Real Science Odyssey or Real Science 4 Kids?

I am trying to decide between Real Science Odyssey or Real Science 4 Kids for this coming year. I will have a 6 year old and 10 year old. Bonus points if they can do science together.

If you have used either of these in the past, what are the pros and cons?


Hello! I’m so sorry I just saw your post. I’m not sure if you’re still looking for the information, but I’ve used both of these curriculums, so I thought I’d share some of the pros/cons we found with them. Note: We used RS4K Level 3 Building Blocks, and Odyssey Chemistry.

  1. Real Science Odyssey is 1 topic covered for the entire year (i.e. Biology all year), whereas RS4K has 2 programs. One is like Odyssey - you choose a topic (i.e. Biology) and cover it all year OR you can choose their Building Blocks program with is 5 different subjects covered every year, but obviously to a smaller degree each year. By the end they cover the same material, it’s just presented in smaller chunks ever year instead of one topic per year (I hope that makes sense.)
    I tried RS4K level 3 Building Blocks because I wanted to do a spiraling curriculum where we continuously learn about different topics EVERY year, slowly building upon our knowledge every time we go through. At the same time, I was teaching a co-op class with the Odyssey program, so I was using both programs during the same year, in different settings.

  2. Odyssey is extremely hands on (excellent!), and because of that, I would say very teacher directed. There are a lot of great handouts, worksheets and experiments to do for every lesson (side note, we did Odyssey 1x per week, but could have easily done shorter sessions 2-3x per week. It’s meant to last the year, and it did.) There are an enormous amount of materials needed to complete the experiments (not necessarily difficult to obtain around the house/kitchen, but it’s an extensive list to go through.) We felt that, while there were a few holes in the program (nothing is perfect) it was extremely concise.

  3. RS4K did not require nearly as many experiment materials, and it was definitely less intensive for both kids and teacher. It comes with a nice colorful textbook, but we also used books from our collection and the library. We found some of the experiments to be boring, repetitive and/or unimaginative. Most of us are quite used to searching Pinterest, and I feel that the author(s) could have significantly enhanced the program with better experiments. I did not love the program, but overall we felt it was okay - good enough to use until I could find something better…
    Until recently when I ordered Level 4 Building Blocks. I was really disappointed again with the experiments. I figured I’d end up changing everything. Additionally, I emailed the company and requested a scope/sequence for the entire program. I felt like it had huge holes in the curriculum. The topics it did touch upon, I felt it just touched the surface and jumped to something completely different and semi-unrelated. It just didn’t make a load of sense to me (and one of my previous jobs was helping create curriculums… I’m not perfect, but I do have an eye for some of these things!) I was so dissatisfied with Level 4, that I returned it.

  4. I just got the Odyssey Earth/Space program - it’s decent, but it also has quite a few holes in it. Still, I’d absolutely choose it over the RS4K program. I just ordered Elemental Science - it seems very similar to Odyssey, but it has some additional parts to it I found intriguing.

  5. Final thoughts: Odyssey is extremely hands-on and intensive for both students and teachers (in a good way.) While it has some holes, they wouldn’t deter me from using the program. RS4K has some gaping holes and, in my opinion, unimaginative projects/experiments. If those are your only 2 choices, I’d suggest Odyssey. You may also take a look at Elemental Science, but we haven’t actually used it yet, so I offer no opinion.

I hope all of that helps in some way. Feel free to ask more specific questions if you have any. :slight_smile: