Review: Real Science Odyssey Earth and Space

You may recall that my younger kids and I have become big fans of Real Science Odyssey. Last year we thoroughly enjoyed the first in the series, Life. This upcoming school year, we’ll be using Earth and Science.

In fact, we started Earth and Science just before the last school year ended since, for the first time ever, we actually finished an entire school book within the school year. Wow!

That tells me that Real Science Odyssey is perfectly paced for a normal school year.

“Yeah,” you may say, “but you finished early.”

True, but we skipped a couple of units, too. I had intended to come back and pick them up when I was more prepared (read: when I had ordered the butterfly kit I forgot to order), but we never did. That doesn’t mean that I might not throw them in next year, though.

Like its predecessor, Real Science Odyssey: Life, the backbone of Earth and Space is its great, hands-on lessons. Each lesson begins with a read-aloud page to introduce the concepts being taught and to explain unfamiliar vocabulary.

We enjoyed that the entire first unit focused on weather (and, boy, did we have some crazy weather during that time!). We love that the Real Science Odyssey books are so hands-on. In studying the weather we:

…explored temperatures in the sun:

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…in the shade:

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…and in ice water with a thermometer

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We made a rain gauge:

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…attempted to measure wind speed (we never could get this one to work quite right, but there is a very real possibility that it was operator error):

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…measured wind direction:

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…and learned why seasons happen:

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These are things that I never would have thought to do on my own, so I appreciate the direction that Real Science Odyssey offers. I’m also thankful for the included lesson plans that break down the lessons into a 36-week school year, doing science twice a week.

After we resume school next fall, we’ll be learning about things like:

  • Geology
  • The Solar System (I am a little sad that poor Pluto is studied as a dwarf planet, but I know that’s something my kids need to learn)
  • Soil and erosion

There is also a materials list at the beginning of each Real Science book so you can plan to buy materials as you go or purchase supplies for the entire year (except, of course, perishable items).

Each Real Science book takes into account that each parent has different teaching styles and each student different learning styles. That’s why you’ll find a list of optional resources, including books and websites, in each level of Real Science Odyssey.

Additionally, each level (at least the two I’ve seen), includes ideas for keeping a nature notebook to encourage kids and their parents to get out and experience science up close and personal.

When we used RS: Life, we had a physical book. I appreciated the fact that it came loose leaf, three-hole punched, saving me the trouble of having the binding cut so that I could place it in a binder for ease of use.

For RS: Earth and Space, we were sent an ebook. I didn’t think I was going to like that as well because I prefer print books, but it was really nice just being able to shoot to the printer the pages I needed copies of.

The ebooks also offer a glossary feature where you can click on the vocabulary words and be taken straight to that entry in the glossary. There are also a few other nifty, interactive features in the ebook, allowing you to jump to another section in the book or even jump to related pages on the web.

Each of the Real Science Odyssey books are available as an instant download from Pandia Press for $38.99 or you can visit the website to find a list of vendors for a print copy.

I received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it.  I received no other compensation for this review.  The opinions expressed in this review are my personal, honest opinions.  Your experience may vary. Please read my full disclosure policy for more details.

Comments

  1. Mary says

    We have been using RSO Life and we love it!  We are doing Earth and Space next – thanks for the great preview!

  2. Alexdk says

    We'll be using REAL Science Odyssey Life this coming year! I took a long time looking through all the programs available and liked this one the best. I think it will be a nice fit for us too.

  3. Dianne says

    We just finished RSO Earth and  Space this year and are moving on to Life next year.  We absolutely LOVED it!  And don't worry, we couldn't get the anenometer to work either :)

  4. the3kidsandme says

    I bought this and two others from them… We LOVE it! I actually go between the three, so ours will stretch for a few years! :)

  5. Jennifer says

    This is the science I was leaning toward for my girls. I only had two concerns. The previous poster answered one of them.

    I was wondering if I could buy the books and go between them–like use the first few units/chapters of each book during a year and move on to the next few the following year, and so on… My worry was that they would forget information from a particular subject if they did it all in one year and didn’t see it again for several more. So I guess I can do that easily?

    My other concern was that there doesn’t seem to be any physics. Am I wrong? Is there a physics book coming out or is it discussed in one of the other books? I was thinking that I could possibly use the REAL Science-4-Kids physics set if the RSO didn’t have one. Any thoughts?

    • Kris Bales says

      I’d love to help, but I’m really not sure about either of those questions. We used only one book at a time (and thoroughly enjoyed each) and I don’t recall if they have a physics book or not. While we love RSO, the curriculum we’re currently using is all-inclusive, so we aren’t doing science separately.

      My older daughter uses the Real Science-4-Kids chemistry book and really enjoys it, but I don’t have any experience with their physics book.

  6. Erin says

    I’m wondering if you could tell me how much you paid for supplies for this curriculum, and, on average, how much time it took you to get everything together. I like the idea of hands-on, especially for science, but it does seem to be like a lot more work.

    What all-inclusive curriculum are you using?

    • Kris Bales says

      We’re using Trail Guide to Learning. You can find my review on my Reviews page. I’ll be doing a review of the third volume in the series later this week.

      As far as I can recall about REAL Science Odyssey, most of the supplies were things you’d already have on hand. I don’t remember how much time it took to pull everything together. It couldn’t have been long or I wouldn’t have loved it as much as I did. :)

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