Six Tips to Inspire Your Homeschool Science
Science is about the wonder, discovery, and exploration of God’s Creation. Here is a list of six tips to encourage and inspire your homeschool science plans.
1. Get organized and work smarter, not harder. Spend an hour or two each week looking over and planning the week. As a homeschooling mom of four, I enjoyed going to the coffee shop or the library with my bag of books and my planner, while my husband spent some quality time with the children. I reflected on what we had accomplished to date in the school year and looked at where we needed to go in the upcoming weeks to achieve our year-end goals. This planning time gave me a clear picture of what needed to happen, and I started our week feeling more in control. Although the weeks didn’t always go exactly as planned, because of these weekly planning sessions, adjustments could be made. I came to really enjoy these planning breaks!
2. Get help. If science isn’t a strength, find a homeschool mom at church or in your homeschool group who loves teaching homeschool science courses. Plan to get together once a week to trade expertise on favorite subjects. A local college or university may also be a resource. Many times you can find science students or professors willing to help you find resources. Christian colleges are a good place to start.
Check the community section of the newspaper for community outreach programs sponsored by local water and power companies. These organizations enjoy visiting school groups and bringing along great information and engaging activities.
3. Encourage your child to ask questions and to do research. Remember we don’t know everything. Science is learning about the world around us and how everything in it works. Learning how to look for answers is a valuable tool to teach your children.
4. Start with hands-on. Science is best learned by doing. In my many years of teaching science, I’ve found that even the most bored students (you know, the ones that roll their eyes whenever it’s time for science) who halfheartedly begin an activity, quickly become engaged and interested in finding out the “why” behind an activity when there is a hands-on component. Students who do science also remember more of what they learn—this is a win-win.
It is easy to incorporate hands-on activities when you have a plan for carrying them out. During your homeschool planning session, add a few hands-on activities to your homeschool science. It just takes a few minutes during your planning session to look over what experiments you’ll do and prepare for them.
Keep a list of the materials you will need to incorporate hands-on learning. A planner is a good place to jot a shopping list down for the upcoming week. Planning and shopping ahead will help make sure the hands-on activities make it into your homeschool science for the week!
Planning your activities greatly increases the odds that you’ll have the time and materials to carry out the activities.
5. Get students involved and empower them. By giving older students more control over their assignments and activities, they’ll begin to take ownership of their education and use their talents and interests in a positive way.
Students can begin using their own planners sometime between the fourth and sixth grades. Schedule a few minutes each week with your students and decide together how you’ll tackle the week’s work.
Have your child look over the materials list for the upcoming experiments and enlist their help in gathering supplies. I did this with my children. Once a month we gathered all of the nonperishable materials for the month and placed them in the “science box.” Many times my kids were so excited, that they wanted to start the activities right away. Plus, there were times they came up with additional activity ideas to try on their own.
6. Stay positive and focus on having fun. Don’t get bogged down in paperwork. Science is about doing. Make everyday happenings a science lesson.
During the winter, something as simple as watching salt melt the snow on a frozen sidewalk makes an enjoyable science exploration. Why does the snow and ice melt when salt is added? You can find the answer and a fun experiment here. No matter where you live you can do this colorful melting ice experiment or make some homemade ice cream to see the freezing process in action.
Enjoy your homeschool journey with grateful expectations for what God will do in your family and how much you ALL will learn in your homeschool!
Vicki Dincher is the author of the General Science, Physical Science, Biology, and The Human Body Student Notebooks for Apologia Educational Ministries. She has her masters in biology and although her four children are grown, she hasn’t yet retired from homeschooling. She continues to teach science to homeschoolers online and at her local co-op. Vicki enjoys life with her husband Jerry.