I recently had the privilege of attending two homeschool conventions and helping work the vendor booth for Nancy Larson Science. I had so much fun and enjoyed my time talking with other homeschool families. In addition to encouraging them in their homeschool journey, I fielded lots of questions about the Nancy Larson Science program.
Here’s a little inside peek into my overview of the program:
Have you heard of Nancy Larson Science? It is science in a box that comes with all the supplies you need for each experiment for your entire year. In addition, all the supplies are non-consumable so you can reuse them with later children or even resell them when you are done.
Each level covers different topics. The levels are not grade levels but are age-banded. In other words, there is flexibility in choosing which level your child should use. Also, it makes it very easy to combine children in the levels.
The Teacher’s Manual is completely scripted and very easy to use. It tells you what to do and say during each lesson. This makes teaching the complicated topics (chemical compounds, simple machines, etc) easy.
The student completes booklets for each topical unit in the program. These are like interactive textbooks. They contain the material the student will read during the lessons. They also include diagrams that the student will complete, places for the student to write answers, draw pictures, or fill in blanks. The teacher’s manual also guides you to show your student how to find key words and phrases in the booklet and highlight them. This helps them learn study skills and teaches them to find the most important words and phrases in each paragraph. Learning this makes it easy for the student to study for the assessments.
In addition to the student booklets, there is a pack of worksheets. There is one worksheet per lesson as well as one assessment for each unit. These are designed to be completed independently by the student so you can assess their retention.
There is one experiment or hands-on demonstration for each lesson. This makes the program very interactive. Also, the experiments are ones that the student can do on his own. I have found that my kids can do the activities with me giving them the directions. Therefore, they are getting the first-hand experience during the lessons and they retain the concepts even better.
Because everything is included in your box and the lessons are clearly outlined, this is science that actually gets done at my house. We do our science lessons two days per week. On the days that we don’t do a new lesson, my kids complete the review pages and do some additional reading. Sometimes we even repeat the activity or experiment.
What I’ve found is that my kids have incredible retention with this program. Each lesson is incremental and builds on the previous lesson, slowly introducing topics and including thorough review. Therefore, my kids remember all the concepts and can even clearly explain them to others.
Here are a few commonly asked questions that I answered during my convention time:
Does it teach creation or evolution?
Neither. In fact, the curriculum takes a neutral viewpoint. This allows you as the parent to introduce your own beliefs.
Is it easy to use?
Incredibly! Everything is clearly outlined in the teacher’s manual – from what supplies you need that day, to what you need to say, to what the student needs to complete, to the answer key. It is the very definition of open-and-go.
How many experiments are there?
There is 1 per lesson. Every single time you do a lesson, you will be doing something that is hands-on. And the experiments are not overly time consuming. They enhance the lesson without destroying your schedule and stealing all of your time.
How long do the lessons take?
I usually spend about 20-30 minutes on a science lesson. My kids could spend much longer but I don’t have the time in our schedule on most days.
What other materials do I need?
There are a few materials that you will need to gather. I’ve had to get things such as a paperclip, a highlighter, some salt, an apple, or a highlighter. The supplies that you need to supply are minimal and are easy to find. Most of the things you will be using during the lessons are already included.
Is it common core aligned?
Nope. The program is not aligned and it won’t be aligned. The publisher believes that aligning to the common core is detrimental and the program will not be changed.
How do I determine the proper level?
First, think about the age of your child and then choose the programs for that age range. Then look through the vocabulary and topics for each level. Choose the level that covers topics that are not familiar to your child. Or, you could simply choose the topic that interests your child the most. It’s flexible.
What is the cost?
Well, you can see the cost for yourself on the website. But what parents often want to know is if it is actually cost effective. This is no the cheapest science program on the market. But I’ve found that it is worth the cost to have a well-planned, thorough science program that includes all supplies rather than trying to piece together my own science kits. I’ve found that using this complete program is actually more cost effective than using a different program and gathering all my own supplies.