Over the past month my children have been trying out a new homeschool science product from WriteBonnieRose; it’s called Learning About Science Collection, Level 3 (Cursive), and today we’re going to share our review with you.
My children enjoy science, but unfortunately, they have this year been concentrating on catching up on a couple of other topics. However, summer is a great time to learn about science as it’s easier to include a field trip here or there to help children see science in action in the real world and make it more meaningful to them. The Learning About Science Collections (there are different levels available) fit in well with this, too.
We received 8 files that covered the 7 units, as well as one that included some instructions and links, that we then downloaded as PDFs. I was then able to print the PDFs off for Kallista to use.
The units included are:
- Kinds of Animals and How They Live
- What’s Going on Inside Plants?
- Life in the Ocean’s Hidden Zones
- Forecasting and Understanding the Weather
- Discovering Rocks, Minerals, & Crystals
- Exploring the Earth’s Landforms
- Energy and Its Many Forms
Each unit is between 16 and 26 pages long and includes two pages of review questions and an answer key. The units include key terminology and definitions and in level three you have a choice of either manuscript or cursive so that each key word can be traced over within the study guide itself.
How We Used This Homeschool Science Program
The units themselves really are just an introduction to the area; of course, at this level of education, an in-depth study isn’t needed. Each unit also comes with a list of additional resources that may be used to dig further into each topic for the students who want to learn more. These extra resources are secular, but if you do not want to use them, it is easy to find resources you are comfortable with at the library or online. Children can become familiar with the Dewey Decimal system for finding books on each of the areas if you use your local library.
Without using any additional resources, and depending upon the ability of your child, a unit could be read and reviewed in a day or two. If you wish to go further into the topics, then a week should be good for completing a unit. We have done a mix of the two.
For each unit Kallista read through the unit first, then she read it over again, using a highlighter to note things she wanted to remember. She’s new at this strategy and for the first two units she highlighted everything! Then when she began to get the hang of it, she moved to highlighting important words. She traced the key words in cursive as she went through on the first read.
The pictures in the units are deliberately done in black and white so children can colour them to make the units more their own and to give time to thinking about what they’ve learned instead of just reading, closing up their work and forgetting about it. Because we’ve been busy over the summer and Kallista wanted to spend time with Phil while he was off work, she tended not to colour the pictures, but she tells me that she would like to later.
This week our town festival is in full swing and Kallista is participating in a biodiversity program where each day the focus is on a different topic – many of them covering the units in this program so she will be able to apply her new knowledge, which is fantastic.
We’ve had the warmest, driest summer on record so far and this prompted Tristan to learn a little about Forecasting and Understanding the Weather. I don’t want to give the whole unit away, but there are 30 key terms in this unit; each term has a paragraph explaining it and a space to trace over the word or phrase. Some of the terms in this unit are: tsunami, hurricane, vortex, barograph, barometer, and earthquake.
Kallista started off Exploring the Earth’s Landforms which has the same format. Some of the terms in this unit are: butte, canyon, polar desert, gorge, isthmus, plains, and valleys.
What We Liked
I liked the flexibility of this program as you could use it in either a secular or non-secular setting, and you can also use it as a supplement by using the PDFs as they are; or you can assign additional research at the library, online, or hands-on to expand each unit. Younger children will have enough information for their first dive into the topics, while for some older children, this can be a good review for them.
What I would have liked to see was an addition to the reviews; perhaps including a couple of assignments for the older children that would take them beyond simple multiple choice questions so that they could stretch their knowledge a little more or apply it as my children found that they generally already knew the answers to the reviews before they had read the units.
In close, if you’re looking for a short homeschool science program that isn’t too strenuous but gives a good general overview of topics so that you can discover which areas your child is really interested in for further study, this is a good choice. If, however, you are looking for a full science program that goes more deeply into the subject, then perhaps this won’t be a good fit for your family.
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