Science has always been one those subjects I am having all sort of trouble deciding what to use and never being fully satisfied with what we are doing. Well my search is over. I am really hoping to stick with this one.
The program we received, the Digital Online Subscription, is totally online. Therefore you need a computer and an internet connection. It also works fine on tablets. When you sign up you get a log in for the student and one for the parent/teacher.
The program covers all the major fields of science: Earth Science, Life Science, Physical Science, Health Science, Integrated Science. Each major field is then divided into smaller chunks.
Each individual section consists of:
- a video (that can be watched straight, or in smaller segments),
- animations (which are in the videos, but can be looked at separately on a different tab)
- images available as well on a separate tab
- Students worksheets
- Teacher's guide (only available in the parent's account) in the form of a downloadable PDF file. These teacher's guides contains all the worksheets, answer keys and video script.
The videos are engaging, simple, and though not flashy, they keep your child's attention. They range between 10 minutes (in the primary levels) to a bit over 20 minutes (in the higher levels).
The printable worksheets consists of :
- Pre-tests and post-tests that check the overall knowledge of the topic,
- Vocabulary and writing questions that allows for checking further understanding.
- Activities and experiments to conduct
How did we use it and how we liked it:
So we received access to all the levels of the Digital Online Science program. Since my boys are in grade 4 and 6, I decided to have them work on it together and used the Elementary section. Because we had not done much life science in the course of our homeschool I decided to go through the life science topics. In the six weeks we have been using the program, we covered:
- What are Plants
- Plant Parts
- Activities of Plants
- Traits and Heredity
- Food and Digestion
The way we went about it was to have them take the pre-test, then watch the video (sometimes they did it together, sometimes by themselves), and do the post-test, all on the same day. Then during the rest of the week we would spread out the other worksheets and activities.
The boys do not shout or jump for joy when it is time to do science but they enjoy the way the topics are being presented. They have no complaints whatsoever about the videos, or the worksheets. The worksheets are just the right lengths and formats with false and true questions, multiple choices and writing exercises. My youngest does not like writing his answers, so we often do those orally.
In the six weeks that we have used the program, the boys have learnt a lot. I will definitely keep using this. My youngest loved the study on heredity and keeps referring to it all the time.
This is a program I recommend for the following reasons
- It is visual (as the name suggests), perfect for visual learners
- It is interactive and engaging: throughout the video the narrator ask the listener questions that he is encouraged to think through and answer in his mind or out loud
- It encourages critical thinking
- It develops note taking skills
- It includes hands-on activities
- You can go at your own pace
- It is very exhaustive in what it covers
- It can be done independently
One thing to note about this program is that it is secular, but this is absolutely no problem for us. Though we are creationists, the science covered here is perfectly sound (at least in so far as we have used).
They offer a price for homeschool which amounts to $99 for the elementary edition (K-5) and $99 for the Secondary edition (6-12) as well..