Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Science Shepherd - Review

My daughter has been brushing up on so many science topics with her new Introductory Science program from Science Shepherd.

What is Science Shepherd

The Science Shepherd courses have been developed by a homeschooling dad, that also holds a degree in Bachelor of Science and a Medical degree. He saw an increased need for science offerings for homeschooling high schoolers and has since branched out to produce product ranges for younger students as well.

How We Used The Program

We were provided with a complete copy of Introductory Science Level B, which includes a student workbook, an answer key and twelve months access to the online video tutorials.

This is absolutely an open and go program. I simply love the simplicity and ease of use for both my daughter and myself.

Once our books arrived, we simply logged in using the details provided to us from Science Shepherd via email. Chose our course level from our account and began watching the first videos.

Each video lesson is exactly matched to the workbook pages. This part of the program has been so well thought out. It is so clear to both the adult and the child where you are and what video you need to be watching.

The lessons are broken down into weeks, with the vast majority of weeks having 5 lessons. My daughter is 11 and is at the upper end of the age range for this particular product and it literally took her minutes to complete a lesson.

The videos are short and succinct and correspond perfectly to the student work book pages.

The student workbooks are laid out in a simple, no fuss fashion. There are no bells and whistles, no bright colours, nothing to distract.

The vast majority of the workbook pages are simple question and answer type pages, with a few puzzle activities included here and there.

There are some simple hands on activities/experiments but not too many that the program becomes overwhelming. Every now and then you need to be prepared with a handful of items to complete the hands on component.

This particular level - Introductory Science B - covers all manner of scientific topics. It aims to provide the student with a good overview. It starts out with Science Skills & Tools, moves into Earth Science topics, followed by Life Science topics and then finally wraps up with Physical Science.

It provides lessons for 35 weeks of science instruction. So a full year of science for the upper primary aged child.

What We Didn't Like

This program is unashamedly Christian and is written from that perspective. I knew this going in to the review but there are so many wonderful Christian programs that can be easily tweaked for Secular Home Educators that I really wanted to give this one a try.

As close as I can tell, as we aren't finished the program yet and won't be until closer to the end of the year, there are 40 lessons out of the total 170 lessons that contain religious content.

So if you are strictly a Secular Home Educator then this program most likely will not work for you. However if you are flexible, looking for a simple, open and go program than I would still recommend you take a look at this.

We discuss world views here a lot and I did discuss this program openly with my daughter before having her try it out. The entire first week covers creation, but after that we were simply able to skip over anything that we felt we needed to.

Whilst the videos are very short, only a couple of minutes each, at times they can be a little on the dry side. The presenter appears as though he is a news broadcaster delivering the nightly news. They are well prepared and edited, but I think we have been spoiled with all of our over the top fun video presenters that we use for other programs in our homeschool.

My daughter was more than capable of watching each and every video, but I did feel that my younger son, may have gotten bored quite quickly with the program.

What We Did Like

Hands down the ease of use is an absolute winner here. There really is no excuse to not include science in your week, Science Shepherd understands the busyness of our days and what we need to make things simple.

My daughter easily understood what was required of her and she completed the vast majority of her work independently.

For me I don't have to spend hours planning and prepping, we simply open the next page in the book and pick up where we left off. So far for all of the hands on activities we've been able to find the items needed right here at home.

I do also really like that in one full year the student covers all of the major science topics and gives them a good grounding to be able move forward with their science understanding in the years to come.

Looking Ahead

We will absolutely complete this course, for all of the reasons I have just mentioned above.

Pricing & Details

The great thing about the Introductory Science course is the price. Access to the video components for a full 12 months is $35.00, the student workbook level B is priced at $15.00 and the answer key $3.00. (all pricing is in USD)

To see all of the courses on offer visit the Science Shepherd website and navigate to the courses tab across the top of the screen.

You can also catch them on social media:

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/ScienceShepherd/
Twitter    -  https://twitter.com/scienceshepherd
Pinterest - ​ https://www.pinterest.com/scienceshepherd

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I hope you have found this review helpful. If you would like to see further reviews covering the Science Shepherd Courses, from members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, please visit this link.

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