. Normally it costs approximately $7.95 per child per month; they recommend using this with grades K-2, but say children in grades 3-5 can use it as a review of earlier science material as well. So, off we go!
My youngest son was so excited when he saw that there was a whole section dedicated to space. Although he is only 4 he loves to watch documentaries and play games that have to do with how things work and he is fascinated by outer space. He is just now learning how to read so some of this was a bit more challenging for him but using a bit of team work we managed to get through it together, what he could not do on his own. (One activity involves alphabetizing various definitions from the lesson). He absolutely loved the bright colors and animated characters throughout each lesson too. Some days I could not get him off of there. Truthfully, of the four different books of science, he is still happily plugging away on the one earth and space and all the lessons within. For my son, some of the video lessons were just too long, or there was just too much for him to take in and I would see him fading out a bit. So we did skip around but he loved the Brainy Bots and the SillyBulls; he really liked the student notebook where he could “take a note” (he loves turtles so that helped him enjoy this piece even more!) This is fabulous though and one I plan to come back to with him when he is a bit older and can really grasp it all more. Right now he is having fun with it as he can but once he can read and write a bit, I know this will be lots more fun for him!
Then there is my oldest who is 8. Some of this was new to him and some was more review. He is my hands on, gets bored easily and just cannot focus or sit still for any one thing. Period. So I have been surprised to see him independently logging on to the site and working on this program for quite a bit throughout the week. He started with Physical Science and when he completed that he moved right on to Life Science. For my oldest son I loved that the “show what you know” has discussion questions at the end. We are beginning note-booking and a bit of creative writing so this was a helpful addition. Some things really encouraged him to get writing and some we just chatted about. We also worked on the value of keeping a record of his learning (again, take a note is great for this giving you the notes to take and allowing you to add if you want to). It was nice that he could do most of this independently since this is a big deal for him right now. Investigate and In the Study were great fun for him as he loves puzzles and although he has a hard time focusing for a long time, I so believe this helped him to stay on task more. Then there was Pinky at the Vet where you have to observe and help the vet determine the correct animal (a vet is one of a number of things he may want to be when he grows up right now too). So much variety; so many fun ways to help him learn. And he loves it!
One of my favorite things about this too was that there was a little “test” at the end of each one to make sure they got it; if they were still struggling you would hear “let’s try that again” and the video would replay. Nice! It makes me feel a lot better about letting my oldest work on his own and even my younger son, as he could. Each unit has about 10-11 lessons within, the last one being a final exam, per se. Every unit starts out with Engage, then moves to Explore, and then Explain. Some of these were a bit much for my younger son (as I mentioned above) but for my older son this was great. I really liked all the different games and characters they used to teach all of the concepts. The SillyBulls was fun for my youngest son as he could practice some reading while learning the meaning of the words and all about syllables (he loved the bull in the tutu!). From a little old turtle to the SillyBulls and Ready for Freddy, this was lots of fun for everyone. I know I gained a new appreciation for science from Science4Us.com and I am so glad that we have this tool available to us. I almost forgot to mention, there is a music player too on the site, with fun songs to sing like Scientific Senses. Some days we would just listen and sing along. I do wish there was a way they could be downloaded too because my younger son has a little mp3 player he uses and loves to listen to throughout the day (quiet time or nap time) on his own. But aside from now being able to take the tunes with us, this was a fabulous and fun site and we aren’t even done exploring yet. 🙂