It may seem a bit overwhelming at first but the curriculum is full of fun activities and facts. Once you catch on to the flow of it, it makes sense. I love that they give the kids opportunities to choose different topics and activities. It seems like they do so much better if they have chosen the subject themselves.
I love how CrossWired Science encompasses all ways of learning. Many of the topics are about animals which always leads to a discussion on whether there is a Wild Kratts episode we need to watch about that animal – ha! We have a ton of fun discovering new books about the topics and reading them together to learn more and digGING deeper on each topic!
We are currently in the middle of a fun research project. Maggie is working on a display board about Fins and Swim Patterns.
One of the ideas in the experiments was to make a flat model 3D display so that is what she has been working on for the last day. I recently discovered that she doesn’t view this type of thing as learning/schoolwork so I’m going to roll with that idea.
She has the freedom to do this however she would like. She is drawing pictures of information she discovers in some of the books we are reading. Then she writes a few sentences about it or definitions. I’m super excited to see how the final product looks.
I can’t wait until she finishes it – I’ll add the picture in when she gets it completed.
CWS stresses over and over again that you can use this program however you see fit. They really encourage an eclectic approach.
The lessons include various activities, links, and activity suggestions within the unit. There is SO much to chose from.
I did sit with my first grader to read out the questions and answer choices to him and to discuss it a bit before he answered. He loved being able to look through the available lessons and choose what looked best. He chose to do Sound first, but each child picked which Global Topic to start with.
Since it takes a month or two to complete each Global Topic, my kids should be just about done with the videos and some of the other assignments, such as devotionals, Digging Deeper exercises, additional readings, and research projects in this amount of time.
CWS has many lessons other than the video lessons. Here’s a list.
These are divided into three different levels and provide bunny trails that are loosely connected to main material. There is enough information here to view over a full week, I'd say, if you decide to view everything.
2. Unit Links:
These are typically embedded YouTube videos related in some way to topics in the Core Videos.
These are suggestions for hands-on projects and activities.
4. Field Trips:
These are suggested field trips to help reinforce or learn more about the topic. Some are no-brainers (museums and outdoor excursions) and some are only for those with high budgets (like cruises!), but others are what I'd consider helpful ideas.
The company sees that there is "an unprecedented amount of information being added to the 'the world’s data base' every year" and wishes to encourage students to "glean the precious from the worthless" as a needed skill.
There are a wide range of suggested reading programs focused on a different styles/age ranges (so fellow book lovers will LOVE this section!)
7. Gold Digs:
Oodles of small pieces are offered here to help students forge connections between main concepts and other interesting ideas that go in all sorts of directions. Short assessments follow each, with differences in difficulty for first and second time user paths. There are also printable worksheets.
8. Digging Deeper:
This is like the previous section, but with topics more directly related to the main concepts of the unit.
These are short essays that relate in some way to the main concepts.
Directions for a variety of experiments are presented. Some require only household supplies while others require purchased items. All experiments are optional, but, of course, doing some is worthwhile.
There are suggestions for a wide age range to reinforce ideas.
Here is a little more detail about all of those lesson thumbnail tabs:
- The Core Videos include videos for the student to watch, worksheets to complete, and quizzes to take. Each true/false quiz is ten questions in length.
- Experiments includes a variety of experiments to go with the topic. Sometimes the instructions are more clear than others, and sometimes there are links included for videos to watch.
- Research gives suggestions for researching a topic.
- General Links has a large selection of off-topic science videos for the children to watch.
- U-Choose gives ideas for different activities to enrich the learning.
- Experiments 2 includes the same links as the first Experiments tab, it just gives the children a second time to do experiments.
- Reinforcement includes was to, well, reinforce the information.
- General Links 2 includes more off-topic videos to watch.
- Field Trip gives field trip suggestions.
- Read a Book gives some suggestions on books to read, though they aren't on-topic as I wish they were.
- Digging Deeper gives the student information to read both in review and to expand their knowledge. There are also links to videos to watch, and at the end there is a longer quiz for the child to take.
- Unit Links, as I mentioned, are all on-topic videos to help children explore different aspects of the topic.
- Then there is a Teen Devotional and Sci-Devotional
The favorite subject in our household is science. My boys love learning about the world around them and exploring through tactile, hands-on experiments. When we had the opportunity to review the Fluid Dynamics and Sound portion of the CrossWired Science site, we were excited to get started.
This program is still in its infancy but has already proven itself to be a valuable part of our homeschool toolbox. Scientists of all ages will learn through videos, experiments, field trips, interesting facts and more!