We have been blessed to review Fascinating Education before. Last year, Nicholas did Fascinating Chemistry and really enjoyed it. This year, Nicky (12) and the twins (10) are working their way through Fascinating Biology.
Fascinating Biology is entirely online with lessons presented in a slide-like format. The courses are created by Sheldon Margulies, a neurologist, and a graduate of both medical and law school! Each lesson averages about 45 minutes in length. You can view the scope and sequence here. Each lesson is broken up into "sections," making it easy to see where you are, where you have been, and where you are going.
At the conclusion of each lesson, there is a short multiple choice quiz.
The topics covered by Fasctinating Education Biology are:
1. What is Life
2. Chemistry Review
3. The Cell Membrane
4. Take in Nutrients
5. Take in Energy
6. The Metallic Bond
7. Take in Energy
12. Protists, Animals, and Fungi
Each lesson is also accompanied by a script. Also, for those wondering about whether or not this course counts as a credit for high school biology, it is the opinion of Fascinating Education that it does. In the final analysis, though, that decision, of course, rests with you as a parent!
How We Used it and What we Thought
Although the courses are designed with high schoolers in mind, the folks at Fascinating Education have said that middle schoolers have used their courses with great success. It was with no trepidation that I sat Nicholas, Michael, and Mary-Catherine down to watch Biology (as I said, Nicholas really enjoyed Fascinating Chemistry). The first few Biology lessons are probably some of the most difficult. They are heavily Chemistry dependent. My best advice for these lessons (if you have younger kids) is to just to watch them and glean from them what you can. The kids will retain more than you realize. The material actually begins to resemble more of what you probably think of as Biology by Lesson 3.
I sat with my kids while we watched the lessons. We would typically watch half a lesson per day. I didn't want to overwhelm them with this material. The first thing that was apparent from Fascinating Biology was the stellar quality of the video. The colors and the video in general are sharp and beautiful. There is nothing low-quality about this material! After watching the video, the kids and I would discuss what we had seen. If they didn't understand something, I would seek out ways to explain it to them more on their level. Again, though, it makes sense just to let them absorb what they can on their level. Had Therese (14) been doing this course, it would have been exactly right for her. The further on in the course we go, the more the kids are able to understand. It is the chemistry in the beginning that is challenging for the younger kids.
As to whether the kids especially *love* Fascinating Biology? Well, as I indicated, the material is challenging. There also aren't a whole lot of bells and whistles (but, it is high-quality, well-done video, as I said). I think they are just a hair too young to really get the most of out of it. Ironically, Nicky liked Chemistry a lot more - that has everything to do with his interest in the material.
If you are looking for a rigorous, really solid Biology program that requires nothing of you, though, this is definitely one that you will want to check out!
Crew members also reviewed Fascinating Chemistry and Fascinating Physics. To see what they had to say, be sure to click the banner below!