Review from member: ScienceGeek
Member Ranking - Updated to Mostly Positive
I was thinking I should update my review, now that I'v been using Science Fusion to teach a biology class in my home for over 3 months and the labs have been great. Usually I have to dig around to piece together labs but I've managed to find a good one for each chapter from the material they provided. I don't use the online stuff, we usually watch Bill Nye or I fix up their powerpoint files - they rarely have pictures!! So I add images to each slide. The books are good too. So, yes, I'm still disappointed in the organization and difficulty I had in getting to all the pdfs but I'm pretty happy with the labs and books.
I wrote an email to the Science Fusion support and told them how disappointed I was that I couldn't download the full pdf of MY textbook and the reply I got back was barely English. My first thought was, if this is the way they write do I really want to be buying books from them?
"We really apologize for the inconvenience that have caused due to this.
Science Fusion is designed on Flash plug in and I am really sorry to say
that Science fusion is supported for iPADās."
Not only is it poorly written but its incorrect, they do NOT support iPads.....sigh.
The books themselves look good and I will give them a try and see if I can get my kids interested but if Real Science Odyssey Biology Level 2 comes out I'l be switching immediately.
One other thing, I got all excited when I saw there were powerpoint files for each chapter. The slideshows look like they were made for engineers or boring board meetings: they were all words and bullets, basically an outline of the chapters. Not one single picture on the ones I looked at. And this was for 5th graders??? sigh.
I had high hopes for this curriculum but at this point I'm thinking we'l probably only use some of video based lessons.
- Updated: Labs provided with curriculum are very good and doable in the home setting.Books seem to be working out well - at least my 7th grader doesn't complain when assigned reading
- write on text books - colorful and visually appealing
- digital lessons - good for those who don't want to teach science, the kids can watch the lessons, some of the digital experiments I did during the trial were very good
- video based lessons - watch a video of a scientist collect data then make graphs with and make conclusions - looks pretty good but haven't done it yet
- Updated: Slideshows they provide are lacking in pictures/images so I have to add them in. But at least I'm not making them from scratch.
- It does NOT work on iPad
- You can NOT download the pdfs of the texts so you have to lug the actual book around if you want to read it/work on it while kids are in a class.
- Powerpoint files for teachers look incredibly boring, no pictures.
- Email response from company had terrible English and was no help.
Review from member: Mommie2mygirl2
Member Ranking - Mostly Negative
Heres what I do like. The content covers everything I hoped it would. I was super happy when I got the books in the mail (set of 2 for the year) and looked through them. It has lots of nice pictures and plenty of engaging material to keep the student interested. Its not an overwhelming amount of work, but enough just in the books to keep them focused on what they are doing. Alone, the books dont cover the material but are meant to be used as a supplement to the online content. I really like how to tests are set up to resemble standardized tests as it gives them lots of practice.
Heres the negative which is far outweighing the good. First, getting logged into the website and setting everything up is an absolute nightmare. I have used computers for a long time. I can do most everything I need to completely independent unless its specific content in which I call my brother in law who is an IT tech and hes first tries to explain it to me so I can fix it on my own. I say this to let you know I'm not computer illiterate at all and I STILL couldn't figure this out. Everything is disorganized and just trying to find what all content is offered and what content goes with which chapters is a puzzle to me. It wouldn't allow me to assign any work to my daughter to her account which means she isn't able to log in and it pop up what she is suppose to do for the day. This left me trying to log in and find what she needed every time it was time to log in and half the time I couldnt find what I needed to. Now two months in, I still have no idea where the teachers manual is, so I cant find answers for the workbook which means I have to watch all the videos, read through all the powerpoints and the books to try to find some of the answers. Thats probably ones of the biggest problems. Another big one, there are supposed to be quizzes and tests online, and No, I have yet to find the tests to assign to her much less the answers. I have contacted customer service MULTIPLE times, but since there isnt a general customer service for the content you must choose either to speak to someone in sales or technical support. So I write technical support explaining all the specific problems Im having and they email back a general answer 3times telling me to go to a Q and A section of the website that didn't answer at all. So I decide to call. Over a period of two weeks I talked to at least 3 different people. Number one, I could not reach a native English speaker on the phone that I fully understand (I do have a bit of a problem understanding foreign accents but i genuinely try to listen, but end up having that ask them to repeat themselves multiple times in a conversation). They tried to walk me through the process of assigning work but once I would assign it, it never showed up when my daughter logged in, except for the one thing that was assigned to her while I was on the phone. As far as locating the content that goes with each chapter they are unable to help you with that because they are technical support and not customer service, BUT there is no customer service so you're on your own! They suggested I contact a sales rep so that is what I did. Hoping to (at this point) receive a refund so I can purchase a regular book curriculum that I may teach my daughter what she must know for this year. I never received a reply from the sales team email.
If I were to actually be able to access, find, sort, and assign all the content that this program offers I would have probably rated it an A+ program but considering the lack of available c.s. when issues arise and the complexity of the website companion I unfortunately have to give it a D-, only skipping giving it an F because we do enjoy looking through the books and we can at least find the video and powerpoints through the teacher website and play those.
PS. I shared this review on another website as well. I just want to share my experience so that someone else may not spend their year with science as I have mine.
- Magazine like book (sets of 2 for year) that is interesting
- Lots of color pictures in books
- Online videos are engaging
- poor customer service
- very difficult to set up
Review from member: Peacesmom
Member Ranking - Mostly Negative
I would not buy this product. I have been homeschooling my children for almost five years and this is the Science that I picked for my 3rd grader this year. She wanted something more challenging and was very excited about the demos on the website. It was recommended to me from another well known board and it appeared to check out. The price is very expensive compared to what I used before this but it appeared that it was worth it when I purchased it. ....
Overall-Great concept but very poor execution.
- The graphics (when you can get them) are nice.
- No knowledgeable customer support.
- Price-Very Expensive per year
- Customer service based in foreign country
- Don't seem prepared for homeschool setup/help
- Startup is very difficult, many passwords, information is not kept
confidential regarding your child in drop downs-anyone can see where your child is located and that they are homeschooled.
Review from member: dbkenn
Member Ranking - Mostly Negative
We purchased Science Fusion for K and 3rd grade and were very disappointed. While the computer graphics are beautiful and the online "experiments" were interesting, overall the whole thing moves very, very slowly and both of my kids were bored stiff. Admittedly, they are both very "science-y" kids, so I think they just needed a more in-depth and dynamic curriculum. We stopped using it after about 5 weeks because I was no longer willing to argue with my kids about doing science, a subject they love.
Review from member: school4matthew
Member Ranking - Extremely Positive
We purchased three "modules" of this curriculum in October 2012: Space Science, Earth Science, and Living Things. Each module is designed to be used for 2-4 months, and includes a work-text with color photos and wriitng space; online access to supplementary videos and hands-on projects; biographies and experiments for home/school use; and a teacher's guide, lesson plans and planning area online. Although designed for middle school use, my son at age 10 used the curriculum with no problem (he was already interested, and "fluent", in science). In a three-day-week schedule, we covered the first module in about five months, but will be picking up the pace this year. All in all, it's easy to use, engaging and full of information, and involves kids in the learning process.
We will continue to use it.
Review from member: elkhollow
Member Ranking - Extremely Positive
We are using the version for 5th grade and I'm very pleased so far. Initial setup was time consuming but it wasn't very difficult once I got the hang of it. Setup is not what I would call homeschool friendly. You set yourself up as the school administrator and the teacher of the class, then you add your child/ children as students. Once you've got that done it's pretty straightforward. This is an online, digital, interactive resource. There is no physical textbook. The workbook they sent is redundant so we don't even use it. I can assign lesson and unit assessments, extra reading, etc...to my child's account so that when she logs in she can access them. What made this work best for us was for me to hook my laptop up to the TV so that both my kids could watch the lesson at the same time. It is intended for the student to navigate but we have had greater success this way. They tell me how they want to respond or what they want to do for the virtual lab and I type it in, then they can see their results on the screen and we can discuss it together. I find the material sufficiently challenging for my 5th grade/10 year old daughter. My 7 year old son is doing great with it, also. He's advanced/gifted and has always done well with science.
- Digital, interactive, and online
- The virtual labs are a big plus.
- Lessons are a reasonable length. We're usually done in less than 30 minutes.
- Quizzes and tests can either be done online or printed out.
- It comes with extra teacher resources.
- It's very appealing for kids who enjoy computer/video based learning. There are things to click, videos to watch, and each page/segment moves fairly quickly.
- There is no physical textbook.
- It is rather pricey.
- I have noticed some glitches with a couple of the virtual labs.