{TOS review}

I absolutely love science and so do my children, but for some reason, I have the most difficult time fitting it in to our school schedule. Often, my children end up designing their own science experiments and figuring out the “whys and hows” on their own. When we do come together and complete science, the physical application of the experiments are ones that include everyone, from my sixth grader down to my first grader, but often the observation details may be over the head of my first grader.

VocabularySpellingCity, the creators of and its Online Subscription, remembers the little guy (the young elementary age learner) as they do with all of their programs that also include the aforementioned (see my review), Time4Learning (see my review) and is web-based as are the other programs, which may make science more attractive to a techno-savvy child. It is designed for children in grades kindergarten through second grade. I absolutely love that they give attention to the young elementary age child, because they too are capable of learning science as are older aged elementary students.

Canyon, who is seven, was my primary student for using You may see the scope and sequence for the program See the scope and sequence for all three grade levels.

I had Canyon begin with the introductory video presented by Pinky, an animated character that walks the students through the lessons. Your child is introduced to and given an overview of what he can expect from using the program. It is really just an overview, because has so much to offer the student.

The student has access to lessons and games that are animated, engaging and educational. The program is user friendly with an interface that is very appealing to children through the use of color and icons that can be interpreted by early readers. The area in which they work is well organized as you can see in the image above. Having everything well organized was helpful for Canyon and allowed me to let him work independently in some of the areas. The recent activity area shows what your student has been working on and allows him to immediately return to those areas or he may select something new of interest.

I really like the sense of independence the program creates for the child. Canyon was able to direct himself through the material. When he came to a place he did not understand/read well, there was assistance within the program. The lesson can be read to the student, so it is not necessary for the student to know how to read to complete the assignments. After he became more familiar with how to navigate through the program, I was not needed as much for assistance.

We started with the following schedule covering a lesson over a two-week period:

Monday – Engage activity (watch video) and an Explain activity (another video that delves more into the subject)
Wednesday – Explore activity and a Vocabulary activity
Friday – Investigate activity and an Alphabetize or Memory Match activity
Monday – Take a Note activity
Wednesday – Infer and Predict activity and an Alphabetize or Memory Match activity
Friday – Evaluate activity

The schedule worked well for the first three weeks. Because there is so much material available, I allowed Canyon to “investigate” and choose the way he wanted to use the program.

The parent has access to lesson plans allowing him to create a thorough science program tailored for their child. There are also videos that assist the parent/teacher on topics that are discussed and ways to present the material to the student. You don’t have to be a science geek or love science for your child to learn.

The area for parents/teachers is a learning arena just like it is for the child. The resources for the parent also include management tools for student reports, assignments, teaching tools and other great resources for utilizing the program to its fullest.

Something to keep in mind is that is not an online-only program. It offers physical lessons that complement some of what is offered online. That means the hands-on aspect of science is not lost. I will admit that I relied on the website portion for much of this review, because I have not really made time for completing a lot of experiments. has allowed me the opportunity to introduce my youngest to science, so that when we do actually sit down and complete some physical experiments, he will already have a foundation and may even be able to teach me a few things about the science topic of discussion. has eliminated my angst about finding time to include science in our curriculum. At least while Canyon is sitting in front of the computer, he is learning something. offers that opportunity. We have access to the program for another few months and we will be continuing using it while also doing more of the offline work, so that he can see science in a more physical manner.

Does sound like something that would work well in your school? Try out some of their science demos and see if the program may be a good fit. The program can work well independently for the younger student or function as a great supplement to another science program that you may already be using with your child.

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY is available for $7.95 a month for one child. There is also an iPad app coming later this year.

You can read more reviews of this item by fellow crew members on The Homeschool Crew Blog.

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