Monday, March 09, 2015
Visual Learning Systems - A Review
Digital Science Online: Elementary Edition (K-5) has been a fun addition to our routine over the past several weeks. This year at Royal Academy we are studying human biology. We find it all fascinating. Up until we started our review period with Digital Science Online we had mostly been doing book work and hands on activities. Adding the visual aspect provided through the online videos has taken our learning experience to a whole new level. The material provided at the elementary level under life science is a perfect compliment to our science curriculum. We have enjoyed things like watching the process of blood circulation, seeing cells in action, and the role of nutrition in our digestive system.
Since I've mastered the art of hooking up our laptop to the television the kids and I enjoy cuddling up in the family room, it's been cold here which makes the option of cuddling under a blanket for science class all the more enjoyable, and viewing the video that complements our days activities. The way the videos are set up in segments is especially handy allowing us to easily stop for discussion, either using the complementary material provided or just to answer a question or make an observation, and to allow for viewing over multiple days to keep pace with the book curriculum we use.
As part of our review we had full access to Digital Science Online: Elementary Edition (K-5) as well as Digital Science Online: Secondary Edition (6-12). However, with all of my currently homeschooling children being in the lower elementary grades we spent the bulk of our time using the elementary edition. I was surprised that we spent most of our time at the elementary level, and not much time in the primary. Even though my youngest children are just four and five years old they kept right up to speed at the elementary level. They asked questions, showed an understanding of the material, and found the videos fascinating. Our academics tend to cater to the nine year old who is currently working at a third grade level. With this in mind I sometimes have concern that we're leaving the younger ones out. Adding the Digital Science Online video curriculum to our routine was exciting because it captured the attention of the young ones providing a super simple way for me to actively engage them in our science studies. There was no concern that the activity would be to advanced or challenging for their young skill set. Watching the video with us is a perfect way for them to engage in our learning experience. They actively participate in the follow-up discussions and answer questions, correctly! This is instant confirmation that what they are learning is sticking with them, and who doesn't love to see that?
Having access to such a broad spectrum of grade levels is wonderful. We are not limited to a certain set of topics based on grade level. Our family is able to explore any subject at any time at any level. We are not limited to certain subjects, required to go in a set order, or restrained to a set grade level. It is fun to be able to study the material which directly complements our current science curriculum as well as have the freedom to explore other subjects that we may simply find interesting at the time. The teacher's guides, animations and images all complement the videos perfectly providing a well-rounded curriculum that could be used all on its own. Having all of those resources at your fingertips separately allows for personalization of lessons which I absolutely love. One can simply pick and choose what to use, or not use, and when. With our eclectic learning style this is a perfect fit attribute that I am always on the lookout for. Our resources simply must be flexible, and Digital Science Online by Visual Learning Systems fits the bill perfectly.