Monday, November 3, 2014

Schoolhouse Review: Fascinating Education's Chemistry #hsreviews

Fascinating Education Review

Is learning fascinating to the students at your house?  Do you want it to be?  I have big dreams for learning experiences around here.  I have always desired that my children be fascinated by learning and the learning process.  I want them to crave opportunities to expand their horizons and to find excitement in all subjects.  I enjoy learning and have always read books and looked things up, just so that I could learn.  I know I inherited that love of learning from my grandfather.  He was a learner and was always reading and studying so that he could learn even more.  Poppa knew something about absolutely every topic. He enjoyed learning and read encyclopedias for fun.  I want that same thing for my children and I am so thankful for the opportunity to try new curricula as they delve into many subjects of interest.  pray that my children inherit the same love of learning.  I want the education provided at Long Leaf Academy to be fascinating. We have found a science program that fits that bill.   

Fascinating Education offers science courses for both middle schoolers and high schoolers (depending on the course) in an online format.  There are three courses offered and you can see the course outline AND check out a sample for each one by clicking on the following links  -- Fascinating Chemistry, Fascinating Biology, and Fascinating Physics.  All are designed to cover the topics found in a normal high school course.  My Sophomore Eagle Scout has enjoyed reviewing the high school appropriate Fascinating Education: Chemistry course ($79 for acess for a full year) and I have been thrilled to hear him ASK to work on Chemistry each day.
Fascinating Education Review
Created by Dr. Sheldon Margulies, the Fascinating Education courses are intended to teach science through the right hemisphere of the brain utilizing colorful illustrations, an audio/visual approach, and questions and answers.  I feel confident with the course because I know that Dr. Margulies is an expert learner himself.  He is a retired neurologist, an author of multiple books, holds a legal degree, and is an expert witness in the court system.  How neat is that?  It fits perfctly within the framework I desire to see develop within my children.  Dr. Margulies' unique approach to teaching Chemistry has been a great fit for my son.  The Eagle Scout is not bored, he enjoys sitting down to the lessons, and he is retaining more information that in the normal textbook approach.  So . . . what does Fascinating Chemistry actually look like at my house?  Here's how it is working for us:
Fascinating Education Review
Students log into their account with their unique username and password to begin work each day. There are 18 total lessons (you can see the the first six lessons topics pictured above) beginning with Intramolecular Bonding, working through Heat, Gases, Chemical Reactions, and Polymers, and ending with The Nucleus and Final Problems.  Each lesson takes the Eagle Scout about an hour to complete.  After logging in, he watches the lesson (one major topic divided into 12 - 16 subtopic units) and then ends by taking a 10-question test that lets him know if he has mastered the material studied.  During the lesson, an interactive dictionary is provided for term mastery.  At the end of each lesson, a recap is offered that tells students what they should have learned thus far.  It's a great way to check yourself and make sure you know what you are supposed to know. If there are statements that you are unclear on, you have the ability to replay the videos and study the PDF script provided for the entire lesson.  Printing these scripts allows for an excellent science notebook for future reference.  

At the completion of the test, each quiz can be reviewed so that students see exactly what they might have missed and students can even retry the test if they are not happy with their results. Parents can allow the tests to be taken and graded online, or can print the tests and administer them in a written format.  I have been happy to have the Eagle Scout take the tests online.  The one difficulty I have had with this is not being able to see all of his grades at one time.   While it's not a problem to go into each lesson and print the results for each test, it would be convenient to have this compiled for me in a teacher-only access area.
In addition to the lessons, scripts of each lesson, and tests, students are provided with complementary Chemistry Labs for lessons.  Each Lab shares the purpose of the Lab and the science behind the Lab, as well as a list of supplies needed and easy-to-follow directions to complete the Lab.  All of the supplies needed are either common household items or easy to locate in most local stores.  In an effort to provide for the safety of students and families, students are continually reminded of safety precautions and parental involvement is highly encouraged.  As a matter of fact, access to the Chemistry Labs is password protected on a secondary site providing another measure of safety through parental control.
Since he gladly sits down to work on Chemistry each day, I asked the Eagle Scout to tell me a little bit about why he likes Fascinating Education:  Chemistry and this is what he said:
I like this Chemistry class because it is different than other science classes I have taken. I like listening to the instructor and seeing all the pieces fit together.  It is challenging, but the explanations are excellent and I am able to understand Chemistry and Chemical Properties.  I do have to remember which lessons I have completed, but it's helping me to make mental notes about where I need to start each day.  
Learning science has truly never been easier for my son.  He enjoys this unique approach to learning and is finding great success with it.  Education is becoming more fascinating to him as he works through the Chemistry course, and I consider this a positive for Long Leaf Academy.

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review Fascinating Education:  Chemistry as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of this and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)

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