- Reviewed on Friday, May 18, 2012
- Grades Used: 2nd
- Dates used: 2011-2012
I am wrapping up my first year using Nancy Larson Science 1 with my 2nd-grade daughter. We love it! Without a doubt, I can say that this year has been my most successful year in the subject of Science. I have tried and shelved countless science programs over the last three years, but Nancy Larson Science 1 will be the first that I actually complete. Both my daughter and I have enjoyed the program greatly. In fact, my daughter asks to start every day with science!
Here are what I think are the program's strengths:
1) It is all-inclusive. Personally, if I have to gather 50 supply items, requiring 4 different trips to the store, that science lesson just isn't going to get done. What is great about NL Science 1 is that the box arrives with pretty much everything in it. Each lesson is ALL laid out, including scripting - so easy to follow! I simply pull out what I need each day and, voila!, science happens!
2) It employs a spiral method and is systematic. Science 1 at first appeared fairly simple and it is indeed laying a foundation for the higher levels of the program. Though the topics seemed basic at first, it quickly became apparent that my daughter was being systematically introduced to concepts that I assumed she already knew in detail, but actually did not (or didn't remember!). It also became apparent that my daughter was being introduced to more advanced vocabulary. She is learning to define her surroundings in a scientific manner. Science 1 really does a good job of covering all the bases for an introduction to science. The program employs a spiral method - meaning new topics are introduced in steps as old are continually reviewed. I've found this method has shown a high level of retention in my daughter - yay! We've read countless fun science books, but with this program she is really walking away with a firm memory of how to label the world around her. She feels confident in science now, making it one of her favorite topics. I've looked ahead at the next levels in the program and see that, in stages, it increases in difficulty. The entire program seems to layer upon itself.
3) It is hands-on and fun! The program and supplies haven't been experiment-heavy, but rather more focused on investigation and interaction. So far, my daughter has enjoyed that more than any experiments we have tried to do in the past - especially considering the experiments that failed, ha! The "See, Touch, and Do" approach also seems to last longer in her memory. We have real x-rays to build a body with, we grow butterflies and ladybugs, we play with pine cones, and each lesson includes reading, writing, and creating information booklets. Fun, without being overwhelming. For this young age group, I think this approach has been wonderful. We are looking forward to dissecting owl pellets next year!
So those are what I feel are the programs strengths. To be fair, here are what I consider some aspects of the program that might not work for everyone.
1) It is scripted. Personally, I LOVE that. It has worked very well with me as we've begun our science journey. It has given me confidence. I might not always need scripting, but it has certainly been a huge help for me. However, if scripting drives you batty, this program might not be for you.
2) You are a science-saturated home. If you have been delving deep into life science for years, then the early levels of this program might seem too simplistic for you. I would still recommend looking at the higher levels, as they increase in difficulty, but Science 1 is an introduction to life science. Again, I've LOVED it and my daughter has a great science vocabulary now and has enjoyed the program, even when reviewing topics she has been introduced to before. But, the introduction might not be for everyone.
That is all I can think of, really, We've loved it and seen retention. We look forward to next year!
- Reviewed on Thursday, June 24, 2010
- Grades Used: Using Level 1 for 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th
- Dates used: 2010
We have a unique family situation with 2 students in 3rd and 4th grade learning English, another 4th grader who has been home 3 years and reads at a 2nd grade level but is 5th grade in math and a bright kid, and an advanced 6th grader who was pulled from public ed just this year and has gaps in science education. Then there is our little 2nd grader who is in target. I needed a curriculum to guide us in science, fill gaps, be at a lower reading level without insulting, and preferred a secular program with all items included.
When I found this program, I almost did the Happy Dance. Now that we are using it, I actually DID do the Happy Dance! It is perfect and meeting our needs so well. It is easy to teach as everything is spelled out for you with a script, but of course you can veer off as needed. I am finding my bright 6th grader can help teach but is also learning as we talk about the subjects and he said to me "Mommy, I know this is for younger grades but I didn't learn a lot of this and the vocabulary is new to me. I am good at science but I can see how there is a lot I can learn from this."
If you are familiar with the Saxon early elementary math programs that Nancy wrote, then you will feel quite at ease with this program...in fact it is even easier and more logical to teach than the math!
It works well for multi-age, multi-grade families like ours. It works well with teaching kids to observe carefully and think. It also doesn't talk down to kids even when presenting the simpler material. Don't let this fool you though, as even though the reading level is lower kids learn terms like deciduous, and developmental, and they are explained effectively.
We like the materials included...the photos help a lot and we will have fun with the butterfly and lady bug farms!
But particularly for those like our family who have adopted children who do not speak English and are older, this is terrific to work with. Simple, visual, and brings up topics your children likely no nothing about at all. Our daughters are home only 4 months and even with that limited English they are able to do their assignments!
I highly recommend this program to anyone with elementary level students. We plan on going all the way through with it and know our kids will walk away with solid elementary science knowledge, and their thinking skills will have been enhanced to boot!