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Anyone can Teach Science at Home is an article in our just released e-magazine, entitled Science Anyone? 

It’s a GREAT edition.  Please check it out.

When it comes to homeschooling, perhaps no subject is more feared or misunderstood than science. But to successfully teach science at home, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist!  Indeed, one of the draws of homeschooling—and one of the potential drawbacks as well—is that there is no one “right way.”  Whatever your science background and whichever method you choose, the following resources will help you provide a rigorous homeschool science education.

Textbook/curriculum

Families opting for a traditional approach to homeschool usually gravitate toward textbook or curriculum-based science study.  Although this method most closely mirrors a public school setting, homeschool science curriculum is worlds away from the abstract concepts and rote memorization many adults recall from their own school days.  While there are many suitable options, the following bestselling and award-winning curricula offer courses spanning kindergarten through high school graduation.

Real Science 4 Kids is a worldview-neutral (neither creationist nor evolutionary) curriculum focusing on fundamentals, giving students confidence with essential concepts and terms fortified with hands-on activities based on the scientific method and colorful illustrations. Kids enjoy the practical application of science concepts while parents appreciate the user-friendly teachers’ manuals.

Apologia, positioned from a Christian creationist perspective, is written in a conversational tone and features experiments that use mainly household items. The Exploring Creation and Young Explorer sequences prepare homeschool students for university science while simultaneously equipping them with knowledge to help them live and defend their faith.

Find complete companion lab kits for these and other popular science curricula, like Bob Jones and Switched-On Schoolhouse, at HomeScienceTools.com.

Online/distance learning

For self-directed and accelerated learners, online or distance science education offers flexible and diverse options. This method fits well for single or working parents who may lack the time to adequately address science instruction. With a variety of free and paid virtual instruction modules, you can customize a science track that’s perfect for your student.

OpenCourseWare, or OCW,  was created by university professors and is published for free use online with a goal of advancing learning across the globe through free access to web-based knowledge.  While it may sound too good to be true, it’s not a flawless system: OCW sites often don’t provide grading or other placement or access to faculty. However, Khan Academy, developed by a MIT/Harvard graduate, provides virtual courses, interactive content, and assessments free of charge and free of ads.  Parents create their own accounts so they can monitor kids’ work.

In addition to textbooks, Real Science 4 Kids and Apologia both offer virtual classrooms at various rates, complete with transcripts, credits, and grading.  A Google search of online science classes reveals many more companies offering virtual instruction.

Co-op

A co-op is simply a cooperative learning environment involving two or more families.  Often the parents take turns teaching, preparing lessons, and purchasing supplies.  Some co-ops invite a non-relative to teach—either occasionally or for the duration of the course.  Examples could be a neighbor or fellow church member with a background in science or teaching (or both!) helping out.

Some parents might prefer teaching the co-op themselves for the younger grades, but seek out more qualified instructors for the older grades.  At any level, however, the parents’ commitment to a robust science course is vital to the co-op’s success.

Of the many logistical considerations to address when starting a co-op, a few are what to study, whom to include, where to meet, and more. AmericanHomeschool.org provides a helpful guide to get you on your way to starting a co-op.

Inquiry based

Inquiry-based science education is thought by some to be the most scientific approach to teaching science, since it’s based on exploring questions, problems, or circumstances.  This approach closely mirrors how scientists use  the scientific method and encourages trial and error.  Often student-driven and teacher-guided, the inquiry-based style develops critical thinking skills as students analyze, synthesize, evaluate, and communicate information, ultimately mastering deeper comprehension.

JustScienceNow.com offers a list of online resources to aid inquiry science education.

Science Lab Supplies

A common misconception among some homeschooling families is that science supplies are expensive or difficult to procure.   While many experiments and lessons use common household items, certain items, like a microscope or chemistry supplies, take science exploration to a new level.  To begin building your home science lab, request a free catalog from Home Science Tools or peruse its online store for more than 2,000 affordable homeschool science products.

 

About Home Science Tools

Home Science Tools provides products and free resources for parents, teachers, and kids interested in hands-on science. Started by homeschooling parents in 1994, HST’s heart is homeschool families. 

 

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