Protected: Science Shepherd Review
Today I am sharing my Science Shepherd review and their Introductory Science course for grades 1st-5th. Science Shepherd has science courses for elementary, middle school, and high school levels.
As a Christian parent with a 7-year-old daughter who loves science, choosing the right science curriculum to use in our homeschool presents a unique challenge. I want a curriculum that is Biblically based, as well as academically sound and complete. Especially if my daughter continues to love STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) subjects the way she already does, I want her to have a solid foundation to prepare her academically, mentally, and spiritually for the future challenges she may encounter among her science-loving peers.
This is even more important since STEAM-related careers are predicted to increase exponentially over the coming decades. (It’s expected that many of our kids will end up in science-related industries, perhaps in jobs that don’t even exist yet!) For these reasons, I want my daughter to have a broad understanding of the sciences.
I also want to address any questions she may have openly, from a Biblical perspective, before encountering them elsewhere for the first time. In a science curriculum, I want something that rises to these challenges. It’s a tricky balance and one that I think many Christian homeschooling parents face.
When I was offered the opportunity to use and review Science Shepherd’s Introductory Science curriculum, I was excited by the course overview from their website because it introduces young learners to various types of science in a single course.
I was also eager to try Science Shepherd’s curriculum because we have not previously used any “open and go” science program. Life has gotten much busier for us this year, and having a low-to-no prep curriculum is my priority right now!
Now that you know a little bit about us and what I look for in a science curriculum as a homeschooling parent, I hope my review of Science Shepherd’s Introductory Science curriculum will help you figure out if it is a good fit for you and your family!
What’s Included & Details About the Learning Format
Science Shepherd’s Introductory Science course includes access to a complete library of video lessons, a workbook with worksheets and hands-on activities that go with each lesson, and an answer key. This course is designed for elementary-level learners but has two different workbooks, depending on your needs.
The Level A option is intended for children in grades 1-3, and a Level B option that’s more geared towards learners between grades 3-5. Both levels cover the same essential content, but there are some differences between the workbooks in terms of complexity. Altogether, there are 35 weeks of lessons, with lessons for approximately five days each week. This was a very doable schedule for us.
What’s Covered in Science Shepherd’s Introductory Science Curriculum
One of my favorite things about this curriculum is that it provides easy-to-understand introductions to several areas of scientific study while standing firmly on a Biblical foundation. Because this was the main thing I was looking for in a science curriculum, I am thrilled to say that Science Shepherd’s Introductory Science delivers on this point!
The course begins with a section on creation, followed by a section on basic scientific skills. Following this are sections on Earth Science, Life Science, and Physical Science. The unique thing about the layout is that it mirrors the order of creation so that students learn about the created world in the same order that God created it.
Specific areas covered include geology, biology, meteorology, oceanography, astronomy and more. Pictured here is just one of the pages out of the Scope and Sequence, which you can view on their site.
I also really appreciate how discussions are opened for questions that young learners will likely encounter in the world of science. Evolution, for example, is clearly defined early on. However, God’s word is always referred to as the source of truth and allowed to speak for itself. This is precisely the way I want to teach this if I had to piece together my science curriculum, so I appreciate that this curriculum approaches it.
A Review of Science Shepherd’s Introductory Science Curriculum – The Workbooks
Science Shepherd sent me the Level A and Level B workbooks for Introductory Science. Since my daughter is in 2nd grade, she falls right in the middle of the suggested range for Level A (which we used.) The Level A workbook is highly doable for her to follow along with and complete independently. For reference, she’s a capable reader for her age, and she’s able to read and understand everything in the workbook.
She’s less confident as a writer, but Level A does not require her to write much beyond fill-in-the-blanks and very short responses. I like this because it allows her to complete the assignments and show understanding without getting frustrated or stuck on spelling. Though we haven’t really used the Level B workbook yet, the response sections seem like they would be similarly doable for 3-5 graders.
The video library is the same for both Levels. The videos are helpful for homeschool families with students spanning the elementary age range: the same video lessons can be shared, while different ages can use different workbooks.
Overall, both workbooks seem designed to reinforce the videos by allowing students to engage with them in a way that will make them feel successful. The workbook content is not necessarily challenging if you’ve paid attention to the video lesson. However, I think that’s an intentional choice! The workbooks seem primarily designed to support learning retention and student success. From our experiences with this curriculum, the workbook format supports those goals.
The workbooks do not include challenging quizzes, tests, etc. If that’s important to you, it’s probably good to know that the workbooks’ activities are not designed to test learning as much as to reinforce learning. This is a matter of personal preference. It was fine for me since we haven’t really emphasized testing in our homeschool at this stage.
A Review of Science Shepherd’s Introductory Science Curriculum – The Video Lessons
There are 35 weeks of video lessons for Introductory Science, with a video lesson for each weekday. Every video lesson corresponds to a specific workbook lesson, which makes this curriculum super easy to use if you are looking for something that’s very “open and go.”
In each 2–5-minute video, the instructor covers content for that day’s lesson in a straightforward and easy-to-understand way. The video lessons are given in an academic, mini-lecture style that’s still accessible for kids. I appreciated how visuals are also used. For example, keywords or phrases appear on the screen as they are discussed, as well as pictures and other visual aids.
The videos do an excellent job of delivering the lesson content in a bite-sized and clear way. I have found that the short length of each video holds my young learner’s attention, even without many bells and whistles in the videos themselves. The videos are also easy to go back to and re-watch, if needed, later on. When there are hands-on activities, there are also videos in which “young scientists” demonstrate them.
Below is a screen shot of one of the beautiful visuals from a video.
Is there Hands-On Learning in Science Shepherd’s Introductory Science Curriculum?
My child is very kinesthetic and loves anything hands-on (I think most kids do!) Her favorite thing about this curriculum is the frequency of hands-on options to go with the lessons in the workbook. Every 2 or 3 lessons, there is an activity option to support learning via a simple craft or experiment.
Pictured here is a sample from the notebook. Note that it’s easy to follow, doesn’t require hard to find materials, and adds an engaging hands-on component.
I love that this curriculum blends visual, writing, and hands-on activities. It really fits any learning style your child may have.
This allows parents to get involved and offers fun, kinesthetic ways to reinforce learning. Practically speaking, I also like that I don’t have to do every experiment because – let’s be real – we don’t always have the time or the supplies on any given day!
The way the hands-on activities are included in this material, it’s very easy to use the hands-on activities however you see fit. For example, you could save the experiments for a “fun Friday” at the end of each week, and your child could still do their video and workbook as usual on the other days. I also appreciate how most of the supplies needed are pretty basic. I often have them at home already. If you’re a more prepared parent than I am, you can also plan ahead by checking out the complete supply list (and the corresponding week) for Introductory Science via the link on Science Shepherd’s website here.
How Easy is it to Use Science Shepherd’s Introductory Science Curriculum?
Overall, the three components of this curriculum make for an extremely easy-to-use and well-rounded science program! My seven-year-old can pull up the correct daily video and corresponding workbook lesson, understand the content and complete each task. She can (and has) done lessons without me, though I do like to be involved!
This would be a great science option if you’re looking for a program your child can do independently or just something to take some pressure off your prep time. Because the video and workbook lessons are relatively short, it’s also very easy to be consistent about getting science done daily. Each lesson typically takes about 10 minutes (hands-on experiments vary).
The short lessons make it easy to use this curriculum consistently, which is another part of this curriculum that supports student success.
Reasons I Love Science Shepherd’s Introductory Science Curriculum
Overall, the Introductory Science curriculum from Science Shepherd ticked the most important boxes for what I was looking for in a science curriculum. It had some surprising “bonus points,” too! Here are some of the main reasons it works great for us:
Why I Like Science Shepherd’s Curriculum
As part of my Science Shepherd review, I wanted to include a few features of this curriculum that didn’t apply to us directly, but I could see them being great for other families.
First, it would be easy to use this curriculum for students of different ages. Any learners within the elementary bracket could follow along with the videos, using different workbook levels as needed.
Secondly, the price is fantastic! While I received this curriculum in exchange for a review, I looked into the pricing and found it extremely reasonable, especially given the outstanding quality.
Overall, I found this course to be a clear, comprehensive, and easy-to-use science curriculum for elementary aged students, especially for families looking for a Biblical perspective!
I will definitely look into using other science courses from Science Shepherd.
A Sample of Other Courses Offered by Science Shepherd
You can do a thorough preview of all the Science Shepherd courses on their website. In addition, you can view the Scope and Sequence, sample pages from the notebooks, video samples, FAQs, and the supply list.
About the author of this Science Shepherd review
Kathryn is a homeschooling mom of two young children who loves to share their experiences with various homeschool curriculum.
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