Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
We received one year’s access to NatureGlo’s eScience MathArt & Science Course Bundle, and there’s a whole lot of learning to be done! We reviewed a couple of Gloria’s eScience classes a couple of years ago, so we were interested to see what she had in store for us this time in her relaxed homeschool math and science classes for kids aged 10-18.
Over the past 6 weeks my eclectic homeschooled children have been working their way through some of the classes in the bespoke bundle Gloria compiled for the Review Crew of 25 of her top online unit studies.
NaturGlo’s eScience has a large variety of classes that combine math, science, and art into unit studies that are between 1 and 6 weeks long, with about 2 hours of participation required per week. As these are self-paced, it’s easy to spend less time on them daily, or work through a couple of lessons in a larger chunk of time over the course of a day.
The lessons themselves are completely online and each lesson encompasses watching (in our case) a pre-recorded lesson (there are live lessons available) where Gloria walks through a slideshow with the students who are ‘live’ at the time. There are worksheets to fill out, with the answers found within the slideshow (the slides are available to download separately as well). I printed out the worksheets in booklet form for ease. As students progress through each lesson they press a ‘complete’ button and will earn ‘achievement badges’ at different stages.
After going through the slideshow there is another webpage which lists a set of videos to watch for the second half of the lesson (each weekly lesson is split into two or more parts). There are additional YouTube videos embedded on the page that will further explain the target concept, such as watching slow-mo of freezing bubbles or snowflakes forming, for example. There may be some text to read and there is an array of projects that students can complete to further their understanding. When a student has completed this they can share their experience in the comments at the bottom of the webpage.
Relaxed Homeschool Math and Science
The courses available fall into the following categories:
- Marine Biology
- Herps (Reptiles & Amphibians)
You can follow the roadmaps that Gloria has created, completing one course in a category before opening up the next class. The other option is to do any of the classes in any order, and this is what we have done.
Let’s start by talking about the classes that Tristan and Kallista have taken to date:
Did you think that bubbles were just fun on a summer’s day? They’re much more to that. Find out what makes them flexible and hold their shape (as well as how to make a square bubble). This was the first class that really had Kallista’s attention and both her and Tristan enjoyed it. Summer bubbles will never be the same again.
The Life and Mathematical Art of Leonardo da Vinci
This is a class I wanted the children to take. Early last year we visited the Ulster Museum to see a da Vinci exhibition, which was fantastic. If you are interested in art or engineering, you’ll be fascinated by having a first-hand view of his sketches and the detail involved in them.
We read all the info on the description cards and told the children a little more about what we knew, but didn’t do the pieces justice in the short time we were able to be there – it was a large exhibition and if we lived in the city we’d certainly have returned several times to take it all in as it was quite overwhelming.
This class is broken down into two lessons (and each lesson has 3-4 parts). The two main areas of study are:
- Leonardo’s Biography & Phi Found in His Artwork and
- da Vinci’s Platonic Solids & Notebooks
After a brief introduction to da Vinci and where he grew up, this class used the Golden Ratio to explore the Mona Lisa, as well as other mathematical techniques in The Last Supper and the Vitruvian Man.
There was an online video where students can ‘flip’ through one of da Vinci’s notebooks and see his sketches for inventions that were not yet possible at the time that he created them. He definitely had a vision and way of thinking that was years ahead of his time. Where would the world be without him?
Geology: Intro to Rockhounding
In this one-week relaxed homeschool science class, students followed along with Gloria through the slides learning about some of the rocks that might be found in their back yards and answered the questions in the study guide. Then they watched some more videos of people rockhounding in different locations and what they found. They found the breaking open of geodes most fascinating and recalled doing that a few summers back with one we bought from a museum (there wasn’t anything inside).
Northern Ireland has a very varied geology for it’s size, and it’s quite fascinating. We all had a week off school and work so we packed up and went out out the East Antrim coast to see what the kids could find. They were excited about this trip and prepped their backpacks a week ahead in anticipation, following the suggestions given in the unit.
The kids had fun clambering over the rocks at low tide and looking for things that caught their eye. There was quite a variety of rocks found, such as churt, slate, basalt, limestone, sandstone and many more. Unfortunately, we didn’t find any gobbinsite (a zeolite named after the Gobbins area nearby), but there’s always next time.
I should mention that you should ensure the hammer you use is secure as the ball end of Phil’s flew off when the gang was trying to break open a rock! Luckily no one was injured and the piece was retrieved and taken home with us (leaving no trace behind).
Geometric Beauty of Snowflakes
This is a 3-lesson class that took my children about 8 days to complete. This class takes students through the symmetry of snowflakes and how they grow. I thought the video of hoar frost was interesting as I used to see it on exceptionally cold and clear mornings in Saskatchewan, but we don’t have it here; in fact, we very rarely have snow.
A couple of of the projects that can be done for this class are making paper snowflakes and a graphing and symmetry activity.
More Relaxed Homeschool Science & Math Classes
One of the next classes the kids will take is Tide Pool Communities (1 lesson course). The kids have done this before with expert guides, and they enjoy it. We did find a little tide pool while rockhounding that we’d like to return to (we saw a tiny crab, anemones, limpets, and if we’d taken a microscope, we’d have been able to see more. I’m sure the kids will be keen to go back once they know more about the environment.
The children still have many classes to work their way through. Some they will do over the winter while dreaming of sunny days, while others we will wait until spring to do.
Leading on from rock pools will be Marine Biology: Oceanography, Marine Plants & Invertebrates, a 6-week course in which students will learn about sponges (fascinating creatures), algae, corals, and anemones. All of these can be found along the shores of the Emerald Isle.
Marine Biology: Jellies, Mollusks & Whales of the World is also a course that has caught my eye, living within walking distance to the Irish Sea. If we timed this one right, we’d be able to join one of Ian’s late winter gatherings to look for porpoise, dolphins, and with the slim possibility of a minke whale. After this course the kids should be able to tell Phil more about jellyfish when they see one washed up on the shore.
I think that first choosing the classes that the children can more easily relate to is the way to go. But they have also shown interest in Mammals – Wildcat, Gray Wolf, and Right Whale, and because we missed this year’s biodiversity summer school, learning about Invertebrates: Insects of the World might be informative.
NatureGlo’s eScience classes are great for relaxed homeschool math and science and are different than the ordinary. The classes have children interact by answering questions, answering a quizlet, and working on hands-on projects that take a variety of forms.
The classes don’t go so in-depth that students flounder, but they whet the appetite and encourage students to delve deeper on their own. For younger students, they can do a little less of the videos and projects, while older students can do it all, and then some. I like how the classes can be differentiated in this way.
The only thing I would change is a better navigational system within the site as it is currently very difficult to maneuver from one class to another or back to the dashboard, as well as an easy place for visitors to see the classes available and the price. I know the site has had some changes recently, so it may not yet be completed.
I will definitely be scheduling in a few more of these classes from time to time over the next year to coincide with the seasons and the children’s interests.
Click here to read 49 more reviews about NatureGlo by the Homeschool Review Crew. If you’d like to know more or would like to follow NatureGlo, you can connect with Gloria through her website (scroll down a bit you can see all of the classes available), Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube.