We have been given access to both of the global topics that CrossWired Science has come out with so far, Sound, and Fluid Dynamics. So far, we have mainly focused on Fluid Dynamics, since the majority vote from the boys was for that one, although I would like to go through Sound as well. It has been fascinating to learn about how air and water work. We have watched videos on a number of subjects that all have to do with air and water movement. For example, one was about Dog Slobs & Cats. It showed, in great detail, how both animals lap water and why dogs make a mess while cats are tidier (although our cat manages to splash milk all around her dish, somehow). After we watched that, Mr. Imagination checked out our cats’ tongues to confirm that they have the texture that the video said they did. Other videos talked about dolphins, boxfish, penguins, nose aerodynamics (now we know why our cats are so lazy!), carburretors, and the alulas on bird wings (another lifelong mystery cleared up for me), among other topics. Each video has a worksheet with questions from the video, as well as a true/false online quiz. We have not done any of these worksheets, because they were not available when we started the course, but have done the quizzes. There were a few discrepancies between the quizzes and the videos; this is a brand-new course and is a work in progress, so I expect to see these problems resolved soon. (It’s very good already, but once these issues we noticed are corrected, I believe this site will be great.)
Besides the videos, there are many other suggested activities. There are a lot of options for experiments. I somehow neglected to get any pictures of my boys trying out the matchhead rockets, but they spent several days playing around with them. They had loads of fun building and shooting off these miniature rockets, and Mr. Intellectual discovered a new-to-us YouTube channel full of fun experiments (I think it includes a fair number of explosions, which he loves!). They also tried out the paper airplanes and figured out how to make a loop of paper fly very well across the room.
One page suggests many books to read. We have a few of them, so we added them into our read-aloud day. I was happy to be reminded to read The Great Dinosaur Mystery and Dry Bones and Other Fossils with my boys. The wide range of books that are recommended would make a great library. They suggest several biographies by Janet & Geoff Benge, one of which (Alan Shepard) we read in the past year. They also recommend Creation magazine, so I told Mr. Intellectual to spend his science time one day summarizing what he had been telling us about from the most recent issue the day before.
Right now, we’re working our way through the Gold Dig section. This is six pages about bones. The first page had a video and a quiz; we’re currently on the next page, which talks about all sorts of subtopics having to do with bones—just look at this outline!
There is a worksheet which goes along with this. Each day, I’m reading through about three sections of this page with Mr. Diligence, Mr. Sweetie, and Mr. Imagination, and we answer the questions that go along with those sections. It takes about 15 minutes to do that much, and that’s about all the time they can handle doing something like this, since we usually don’t get to it till after lunch and they are ready to run outside! Mr. Intellectual is doing this part by himself, since he is a strong reader. One thing we really enjoyed about this page was a photo of the International Space Station. What we really loved was that New Zealand, and the top part of our island, was in the background! It’s a very clear photo, and we could almost see where we used to live!
I’m also looking forward to learning about sound. So far, all we have done there is to watch one video, which was about the larynx and the vocal cords. It looks like the Global Topic on Sound is laid out similarly to the one we’re working on. All the Digging Deeper pages have something to do with sound, in humans as well as the animal world. We had started the year using the same series of science textbooks we’ve been using and loving for the past several years, but I’m thinking we’re going to finish what we want to use in CrossWired Science before we go back and finish that book. There is so much to love in this course! We’re enjoying the variety of ways to learn about the topic, and we love the way it points to the Creator. One thing we’ve noticed is that the videos don’t actually mention God, but what we read on the screen does. The videos do talk about how things are designed to work the way they do, very definitely giving glory to God if you think about it a little. I am very slow to buy an online program for school, but this is one that is worth the price they ask for it, even for us. I like it and am very glad we were put on the review.
If you are interested in trying out this fascinating website, here is a coupon code that will take $5 off every order—no matter how many times it is used: loh12.
One thing I had a bit of trouble figuring out is how to schedule CrossWired Science. There is so much information here, in a variety of styles, but it’s not laid out in lessons, although I have heard that there is a suggested schedule somewhere on the website—I haven’t found it myself. The intention is that a student will choose what appeals to him, and work through most or all of each project (Fluid Dynamics is one project) in any order. The way it’s set up, you click a button labeled “Finish Quiz” at the bottom of each page, and then you can tell by looking at a bar at the top of each page how many more pages there are to complete. All ages can do this course together. Of course, older children will go more in-depth than younger ones, but even Little Miss, who is four, enjoys the videos. Also, there are two levels. We’re using the First-Timer course, but for those who have been through it once as a younger child, they can do it again using the Second-Timer course. I haven’t looked at it yet, so I can’t say how it is different. Here are screenshots of the menu on the Lesson Page. You can see that they have made it easy to tell which lessons are completed.
Each project is intended to be a full Science curriculum for a month or two. The plan is to have enough projects up to provide six years of Science! I’ll be very interested in following the progress of this course to see how it develops. Of course, not only can it be used as a stand-alone curriculum, it could also be used as a supplement to any other science curriculum. Be sure to click on the banner below to see what the rest of the 80 reviewers have to say—I’ll be checking out some of those reviews, because I’m curious to know what others think of this!