For review, our family received one volume (all six levels plus teaching notes) of an interesting supplemental resource designed to integrate reading, writing, science, math and technology together in a twice-monthly, colorful, 4-page activity newsletter.
Science Weekly is published 15 times per year at six reading levels, Grades K-6. Each volume focuses on one subject, for example, our family received Vol. 27, No. 06 Composting. A list of topics for each of the 15 issues for the 2010-11 school year can be seen here.
Included with each subscription is a Teaching Notes Newsletter, making it possible to teach children at each level together. Included in the teaching notes is a summary of the focus topic, notes for the included lab, more indepth information of the topic, questions to ask, and then an outline of each level’s newsletter including answer keys and thought provoking questions. Wrapping up the teaching notes is a section of helpful resources for planning classroom activities, recommended and internet resources.
Individual subscription rate is $19.95 per student per year (<20 subs) which includes teaching notes. 10% s & H will be added to total.
Click here for access to the order page where you can also see samples of each reading level as well as the Teaching Notes.
Gunn Ranch Academy thoughts:
We received all six levels of Volume 27 No. 6 Composting. After looking through all six levels myself, I read through the teaching notes to get a feel for the topic and activities. Then I presented Taylor (age 10, grade 5) with level E for grades 5-6 and Levi (age 5, Pre-K) with level Pre-A designed for grade K. Both children were not real fond of “Why Fly” who is the cartoon character fly host. I am, of course, totally grossed out by flies, so I’m sure this might have been reflected in their opinions :). Other families might not have a problem with flies.
Both kids thought the issues were boring and dry. Taylor was a bit astonished by the remedial level of vocabulary words and asked initially if I had given her a lower level issue. She felt the vocabulary and learning material included was way below 5-6th grade level. The Pre-A level (for Kindergarten) didn’t have enough things to do according to Levi (my preschooler). While this would be appropriate for the short attention spans of Kindergartners in a public school setting, Levi wanted to look through more of the upper level issues to find more to do. He did enjoy the “lab” which involved making his own bag of compost. When subscribing to the supplement, however, you receive one level per student, and not all six levels each time, so looking through upper levels wouldn’t be possible with a regular subscription unless a family subscribed to all six issues.
In my opinion, the newspapers could be good learning devices as long as the teacher was well prepared to go into more depth with the subject at hand. This is, I believe, the way the supplement was intended to be used, as a prepared lesson for the students. I don’t feel the newspapers lend themselves well to hand the kids for independent study.
While this wasn’t a good fit for our family, it might be for those families who enjoy a brief detour through a random subject with activities they can do together, if the parent has time to read and prepare the activities and lesson beforehand. It’s always exciting to take a break and dive off into a random subject sometimes!
Visit our Crew Blog for other family experiences with Science Weekly!
We received one complete volume of Science Weekly for review purposes as members of the TOS Homeschool Crew. No other compensation was received, and opinions are our own.