Friday, April 11, 2014

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Supercharged Science

Supercharged eScience Review
As an homeschooling mom one of the areas of life I probably feel like I "fail" at most often is science. I had it covered when we lived up in Maryland - we had a homeschool dad who was a PhD something-or-other that I just adored, and he was right up the boys' alley with nature walks, hands-on stuff and all that cool jazz. And then we moved. Shoot. So Schoolhouse Review Crew has come to my rescue yet again with the chance to review an online, hands-on science curriculum called Supercharged Science and their e-Science Learning Program
Supercharged eScience Review
Supercharged science is a way for the kids to get in some cool, hands-on stuff even if I don't have time to sit right there and teach the lesson. The lady who created the site teaches each of the lessons herself using blog-like posts and videos, and she scores big for hitting on some seriously cool topics. Best of all? She has put stuff together covering the full range of ages from Kindergarten through... well, she says grade 12, but really there is stuff in there that interested me as well, so I'm going to say K-adult. We primarily used the lessons in the 4th- and 5th-grade ranges for Bruiser and Chef. 
The first experiment the did was what happens when a bar of soap is microwaved. They thought that was really neat - and did it before I could even get downstairs to take a picture. (Boo!) But even now I can ask what they were learning about - what was the purpose of the experiment - and they can tell me why a microwave works the way it does (and how cool it was to see the soap expand out in the microwave - my question is: how come they couldn't use that to clean the microwave while they had the soap in there anyway?? But I digress!)

Supercharged eScience Review
What I Loved:
  • The lessons are short - important when working with a wide range of ages like mine
  • The lessons are pretty easy and do not take a lot of time running about to get extra materials - busy mom, limited time, one income - using items already in the home makes this a huge plus
  • The lessons are interesting enough that even my high scholar was engaged in the lower-level lessons
  • For a full-range science course that covers multiple levels, the price is competitive and do-able for most homeschool families (K-8th grade is $37 a month and the full K-12th grade is $57 a month - and if you see below in this post, you'll see a special link she put out allowing the first month for a $1 trial!)
We also worked on how many drops of water will fit on the top of a quarter (it was supposed to be a penny, but the boys used a quarter instead), as a means of playing with, and understanding, the scientific method. The boys are looking forward to expanding out from where the Supercharged Science lessons end and playing with the concepts in every-day life. When I hear them talking about trying new stuff with the concepts they've learned outside of the lesson itself, I know we have a winner. 
Another really cool aspect (and this really shows that she is thinking of our boys out there!) is that she includes an area focused on earning Boy Scout Merit Badges. So far she covers badges relating to: 
  • astronomy
  • Electricity
  • Electronics
  • Robotics
  • Space Exploration
and she has another 9 badges she is considering adding in! She also mentions that if you have a scout troop which might be interested in trying out their program for earning badges free in exchange for feedback to contact them. (I sent mine in already.)

The One Drawback: 

While I liked the overall program and that she has managed to make science fun and exciting for boys and girls, the website itself had a couple of drawbacks. The biggest drawback is that the site is somewhat cluttered and hard to navigate. So in signing up, you will definitely want to hit the "Getting Started" tab at the top of the page and watch the video that outlines the website. 

Try a free lesson:

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