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  1. #1

    Default R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Biology (Level 2)

    I checked the curriculum reviews section and there are positive reviews about RSO but none specifically about Biology 2.

    Has anyone used it? Did you like it?
    TIA


    p.s. There is a 35% off code at the HS buyers co-op for all Pandia Press products.
    Starting 8th grade (our fifth year homeschooling)
    Dumplett (girl - age 13) and Wombat (boy - age 13)

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Enlightened panama10's Avatar
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    I just bought it and used that code. I read a review on a blog I followed and have debated and finally bought it
    Kayra
    Mother, engineer, jack of many trades.
    Girl (13 yrs old), Boy1 (9 yr old), Boy 2 (9 yr old)
    http://journeytothelandofhomeschooling.blogspot.com/

  4. #3

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    We use it for our science co-op. I do like it.
    We do readings and the unit tests individually and do the labs together. Our co-op time is about 2 hours once per week.
    There are 2 labs per chapter - one with a microscope and one without.
    We are supplementing with games and some more active labs for a co-op setting. I'd say we do the labs as written about 70% of the time and (we almost always do the microscope lab) but we almost always supplement with hands on activities or alternative labs in addition to that. We have bought quite a few resources from teachers pay teachers and used quite a bit of Ellen McHenry's materials. I could probably give you a list if you would like.

    I do think it moves quite quickly in some areas. We slowed down and took 2 weeks for a couple of the topics, specifically in microbiology/cells. There are 32 chapters and we are hoping to get them all done but it will take us until September probably (we started in mid October and took time off at Christmas and missed a few weeks here and there for illness/weather/holidays.

    I like the historical/scientist bio section in theory but we haven't done all of them. My co-op partner has.

    I have mixed feelings about the teacher's manual. It's a nice to have for answers, and resource suggestions but we often find other resources we like better. I would have liked more options for explaining concepts or teaching extensions or higher level resources for teachers/parents/facilitators to educate themselves

    MY criticisms are that I find some of the labs could be more engaging and those are the ones we often skip. Our current lab for evolution and fossils for example is on the lame side. However I acknowledge that we are teaching kids mostly at the high end of their age/grade range and that plays into it.
    I find the pacing to be a bit sporatic. The chapter we are in now probably could have been combined with the next one. Some previous chapters could have been split. Chapters are about the same length in terms of number of pages but some content is more dense than others.
    I would also like to have had more formal lab write ups as part of the program.

    Overall I think the program is very comprehensive, well written and fairly rigorous. I like the approach and think that it's an excellent resource especially for the price. I would have liked to continue with this series but there aren't other level 2 programs available.
    Last edited by crunchymum; 07-30-2014 at 12:28 AM.

  5. #4

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    crunchymum,
    Thank you for the detailed review.
    If it's not too much trouble, I would appreciate your list of supplemental materials.

    My children just turned ten and are starting fifth grade so they would be on the younger side of the age recommendation. They have never used a formal science curriculum. They had no science in their first grade PS but did quite a bit of hands on life science in 2nd and 3rd in Montessori. This past year we did very little science; we simply watched documentaries or read books on various science topics. We had no plan or focus.

    We schooled very lightly last year and although I want to step it up this year, I am a little afraid I am planning too much. I figure we do not have to finish the entire Biology 2 in one year. I would rather take our time and expand on each topic.
    Starting 8th grade (our fifth year homeschooling)
    Dumplett (girl - age 13) and Wombat (boy - age 13)

  6. #5

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    I am following this post with a lot of interest. We'll be doing it next fall with our 10yo rising 5th grader too. Dang, dbsam, I wish we lived maybe an hour closer because we could co-op!

    Crunchymum, pleasepleasePLEASE share your list if it is handy for you to do so...or at least the juiciest bits, like which Ellen McHenry thing (cells? botany?).

    Our kid *is* science-mad, but this will also be our first serious study of a particular field of science. I am a bit nervous about it because it will be hubby teaching her M&F, and he's a bit of a slacker, but if her interest is high she can goad him into really sweating the work, esp. the labs.

    Other things: Crunchymum, rumor has it that Earth Science/Astronomy level 2 will be out this next school year. Same author. She has a blog that I follow.

    dbsam: The summer between Montessori and homeschooling, I had dd watch loads of science videos aimed at kids, like Beakman's World (thru Netflix or Amazon Prime) and Bill Nye on YouTube. I tried to corral the episodes by subject, like pond study with bubbles etc. and we would do fun experiments. She got a good grasp of stuff that way. Also: anything NOVA or David Attenborough (Planet Earth or LIFE) or NATURE on pbs, just golden. She has a crush on David Pogue. Ah well. And of course the new Cosmos, though other kids her age swear it's too boring.

  7. #6

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    I'm going to be using it for middle school biology class - 8 kids ages 8-11. The author, Blair Lee has just posted the schedule she used when she ended up teaching her son's co-op last week - has some good ideas like combining the microscope labs on some weeks and doing the other labs on the other weeks. She also posted a supply list when using the curriculum with a co-op.

    My group of kids has already done biology 2 years ago so I'm splitting off the older kids (12-15) and using a high school text for them, and will be using RSO bio2 for the younger half. The labs look pretty good but I know there are some I'm going to skip because we already did them 2 years ago. I also found some really cool labs while preparing the high school class and I think the younger kids can do those too.

    For 35% off I don't think you can go wrong. Even if you change up some of the labs, the RSO science courses have been the best secular science curriculum that I'v found. I too am hoping she comes out with Earth Science 2 before Fall 2015 so I can use it before my younger son outgrows it.
    Stay at home physicist - Mom to C (17) and J (14)
    https://homeschoolsciencegeek.wordpress.com

  8. #7

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    Forgot to mention, we're also going to add in more dissection because my younger son really enjoyed a squid dissection we did once and then another homeschool mom gave me a box of specimens they never got around to using in her class!
    Stay at home physicist - Mom to C (17) and J (14)
    https://homeschoolsciencegeek.wordpress.com

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by fastweedpuller View Post
    I am following this post with a lot of interest. We'll be doing it next fall with our 10yo rising 5th grader too. Dang, dbsam, I wish we lived maybe an hour closer because we could co-op!
    I'm willing to meet you half way!
    Actually, we stop our twice weekly drive to SJ next week. It really wasn't a bad drive and it is such a nice area. We didn't take advantage of being there as much as I had hoped. Of course winter driving can be much different.

    My kids love Cosmos, Nova, and any nature show. We haven't looked at the Bill Nye videos.


    p.s. I ordered it tonight. Thanks for all the responses.
    Last edited by dbsam; 07-17-2014 at 10:02 PM.
    Starting 8th grade (our fifth year homeschooling)
    Dumplett (girl - age 13) and Wombat (boy - age 13)

  10. #9

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    Thank you Crunchymum!
    Starting 8th grade (our fifth year homeschooling)
    Dumplett (girl - age 13) and Wombat (boy - age 13)

  11. #10
    Senior Member Enlightened panama10's Avatar
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    MS
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    Crunchymom you rock! That's awesome.

    I have to say, biology is the one class that terrifies me because I didn't care for it in high school. I loved chemistry and physics but biology never clicked for me.
    Kayra
    Mother, engineer, jack of many trades.
    Girl (13 yrs old), Boy1 (9 yr old), Boy 2 (9 yr old)
    http://journeytothelandofhomeschooling.blogspot.com/

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R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Biology (Level 2)