Friday, October 9, 2020

NatureGlo's eScience

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Our family loves learning about science and the world around with a natural, hands-on approach. That's why I was pleased to review NatureGlo's eScience, a site filled with nature-based online math and science unit studies.

Gloria Brooks has over 20 years of eclectic teaching with child-directed learning. She has helped students all over the globe to fall in love with the natural world while also covering other subjects. By leaving dry textbooks behind and heading into nature, her goal is to ignite passion and curiosity to produce lifelong learners. She created the NatureGlo's eScience MathArt and Science Course Bundle as a one-stop, nature-based eLearning center for ages 10-18.

NatureGlo's eScience (NeS) offers 31 courses divided in 5 categories:
  • MathArt
  • Marine Biology
  • Herps (reptiles and amphibians)
  • Botany
  • Geology

The topics that are taught vary greatly and cover all sorts of interesting things: Galapagos tortoises, deep sea creatures, polygons and patterns in nature, giant redwood trees, gray wolves, rock hounding, Komodo dragons, chameleons, tide pools, queen conchs, Leonardo da Vinci, geometric snowflakes, and more. There's even a one-lesson class on bubbleology. 

The classes are easy to use. Once you begin a course, a list of the lessons is given, showing what is included. Many of the courses contain a PowerPoint slideshow, pre-lesson activity, main lesson videos, and activities.

The lessons may contain instructions, reading texts, downloads, videos, and additional links. The main lesson videos are pre-recorded live classes that Gloria has done with her students. They can be a bit awkward to watch as an outsider. There are pauses as you wait for a student to respond along with the feeling of being left out during discussions in which you can't partake. My kids enjoy when Gloria is teaching, but are somewhat aloof with the interaction of the students.

As you finish each lesson, there is a Mark Complete button to click. That will cross off the lesson from the list and highlight a checkmark next to it. There is also a bar to show progress along with the percentage that is completed for the entire course.

My middle child (10 years) is my biggest nature kid. He especially loves learning about animals and can rattle off multiple facts about all sorts of creatures. He's currently working through the
Herps Zoology: Poison Dart Frog, Python, and Caiman course. He has completed a Venn diagram, colored realistic pages, watched people handle pythons, learned that there's more than one type of reticulated python and that poison dart frogs lay their eggs and then transfer the tadpoles to water, and is working on drawing a caiman.

My daughter (12 years) is my artistic child. Of course, she was drawn to the MathArt courses and The Geometric Beauty of Snowflakes. She learned that there are triangular flakes and ice needles and created snowflakes out of popsicle sticks.

The dashboard has all the record-keeping: courses, achievements, certificates, grades, and more. You can see the date a course was started, the percentage that's been completed, and the grade. If your child doesn't click that Mark Complete button at the bottom of the lessons, none of that information will be recorded. Ask me how I know, ha.

I allow my kids to choose which classes they want to complete, but if you're looking for a more formal schedule for study, Gloria has created a RoadMap of courses. Following this plan will take you on a learning journey through all of the mathart and science lessons in a systematic way.

My kids can work through the courses mostly by themselves. Some of lesson pages feel distracting because of the amount of information on each page. My son was confused by all the links on the DK Find Out! sections. Also, we had issues with various videos and links and would get error codes such as 404 Not Found, Sorry the file you have requested does not exist, Video unavailable, and File is in owner's trash. We have also had videos that have either not played at all or have taken an extremely long time to load.

Despite the issues, we have enjoyed the information in the classes. Whenever possible, we just look for a similar video or print coloring pages from a different source. I do wish there were more hands-on activities though. If you'd like a virtual tour the site and all it has to offer, there is a video that explains it in detail.

My son told me, "I really like the slideshows and videos that show the animals." If you, too, want to delve deeper into MathArt and Science classes in a self-paced, natural way, you should check out NatureGlo's eScience.

You can connect with NatureGlo's eScience on the following social media sites:

You can read more reviews of NatureGlo's eScience on the Homeschool Review Crew blog.

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