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Sarah0000

Independent use- RSO vs ES

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Which would you say is formatted best for independent use by a seven year old who already has experience reading and following directions independently to complete projects? In particular, which program is the clearest on how to complete the lab sheets?

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I would say neither. RSO does have lab sheets but it doesn't really do the teaching. The parent is expected to be there to help the child through the demos and to expand on the investigation. A really independent elementary child might be able to do the experiment and get a surface understanding but I am having a hard time picturing a child really being able to navigate this curriculum solo.

ES is just really not friendly to independent use. It relies heavily on a teacher. There is a fair amount of copy work and it uses a separate science experiment book for much of the actual experiments so in that light, you would be better off just getting that science experiment book and some read and find out books to support the topic. 

If you want something more independent I would go with Mystery Science or Supercharged Science which has more of a video component to them.

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Videos don't work here. Books with some kind of output works best. A superficial understanding is fine since I would using this as something to do on a rainy day not as our real science program.

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RSo needs a parents input for at least some labs as they involve oven, boiling water etc.  it’s not really designed to be independent.  I don’t know ES so I can’t comment.

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I can't imagine my almost 8 yr old doing RSO on her own.  We are doing Earth and Environment 1 this year, and frankly, some of the stuff we just did regarding hardness charts for testing minerals and transferring that information to a formal chart (provided but still parsing down our findings to fit the chart) and then comparing our findings to the given chart...one of the reasons I love the program is that it's a stretch for her!  She might be able to do the "Life Sciences" one on her own at this point, but I'd still have to help her set up the lab.

Maybe just some Janice VanCleave books?  We did the biology experiment one a bit and those labs were pretty simple but still showed good information, but you'd need to get some supplemental books from the library. 

It does seem like all the "amazing" programs require a lot of mama input!

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Darn. We have a few science experiments books but they never go into enough detail on the concepts plus I want something with simple lab sheets. It sounds like RSO is comparable to AIMS in terms of lab output which my son does need my help with.

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Just my two cents, but I wouldn’t do a curriculum, especially if you need self-directed at age 7.  Especially not lab sheets.  Not even my gifted STEM-y kids got that because honestly it sucks the joy, and the innate scientific exploration of childhood, out of it.  Maybe introduce lab sheets at 10 or 12.  For now, read, watch, play, and experiment through play.  Kids are natural scientists! A few well placed questions can help direct, but directed memorizing and output work are not necessary at that age. And self-directed work at that age is asking a lot.

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If you just want to give him projects FOR FUN you might try Thames and Kosmos kits, but I wouldn’t attach academic expectations to it.

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We have many science kits but he goes through them so fast. He saves them and does them again but they get old eventually. He still enjoys them but the problem now is that he wants to know more details about the science and he wants to do more on his own, not quite so prescribed. He reads a lot so that's why I was looking at RSO in particular. 

I just ordered a book called Astronomy for Kids that looks like it has projects he could do independently plus lots of information. We'll see. But that is primarily for evening use. Something for daytime would be great, mostly for me because I'm going bonkers with him antagonizing his brothers out of boredom.

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RSO has some reading, but it’s all about the labs/activities and they require teacher/mom. 

Have you looked at snap circuits? There’s a student book (sold separately) that has lots of projects and explanations of the electronics (though maybe the book is better for a little older? the kits do come with project booklets to build). And there’s lots of room for play and exploration with the kits.

 A good science encyclopedia, or The Way Things Work, or similar reference book might be a good idea. My DS used to go to sleep with the Usborn Science Encyclopedia every night.  The Eye-witness My First ____ Encyclopedia series is nice at that age.  Go to your library and show him how to use it to find things he’s interested in.

Maybe check out Exploration Education.  There are lots of things to make and do on Ellen McHenry’s site.  Unless he’s asking for lab write ups I wouldn’t go that way at all. If he likes writing things down get him a field journal. You could also try some field guides, binocs, or a loupe to go with them. Why are videos not good?

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If you really want some reading with output maybe try Evan Moor daily science or science reading, perhaps a grade or more ahead.  There’s also a book series from Singapore Earlybird Science designed for about that age which is mostly reading and some output (they are workbooks).  But if he has a thirst for it and likes reading, I still think learning the ins and outs of using the library is your best bet.

Edited by Targhee

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He uses Daily Science and says it's his favorite school thing. We have snap circuits, k'nex, Legos and other similar things but right now his youngest brother is at the age where he wants to participate but destroys everything. He does sometimes read our science encyclopedias and draws from them.

Video isn't good because he if he gets screen time he'll just want to play video games. And he'll struggle with focusing on the doing and not just the watching. He did well with the MSB science kits that had some kind of lab journal to record observations, it seemed to help him focus, but he's aging out of those. I think he wants more than just playing around with science. 

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