Tuesday, November 15, 2016

{Homeschool Product Review} ~ Physics 101


The very word can send the bravest homeschooling mom into the closet, to not come out until the end of the high school years. But something is here to help and in a big way: Physics 101 from The 101 Series.

Physics, Chemistry & Biology 101 {The 101 Series}

Now please don't stop reading just because you saw the word physics. I about did the same when I saw this product up for review, but then did some further looking into this resource.

What It Is:

Physics 101, The Mechanics of God's Physical World, is a DVD course for high school students. The parts covered in this complete curriculum are:

  •  Introduction to Physics - 1 lesson
  • The Physics of Light - 3 lessons (color, mirrors, lenses, speed of light....) 
  • The Physics of Sound - 2 lessons (sound, acoustics, the sound barrier....)
  • The Physics of Heat - 3 lessons (heat and cold, thermodynamics.....)
  • The Physics of Electricity - 3 lessons (outlets, circuits, batteries, electromagnetic spectrum...)
  • The Physics of Motion - 4 lessons (Isaac Newton, law of gravity, laws of motion....)
  • The Physics of the Weird - 3 lessons (Albert Einstein, relativity, quantum mechanics....)
  • Future of Physics - 1 lesson 

 As you can see, there are 20 lessons on 4 DVD discs. Each lesson should take two weeks to complete for a total of 40 weeks of instruction. You can easily spend 1 week on the first and last chapters which would have your high school student finished with this course in 38 weeks.

Physics, Chemistry & Biology 101 {The 101 Series}

You will also receive the Guidebook. This is conveniently on the last disc and opens up in Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is a 106 page book that has a text to read along with lesson quizzes. The text given is easy to read and mirrors the DVD lesson. There are places in the margins where fun facts and trivia are given. There are also short biographies and commentaries by the author that help to explain the concepts. Each lesson has between three and six pages of text that include not only the quiz but in-depth discussion questions as well.

The Accreditation Booklet is also a big help for us homeschooling moms! The booklet lays out the schedule and assignments to follow to count this as a high school credit. There is enough homework given in the assignments to last 135 hours, which is typically enough for high school credit. For each lesson there are:

  •  Physics Notebook Assignments: Each student is required to begin a Physics Notebook - a place to record all of the information they learn throughout this course.
  • Labs: These simple experiments help to explain the concept in each lesson. And most of these labs are done on the DVD, so your student will know exactly how to conduct them when they do it on their own. Some of these include making a compass, making 'singing glasses' (lesson on sound), and collecting items that have the same conduction. There is a simple supply list at the beginning of the Guidebook.
  • Reading and Research: In each lesson there is an assignment for further research and study. These vary per lesson - sometimes it is writing a 200 page essay, drawing a diagram, or drawing a timeline of a scientists' life. 

How We Used This And What We Thought:

As I said above, I was quite apprehensive about reviewing a physics course. I was homeschooled and did complete high school biology and anatomy. But my mom and I both decided that physics was not a course I was going to tackle. Which made me really nervous about reviewing this.

I decided to actually take this course myself. Bookworm is about finished with her high school studies and Dasher is not quite ready for this yet. And since I had never had any instruction in physics, I felt up to the challenge.

I spent 4 weeks doing this program. I was a quite a bit intimidated, saying in my mind that I was taking a physics course.

First off, I sat down and watched the Introduction to Physics DVD lesson, which is 30 minutes long. And I'll tell you, my first impression was a great one. I understood everything he said! I was thinking that he would be talking over my head most of the time, after all, this is PHYSICS. But Mr. Olson does a great job of bringing physics into everyday life.

In the beginning, he explains that physics is the science of asking questions. So, each lesson is based on daily questions that we might have about our world. 

The second lesson, which is on light and color, dealt with these three questions:

  • Why is the sky blue?
  • What makes rainbows?
  •  What's the difference between light and pigment color?

And after watching the DVD, reading the text and writing my notes, I am happy to say that I can answer those three questions! And not only answer them, but understand the why behind the answer.

 {my notes}

The third lesson, which I tackled in week 3, asked:

  • Why is my face upside down when I look at my reflection in a spoon?

I learned that the answer has to do with refraction and the concave of the spoon. And the next morning at breakfast, I happily shared this with my kiddos, as we all checked out how we looked, upside down in our spoons.

 {Segment 3 quiz}

I found the DVD lessons to be simple to understand, yet not so simple that I lost interest. Mr. Olson did a great job of explaining and keeping the student's attention. These lessons do not take place in a classroom, on the contrary the scenes change from a barn, living area, kitchen, and numerous locations outdoors. The experiments are shown on the DVD, which has excellent graphics, sounds, and photos. There are also bits of humor which I appreciated as well.

And one of the best parts? This DVD series is from a biblical perspective. From the beginning, Mr. Olson makes it clear that the purpose of this DVD is to give students an enhanced understanding and an appreciation of our created world.

I am not a physicist. Obviously. And at this point, I don't think I am raising any future physicists. One of the hurdles I thought I would need to pass to understand physics was higher levels of math. (Which is SUCH my weakness!) But in the introduction, Mr Olson actually points out that this is an overview of physics, and the purpose of the course is to give students an appreciation of physics without needing higher math. Of course a student that is interested in further study can pursue higher math and physics classes, but this course does an amazing job of fulfilling the high school physics requirement and giving students a greater appreciation of  physics.

Understanding how God has given us gravity, force, light, sound, and so much more is a very important part of higher education. Physics, a class that you should not be scared of teaching! Not with The 101 Series to help you, and make this part of science so very interesting.

There are two other courses that The 101 series has produced, Chemistry 101 and Biology 101.

Check out what others thought by clicking below!

Physics, Chemistry & Biology 101 {The 101 Series}

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