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  1. #1

    Default REAL Science Odyssey vs. Elemental Science

    Trying to decide on a science program for ds and both of these look interesting. They seem quite similar, really. Has anyone here used both? A preference for one over the other? How do the two programs compare?

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  3. #2


    I know one of the biggest differences is that Elemental Science will not deal with evolution or Old Earth in any way while the Level 2 books for RSO will cover Evolution.
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  4. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by dottieanna29 View Post
    I know one of the biggest differences is that Elemental Science will not deal with evolution or Old Earth in any way while the Level 2 books for RSO will cover Evolution.
    I was already leaning more towards RSO and if this is the case that seals the deal: RSO it is.

  5. #4


    We have been using RSO chemistry this year and like it very much. I am thinking of using RSO Life next year with dd. You also can't beat the price! If you have any specific questions, I would be happy to answer them. I don't have any experience with Elemental Science, though. Maybe someone else can chime in with a comparison.
    ​​~ DD-13 homeschooled
    ~ DS-17 formerly homeschooled, now attending private school

  6. #5


    I've used RSO for last year and this, and I think I'm going to use ES next year.

    I would switch for a couple of reasons:
    1. The supply list is smaller for ES and it incorporates outside books into the curriculum so I don't have to think about it. This is a personal choice: There's a huge supplemental reading list in RSO but I never remember about it until weeks after the fact and I'm trying to break away from a completely written-out curriculum to get M1 used to more independent study.
    2. Since I started with RSO a couple of years ago, there has been no notable progress towards a physics curriculum. They say it's in the works, but I'd rather switch now and get comfortable with a new format before it's necessary in fourth grade.

    If I chose NOT to switch, it would be due to the fact that ES requires a LOT more writing than RSO. M1 hates writing, so that is a big strike. I'm still pondering, but I'm leaning toward ES.

    (BTW, on the ES web site FAQ, here's what it says about evolution/creation: "4. Is Elemental Science Secular or Christian? Although I am a Christian, I have tried to write Elemental Science as non-sectarian. I have done my best to write each program in a manner that focuses on the science being studied instead of a person’s religious viewpoint. This was an easy task for Biology, Chemistry and Physics. However, in the interest of full disclosure, Earth Science and Astronomy for the Grammar Stage does use texts that mention evolution and there is a suggestion of doing a study of creation in the teacher’s guide." Since I haven't used it, I can't say for sure how good of a job it does, but there's the official answer, anyway.)

    Hope this is helpful
    Sarah B., Oklahoma

    "By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the bitterest." - Confucius

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  7. #6


    I am only starting with Pandia Press, I love that it has all of the supplemental reading but I know I have to be way more organised as books can often take a month to that's more about me than the program.

    No matter what I used I would always supplement with my stuff anyway, but I do like having the guide to hold my hand so to speak.

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  8. #7


    RSO is very very light on teaching. You'll have to do that yourself, really. It's really just fun activities that help reinforce lessons, but it's not enough on its own.

    We really enjoyed RSO Life in 2nd grade, although it was a bit young even for that (IMO). I used the DK Nature Encyclopedia to look up each topic, and then we would find something we wanted to learn more about online or through library books, and do the activities in RSO. The DK book is PERFECT for coordinating with the lessons. I still remember the "I'm a spider, not an insect" song! I don't think my DS retained anything from that program, but exposure was my goal.

    We tried RSO Earth/Space in 3rd and mostly used Magic School Bus books for the teaching, along with some library books. I thought the activities were boring and didn't really reinforce the lessons. We ended up skipping a lot of them or just talking about them. To their credit, Earth/Space is kind of a boring topic if you just stick to planets and geology, but they could have done a lot more. In retrospect I wish I'd bought some experiment kits to go with the Magic School Bus books instead of using RSO. ETA: this would be OK for a K/1st grader who knew nothing, but for older kids they really are capable of understanding so much more!

    We are doing Singapore MPH now, but I bought Elemental Chem to do over the summer. It's a full-year program, but we're going to do as much as we can. The experiments look more age-appropriate (not as simplified) and I really like the emphasis on lab reports & the scientific method. We have 1-2 more years before we start middle school science, and I just may do Elemental Physics (Grammar) and Biology (Logic) next school year. We'll see how Chem goes, but I'm really feeling optimistic.
    Last edited by ondreeuh; 03-02-2011 at 01:03 PM.

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    DS 8th grade: BookShark 8 history, MBtP 12-14 literature, Essentials in Writing 8, Battle of the Books, Holt Course 3 math, 8th grade Math Minutes, HST Physical Science, Youth Digital Game Design, Home Ec!

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    DS 2nd grade: Calvert 3, MBtP 7-9 literature, Battle of the Books,Math in Focus 3/BA 3, Raddish cooking subscription

    (outsourced musical theater, sports, scouts, etc.)

  9. #8


    I found that about RSO Earth/Space also. We've finished Space (heavily supplemented with library books and internet) and are now on Earth, but as Anderea said, it's pretty boring and really too young for 2nd/3rd grade. It's really just a collection of experiments and activities, and to me they often feel like busy work. I think I'll be mostly making up my own Earth study this term using RSO lightly for a few activities or ideas. DS does not find the subject matter boring at all, but many of the labs don't really teach much and it's up to me to find the actual learning material that they are supposed to support.

    I'll look up Elemental Chem for next year since that has been recommended. I'm dreading going with RSO again because of the boredom factor, but I really really don't feel qualified to make up my own science course especially for Chem and beyond.

    ETA: I have to make the disclaimer that I personally have a hard time getting enthused about science, and so while RSO is probably great for someone more science minded and creative than me, I find that I just haven't been able to make it exciting. That's a personal issue though, and not a knock on the curriculum itself.

    I did just check out Elemental Science Chemistry and it looks like it's maybe more of what we might need next year. It looks more in depth for DS which is important, and perhaps like there's more meat to it. I balked when I read the materials list though--my kitchen must not be stocked like theirs! There's a huge amount of items that I don't have lying around my house, and that I'd never use again if I purchased them individually. That may very well be a problem with all chemistry programs though, by the very nature of the necessary labs. I wonder what else is out there.
    Last edited by hockeymom; 03-02-2011 at 03:21 PM.
    Mama to one son (12)

  10. #9


    What about the higher levels of RSO do they get anymore meatier?

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  11. #10
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    I thought they hadnt made any of the higher levels of RSO yet - the history yes, the science, no
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REAL Science Odyssey vs. Elemental Science