Monday, April 15, 2013

Schoolhouse Review: Supercharged Science e-Science

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Are you a rocket scientist?  A mechanical engineer?  A university professor?  If so, then I'm sure you've got Science all figured out -- and you probably don't need any help to share your love of learning with your children.  BUT . . . if you're anything at all like me and you'd love to welcome a rocket scientist, a mechanical engineer, OR a university professor into your home to light a fire of excitement about all things scientific in your children, then Supercharged Science by Aurora Lipper is JUST WHAT YOU NEED.  Aurora IS a rocket scientist, a mechanical engineer, AND a university professor all-in-one and her eScience Online Learning Program is perfect to fuel a hunger for science in students of all ages.

A hands-on, experiment-based program for students in Kindergarten through High School, eScience not only looks GREAT, it IS GREAT.  Packed with over 1,000 lessons. videos, and experiments, eScience can be a stand-alone Science curriculum or can be used as a supplement to complement any Science curriculum around.  I love that Aurora encourages me to allow Science to be student-driven -- helping my children to discover what they are most passionate about and to explore how the world works through the tools provided on her website AND allowing me to sit back and watch it all unfold.  I like doing Science from the "inside-out" and want the Boy Scout, the Princess and the Junior to fall in LOVE with Science and learning at the same time.    Bring on the Ah-Ha moments and let's get started.

First, let me confess that I have been getting Aurora's emails for YEARS and her enthusiasm for Science (and for life) is contagious.  She has inspired me to try new things with my children and to turn them loose with experiments to see what they could learn and teach themselves.  Prior to this review, I'd downloaded several of her "freebies" through the course of our homeschooling career and we'd watched some of her teleclasses to add an element of fun to our studies.  Having enjoyed getting to "know" her in this way, I was excited to have the opportunity to actually try out the eScience curriculum and see how it would work in "real life" at Long Leaf Academy.

Computer-based and ready-to-go, eScience made it simple to register and sign in so that we could begin "supercharging" Science right away.  The screenshot below shows you just how easy it is to begin.  On the right-hand column, directly under the video box, you find your login and password spaces.  Once you've filled those in, you can begin exploring all that Supercharged Science has to offer.  There's a great video that explains How This Site Works and you'll want to make sure to START there.  Aurora makes sure to take what could be a daunting site, and explains how you can best make it work for your family.  There is SO.MUCH.INFORMATION included in the eScience online program, you'll be sure to find something for every learner in your home.

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After I had done MY homework, I was ready to let each of my children begin to do THEIRS.  I had all three of them begin with the Study Unit "Scientific Method Made Easy."  It was a great review and a good way for them to ease into the website.  The kids read about the Scientific Method, watched a video that walked them through the Scientific Method step-by-step, and did several experiments (using materials we had in our kitchen) to help them understand the HOW and WHY of the Scientific Method.  In doing this, they became familiar with how eScience works and they were not intimidated when I gave them free reign and asked them to explore and find a few topics that grabbed their attention.

I think that it is important to note here that, for purposes of this review, I had immediate access to all of the Topics (Study Units) currently available.  {Which means I've been able to look at them all -- and I can assure you that you are going to LOVE what you find. You can see all of these Study Units and the basics of what they include and get a feel for it yourself.}  Typically when you sign up for eScience, you immediately receive full access to the first seven topics listed and then receive access for 1-2 additional units each month.  Keep in mind that those 1 -2 units contain between 60 - 80 experiments.  There's SO very much available to keep you busy learning and if you see something in a unit you don't yet have access to that you REALLY want to work on with your children, all you have to do is shoot an email to Aurora and she will make sure that you have access to that as well.  The customer service is great because Supercharged Science aims to please.

Before we began exploring eScience, I had planned to let each of the children choose a section to study and had thought we'd do Science "lessons" on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  {Yes, I STILL have those school-day tendencies and forget to just let them do their thing.  When will I learn?}   The reality of what actually transpired is this:  I turned them loose on the website and told them it was all fair game.  As a result, the Boy Scout and the Princess jumped in with both feet.  With 19 Study Units to choose from, they were interested in looking at a HUGE variety of topics -- and they wanted to watch as many of the experiments on video that they could find.   Their Lego Robotics team {Go Blue Crew} has been invited to compete in the North American Open Championship Invitational Tournament in Legoland in May so they naturally gravitated to the Electricity (Robotics) Unit after working through the Mechanics (Force, Gravity, Friction) Unit and camped out there for much of our review period.  It is my intention to continue working through units with them -- and allowing them to continue their exploration on their own as they have been hooked from the very start.

Now my Junior is in a "finish school and what is required mode" as she looks towards Graduation next year.  For her, it was not so much about exploring new topics as it was about finishing the ones she's currently working on.  She is taking an online Chemistry course that utilizes the Apologia Chemistry book.  Because she is feeling the crunch of time, we loved having the prepared Conversion Charts to help us decide exactly how to best utilize eScience.  The Junior was able to cross-reference her current lessons in her Chemistry book with the Units and Lessons of eScience.  She used them as a way to make sure she completely understood what she'd read in her book and enjoyed watching the video experiments that I had been afraid to let her try on her own at home.

What I like most about Supercharged Science and Rocket Scientist Aurora is that she endeavors to help kids fall in love with Science. She is full of energy and loves her subject matter -- and wants to share that love and energy with all.  Her enthusiasm shines through and she is so very personable that she makes you WANT to spend time with her as she opens up the world of Science in an engaging way.  Students fall in love with Science AND she makes it easy for parents to foster that love, too.  Through Shopping Lists, encouraging Homeschool Information, and work divided by Grade Levels, Supercharged Science truly makes Science easy.  There are lesson plans and tests provided for each unit with activities and experiments galore.  I also like to be able to point to a female role model for my daughters and let them see that girls really CAN do anything they set their minds to do.

For a limited time, Aurora is offering my readers (that's YOU) a FREE Science Activity Manual and Video Collection.  All you have to do is email her and tell her what email address you'd like for her to send it to.  Now, I don't know about you, but FREE is right up my alley.  I'm all about FREE curriculum to meet our homeschooling needs and this step-by-step guide of easy-to-do experiments is perfect for us.

The FREE Activity Manual and Video Collection will surely whet your appetite and have you wanting more Science for your family.  There are two different pricing options for you to choose from with the eScience Online Learning Program and you can read the benefits of each and sign up for either and begin today.  This monthly subscription will cost you $37 for access to the K-8th Grade (Standard) Membership OR $57 for access to the 9th - 12th Grade (Premium) Membership -- which includes Advanced 5th -8th Grades plus the K - 8th Grade Membership.  A credit card is required for monthly payments and you can cancel your membership at any time.  Check it out -- your family will thank you.

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I was given the opportunity to use and review eScience by Supercharged Science as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.   Make sure you check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought as well (or just click on the banner below).

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