I am not typically a fan of getting the bulk of our learning on any given subject via the computer. I’m sort of against the grain in this venue. I prefer for my children to crack open actual books, get their hands dirty with real materials, and not spend tons of time staring at a screen. However, I am not at all opposed to using online programs for supplementation for our actual curriculum. I was a bit skeptical when we first began our review of Science4Us.com that it could be used to supply a complete kindergarten science curriculum or fully meet second grade science standards. I went into this review of the Science4Us.com Online Subscription thinking that I’d find another website that we could add to our rotation of fun educational activities, but have completed it realizing that there can be value in online curricula beyond occasional supplementation.
Created by the makers of VocabularySpellingCity.com, Science4Us.com is designed for students in kindergarten through second grade. It is an interactive program that contains a standards based complete science curriculum without any books or messy experiments! With over 350 lessons available, you will have access to a plethora of assignments so there is no need to worry about boredom. All of this costs only $7.95 per month, per child.
Not only does it have all you need for students to use, but it also includes a teacher’s section. Here you will find helpful information on how to assign and present lessons, downloadable extension activities, videos that explain the resources available to you, and access to your child’s student reports, assignments, virtual notebook.
When your student logs in, they will see a welcome screen, hosted by Pinky, a rather unique looking fellow with a rad hairstyle. In the center of their screen, they can see if they have any assigned work as well as the things that they have most recently worked on. If they do not have any lessons specifically delegated to them, they can then choose their own lessons through a series of topics.
First they choose what book they’d like to explore: Physical Science, Life Science, Inquiry, or Earth/Space Science. Then they would choose a unit and a module. These break down every topic into subcategories which provide a well rounded presentation of the subject at hand.
Every module has several activities which present and test your child’s knowledge and retention. Even experiments are available on screen. Using just your mouse, you may mix, pour, and test things out to your heart’s content without every searching for appropriate or hard to find materials.
Overall, we found this program easy to use. My children thought it was fun, rather than work, and asked to play it often. I’d even find them all huddled together around the computer watching one another because they found it so interesting and engaging.
The one and only thing that we didn’t like was that the loading time in between activities sometimes took too long. My son would sometimes lose patience with this and decide he didn’t want to do the lesson after all. However, I can’t pinpoint that this issue was the website or my own computer.
I do believe that you could use Science4Us.com as your complete science curriculum for your young elementary aged students, however I still missed the fun of actually digging in and creating and exploring with our own two hands. I don’t mind the mess of hands on science experiments and I’m fairly good at substituting items in a pinch if I can’t find a needed supply. That being said, we will continue to enjoy our subscription to this site as reinforcement for our current lessons and as a back up plan on days/weeks when we don’t have the time to delve in to our regular curriculum.