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Are you looking for a secular science homeschool curriculum that is both engaging and rigorous? If so, then keep reading my Real Science Odyssey review to see if it is right for your family. This program offers a variety of science topics that are covered in depth, allowing your child to explore the world of science in a way that is both interesting and challenging. Plus, the lessons are flexible enough that you can adapt them to your own homeschooling style.
Real Science Odyssey Review
As homeschooling moms, we have a lot of responsibilities. Curriculum choices, lesson planning, and ensuring our children are well-educated (not to mention fed!) are just a few of the many things we juggle on a daily basis. Science can be one of those subjects that gets pushed to “later”. It can be tough to find the time to set up labs or do a little research for ourselves to feel confident teaching science. We have used Real Science Odyssey from Pandia Press for many years now and it is always my go-to recommendation for other homeschoolers looking for a secular science curriculum. Keep reading and I’ll give you an up close Real Science Odyssey review!
What is Secular Science Curriculum?
You might think science would obviously be secular, but that is not the case, my friends. Nothing simple here in the homeschool world. The easiest way to explain secular science is that there is no religious bias. The focus is on the scientific method and teaches scientific concepts without using any religious reasoning.
In the homeschool world, science curricula are described as faith-based, neutral or secular. Faith-based is generally taught as creationism or young earth theories. Neutral science tries to bridge the gap between secular and faith-based by leaving room for an intelligent design theory. Secular science will take religion out of science completely.
RSO, or R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey is completely secular.
How Intense is Real Science Odyssey?
We have loved RSO at our house because most of the labs use items you have in your house. I personally schedule science for 3 days a week but you can do more or less than that. Each book comes with a tentative schedule based on how many days a week you are shooting for.
I think teaching RSO will be fun for you if you like to see science in action and enjoy hands-on projects. In the younger years, each lesson has a page description about the concepts followed by 3-ish labs.
The middle and upper levels of RSO are academically much more intense, but I will discuss them more at length later on. So keep reading! 🙂
What topics does RSO curriculum teach?
Whereas most science curricula teach topics from life science, chemistry, physics, etc. all in one year, Real Science Odyssey focuses on one topic. Personally, I love this because I feel my kids have really learned each topic and system in-depth. If your kids really hate rocks, though, they might get bored during your year of Earth Science.
What Grades are Best for Real Science Odyssey?
RSO is split into the elementary levels (level 1) and middle/high school levels (level 2). Currently, Level 1 consists of
Earth & Environment (1st-4th)
The level 2 books include the following topics:
Biology 2 (6th -10th)
Astronomy 2 (6th-10th)
With each topic there is a suggested age range. In general, it is recommended you start with Life Science. I love the age ranges because it makes it very simple to combine all your kids into one level if you want. We have done it both ways where all the kids had their own science book, another year we combined 2 and 2 and this year we are doing everyone all together.
Can I combine Level 1 Life with Level 2 Biology?
If you look at the different levels you will see there seems to be some overlap with the Elementary Level Life and the Middle School level of Bio 2. It might be tempting to combine these two levels. I do not recommend doing this. The Level 2 books are a BIG jump in academic rigor from the elementary level books. You could combine parts of the level 1 Life and Level 2 Biology, but I think this would create a lot of extra work on the parent’s part.
The level 2 Biology uses a microscope and more involved labs regularly. There are also research portions that are not in the elementary levels.
Where do I find the Lab Materials?
RSO is an interactive secular science curriculum. There are a lot of labs for each lesson (they’re so fun!). Most of the items will be things you have around your house already. However, some items you will need to plan ahead for and order. When I first started homeschooling I tried to scrounge what I could, or substitute some of the lab items. It worked for some things but not for others. Then I discovered you can just buy a whole dang science kit for each level. Better yet – you can even customize that science kit so you are only buying the things you need. Once I discovered these kits, I took full advantage of them. They are a nice thing to have, but not a necessity so stick within your budget.
Should I buy the Print Book or the E-book?
This is totally a personal preference. At the time of this writing you can choose to purchase the e-book (PDF) or a print book. The advantage to the e-book is that you can print as many copies as you want, which works really great if you are using the program for multiple ages. The books also contain supplemental links so it is very easy to just click the link if you are using the ebook format. If you choose the print book you can make copies on your home printer or you can purchase additional copies of just the student pages.
Personally, I prefer the old-fashioned print book. Some years I just make copies and other years I purchase the additional student pages.
Do I need the Instructor’s Guide for the Level 2 books?
Yes. Even if you are a science nerd, the instructor’s book is very helpful for explaining some of the things you see in the microscope or other lab findings.
My Personal Opinion on RSO
We have personally used all the level 1 books as well as Biology 2. I think they have given my kids a real love for science and understanding of scientific concepts. I have tried other secular science curricula but always come back to Real Science Odyssey.
RSO is an incredible homeschool science curriculum that covers everything from basic biology to chemistry and physics. Best of all, it’s designed to be flexible so you can tailor it to your own needs. If you’re looking for an affordable and complete science curriculum, I hope my Real Science Odyssey review gave you enough information to make a choice on whether or not it will work for you. If you have used it or have more specific questions – just ask! I’ll tell you my honest opinion.