Teaching Science at Home
Make Science a Priority
Do you view science as a priority in your school curriculum? You, as the parent-teacher, set the tone for the school year through your attitude towards science. If you find science boring, less important than other subjects, or much too challenging, this article is for you! Science is an essential part of a well-rounded education. The Education Commission of the States requires four years of science classes, including one biology and one physical science, to graduate from high school. Most colleges won’t accept anything less. Skimping on science instruction until high school will guarantee that completing those required four years will be extremely difficult. Instead, we highly recommend quality science classes beginning with first grade.
Start at an Early Age
It’s best to start teaching science at home in the elementary grades for several reasons. The main reason is to build precept upon precept. Learning science basics in elementary school enables students to study further in middle school, continue building on their comprehension, and, therefore, arrive at high school well equipped for science. Second, young children are highly curiosity and learning science is the best way to answer many questions kids have. Third, learning science at an early age helps students understand the world they live in, making them appreciate and enjoy their world more deeply. Finally, an early introduction of science at home helps develop a love for science. With growing demand in science professions, you providing science education for your students may lead to a future career in science. Your child could be the person that discovers a cure for Lou Gehrig’s disease or diabetes. Your child may discover a new source of energy or better use for our natural resources. The possibilities in science are endless.
If the thought of teaching science is overwhelming, consider utilizing free resources on our website for information, tips, and curriculum ideas. Choosing a curriculum that fits your family well will set you up for success in teaching science. Whether your student enjoys science or feels indifferent to it, you need a curriculum that keeps your student engaged and interested. Hands-on science exploration not only keeps students connected to their studies but also is the best way to learn science. Quality science curriculums will include hands-on experiments, questions to encourage critical thinking, and objective evaluation of learned material.
Children are naturally curious and love to explore their world. Watch this short video to see how easy it is to feed this curiosity engaging them in real hands-on science discovery and learning.
When you first introduce it, you may wonder how it’s possible to fit science into an already busy schedule. The answer is simply to prioritize science in your homeschool schedule at the beginning of the year. You may only teach science one day a week, but engage in experiments regularly and consistently on that day. If you can’t cover all the lessons during the school year, consider continuing science instruction into summer.
Here are more ideas for how to fit science into busy schedules.
- Choose lessons that lend themselves well to outdoor adventures on spring and fall afternoons, such as pond life, insect collections, and bird identification.
- If necessary, hire someone for a couple of hours a week to assist with laundry, dishes or whatever you need, so you can focus on science study.
- Involve a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or neighbor who would enjoy spending time doing science experiments with children. By involving others, you free up your time for other necessary teaching. Plus, children and helpers will all benefit from building their relationships.
- Multitask when possible. Many chores can be done while the student or another parent reads aloud. Examples include folding clothes, cutting out classroom materials for the next day, or preparing part of a meal. Although some students will require undivided attention during their science reading, others may embrace the independence of working on their own, knowing you’re still available for questions.
Organize Science Materials
The old English Proverb “A place for everything and everything in its place” is especially true when teaching science at home. Though it takes work and energy, organizing science supplies, creating a space for them, and training children to put them away, is a worthwhile endeavor. Science equipment, in particular, will last longer if it’s cared for well. Designate a shelf or box for lab equipment that’s beyond the reach of younger children. A locked cabinet or closet is ideal.
Teaching Multiple Students
Teaching science to several students at once makes efficient use of your time. Below are some ways to teach multiple students at home.
- Whenever possible, teach a full year of science to students that are two to three years apart. Bring the younger child up to the level of the oldest student. The younger student may have to work a little harder, but both students will benefit from this science study. For example, teach biology to a 13- and 16-year-old together, since biology is an in-depth study of the life science courses typically taught to 13-year-olds.
- Focus on thematic units with students of all ages. A nature walk or collecting pond water would benefit students of various ages. An elementary, middle school, and high school student may all need to collect pond water or insects for different reasons. Look for ways that individual curriculums overlap.
- Involve older students in teaching younger students. Not only is this a good use of time but it also develops important teaching skills in older students. These students may set up experiments, read a textbook aloud, and assist or even perform an experiment or dissection for younger students.
The bottom line is that if you devote the time and energy to make science a priority now, your students will reap the benefits for years to come. After all, the love of science is truly a gift that keeps on giving. It’s something your children can use throughout their lives and even pass along to their own children someday.