Review of Science Shepherd Introductory Science Program (Level B)

We had been using quite a few non-formal books and activities for my son for science, but it was time to try something a bit more organized and easy for me to handle with my busy work-at-home schedule. We were able to try out the Introductory Science (Level B) program from Science Shepherd, and he's been doing a very good job with it!

As a bit of background, my son is a struggling reader, in the 4th grade (but reading closer to late 1st grade in ability). While he's starting to really come around, we were frustrated with courses that were text-heavy, but really wanted to nurture his natural curiosity and love of science. We used the Science Shepherd Introductory Science course with him 3 days a week, although we were able to easily cover 5 days of lessons in that time. (The lessons took my son about 5 minutes to watch the video and less than 15-20 to do the accompanying worksheets and activities.)

We viewed the videos by screencasting them from my computer to the living room TV. This allowed my son to watch them on a big screen. We also found it easier for him to follow along, since the volume on the videos were a bit quieter than what we were used to. It helped that vocabulary words, terms, and concepts were emphasized in the videos with on-screen text and pictures. He seemed to get the lesson materials right away, and then he was ready for the worksheets!

We received a student book and teacher answer guide to use with him. These were intended for one student, although my other kids did enjoy staying in the room, watching the video, and listening to the discussion.  The activities in the book were standard comprehension review themes: crossword, fill-in-the-blanks, word match, etc. My son enjoyed that he was being quizzed about concepts that were solidly covered in the videos. The weekly review worksheet was usually a fun one, too! There were also activities each week that went a little deeper into the material (art activity, craft, or some other sample of how the lesson could come to life in real-world application.)

All of the course materials were presented from a Biblical worldview. In fact, the first few weeks were almost more of a Bible lesson than a science lesson, as it covered the Creation and God's role for us as having dominion over the Earth and its creatures. I did really like how the teacher explained this to the kids. In today's politically-charged world, I liked the balance it struck between acknowledging that we had a special place on Earth as being created in God's likeness, but that we also have an awesome responsibility not to abuse or waste what God has given us. I don't think that I've seen a resource aimed at kids that so perfectly worded our thoughts on the matter.

While we only got through less than 5 weeks of lessons, it has been a very excellent experience. There are other products available that don't have the online lesson component, so I'm not sure how much time they take to use with your child. We have really looked forward to our "science time" however, and we usually do 2-3 days of lessons in one sitting. My kids really, really love it!

You can see all of the Science Shepherd materials on their website.  Be sure to find Science Shepherd on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest, too!