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Tuesday, July 11

Fascinating Physics - Review

High School science can be intimidating to a homeschool mom, especially one that may not have excelled in this area during her own high school days.  As our son matures, we’ve allowed him to have more student-directed learning…focusing on topics he is most interested in.  Lately, that topic has been Physics, so when Fascinating Education gave us the opportunity to review Fascinating Physics with a one-year subscription, we jumped on it!

The course is geared for high school, but could be used with an advanced 8th grader. It does go off the assumption that the student has a working knowledge of algebra and geometry. (Fascinating Education recommends this course order :  Chemistry, Biology, Physics.)  Fascinating Physics includes 15 lessons, covering over 150 subjects – each with its own video, text script, and assessment.  You can access a course outline to see a more in-depth course explanation for each course on the site.
My son liked the course well enough that it was the first thing he asked to do each day.  He logged in, completed the videos and assignments, and then he would ‘teach’ me about everything he had learned!  (There is no need for both a student and parent account – everything is mainstreamed within one account.)  One of the aspects he liked about the first lessons was how they applied the science to forensics, which is something he's recently shown an interest in.  In the above photo, with the graph, we are learning about how body temperature can tell time of death.

The Lessons include:
  • Lesson 1: Movement
  • Lesson 2: Vectors
  • Lesson 3: Forces
  • Lesson 4: Energy-Work-Power
  • Lesson 5: Circular Motion
  • Lesson 6: Fluids and Gases
  • Lesson 7: Waves
  • Lesson 8: Light, Part 1
  • Lesson 9: Light, Part 2
  • Lesson 10: Light, Part 3
  • Lesson 11: Electrical Charges
  • Lesson 12: Moving Electrical Charges
  • Lesson 13: Electrical Currents
  • Lesson 14: The Atom
  • Lesson 15: The Nucleus

The lessons center around videos.  They can be lengthy at times, but there is a great tool on the side of the screen where it breaks each segment into sub-segments.  This is handy for if you want to pause and come back later, or if you need to spend a bit more time on a particular concept.  If you have to stop midway through a video, your account will remember where and take you right back there to pick it up later. 

Each lesson also includes a downloadable / printable PDF script of the video, complete with all of the visual information.  This was SO helpful to my son – especially when he wanted to print something out to ‘teach’ me later.  (It’s not uncommon for me to feign ignorance to allow him the opportunity to teach me something – teachers do it all the time in school when they have students teach other students.  It helps to cement concepts within the brain; plus, if needed, I will occasionally point out where he has something not quite right.)

Finally, each lesson has an interactive assessment to review the material.  Links to the answer explanations are included so that the student can review any incorrect answers.

The videos go at a slow enough pace to follow, but fast enough to prevent boredom.  They are clearly spoken and line up well with the visuals.  Spend some time using educational videos on YouTube, and you’ll know that this is a blessing!  The first couple of lessons are super tedious, and we did have to push through them (he was ready to give up), but it’s because there is a lot of formulaic work and setting up the basics for better comprehension later on.  I’m happy to say that once you get deeper into the program (not too deep), the lessons become considerably more engaging!

One concern I have is that it’s touted as a full year high school science credit.  According to the FAQs, the content in the course is similar to that found in other high schools physics classes.  However, in terms of the amount of material, it doesn't seem to add up to the approximate 120-150 hours of coursework necessary for full year Physics class.  It seems to me that additional resources would need to be added to this class in order for me to feel confident that my student was doing work worthy of a high school course.

The c
ompany also offers Fascinating Chemistry (with labs), Fascinating Biology, Fascinating Medicine, and Fascinating Atoms & Molecules.

Fascinating Education
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