I wish I was the type of homeschool mom that planned plenty of nature walks, science experiments, and cool discoveries. Unfortunately, science is often the subject that gets pushed off until another day.
I was intrigued by Science4Us.com because it offered a way for Lauren to learn some science concepts while I was otherwise busy working with my older children on writing or history or even calculus. We have been using a Science4Us.com Online Subscription as Lauren's second grade science curriculum for the past month. It is an online, interactive, standards-based science program for kindergarten through second grade students, covering life, physical, and earth/space subjects.
The teacher section of Science4Us.com contained more information that I think I'll ever use as a homeschool parent. Each particular learning segment has complete lesson plan materials suitable for using in a classroom (or homeschool) environment.
My primary science goal for Lauren's elementary years is to familiarize her with basic science concepts and vocabulary. Science4Us.com is doing a fantastic job of meeting those needs. On one of her first days using the program, Lauren told me how she had been studying life cycles on her new computer program. She retained that knowledge when we were discussing the life cycle of a particular animal in another context a few weeks later. She has also told me about how our pet fish breathes under water, how scientists use fossils to learn about things long ago, and how sand is made up of crumbled rocks.
I was most impressed with Science4Us.com because of the way that it builds cross-curricular applications into the science materials. Lauren did not simply hear new science terms. Some of the online activities had her break those terms into their individual syllables or alphabetize them in a glossary. By working with new words in a variety of contexts, she is better able to remember the new concepts.
One of the lessons about earth and materials reviewed the science concepts by sharing limericks. For instance, "There once was an earthworm that roamed to find the best possible home. Though sand was too dry and rocks were too high, he was quite happy to settle for loam." Lauren listened to all of the limericks (and even explained some of the terms to me when I asked), and then she was thrilled to create her own limerick using their multiple choice options.
By combining science instruction with reading and language arts skills, Science4Us.com benefits all types of elementary students. Children that love science can enjoy the extra practice they may need in language arts activities, and children (like Lauren) who love word activities can gain extra science knowledge.
In the past month, I feel like Lauren and I have barely scratched the surface of all the resources Science4Us.com offers. That's a good thing. If I have a period of time when I can help Lauren delve more deeply into a science topic, I know exactly where I can find complete lesson plans. If our homeschooling days continue to be as busy as they have been lately, I can rest assured that Lauren will not graduate from second grade scientifically illiterate.
A Science4Us.com Online Subscription costs $7.95 per month and includes access to more than 350 online lessons, hands-on activities, and worksheets.