I probably don’t need to remind you that I’m not a science person and we’ve always struggled in that area in our homeschool. The 101 Series is a homeschool science program for high school and/or middle school, and I’m happy to bring you this review of their Physics 101 program! I have a high school student who needs at least a half credit of physics, as well as an 8th grade student who is more science minded.
High School Homeschool Science
Because I don’t do well with science personally, but also considering the time I need to spend with my younger children, I really need a high school homeschool science program that my kids can do largely independently. The 101 Series is a DVD program that comes with exactly the right bonuses to make it the perfect program for us!
There are 4 DVD’s and each has at least 4 videos on it, some as many as 7 videos. Each video is a lesson, and they vary in length from as short as 20 minutes up to almost 45 minutes. Most of them are right about a half hour long. The instructor kept my student engaged; he says that it’s obviously scripted, but the instructor is animated enough that it’s not boring. Video animations and examples are used throughout, balanced with live action videos of the instructor on location – not in a classroom setting.
Lab experiements that are done in the video are done by the instructor; he’s the only person that you ever see on-screen. I’m so excited about Physics 101 partly because we’d been told – and it turned out to be true – that this class doesn’t require some of the higher maths that other physics programs do, which is a bonus since my student is just now doing Algebra 2.
On the last disc, in addition to the last few lessons, it also includes a Guidebook and an Accreditation manual. To my way of thinking, these are really what makes the difference between this program being a middle school level or a high school level program. Your middle school student can watch the videos and maybe attempt a few of the experiments they see. You could utilize some of the bonus quizzes with this level and I think it’d be fine for middle school. Using all (or most) of the available material is what will make Physics 101 a high school level program.
The Guidebook is essentially a notes outline for each lesson, plus a quiz for each. It contains discussion questions as well, and we have found that these discussion questions are a great way to review (or let the student “narrate” if that is a term you like to use) immediately after the video or possibly the next day. We save the quizzes until the end of the week, after some experimentation and/or research has been done. It’s very easy to just print out the little bit we need for each section at the beginning of the week.
The Accreditation book is the best part of the whole program! (Says Mom, the teacher/planner.) It’s essentially a lesson plan for every lesson, and it includes the expected time a student would spend on each activity. If your state requires that time spent be recorded, or if you just keep track of it for transcript purposes, etc, then this will make that super easy for you! Each lesson sheet instructs the student to watch the video, read the guide book and do the discussion questions, and then has options for labs and/or research/read/report. It says to watch the video again, and then take the quiz, and has a space for you to add up the time slots for anything your student completed.
The research/read/report assignments vary for each lesson. The reports generally expect about 200 words – which is pretty short. Usually the research suggests a subject for the students to learn about either online or through their library. Usually these two assignments are together, but sometimes you’ll see a research assignment or a reading assignment without a report.
The labs also vary, but I’ve been ecstatic to discover that it’s true that these almost never require special elements. The only one we’ve run into so far is a convex mirror, which the program says we can pick up for cheap at a hardware store. Since we’re doing almost everything on the lists, I didn’t feel badly about skipping that one lab assignment. Some of the labs are on the video, and then they are also assigned; but, not all of the labs assigned are also on the video. My suggestion would be that any time a lab is in the video, those are the ones you’ll want to have your middle school students do. High school students should do all of them in my opinion.
The 101 Series includes three subjects. As soon as this review period is over, we’ll be looking to acquire at least the Chemistry 101. Whether or not my high school student will have time to complete that one, I’m not sure, but I want it on the shelves for my other students! Biology 101 is also available so we might look into getting that one down the road as well.