Friday, April 8, 2011

Science Weekly Magazine

Are you looking for new ways to include science activities in your homeschool curriculum?


Science Weekly provides science newsletters for K - 6th grade, with each grade having its own unique level of the newsletter.  These newsletters are little pamphlets (8.5 x 11 size) with 4 pages of science-related activities.  Each newsletter teaches on a specific science topic, tying in mathematics, critical thinking and writing.  There is also a science experiment included in each newsletter.


We received the Composting issue of Science Weekly, in all 6 levels, with a teaching guide.  One teaching guide is included with each order, but if you need additional copies for a group order, you can contact Science Weekly by email or phone to request them.


Teacher's guide includes:

  • Background information on the topic

  • Teaching notes

  • Lab-related notes

  • Recommended resources

  • Internet resources

  • Discussion questions for early levels

  • Instructions and answers for each level's newsletter

  • Interesting trivia


Newsletters (each level) include:

  • Age-appropriate explanation of topic

  • Age-appropriate science lab

  • Picture activity for Pre-A and A levels

  • Vocabulary

  • Math activity

  • Writing in Science activity

  • Puzzle activity

  • Challenge activity


The younger levels of Science Weekly include very little explanation of the topic, so you will need to use the Teacher's Guide to teach to your young ones.  Older students who are reading on their own have age-appropriate explanations included.  If you have older and younger students, you could read the explanation given in the older student's issue to teach the younger students.


ElCloud Opinion

My children weren't initially thrilled with the newsletters.  "Do we have to do this?" they whined.   However, they did fill them in without any further complaint.  We did the activities all in one day, though if we were to subscribe, I'd probably spread it out over several days.  The science experiments had different compost activities for different ages.  Composting takes time, though, so it did not work well for us to have four different experiments running at the same time.  Choosing one joint experiment in instances like this works better for us.


A few weeks later, I asked them if they'd enjoy a subscription to the newsletter or not.  I was surprised to hear my son who complained the most say YES, and my daughter who completed it without complaint say NO.  The younger ones both said YES, as well.   The daughter who said no was in sixth grade, though, so at the upper end of the age range, and moving out of it next year.  Her disinterest may lay solely in the fact that she's too old for it.


These newsletters are interesting with their interactive multi-subject lay-out, and I can always use ideas to incorporate experiments into our homeschool life.  BUT, I would NOT purchase this at the higher rates charged for small orders.  I WOULD consider buying it if our homeschool group could put together a joint order to receive the lower rates (see below).  There is a large difference in price per student per year between orders under and over 20 newsletters.


In general, the Science Weekly newsletters are a nice supplement to your science curriculum, but not something I feel you MUST buy.  If you use a unit study which has some built-in science, this might help add more science to the elementary ages for your family.  If you're already using a separate science curriculum for your elementary students, especially a hands-on one, this would be less beneficial.

Sample Newsletters and Pricing Information

If you'd like to SEE the Science Weekly newsletter before you consider ordering it, you can download a sample newsletter issue HERE.  There are additional samples available on the order form itself, one for each level.   The Science Weekly website also includes an interactive section, with longer studies, and coloring pages.  I definitely recommend taking a look at their samples and interactive studies for yourself!


The newsletter consists of 15 different issues per school year,  2 issues per month.  The Science Weekly newsletter costs $19.95 per student per year, when less than 20 subscriptions are ordered.  Rates decrease to $4.95 per student per year ($5.95 per student per year after July 1, 2011), if there are more than 20 subscriptions ordered.


Science Weekly orders can contain different levels to reach the 20 subscriptions, so homeschool groups might want to place an order together to get the lower rates.  You could contact Science Weekly to acquire extra teaching pages.  If you need five or more subscriptions for your family and can't find anyone else to order with you, you might as well order the 20 subscriptions at the lower rate and share the extras with others around you.  Maybe once others see the newsletters, they'll be willing to form a group order in future years.


Though this isn't a "must-buy" recommendation from me, I do think you should take the time to check out the samples (links 3 paragraphs up) and make a decision for yourself.  Print them out and see how your children like them.  They may be something YOUR family loves!


This item was provided free for our review as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew.  We received no other compensation, and this review is our honest opinion.  Visit the TOS Homeschool Crew blog to read more reviews on this product by other Homeschool Crew members.

Trusting In Him,

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