Friday, April 8, 2011

Snazzy Science Supplement - A New TOS Review!!

Is your science boring, dull, or needing to incorporate more then just science?  Then Science Weekly may be just what you are looking for.

The Product:
So what is it exactly?  It is a science supplement that resembles a newsletter, delivered to your door.  It is a folded 11x17 colorful paper that when folded becomes an 8.5 x 11 mini-newspaper.  There are 6 age-appropriate levels to choose from:
Level Pre-A (Kindergarten)
Level A (1st)
Level B (2nd)
Level C (3rd)
Level D (4th)
Level E (5th)
and Teacher Notes.

Each level has a discussion of the topic, vocabulary, a weekly lab, math, a challenge section and a bring it home section.  In the Pre-A level instead of having writing in science section (which the other levels have) they have storytelling.

As I mentioned above there is also the teacher notes which is used to give you background on the subject matter.  It also has some questions for each level to help initiate the subject matter being taught for that issue.  There are also "Did You Know?" sections, extra resources like books and Internet sites that correspond, more detailed instructions for the labs, and the answers to all the questions.

Some of the topics available include, composting, the flu, teeth, deserts, pulleys, cats and many others.  There are also some interactive versions that you can see for yourself.  There are several to choose from and you can just chose the level you would like to view.  You can check out this sample of coral reefs on their download page.

So for the price of $19.95 you will get 15 issues per year per student.  If you have more then 20 students the price is reduced to $4.95 per student.  Each order also comes with the Teachers Notes.  For more ordering information please check this page out.

Our Experience:
The issue that our family received was on Fractions.  And at the time we received it, my eldest had been recently introduced to fractions in her math work already.  So this came at a good time.  I actually let her read through the  Level C (3rd grade) even though she's in 2nd,  and then we worked on the activities and labs that were from Level B.  I had my 5yo kindergartner work with the Pre-A level, especially since the words were able to be traced so that made it easier for her since she is not fully reading yet.

I waited to do this one when dad was home, mainly because it was a math based issue.  So each of my girls got their own paper and we discussed the subject of fractions.  Then I gave them some time to work on the vocabulary, writing, and bringing it home parts.  We made plans to do the labs later.  The lab for my K5 was to figure out what fraction of your class liked apples.  Since there were only 2 in her class we had to tweak it to the family to make it work.  The older lab was mixing parts of paints and folding and then squishing it.  That was a bit easier to do as a homeschooler.

My Thoughts:
I liked the idea that you can supplement your science and add some fun and flavor to it.  I did not like that it was really not set up for homeschooling.  The price per issue per student could get a little much for larger families, unless you had several in the same grade or level.  I also found some of the activities, challenges, and labs to be difficult for a homeschooler, especially like in our case where I only have two and they are two totally different levels.
I do think that Science Weekly could be made into a more homeschool friendly newspaper.  One thing they could do is allow multiple levels to be bought at a different rate.  I also think that the activities and labs would need to be less large group focused.
We did enjoy the paper and I plan on using some of those interactive ones (especially the one on kites and hurricanes). But as a homeschooling family you will need to read what other Crew members thought about Science Weekly before you make your own decision.

*** I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and receive free products and services in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of money for any of my reviews. My reviews will always reflect my honest opinions, findings, beliefs and experiences with the products and services that I receive.***

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