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#Schoolhouse Review Crew - Review of Supercharged Science - Grades K - 8

Posted on April 8, 2013 at 8:10 AM

 

{Be sure to click the graphic at the bottom to have access to a special sample page that was set up just for our readers.}

If reviews ended up being about homeschool confessions then this would be one. I am the first to admit that I am a hands-on teacher. So turning over the teaching reins to somebody else, even in the form of videos didn't interest me, or so I thought.

I had heard of  Supercharged Science  before, but I didn't really understand the e-science program until now. I think what really piqued my interest in wanting to take a gander at reviewing the e-science program was the way it is laid out. It utilizes a unit study or theme approach and when I heard that I just had to give it a look. The program touted too that learning isn't based on an age or grade level but on the child's intrinsic value. I couldn't agree more because science textbooks would have us believe that science know how needs to be canned and boxed by grade level.

I think, in public school, is where my science aversion started because of tiresome textbooks. Science programs would have you believe that it has to be austere or rigid in order to learn. And, that unless you are just reading tons and tons of snoring boring pages you will not get it. That couldn't be further from the truth. Though I love to read, I am a visual and hands-on learner too and the textbooks did not satisfy my desire to learn about science. My phobia of science is not a virtue that I want my sons to follow. So I have spent my homeschool journey poring over programs that were both rigorous and hands-on while keeping it dynamic and fun.

So I don't  want to make you wait for my eat humble pie confession very long so I will say right now that Supercharged Science has to be one of the best science programs we have ever used. I feel it is important to tell you why though and I will in a minute.

Getting the whole picture of why my first impression of Supercharged Science was not exactly favorable may help you to understand this confession session. First, I was under the impression that the e-science program was a video only program.  Like you, I homeschool my kids because I want to be a hands-on teacher. It is equally important to me that I understand what concepts my kids are learning.  I can't help but to vision this picture in my mind about kids perched on a chair with eyes glued to the computer watching videos. It always reminded me of mummy learning and not mommy teaching.

Second, what usually follows my video only thinking is that there are no lesson plans, vocabulary or quizzes that are printable. Now, you know I got off the public school treadmill a long while back and I am not interested in repeating what we left behind, but I do want tools so that I can expand on what my kids are learning.  Sometimes I even prefer to make my own printables or lapbooks, you know that. What I am saying is that having printable lesson plans and tools is equally important to me.

Both of those things I had all wrong about Supercharged Science. It had enough printable .pdfs to make the organized lesson planning teacher part of me happy downloading while the boys could watch any video or topic of their choice. For example, though I wanted to start on an easier topic,  Mr. Awesome and Tiny chose Unit 7 or Astrophysics. I promptly downloaded all 73 pages of the pdf and reviewed it. That is just a standard I set for myself as a teacher because I want to know what they will be learning.  The difference between Supercharged Science and other video based ones I have used before is that Supercharged Science recognizes that some parents want to be involved. As homeschool parents we don't want to be on the sidelines but in the middle of the lesson planning. The only way to do that is to see how these concepts are being built on by being able to both print the information when desired and to watch alongside our children. I was warming up quickly to Supercharged Science.

The e-science program is not a video only mummy watching process either because I determine when and how long my kids watch. I can still have our 1:1 time that I cherish so highly while using the engaging and exciting Aurora Lipper to teach us all.


There is no doubt you could get easily overwhelmed on the site but that is because you see the heart of Aurora Lipper written all over it. I don't know about you but I will take an enthusiastic teacher who obviously loves the subjects she teaches over a bit of having to swim through a lot of content.  This is a curriculum that you definitely have to start with the Getting Started section. It may sound like that is so basic but it went a long way in me understanding how to get the full benefit of the e-science program.

Don't just read what she says either, but watch her video as she expresses best how to use the site. Doing that we were able to pick a couple of the easy "hook me onto science" projects like the flying contraption and microwaving soap. The emphasis that science is about doing and not just reading is thinking that I agree with.

Because I have to organize things and because I know I didn't fully understand the flexibility of this program, I made this simple chart so that you can see the many options of this program.


Glance above at this How to Use Supercharged Science Chart and you will see that you can use it any way you want to. For Unit 7, we started by literally jumping right into it.  We chose a topic and instantly began viewing the videos. Mr. Awesome couldn't wait to learn about time travel and both Tiny and Mr. Awesome were ready to get started after they completed a few hands-on activities.

The first option above was the part that I did not understand that was offered by the e-science program. For me, there are moments in science when I want the boys to ponder what the Creator has done. I want to discuss with them and have them dwell on their Bible based beliefs before I give them the answer or before they watch a video. Choosing the first option gives me the flexibility to decide when that is important to me.

It's relative to mention right now too that Supercharged Science does not profess to be secular or Christian which I too happen to appreciate. From the website: (Note: We focus on how to build the robot, take data and measurements, work a microscope, launch the rocket, why a laser works…basically sticking to the physics of what’s going on and how to build the projects. The e-Science program does not cover creation nor evolution so all families may participate.)

It covers K-12th grade Physical Science, Chemistry, Life Science, and Biology. The beauty to this program is that it takes all the work out of lesson planning unless you want to lesson plan. The themes referred to as "Study Units" range in topic from mechanics, motion, energy, sound, astrophysics to life science, chemistry and biology.  There are over 900 experiments to choose from and enough to keep us busy for hours as we pore over science topics.


I know exactly what I want from a science program and that is key to determining if this will work for you. If you are not sure what you want from a program then all of them will be similar. I know hands-on is key for me like I mentioned in the beginning but also I want rigorous standards. So it is a bonus that Supercharged Science meets and even exceeds some state's standards and is aligned with the National Standards for Science. Not to be overlooked by any means is the engaging attitude of Aurora Lipper as she leads the lessons. She is not like any science teacher I ever had in school. Both Mr. Awesome and Tiny find her witty, entertaining and likable. Did I mention she use to work at NASA and teach at a university? She is not like any professor I knew either.


Not only do the units range in variety from topics about life science to  energy and robotics but there are over 1000 videos. So one secret I have been keeping from you are all these pictures of hands-on projects we have been doing. The boys have been so thoroughly captivated by all of the hands-on projects in this program and we have not been doing much else.  I do think this why I am behind on finishing my Home Management Binder but I don't mind. The boys have literally been jumping from project to project and I have been letting them do so because of their curiosity and thirst for these topics.

The last thing I need to talk about is one slight rub about this program. I received 18 emails in the 5 weeks I reviewed this program. Each email is filled with nuggets of information I want to glean for the benefit of my kids. However, with the other emails I need to read for homeschooling in addition to those, many of them got overlooked. Now, I have created a special file in my inbox and just move them over in there as they come in to save and read later. I know that I would appreciate a newsletter maybe once or twice a month regularly that can be anticipated and planned instead of many emails scattered each week. If new members signed up, they could access the archives as an added membership bonus in case they joined in between emails.

It is no doubt Aurora Lipper is one of the best science teachers my boys have had and her talent shows in her emails. The communication emails could be such a treasure trove if they were all bundle up as science reading tips on a regular basis.


It has been hard to label my metamorphosis about this product into anything other than a mini story.  Summing this all up, this is what I heart about Supercharged Science.

  • At every step of the process, I can adapt the e-science program to how I want to use it. I do not have to give up the teaching reins but use Supercharged Science as a superior tutor.
  • I do not have to give up the time I spend 1:1 nurturing my children, but add to their love of science by using engaging and well thought out topics to ignite their passion for it.



  • As Not Technical Tina, I cringe when Mr. Awesome and Tiny said they wanted to make the Hydraulic Pneumatic Earth Mover. However, Supercharged Science took us step by step through the process in the video. We could watch and pause the video and come back anytime. We probably have the most colorful hydraulic pneumatic earth mover ever but my sons won't ever forget it.
  • I appreciate that we don't have to keep pace or in sync with any lesson plans. We determine which unit we start on and decide how long to stay and when to move on. We can spend as much or as little time on each topic.
  • All lesson materials are there for me as the organizer so I can print off contently in my curriculum planner and plan. In addition, there is a material lists that can be printed off for each unit.
  • One of the best parts we are finding too is that so many of the experiments can be done with simple things you have around the house. For example, when making the hydraulic pneumatic earth mover, we used diet coke lids as wheels. Dad had clear tubing from our bathtub business and the one thing I had to pick up were syringes from the pharmacy. Everything else we had among the junk stuff in our home.
  • I appreciate the fact evolution or creation is not addressed because I have always preferred adding our own Bible based views.
  • The program can be used by ALL the children in your home without paying extra. What a deal. Whether you have 3 or 6 kids, it can be used for all ages.
  • Even homeschool moms need substitute teachers once in awhile.  With Supercharged Science I can let the kids watch the videos, do the hands-on experiments while I take a teaching break.
  • Last but certainly, not least with over 900 experiments to choose from and with study units still coming like Bonus Advanced Astronomy, Earth Science and Advanced Robotics Lab, Supercharged Science will keep science both fun and captivating for my boys.

Thank you to Supercharged Science and to Aurora and Al Lipper. My family was completely immersed in this review and it is our privilege to be part of this wonderful e-science program. All of your hard work and dedication to the children and to science is obvious once you enter the warm and inviting doors of your website.


{Remember to go to the bottom to click the graphic to try a sampling of the e-science program.}



Product Name: e-Science Program

Website: Supercharged Science  - www.sciencelearningspace.com

Price: $37.00 per month for the K-8 or $57.00 per month for K -12. {Note: During the first month of e-Science K-8 and e-Science 9-12, members get access to the first 7 units, plus additional sections like “The Scientific Method”. In addition, if there is a later unit or two that someone wants to access early, they can just drop us an email and we’ll give them free access to it immediately. This way, if someone is working on a certain topic, they are never made to wait months to have access to it.}

Ages: My review was for K-8, but the program includes K-12.

Type of Product:  Online video curriculum for K-12 graders BUT LOTS of pdf downloads and teacher's notes for the teacher in you.

Free things you'll loveGet Your FREE Homeschool Science Guide With Over 30 Fun Activities!

Customer Service: My email with download arrived promptly as promised and I had a log in problem that was corrected immediately. Customer service was prompt and excellent.

Religious Perspective: From the website: (Note: The e-Science program does not cover creation nor evolution so all families may participate.  The focus of the program is on how to launch the rocket, build the robot, use a microscope, take measurements and data, etc.)

iPad or iPhone: Not available yet, but they are working on it.

Technical Requirements: The e-Science program works well on a variety of computer and browser platforms. E-Science supports the following operating systems with the latest available versions of the indicated browsers: Windows Internet Explorer 8, 9, 10Mozilla Firefox 10.0 or higher, Macintosh OS X Safari 3.0, 4.0, 5.0Google Chrome OS Google Chrome


Hugs and love ya,

All product information is correct and accurate as of the date of this review.



 


Categories: TOS {The Old Schoolhouse} Curriculum Review , Review of Homeschool Products, Science & Experiments