Sunday, January 29, 2012

R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Review

I am loving our new science curriculum!  We are only on Unit 4, but it is going really well.  Over the past couple of years I have looked at numerous science options and hadn't found anything that we really liked.  REAL Science Odyssey is a great fit for us.

looking at an egg and labeling a diagram

Heart of Dakota (our main curriculum) contains some very light science.  I found it to be rather unorganized and random.  While we love Heart of Dakota for the most part, we're enjoying adding in this science program.  I tried to enrich HOD's science and add in more, but with it being so scattered, I found that to be challenging.

Other science programs that I have considered were either too textbookish (just reading about science doesn't seem to click with Lucy), or too open ended.  Instructions like "write about what you learned" do not work well with Lucy.  NOEO science, one that I considered, is like this.  The idea of it is great, Charlotte Mason style learning from a variety of living books, but it seemed to lack the teaching aspect that Lucy needs.  Apologia science looks good, but is too advanced for us at this point.

REAL Science Odyssey is one that I had looked at, but wasn't sure about.  I ended up finding the book used from someone and am very happy that I did!  We are using Life Science level one.  The curriculum is set up so that each week we read a page of information and complete related activities.  The information page is written to the child and explains things very well, including new vocabulary words and simple explanations.  Our routine has been to read the information page one day and do a lab, then another day we read over the information again and do the second lab activity.  It seems to be just the right amount each week and not overwhelming.  The activities have all been interesting and fun.

jello model of a plant cell and an animal cell

The teacher's manual includes a list of a few recommended books and websites for each unit.  I've checked these out from the library and enjoy having other sources to reinforce what we are learning.  Daddy reads these books to the kids before bed or Lucy looks through them at rest time.  The books are not necessary, but are fun to have on hand.  We purchased a couple of board games and a coloring book that are mentioned in the teacher's manual as well.

REAL Science Odyssey Life level one is for grades 1-4.  I like that it can be used over a range of ages, but I do not feel like I'm having to adapt things too much for Lucy.  I am not one who enjoys sifting through information and activities trying to decide which ones my child should be doing.  So far we have been fine just using the book as is.  (Lucy is six years old, doing 1st-2nd grade work.)  In the front of the manual is a list of main ideas for each unit, so I am able to tell whether or not she is catching the main point.  

The Life Science Curriculum can be purchased as a book or an e-book.  We have the physical book, and then also purchased the student pages.  The student pages are included in the book, but buying them saved me from having to make copies out of the main book for Lucy to use.  Home Science Tools carries the REAL Science books, student pages, and also a supply kit.  We did not need everything in the science kit, so I purchased the items a la carte, finding everything I needed on their website.  It helped that I had the teacher's manual in hand because I could refer to the supply list and see what we needed.  

You can preview the entire front section of the teacher's manual and the first nine units on their website!  (This gives you the supply list too.)  Definitely worth taking a look at.

The program does say it mentions evolution in the level two books, but not in level one.  We have not come across anything objectionable.  At the level two point we will probably go with Apologia or something else.  For now REAL Science Odyssey is an excellent program, right on Lucy's level, informative, and fun.  She asks every day to do science.  On one of the first days that we were using REAL Science Odyssey, Lucy said: "Mom, are you teaching me science or are you teaching me to be a scientist?"  Bingo, kid!  Both.

see more reviews at The Homeschool Curriculum Review Roundup


  1. Thanks for sharing! We are doing HOD LHFHG right now and my son will move onto Beyond next year. I, too, am not thrilled with HOD's science for these 2 years. I have heard good things about the One Small Square series. My question is this - are you going to continue using REAL Science past Beyond? Have you considered the science choices you will implement going forward? I've heard good things, too, about Answers in Genesis' God's Design for Science series.

    1. Hi Lisa, I'm not actually sure! Bigger's science does look much better than this year and last, but I'm not totally convinced. We may still add in REAL Science, or just go with what's in Bigger?? lol, I don't know! I just knew we needed something now because this year's science wasn't working! Life level one looked like a good starting point. :)

  2. I would love to look through this some time. This looks interesting when I go to the web site. I'm the kind of person who loves to see the whole thing though... something about paging through it all!

    1. Sure Polly! Are you coming to the next LIFE meeting? I'll try to remember to bring it. :)

  3. Hi Christy,

    I just found your site and I know this post is a little can I ask an updated question? We did Beyond last year with my first grader and she definately wanted WAY more science! So we will be doing Bigger this year and I am wondering if you have done it and did you need to add more science with your science lover again? I checked out the Real Science Odessy website and I do love the curriculum. The only concern I have is it doesn't look like any mention of biblical worldview.
    Thank you so much!


    1. Hi Esther, We did not do Bigger, so I'm not sure what the science is like. We really enjoy REAL Science Odyssey and are using it again this year. There is no mention of a Biblical worldview, but no mention of anything the other way either. I've not been offended at anything and find it simple to add in "Isn't God amazing to do all that?" etc from time to time. :)

  4. We are doing the same thing. My daughter LOVES Science. We're doing Bigger right now, but we'll be adding in R.E.A.L. Science very soon.