Science is such a simple subject to explore with children. They have a natural curiosity that makes “doing science” so easy. If we keep good resources on hand, get excited about our children’s discoveries, and help them to explore further the topics that interests them, we will create natural little scientists.
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How to teach your children science
We approach Science in two ways: mom directed during our family learning time and child-led as interests arise. The beauty of homeschooling is that you, Mom, do not have to know it all! You are not called to fill the role of all-knowing teacher. You are the lead learner. You set the example of an enthusiastic investigator, excited to see what discoveries can be made and what information can be learned. Together you and your children will learn things about the world of Science.
Using a Science Curriculum
For the last couple years we have used the science courses from The Good and The Beautiful during our family learning time. This means that once or twice a week we are moving through this curriculum together as a family (my high schoolers have a different plan so they don’t usually participate in this time). The lessons are simple to complete and come with a corresponding student journal. The benefit to this time is that it has introduced my children to different ideas within the realm of science that they can then go and continue learning more about on their own if they find an interest there.
Last year we did the Geology course and my eight year old became so interested in the topic that he continued to learn and research rocks for months, finally presenting his information in a project fair that the area homeschool group puts on. Planned curriculum plus delight directed learning can produce some exciting fruit within our children.
Science in the Highschool years
My high schoolers also balance both guided learning and independent exploration in their study of science. I consider the teen years to be a valuable time for nurturing their interest and the vision they are starting to develop for their future.
To guide them through this process I observe the things that interest them and then suggest ideas they might be interested in. I came across the Physics course from All In One Homeschool and thought it would be something my older son would enjoy. He agreed to give it a try and so we added it to his weekly school checklist. The course sparked an interest in the periodic table for him and he went on to five more deeply into that topic. About two thirds through the course he mentioned that it wasn’t really enjoying it anymore and we decided to stop and go a different route. However, the the information he had learned through that course had given him a new avenue to explore.
For my oldest daughter, science has been a very focused study of one topic (animal husbandry) with smaller explorations of things like herbal medicine. Since she has decided to work toward starting her own cattle farm as an adult, I make sure that these precious highschool years are filled with resources and opportunities that support that goal. She probably won’t be studying chemistry, but she will learn about topics like biology and anatomy as she continues her delight directed learning.
Make Learning Science Easy
Whether you purchase them or check out a rotating collection from the library, having books on hand to inspire your children is a valuable part of self-taught science. Children are born scientists ready to explore the world around them. All we really need to do is create an environment that fosters learning. Here are a few resources we have enjoyed:
The Encyclopedia of Country Living
The Periodic Table: Elements with Style!
Janice VanCleave’s experiment books
Supercharged Science YouTube channel
The Nature Connection (Journal)
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