We are using e-Science Homeschool Science Curriculum from Supercharged Science in our home. We received a one-year subscription for all levels, K-12, as part of the Homeschool Review Crew. As always, all opinions are our own.
Science is a subject that my husband and I adore. We both have degrees in different disciplines and can get a little geeky at times. Sadly, my boys are not as enthusiastic at times about learning science.
When we were living in Alaska full time, I approached this lack of enthusiasm by offering science classes and labs in my home. Having other kids around their age come to join them in learning made it more fun. It also meant we were doing the work on a regular basis.
Now we are back to mostly working on our own. Using the textbooks in our house just hasn’t cut it. Besides, science is a subject that needs more than book work. You need hands-on learning!
For several years, we had access to e-Science from Supercharged Science. However, that subscription had lapsed. Which is why I was tickled pink to get the opportunity to reintroduce the program to my younger boys. (You can see some of the electronic studies done for middle school in a previous review.)
What You Get with e-Science from Supercharged Science
Supercharged Science has 2 main components. They sell science kits that include just about every single piece or part you’ll need to do experiments. Included are DVDs with the different demonstrations on them. All of those kits focus on the physical sciences (chemistry and physics.) And they do include a subscription to e-Science (amount of time determined by the kit you order.)
e-Science from Supercharged Science doesn’t supply the materials, but it does give you access to tons of material for different ages. While physical sciences are the predominant areas represented, there are also lessons and experiments in biological sciences.
All video instruction is supplied by Aurora who has been teaching science for years. Since the founding, Supercharged Science has expanded to include a team to help her out.
A key point which is mentioned on the website is that eScience is secular. Basically, the focus is on the science (e.g. how to construct a robot, take measurements, record data, etc.) The parent can decide how and when to integrate any faith beliefs into the study. Aurora just tackles the science.
Specific Membership benefits of eScience
- Videos of teaching real science to your kids, just like Aurora does in an actual classroom
- Text-book type reading to support the material in the videos
- Hands-on activities and experiments, with videos that guide your kids through them. These activities and experiments are what really ignite a passion for science in most kids.
- Homework exercises/quizzes so you can see what your kids are really learning, and tips for how to keep track of your progress in a real a science journal
- Parent resources for helping you give your kids the best science education they can get
- A place to ask questions (lots of them!)
- Recordings of everything so your kids can do the program on whatever schedule AND at whatever pace suits them.
When purchasing a subscription, you need to select if you need K-8 or K-12 access. For families with just younger children, K-8 access is perfect. However, if you have a high school student you will want the K-12 access.
The subscription is billed out monthly. If you need to put it on hold (e.g. taking a month off school), you can request that through their membership department. Otherwise, it will charge your card each month until you cancel.
Using e-Science from Supercharged Science
There are a few different options for how you can use e-Science. This program can be your entire science curriculum or it can be used to supplement a favorite textbook.
Material is grouped in two different methods: by topic or by grade level.
For younger grades, there are groupings from different areas of science to explore. For the high school grades, you select particular courses (e.g. advanced physics.)
If working by topic, you can see additional materials for high school students to complete on pages where it is available. Otherwise, pick the topic you want to study and navigate from there. If you are new to e-Science, starting with the introductory sections is very helpful. The same goes for laying a foundation with the scientific method.
Once you select the approach (particularly by subject or grade level), you can then find the progression of material.
Courses are laid out to start at the beginning and follow a set path. This includes reading, video, experiments, and quizzes. Below is a snippet of the course line up for the advanced physics course.
If you are going based on the subject material, you will also find a natural progression for learning. However, you can also pick and choose from the area which items to do.
Note ~ Supercharged Science is getting an overhaul and the new layout will be a bit different for navigation.
Our Use of eScience
Aurora has the program set up so that an older student can work independently. However, I have learned that even my teenaged boys need me fully present or the work doesn’t get done. My conference circuit this spring meant a few weeks of me not being home to ensure they were working. So, the number of experiments we’ve completed in the past few weeks is not as many as I would have liked.
For our house, that means more summertime science.
This year I have two distinct levels going in the home: 3rd and 10th grade. My 10th-grade son is working on physics. My 3rd-grade son is studying astronomy. However, I am always game for more delight directed learning in the elementary grades.
I know from past use that there are tons of STEM learning opportunities for physics on this platform. We revisited a few that I used with older boys and did a few new to us as well. Some of them seem really ‘simple’ at first glance. But, when you add in the associated exercise for high school students it becomes more advanced.
Magic Water Card Trick
This is an experiment which we have done numerous times over the years. We recorded a video of it back when I purchased the Supercharged Science Summer eCamp years ago.
Like many of the experiments here, things can be simple to do. However, there is a lot of scientific concepts to discuss with the kids (e.g. Boyle’s Law.) For an advanced student, you could try calculating out what the different pressures are which are in equilibrium while the card ‘sticks.’
Also, this particular ‘trick’ is not always easy to implement. With my 3rd grader, he had to try numerous times before it finally ‘stuck.’
Measuring the Speed of Light with a Chocolate Bar
This is one of the experiments used for studying light which was a hit. For this, you use your microwave to melt chocolate (or cheese and marshmallows which we also did) and then look for “hot spots” present in the melted material.
Then you are walked through how to calculate out the speed of light from your data.
Part of the reason this experiment is a hit in our house was that the final product is still edible. Grab a graham cracker and you have s’mores with the melted chocolate and marshmallows.
Something we saw in action is that the material used can affect results. The chocolate bars used in the image above had almonds in them. This altered the data enough to give us a calculated speed of light that was off. The marshmallows and cheese did not have that result.
I did this experiment when I taught a full year physics class. The boys coined the term “Cheesy S’more Dip” as they were mixing the three components into one. One made a layered dip and brought it to class a few weeks later. They then talked about opening a restaurant that served this delicacy.
Why share this little story? Because it shows that something kids may dread (high school physics) can lead to some creative bursts filled with enthusiasm. This is part of the reason I adore Supercharged Science. You can focus on simple experiments which illustrate more complicated concepts. Start simple and dig deeper!
Final Takeaway about using Supercharged Science for Homeschool STEM Learning
While this is not a ‘cheap’ subscription, when you fully utilize it in your home it becomes a great investment. As it does not track progress for one child, you can use it with everyone in the house. And having Aurora’s video demonstrations help you bring a science teacher into your home.
As someone who holds science degrees and has taught elementary through early college labs, I greatly appreciate Supercharged Science. Homeschooling can pack your schedule and eScience helps me spend more time doing than planning.
How do you approach teaching science in the home?
Don’t just take my word for how we found this to be. Visit the Supercharged Science review post on the Homeschool Review Crew website to see what other homeschooling parents thought about this book.