Review of Fascinating Education Online Biology Courses

We have been struggling with high school science at our house. Textbooks just weren't quite cutting it, and I didn't learn enough in high school to feel confident in my teaching. We were able to review Fascinating Education's Online Biology Course with my daughter this past month, and I think we may have found a solution to our science "problem." The course is called Fascinating Biology, but they also offer Chemistry and Physics.

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My daughter used this as her sole science curriculum for her Junior year biology.  She did lessons 3-4 times a week, pausing as needed to take notes or ask questions of me (although this was rare.) I could easily tell where she was in her coursework by using the included Course Outline.  She could also pace herself throughout the week by looking ahead to what she would be learning.  Because of the way the course is laid out, it is easy to break up the course into "chunks" that can be assigned at an even pace throughout the year.

The videos themselves are very informative. My daughter liked that they were no-nonsense, without fluff, and really taught her what she needed to know. She is very good at taking notes, but the information was presented in a way that -- even if your student struggles with note-taking -- they can pick up on the important info easily.  Visual graphics are used to convey more difficult concepts, and everything is clearly articulated via audio by the teacher, Dr. Margulies.  There is also a transcript of all the audio for the student that needs to follow along with text. Students can also search slides and course text for key words or phrases, if they are unable to remember which lessons contained the information they are looking for.

Along the way, students are given tests to see how much they learned. It's easy to go back to past lessons to relearn material, if the parent or student chooses to.  You can also access a Glossary on the left-hand side for each of the lessons, giving kids a chance to go over words and terms learned before the tests are taken. In addition, there is a Resources link, to the right of the screen that will show you additional links and articles to help reinforce or continue learning after the coursework.

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Since we picked Biology, we were given the option to do a Chemistry "mini" course to help build the basic knowledge needed to make Biology easier.  My daughter found the mini course to be just as useful, and I would recommend both to high school students who want a thorough year-long course that meets high school standards.

Pricing on this course is $79 per course or $125 for two for year-long access. If you take the mini course for Chemistry, it is just $20. Since just a textbook can cost this much, I found it to be a good value.  It isn't fancy by way of the graphics (it's more like a slideshow than a video), but the instruction is solid, and the coursework challenging. It's appropriate for any parent wanting an easy, web-based way to provide a well-rounded upper-level science education.

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