I am a firm believer that by studying the field of science we can gain a deeper appreciation for God’s glorious creation! As a homeschooler, it can be tough to find a good creation based science curriculum. It was for this reason that Don and the CWS team have created the CrossWired Science online science program. We were blessed to be chosen to receive access to the first two units of CrossWired Science – Sound, and Fluid Dynamics – as beta testers!
At the beginning of our review period the creators were still adding and tweaking things, so we really got the opportunity to ease into the program. This was a positive in my opinion, as the material presented is so vast – and they are STILL adding more to each global topic every day!
What makes CrossWired online science different?
In my 15 years of homeschooling, I have NEVER seen an online science program quite like this one! One subscription includes access to the available Global topics for one student for one year. The recommended pace will cover eight Global Topics in a school year. There will eventually be a total of 30 Global Topics available for you to choose from. Currently there are two – SOUND and FLUID DYNAMICS which we have had access to during our review period.
Within each Global Topic, there are video lessons which are followed by short quizzes for your student to complete. Each Global Topic is “crosswired” into multiple subject areas, hence the name of the program. Regardless of the topic, the structure is the same – four videos with quizzes, then experiments, research, general links, and u-choose. Then you watch four more videos, complete the quizzes, then complete another set of experiments, reinforcement, general links, and suggested field trips. By this point, your student has been introduced to the main topics and has had lots of opportunities for deeper learning and hands-on activities related to these topics over a period of a few weeks.
This is followed by four reading “units” which contain a large variety of materials to choose from along with a reading plan for each. So your student can read up to four science related books/magazines and complete the reading plan for each. Everything is very flexible and you can choose what to require your student to complete and when according to their individual ability.
Your student is now ready for the Gold Dig video lesson, followed by five Gold Dig activities. This set of Gold Dig exercises is designed to take your student very deep into every possible branch of an online science topic. For example, in the Fluid Dynamics topic the Gold Dig is all about bones. Each section of the Gold Dig has a printable worksheet for your student to complete as they scroll through and read the material. Fair warning – it is a LOT of material and is intended to be completed at a pace that is comfortable for the student.
The next set of activities to be completed are the Unit Links. These links are set up similarly to the General Links, but there are less options due to these being more specifically tailored to the Global Topic. They are divided by level 1 or level 2. It is recommended that your student spend two days viewing level appropriate links and recording key facts about each. Each Global Topic is wrapped up with a Teen Devotional activity and/or a Sci-devotional activity.
Each Global Topic is designed to be completed in approximately 22-46 days, depending on how much time you choose to spend on each activity, but could take longer if you opt to go into a more in depth study of some of the “crosswired” subject areas. It is an extremely flexible online science program!
A Sidebar about “crosswiring”
I mentioned above how each Global Topic is “crosswired” into multiple other subject areas. To give you an idea of just how in-depth this program is, here are the subject areas listed for the Fluid Dynamics GT:
Aerodynamics, Hydrodynamics, Bernoulli’s Principle, Vortices, Turbulent and Laminar Flow, Daniel Bernoulli, Orville And Wilber Wright, Ailerons and Their History, Kingfisher Hydrodynamics, Penguin Hydrodynamics, Dolphin Hydrodynamics, Fin Types and Swim Patterns, Bird Flight, Bird feathers, Insect Flight, Avian Lungs, Box Fish Swimming, Animal And Insect Drinking, Shark Denticles, Nose Turbinates of People and Animals, Cavitation, Cavitation and Ship Propellers, Cavitation Erosion, Mt. Saint Helens, Cavitation and Sedimentation, Air Foils, Hydrofoils, Venturi’s, Rocket Aerodynamics, Carburetors, the Space Station, Piezoelectricity and more.
What I think is really quite amazing about this curriculum is that it exposes the student to and provides opportunities to learn more about so many scientific concepts and areas of study than just the main Global topic. If my child was going through the Fluid Dynamics topic then found out he was really intrigued by bird or insect flight, there is plenty of material within the unit for him to dig deeper into that area and learn more!
Online science for all ages…
Another unique aspect of CrossWired Science is that it is intended to be used for ages 4-18. This is a huge age span! There are so many options for each set of activities which makes it simple to find something for every stage of ability. Each Global Topic is further divided into First Timer and Second Timer sections. The material presented to each is essentially the same, with the Second Timer going a bit more in depth and the questions and activities being more challenging.
For the Parent/Teacher
With your online science subscription, you receive separate student and teacher accounts. The teacher area allows you to not only access the curriculum without affecting your student’s progress or grade, but you can manage students, track progress, see quiz results, see quiz and activity answers submitted, access calendars and worksheets to download and print, access all links included in each topic, and access other teacher resources and helps.
While beta testing an online program that is still in it’s beginning stages can be frustrating, I received lots of communication from the developers via email during our review period. They were very good about sharing updates and sharing information that allowed us to navigate the program more easily. Even using CrossWired Science in its beginning stages has been very exciting and my high-schooler has enjoyed getting away from the textbooks and getting to experience online science in a whole new way! The content itself is very impressive and I am super excited to see the program grow and gain momentum. I truly believe they have provided something unique for homeschool families and I highly recommend you consider using CrossWired Science, especially if you are looking for something more rich and in-depth than what is contained in your typical text/workbook science curriculum! The ONLY reason this review isn’t receiving 5 stars is due to the fact that it’s not yet complete – meaning there is not yet a full year’s worth of study ready to go, but they plan to release two more Global topics in the coming months and are offering to extend new subscribers in the meantime a few extra months beyond the 12-month term which I think is awesome!
Make sure you click on over to the TOS Review Crew blog to read what other families had to say about CrossWired Science!