As time goes on, I’ve learned how people in general learn things and how my boys in particular prefer to learn. One of the greatest lessons I’ve discovered this past year is the power of a combination of video lectures and hands-on work. The science courses from Fascinating Education fit right in that model.
We’ve been reviewing Fascinating Chemistry for the past few weeks. It is an online program that doesn’t use a textbook. Instead, it uses video lectures done by Dr. Sheldon Margulies, a retired neurologist. He has dedicated his life to discovering how the brain works and using those discoveries to create a method of teaching science that has proven effective.
The recommended sequence for learning science is chemistry, then biology, then physics. These are high school level courses, but can be done by middle school age children. I used the videos as an introduction to chemistry for all the boys.
There are 19 lessons in Fascinating Chemistry. The lessons are structured as a video lecture that can be viewed on a tablet device, on a desktop computer, laptop computer, or as we did it on our Apple TV. Scripts of each lecture can be printed out and reviewed or read again as well as used for test preparation. Each lesson has a glossary of terms and a test that is done online. Some lessons have labs that correspond to the material covered. Some lessons also have a set of math problems.
The first lesson introduces the structure of the atom. The next 5 lessons discuss the different chemical bonds. Subsequent lessons are about heat, air pressure, water properties, gases, chemical reactions, and more. It covers all the main topics of any chemistry course.
The length of the video lectures varies anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. The course is flexible for the student to progress at his or her own pace. We watched the videos together and talked about what we learned.
Twelve labs are included with the course. Most of the items required for the labs are easily found around the house, but some labs require special equipment and items that you will need to find ahead of time, so be sure to read over the labs to determine what needs to be purchased. Each lab defines the purpose and the science behind it as well as the intended results. Some of the labs are growing salt crystals, making brass, and measuring how much sugar is in soft drinks.
If you are wondering about the Biblical worldview of this course, this is what the website says regarding that: “Religious views and scientific views differ, and Dr. Margulies does not see his role with these curricula to argue in favor of one or the other. His role is to describe the forces in the universe and how they play out in our everyday lives without addressing how those forces came into being or whether forces are being manipulated by God in some way.” So I think this program would be acceptable for secular home educators as well as Christian home educators.