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Building Blocks of Science Review


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The Real-Science-4-Kids Building Blocks series has been our only science spine since my oldest started kindergarten. This year we just finished up Level 6. I'm obviously very happy with it! Here are some thoughts:

Dr. Keller's philosophy is basically that you start giving kids foundational science from a young age so that when they hit high school science they aren't caught off-guard and then feel that science is “too hard”. She has a few explanatory videos on her philosophy; here is a short one (three minutes). As an example, chemical bonding is introduced in first grade in a kid-friendly way. Every year the concept is built up. 

Pro: 

1) I think that the text is very strong for what she promises. We almost didn't homeschool because I was so discouraged looking for a meaty science program until I found RS4K. The textbook would work very well as a solid reading text for families that just want a get-it-done science book, but, even better, it also works well as a spine for families with very science-oriented kids (as mine are). We supplement heavily, not because there are any glaring gaps, but because my kids are just interested in going deep in so many areas.

2) The text is intentionally worldview-neutral. You add what your family believes about hot topics, rather than having to explain away someone else's interpretation.

Con: 

1) It's really expensive. We have felt it's worth it to budget for this program, but if expense were the only hindrance, I would suggest getting on the e-mail list and buying when they have sales, and/or buying only the text and skipping the lab notebooks and teacher manual.

2) Some of the experiments rely on websites that were out of date by the time we got to them, so there has been a lot of modifying the experiments on the fly.

For what it's worth, the trajectory of my kids' career plans (which, of course, can change) is right now toward astrophysics or particle physics, and aeronautical engineering. RS4K has certainly not bored them or held them back! 

Good luck making your decision! 

 

 

 

Edited by Quarter Note
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On 3/11/2021 at 5:08 PM, Quarter Note said:

The Real-Science-4-Kids Building Blocks series has been our only science spine since my oldest started kindergarten. This year we just finished up Level 6. I'm obviously very happy with it! Here are some thoughts:

Dr. Keller's philosophy is basically that you start giving kids foundational science from a young age so that when they hit high school science they aren't caught off-guard and then feel that science is “too hard”. She has a few explanatory videos on her philosophy; here is a short one (three minutes). As an example, chemical bonding is introduced in first grade in a kid-friendly way. Every year the concept is built up. 

Pro: 

1) I think that the text is very strong for what she promises. We almost didn't homeschool because I was so discouraged looking for a meaty science program until I found RS4K. The textbook would work very well as a solid reading text for families that just want a get-it-done science book, but, even better, it also works well as a spine for families with very science-oriented kids (as mine are). We supplement heavily, not because there are any glaring gaps, but because my kids are just interested in going deep in so many areas.

2) The text is intentionally worldview-neutral. You add what your family believes about hot topics, rather than having to explain away someone else's interpretation.

Con: 

1) It's really expensive. We have felt it's worth it to budget for this program, but if expense were the only hindrance, I would suggest getting on the e-mail list and buying when they have sales, and/or buying only the text and skipping the lab notebooks and teacher manual.

2) Some of the experiments rely on websites that were out of date by the time we got to them, so there has been a lot of modifying the experiments on the fly.

For what it's worth, the trajectory of my kids' career plans (which, of course, can change) is right now toward astrophysics or particle physics, and aeronautical engineering. RS4K has certainly not bored them or held them back! 

Good luck making your decision! 

 

 

 

Are there times of the year when you typically see sales roll around?  I’m considering the Focus On Astronomy and Geology for my 8th grader next year.  We’ve done Memoria Press online science these last two years, but when I asked her what she’s like to study in her last year before HS, she requested astronomy.  Pondering...

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On 3/11/2021 at 6:08 PM, Quarter Note said:

The Real-Science-4-Kids Building Blocks series has been our only science spine since my oldest started kindergarten. This year we just finished up Level 6. I'm obviously very happy with it! Here are some thoughts:

Dr. Keller's philosophy is basically that you start giving kids foundational science from a young age so that when they hit high school science they aren't caught off-guard and then feel that science is “too hard”. She has a few explanatory videos on her philosophy; here is a short one (three minutes). As an example, chemical bonding is introduced in first grade in a kid-friendly way. Every year the concept is built up. 

Pro: 

1) I think that the text is very strong for what she promises. We almost didn't homeschool because I was so discouraged looking for a meaty science program until I found RS4K. The textbook would work very well as a solid reading text for families that just want a get-it-done science book, but, even better, it also works well as a spine for families with very science-oriented kids (as mine are). We supplement heavily, not because there are any glaring gaps, but because my kids are just interested in going deep in so many areas.

2) The text is intentionally worldview-neutral. You add what your family believes about hot topics, rather than having to explain away someone else's interpretation.

Con: 

1) It's really expensive. We have felt it's worth it to budget for this program, but if expense were the only hindrance, I would suggest getting on the e-mail list and buying when they have sales, and/or buying only the text and skipping the lab notebooks and teacher manual.

2) Some of the experiments rely on websites that were out of date by the time we got to them, so there has been a lot of modifying the experiments on the fly.

For what it's worth, the trajectory of my kids' career plans (which, of course, can change) is right now toward astrophysics or particle physics, and aeronautical engineering. RS4K has certainly not bored them or held them back! 

Good luck making your decision! 

 

 

 

This is a WONDERFUL review!  Thank you so very much for taking the time to share your experience.

How easy do you feel the program is to use?  What prep do you do?  (Prep over summer, prep each week, etc.)? 

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18 hours ago, Trilliumlady said:

Are there times of the year when you typically see sales roll around?  I’m considering the Focus On Astronomy and Geology for my 8th grader next year.  We’ve done Memoria Press online science these last two years, but when I asked her what she’s like to study in her last year before HS, she requested astronomy.  Pondering...

Oh, rats - they just finished an overstock sale a couple of weeks ago!  Please don't hold me to this, but I think that they have sales at least twice a year.  

Just so you know, while I am obviously a big fan of RS4K, I've never used the Focus On... series, and in a recent thread (the title of which I can't seem to remember right now!), some of the people who have used the Focus units say that the grades skew a little high (meaning that the content that they call "middle school level" might really be better for younger kids).  So definitely check the sample pages to make sure that it would be good for your 8th grader.  But I hope it would be a good fit for her!

Good luck!

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11 hours ago, TheAttachedMama said:

This is a WONDERFUL review!  Thank you so very much for taking the time to share your experience.

How easy do you feel the program is to use?  What prep do you do?  (Prep over summer, prep each week, etc.)? 

You're welcome!

I don't do too much prep work - but take that with a grain of salt, because I'm sure I would be a much better teacher if I did do more prep work!

Basically, for the textbook, I just open the book at the bookmark on M-Th, aiming to get through one lesson a week.

For the experiments, sometime in mid-summer I check the teacher's manual for all the materials that we need to buy, and get them.  During the school year, I try to look at that week's experiment on Monday, just in case I need to get stuff ready (or buy perishable items, if the experiment involves food items).  Then we do the experiment on Friday.  Friday morning, I have the kids fill out the pre-experiment questions in the lab notebook, then we do the experiment in the afternoon.  If the experiment takes more than one day (for instance, some of the biology experiments require culturing something in petri dishes over a week or so), we fudge around with the next week's schedule as we can in order to finish it up.

The other good thing that I didn't mention in my earlier post is that there are only 22 lessons in each book, which means that you have lots of time to space things out in one year, or to spend a good chunk of the second half of the year going deep into a subject of interest.

I'd love to hear what you decide, AttachedMama!  Good luck!

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