Science is one of those subjects many homeschoolers dread teaching. Most parents do not believe they are qualified enough to teach homeschool science and tech subjects. They think it is a complex, boring field. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. With the right approach and the right resources, science is one of the most fulfilling and enjoyable subjects to teach. It may require creativity, patience, and ingenuity to succeed but this is a journey you will love walking with your children. There are many approaches to teaching science in a homeschooling setup. We recommend you start early, especially if you are prepping your child for high school. Choose the best curriculum suited to your child’s learning ability and style. Teaching science in a homeschool setting requires confidence and belief that you can hit set goals irrespective of how bumpy the road ahead may seem. This article explores some tips and hacks to help you teach homeschool science.
Start Early to Teach Homeschool Science
Start teaching your kids science at an early age to give them the foundation they need to excel in the subject. They will understand complex concepts better in the future because you gave them a solid foundation. Starting early will also give you the time and flexibility you need to teach without pressure.
There are days when nothing seems to be working. You will be repeating the same concept over and over in vain. It happens with every STEM subject you teach. Do not question your competence. Rather, take a break, find a new approach, and resume teaching. Find out what works best for you and your child.
For instance, try scheduling science lessons in the morning when your child’s mind is still fresh and when you have the energy to teach difficult concepts. Try different approaches (hands-on activities, peer-led learning, lecture, etc.) and use what works best for you.
Use hands-on experiments
Kids learn best through observation and direct involvement. That is why hands-on experiments work great when teaching science in homeschool. Your child’s age dictates the kind of hands-on experiments you will engage in. The curriculum may act as a guide here because it has well-curated experiments to match certain topics and learning outcomes. You may also get creative and look for other forms of hands-on experiments to try out with your child.
For instance, if you are learning about the density of water, you can engage in a sink or float science activity. Fill a tub with water and find different items to test. Record the reactions and sort the items according to whether they sank or floated when placed in the tub.
Other activities you can engage in include mixing different colors to create a unique shade and creating a volcano using baking soda and vinegar.
Use of co-ops
If you are not confident teaching science in your homeschool join a homeschooling coop and engage with other parents to help you cover challenging areas. Homeschooling coops bring together parents with different strengths and weaknesses. You can exchange ideas, resources, and strategies to make homeschooling successful. Your children will also learn from each other in the coop. Peer-led learning style also enhances your child’s socialization skills.
Use Living Science Books
Living books bring awe, depth, and excitement to a science class. Living books contain more stuff than normal textbooks and they draw the reader’s attention to the story. A living book helps learners dive deeper into science origins history to make them understand the history of influential scientists, how they lived, where they lived, what influenced them to make their discoveries, and how these discoveries impacted the lives of other people.
They learn about the motivations of these scientists, the challenges they faced, and their triumphs. Living books enable kids to appreciate science and its importance in society and it also helps them memorize what they learn in class.
The right curriculum makes all the difference
Consider your child’s learning style and ability when choosing the curriculum. The science-based curriculum you choose should have ample experiments and activities to keep your child occupied and interested. Science-based curriculums are intensive.
The basic goal of a science curriculum is to help the child understand the physical, biological, and chemical aspects of their environment. It should help explain why things around us work the way they do and what would happen if this balance is interfered with.
Try online classes
Online classes come in handy when you want to explain difficult scientific concepts. You can find tutors online or access thousands of free resources to learn more about the concepts you want to teach. YouTube is a great and free resource for teaching science and technology subjects. You can also use other online resources (such as apps, educational websites, and gaming platforms) to learn more about challenging scientific concepts.
The outdoors exposes your child to various activities and interactions that highlight what they learn in the classroom setup. They can visually observe items they learned in class and conduct experiments that enhance what they have learned in the lecture. For instance, they could learn about how pollution affects lichen species in their society, what kind of habitat they can find in their area, watch constellations, or go on scavenger hunts to discover the wildlife in their locality.
Turn a field trip into a learning opportunity. Schedule field trips to locations that will enhance what they learn in the classroom. For instance, after conducting experiments using fire, take them to the local fire station to learn more about fire management. Visit your local library or museums to see exhibitions of scientific items they learn in class.
These field trips are most likely going to be free or cost-effective depending on your location. The tremendous exposure your kids will have and the lessons they will learn from these trips will be worth the experience.
Make it a fun activity
Be creative and find fun ways to teach science. Kids understand difficult concepts better when they are presented in a fun and relatable way. There are several ways to achieve this;
- Storytelling – Kids love stories. Incorporate storytelling when explaining scientific concepts to keep them engaged, entertained, and lively.
- Use diagrams and other visuals. Kids tend to remember what they see more than what they hear. Visuals are great in helping kids understand difficult concepts and keep them fresh in their memory.
- Use technology to explain scientific experiments. Thanks to advanced 3D technology, you can take your kids on a virtual tour to help them understand difficult experimental projects. Virtual reality has made it possible for parents to teach science without having to set up science labs at home
- Introduce games. There are numerous scientific games you can exploit to keep your kids engaged and interested in learning science. A game like Science Jeopardy can be engaging for every child in the house, irrespective of age or grade because it explores all science elements.
Listen to podcasts
Sometimes you may not have the energy to deliver a lecture or maybe you have too many obligations. This does not mean that your child’s learning has to take a backseat. This is where podcasts come in handy.
Subscribe to grade and age-appropriate science podcasts that contain relevant and educational science material. Some podcasts offer new, refreshing, and informative scientific information, stories, history, and depth you may not have.
The 60-Second Science podcast, for instance, offers informative tidbits of scientific information within a 60-second window. Most podcast episodes are created by entertaining and funny hosts to keep your child engaged and educated.
Outsource the Teaching
Consider outsourcing when you feel you are not fully equipped to teach a certain scientific concept. Sometimes outsourcing can save you money and a headache. You will always find someone who understands the concept better and can explain it to your child better than you can.
If you cannot find someone locally, go online, find a tutor and discuss what needs to be covered. If you are confident in their abilities to deliver as needed, discuss rates before they start teaching.
Always be in the room when learning is taking place to supervise and direct the lesson. Online platforms have given us the flexibility to hire whomever we want irrespective of the distance.
Use online resources
Online resources always come in handy whenever you are researching to understand a concept better. We are talking about science websites, YouTube channels, podcasts, mobile applications, science gaming platforms, online labs, and online science libraries that contain content to help you teach science.
Homeschooling science can be challenging but with the right approach and resources, you may have fun teaching this subject in your homeschool. Science is diverse and there are topics and things you will also discover along the way. Keep an open mind, do deep research, get the right curriculum, and be patient while teaching science in your homeschool. The curriculum you choose should be directed by your child’s interests and learning styles. Try to make the classes fun, lively and engaging. Do not be harsh on yourself when you find it difficult to teach a certain concept. Outsource or use online resources to learn more about what you want to teach, take everything in a stride, and all will be well.