Fascinating High School Chemistry Online #Review
Are you intimidated by the thought of teaching high school science? What if I told you that there is online science curricula that makes it easy to teach biology, chemistry, and physics? It’s called Fascinating Education, and this year, we’re using Fascinating Chemistry. (See our previous review of physics here.)
Fascinating Education uses a multimedia approach with explanations in plain English to make the high school science courses accessible, interesting, and fun for students.
Some of the materials may also be used for middle school students. There are course outlines and sample lessons viewable on the website – I highly recommend checking these out to determine if your child is at a level to find them valuable. (Lessons toward the end of Chemistry, and the entirety of Physics, may be too challenging for younger middle school students. A conceptual understanding of the chemistry is possible, but physics does require some high school math knowledge. Advanced math or pre-calculus is often taken at the same time as physics, to give you a general idea of the level needed – prior completion of algebra 2 is often recommended.)
Lessons include online videos, quizzes, and tests. The tests may be completed online (with help tutorials available) or downloaded and printed, according to the parent’s preference. The help tutorial option is provided because the creator of the curricula, Dr. Margulies, believes that testing should be another valuable opportunity for the student to learn the material, rather than just a measurement of how much information the student has retained at that point.
I can see both sides, and I go back and forth between which one I prefer. I’ve come to realize that for me, it sort of depends on which of my kids I’m considering – there’s just too much difference between learning styles in our house for me to narrow my options by a stringent adherence to one method, especially when we live in a state that leaves recordkeeping up to me. With many things, I’ve discovered that my strongest desire is not necessarily that they can quote material by memory, but instead have a good general understanding of it, and the ability to acquire and apply more details in the correct manner when necessary. In this way, the online testing system fulfills my goal satisfyingly.
This year, it’s only been myself and my 10th grader using Chemistry, me looking through it at a faster pace, him working through it slowly in addition to his regularly assigned chemistry class. (For him, it’s going to be used as more of a supplement / additional approach, because we’d already purchased another curricula, and he’s a science addict, so the more science he can get away with doing, the happier he is.)
It’s given me a way to rapidly refresh my basic understanding in a relatively painless way, as it can be SO much easier to watch videos than read a textbook at the end of a long day of work and school. (Which I totally need – I last took chemistry in about 1996-97 in college, and I totally admit that I don’t remember nearly as much as I wish I did! My now-graduated child used an online school-at-home program to complete chemistry, and he’s very much a self-starter and independent worker, so I can honestly say I maybe helped with a handful – at most – of questions all year long.
Do we recommend Fascinating Education? Totally. It’s simple to use, something your computer-using student can easily manage on their own for mostly-independent work. And my son would definitely agree with the “fascinating” designation – it’s more of a challenge to get him to STOP working on science than it is to get him to DO it!