As homeschool moms, we want our science to come to life. Why give our children a substandard science education when we can make it awesome? Let’s explore six ways to spark your science and set your children on the path to a love for learning!
- Capitalize on Your Children’s Interests
“The curriculum will always be there; their curiosity may not.”
When you are choosing which science topic to study, go with your children’s interests. Tap into their curiosity and pursue what is most fascinating to them right now. This is one of the greatest benefits of homeschooling—the freedom to choose topics your children are most excited to learn about! If you immerse your children in knowledge that piques their curiosity, you’ll guarantee ready, eager learners throughout your entire homeschool journey!
I made a mistake early in my homeschooling when my children asked to learn about something they were interested in and I told them, “No we need to finish learning about this other topic right now.” A month later, I went back to them and enthusiastically stated, “Now we’ll learn about that subject you asked to study!” Sadly, my children told me they weren’t interested in it anymore. The window of opportunity had closed. I realized from that experience that as homeschool moms we really need to capitalize on our children’s curiosity while it’s fresh. I also learned that it’s okay to put away what we’re teaching in order to pursue what they are interested in at the time. The curriculum will always be there; their curiosity may not.
Throw Out the Old Model
“Most of us were given a surface level education and we don’t even realize how fascinating a field of science is.”
In order to make science come to life we have to throw out the old model. Why? Because the old model is failing American children. Studies reveal United States students score at the very bottom in science. That’s not surprising given the way our school system teaches science—an inch deep and a mile wide. Teachers are covering too many subjects and too much material too quickly, without going into depth. In contrast, countries scoring in the top in science go deep into each subject before moving on to teach the next.
Because we homeschool, our children can rank among the top in science! We have the freedom to employ the most successful method for teaching science: the immersion approach—plunging our children into one topic at the time, deeply studying all facets of that topic. Most of us were given a surface level education and we don’t even realize how fascinating a field of science is. There is so much to learn and when we immerse our children into a subject for six months to a year, we give them a love for science and an advanced knowledge of deeper things, interesting things. Their confidence is built as science comes to life!
Choose the Right Materials: Living Books
Charlotte Mason, one of my favorite homeschool authors, tells us:
“The selection of the right schoolbooks is a great function of the educator.”
And this is especially true when selecting materials for science. Most science texts barely scratch the surface of the topic, merely passing on facts and information in a dry and boring way. But as homeschoolers, we can choose something different, something better for our children.
Charlotte Mason rightly observed the mind lives and is nourished upon ideas, and we want to provide our children ideas about science that bring the subject to life! It’s vital we choose living books that are written in a way that spark our children’s interest. Books that bring ideas to them and talk to them in a way that excites their understanding. Books that impart curiosity and a love for learning.
Though the books in my Young Explorer Series are classified as textbooks, they are truly living books, written in an engaging way from my background in and passion for science. Through my books, I interact with the student in a conversational tone, seeking to ignite his passion for the subject. Each book immerses the student in one field of science, providing hands on activities and experiments to help the student further discover the multi-faceted knowledge he just learned.
Use Creative Activities and Projects
Einstein tells us,
“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”
Creative, hands on learning is a must to spark your science studies! Most school teachers use quizzes and tests to evaluate who read the material. Yet for us as homeschool moms, quizzes and tests only highjack our purpose for learning. When children learn material solely to score well on a test, they are not learning because they love the subject. They are learning for the score, the grade. Their science education is reduced to performing rather than knowing.
When we teach our children with creative activities, like notebooking and experimenting, and have open-ended discussions and narration, we can be confident they are learning for the love of the subject, free from stressful evaluations. Homeschooling allows us to creatively take this learning with us when we are out and about during the day, making learning our lifestyle. It’s a way of bringing our homeschooling into our daily life, resulting in a fun lifestyle of learning!
Prioritize a Love of Learning and Make it Fun!
“Science shouldn’t be a drudgery.”
When we think about teaching science, in the younger years especially, we need to remember that seatwork is not enriching for a child and is not a good tool to help them learn. We don’t want to make our lessons about rote memorization and mastery. Science shouldn’t be a drudgery. Instead, studying science should beautiful and fun and wonderful! Creativity and excitement are things that sustain a child and there are many ways to incorporate these elements into your homeschool science. You need not worry if your children don’t remember everything you taught because they will remember the things that are wonderful to them. And ultimately, this is our job. To build in our children a love for learning and help them grow in this love. When we do, they will carry this with them to college and will continue to love learning for a lifetime. They will have a knack for immersing themselves in the knowledge they are interested in and will excel in deeper understanding.
If we make learning fun and about building a foundation for a love for learning we will see our children succeed throughout their lives.
Pursue a Lifestyle of Exploration
Charlotte Mason advises us,
“The claims of the schoolroom should not be allowed to encroach on the child’s right to long hours daily for exercise and investigation.”
When your children look back on their childhood, what do you hope they will remember? Do you want them to think fondly of their homeschool years as ones filled with exploration, discovery, and fun? If so, intentionally pursue a lifestyle of exploration and joy! Take off the heavy burden so many homeschoolers tie on their back. The burden of completing every assignment in the curriculum, and memorizing every factoid or formula.
Here’s a secret: My daughter never completed any curriculum and not only got into a very competitive college but graduated magna cum laude with a passion for her course of study. She is now enjoying a supremely successful career. For us homeschool moms it’s not about completing every lesson, every page, every assignment. It’s not about that at all. It’s about the joy of discovery.
Homeschooling does not need to be stressful; rather, it should be life giving! You don’t need to worry about if you are doing enough or if you are doing it right. In the end, the only two questions we should be asking are: Is this a life-giving subject? Am I bringing life into our homeschool learning? If you can consistently answer a hearty “YES!” to these questions then relax. You are doing enough in your homeschool. And you are absolutely doing everything right.
If we make homeschooling about building a foundation for a love for learning, we ‘ll see our children succeed now and in the future.