I have several children who just adore anything that has to do with science. But some days around here it seems that I don’t have time to get beyond the basics of math and language arts. Since I am now schooling three children, my time for teaching can be stretched pretty thin. If you ever feel this same way, I have a wonderful new website for you! Science4Us.com offers an online subscription that can be a lifesaver when it comes to making sure your children are learning about science, even when you don’t have the “extra” time!
The online subscription to Science4Us.com can be purchased for $7.95 per child per month. That price includes access to the entire website. Although the website is geared toward the K-2nd grade age group, it can be adapted to other grade levels. Caspian (who is considered 4th grade) is still learning a lot since there is broad scope to the topics covered. He is able to learn beyond the brief introduction to topics that we have done with other programs. Other children will find it to be a great way to review topics they have already learned. Science4Us.com is currently computer based and it not supported on the iPad.
From the first day we received our subscription to Science4Us.com, my kids have loved it! I let them explore the website on their own while I took some time for myself to check out all of the teacher materials. There is a vast amount of material covered here, and the added activities and worksheets make it even better. Science4Us.com strives to connect language arts skills into their activities. Some days the kids learn alphabetizing or syllabication. They also work on graphing and classifying objects.
There are 28 different modules offered on the Science4Us.com website, including areas like physical, inquiry, life, and earth/space science. Each of these modules is broken down into daily sessions. Science4Us.com follows a “5E instructional model“. Every module begins with sessions titled “engage”, “explore”, “explain”, “elaborate” and “evaluate”. The “elaborate” sessions include activities in language arts like “silly bulls” and “take a note” where the children work on syllabication and note taking. The notebook entries can all be saved in their virtual notebook. The modules all end with a session to “evaluate” and make sure the material is understood.
The screenshot below is what you would see for each session of the module. There is an estimated time it takes to complete, a brief explanation of what the student will be doing, and printables both for the teacher and the student. These handouts are essential in making this science program complete. The students use these to apply their new knowledge and to extend that knowledge with different activities. The teacher support printouts are great for helping you lead your children further in exploring through activities and questions.
You as the teacher can assign lessons for your student to complete. They can also just explore their interests and do the activities of their choice. Either way, they may do the activities as many times as they want or need to in order to master the material. When you are logged in as the teacher, you can see scores on evaluations and entries made in their notebooks. You can write notes to them about specific assignments. There are several instructional videos to help navigate through their site. Science4Us.com also offers webinars where you can interact and ask questions to make sure you are using the website to its full potential. You can tell this company has a heart for helping children learn and have a great time in the process!
During the course of this review, I have never once had to insist my children work on the Science4Us.com website…they ask to “do science” all the time! This is a great feeling since I feel I have not been very consistent with science instruction. They would literally spend hours on this site if I didn’t insist that they move on to another activity. I love that this is something they can do on their own without me needing to be there. We can do the offline activities together, and then they can do their computer activities on their own. Even my 5-year-old can get himself logged in and knows exactly where to go to find his assignments.
We have taken a few different approaches to using Science4Us.com and they have all worked well in their own ways. As I previously mentioned, when we first started our subscription, the kids were free to choose activities on their own. They told me what they wanted to learn about and I loaded their lessons through the lesson plans section (a star on the lesson tells them when it has been completed). At this point we were not doing any of the offline activities. It worked well, but I didn’t have a good grasp on what they were learning. Then we took a few weeks to do all of the activities together, including the offline activities. We had a lot of fun doing the module all together. The kids worked together to get the activities done.
The last approach was to let the kids choose what they wanted to do, and add in the offline activities. Honestly, this was too much for me. Three kids going in three different directions in science just didn’t work well. For us, the best choice is to work together on one topic and do the offline activities together. I still let the kids choose extra activities if they want to do that, but our main science is together. It is such a joy seeing the kids so excited about learning new science topics!
I know some of you may ask whether or not this curriculum is Christian-friendly. From what I have seen so far, I would say yes. Although it is meant to be secular, there is nothing offensive that we have found. There was one section I questioned about using, and that is the module on the history of the earth. This is written from an obvious old earth perspective, but the only phrase I found used was “long ago”. There wasn’t any mention of millions of year ago or anything like that. I will update this section if we encounter anything I find to be not Christian-friendly. 😉
There are a couple of things I wish were a little bit different about the Science4Us.com website. First, I think it would be helpful to have a way to view all of the topics available on the website so you could see which ones your student has completed. You can do this now for each topic individually, but it would be great to have it all together in one place. The other thing I would like to see is for the technology to be supported on devices like iPads. Hopefully in the future these things will be possible.
So the question is, would I recommend Science4Us.com? Yes!!! I am so grateful to have products like these to help lessen my teaching load. The kids have learned a lot from this website, and even better, they have a lot of fun in the process! I wish they would develop this into a website that could be geared toward older children too since I really think they have a great concept on how to teach children in a way that they retain what they are learning. Their “5E Instructional Model” is perfect for teaching to all types of learning styles. If you have ever struggled with finding time for science or worry that you aren’t doing enough, I highly recommend you check out Science4Us.com.
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Want to see what the other reviewers on the Crew thought about Science4Us.com? Just click the link below!