In high school I had the most amazing physics teacher. He was funny, he gave us great challenges to solve, and he made physics fun. It’s because of him that I have such great memories of physics and how much I enjoyed those science lessons. I’ve been looking forward to teaching my kids physics, but I only knew it as a high school course with lots of equations (which I thought were fun, yes I was a nerd). I finally found a physics class that doesn’t have all the math, Real Science 4 Kids.
(This post is sponsored by Real Science 4 Kids, the opinions are mine, and I went back and bought two more lab notebooks for my kids)
Enter Real Science 4 Kids physics for middle school
I’ve had a problem with homeschool science textbooks. They’ve either been way too difficult for the age range they’re geared for (unless your kid is a super science kid) OR they’ve been too easy for the upper ages it’s for. Last year I felt my kids weren’t getting as much out of their science as I would like because it was too easy, so I switched to a different curriculum this fall and it was over their heads. It was taking a lot of adapting for me to get it to their level. Then I got ahold of Real Science 4 Kids and knew it was perfect for the age range.
One caveat: if you have a kid who is a super science kid this is not for you. Have them use this in third or fourth grade because the labs are AMAZING. However, my daughter is not a super science kid. She enjoys learning science, but not if the material is too dense, she gets overwhelmed.
Real Science 4 Kids has three physical books you get: student textbook, teacher manual, and lab notebook. You could probably get away without the teacher manual, but the manual has some helpful tips to throw in there as you work on stuff (I’m totally the homeschool mom who forgets to check her teacher manual most of the time).
In addition, there are lapbook/notebook pages (with accompanying teacher filled out edition), quiz book (one per chapter and midterm grades), and graphics book (full page printables of graphics in the book), and an online course. Tailor the package you get to the level you want to buy (I love when there are options, I personally will buy the book bundle, and then the accompanying quiz book in the future).
How our Real Science 4 Kids lessons are working
The chapters are about ten or so pages long, and the kids read the pages on Monday. I’m using this to check their note-taking skills, so they just get notebook paper to write their observations. I opted not to use the lapbooking pages because my kids are not big fans of cutting out and gluing, it makes me sad because I love all the color and fun.
Tuesday or Wednesday we go over the chapter together and talk about what they read. I ask the questions in the teacher manual.
Wednesday or Thursday we complete the lab. I just ordered a kitchen scale because they suggest getting the exact weight of the items you’re going to use for labs (I have an idea for a workaround on that one, expect to hear more when I complete the labs), it had been on my “to get list” for all the recipes I keep finding saying “500 grams of flour”. Below is a video of our first experiment. The kids had a blast with our physics labs so far. I’m enjoying watching them get involved in science.
This homeschool science curriculum works perfectly for how most homeschoolers set up their homeschool schedule: 2-3 days of science a week.
SPECIAL NOTE: Real Science 4 Kids has two different science curriculum a year-long curriculum Building Blocks of Science and a semester-long curriculum Focus On (I opted for Focus On because I wanted a real focus on physics because we hadn’t covered it at all yet).
Who I recommend Real Science 4 Kids for
Last week I had a very long discussion with another homeschool Mom on the difficulties of finding non-college prep work for younger grades. Most homeschool curriculum and co-ops start talking about college prep early. They design their curriculum so by freshman year their kids are practically taking college classes. Books for middle school are actually more towards upper high school level.
Not all kids are ready for that in elementary or middle school. My kids aren’t. By the time they’re in high school they’ll be ready for those college prep classes, but they need a little wiggle room. This is a TRUE middle school science curriculum. If your kid isn’t ready for a high school science curriculum in middle school, this is for you.
Additional thoughts after a year using Real Science 4 Kids
I’m coming back after using Real Science 4 Kids after a year and a half. I loved their Physics, it was a great fit for us last year. There was one lab that wasn’t great, it expected us to take apart some old electronics, but otherwise, it worked great.
This year, 8th grade, we used it again, we picked Astronomy and Geology. We enjoyed the geology, the labs were good, though I would more call it Earth Science than geology specifically because we studied much more than rocks. Not a problem.
However, I do have a problem with the Astronomy labs. We ran into several labs we could not complete because Google Earth no longer has a sky view and you can’t search for specific star clusters anymore.
My students made a big jump in their abilities this past year, suddenly Real Science 4 Kids was easy for them to read, and as a consequence, we went through a whole year’s worth of material in slightly more than one semester.
I still think Real Science 4 Kids is a good curriculum, but look at the lab supplies and plans ahead of time before you purchase it.
Also, think about your child’s abilities. If they need to be challenged, this will not be the curriculum for you. If you have a kid who struggles to read, this could be perfect for you.