Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Science Shepherd Introductory Science Level A Review

My family had the privilege of trying the Science Shepherd Introductory Science Level A for this review to use in conjunction with our own homeschool curriculum. This is a Schoolhouse Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.

Science Shepherd is a Christian biased science program with biblical perspective that is scripture based. Science Shepherd is produced by Scott Hardin, MD; a homeschooling father of six and medical doctor. The company provides courses in biology, life science, introductory science, and creation science. It has online videos that the student watches, a workbook, and teacher's answer key to go along with each program. These courses work for a variety of ages and levels from K-12. These cover a complete science curriculum that fills a void that secular science programs do not have. The on-demand videos feature full color graphics, animations, slides, and demonstrations. The workbooks help reinforce concepts in the video course. Online access grants you a full year to finish the program of choice at your own speed.

Science Shepherd Introductory Science Videos: Dr. Hardin behind a desk lecturing.

Science Shepherd Introductory Science Videos: 2 girls doing Video Activities.

Introductory Science is Science Shepherd's video science curriculum for ages six through eleven. You can choose from level A which is for students ages 6-8 or level B which is for ages 9-11. Students can work at their own pace, but this curriculum is intended to be used five days a week for 35 weeks. Each lesson is fairly short (2-5 minutes for the videos with activities) and covers a number of science topics, including: creation, geology, biology, astronomy, oceanography, and meteorology, etc. These, like the other programs, are biblically focused and have a number of references to scripture.

Introductory Science Videos Screen Layout

When you log in to the Science Shepherd website it will go to your account information page. If you look on the left you will see a link to the course videos that says, "Introductory Science Videos". Click it and you will be redirected to the page for the course videos. At the top of the page there will be about seven tabs that span 5 weeks each. You can see the first 5 weeks on the first page as you scroll down. Each week has 5 videos, for a total of 175 lessons. Some video lessons show a man behind a desk lecturing and some show two girls in a kitchen doing activities. All the videos are short and don't take long to watch. Some also include activities and science projects that you can do along with the video at home.

Teela working in the Level A Workbook.

The softcover, spiral bound student workbook of 321 pages goes along with the online videos an follows along well. It has quite a bit of reading, question and answer, crossword puzzles, word searches, matching, circle the correct answer, etc. It also has other activities like drawing and coloring too. The Teacher's answer key comes with it for easy grading. You can get more workbooks if you have more than one student doing the course.

How We Used This and Our Thoughts:

My 8 year old daughter, Teela, did one lesson per weekday. For the purpose of this review, we were to complete at least four weeks of material. We started at the beginning and got to Meteorology. The lessons started with creation science reminding Teela that God is the creator of all things, He has dominion over all of us, and that His word is true. Both week one and two stressed these things. Then week three went into teaching science skills and tools. This covered: observing, comparing, sequencing, classifying, planning, measuring, labeling, predicting, experimenting, using/making models, concluding, reporting, instruments, and the scientific method. It was a lot of information in one week. Week four through six taught about Earth Science and Meteorology. In Week four Teela learned about atmosphere, weather, precipitation and the water cycle. In Week five Teela learned about temperature and seasons. In Week six Teela learned about storms, thunder, lightening, wind, tornadoes, hurricanes, and the Great Flood. This is roughly how far we got in the course. The course goes on to teach Earth Science: Geology, Oceanography, and Astronomy; Life Science: Plants, Underwater Creatures, Flying Creatures, Land Creatures, Human Beings, Be Healthy, and Ecology & Natural Resources; Physical Science: Matter, Energy, Motion, and Magnets.

Teela watching a Science Shepherd Introductory Science on-demand video. Don't mind the dust.

I enjoyed this course because of the high biblical content, but Teela got bored of the videos quickly even though they were short in length. Unfortunately they were not as engaging as she would have liked. I had to prompt her through the course because of this. She liked the hands-on activities though. I wish the videos were more interesting to her to hold her attention, but she likes lots of visuals and a man sitting behind a desk with a monotone voice and occasional images and words popping up on the screen didn't really cut it. The content of the curriculum was fantastic, but the videos needed more pizzazz. Everyone is different though and maybe your student would love these. I still think with the right audience the Science Shepherd Introductory Science would be wonderful. It just didn't work perfectly for us. It is; however, a complete course for homeschool science and a great introductory one for ages 6-11 who want to incorporate distinctly Christian principles into their learning of science.

You can watch a sample video, take a peak inside the workbook, look at the scope and sequence, and see the activity supply list on their website as well as purchase the course. The Science Shepherd Introductory Science is $35 for the video course, $12 for level A workbook, $15 for level B workbook, and $3 for each teacher's key. Also, if you need a extension for the course it is $5 per month, up to three months. 

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