Math, language arts, and history tend to take priority in many homeschool curricula. Subjects like art and science can be messy and time-consuming. Or it can be tempting to reduce science to reading from a textbook and answering questions. But to really bring science to life for your children, they need to do science. Here are some ways to make science happen with your elementary student in your busy school days.
Tips for the Getting Excited Stage
This stage is where the real science fun begins. Begin to develop an appreciation and enthusiasm for science that will carry your child through some of the more difficult content later on. This is a time to demonstrate the amazing parts of science.
- When choosing a science curriculum, look for hands-on activities as well as interesting text. Children need to do science to learn science. Try to avoid an overly strenuous curriculum, though. A couple of days of science each week is enough at this stage.
- Whenever possible, start off a science topic with an interesting demonstration. Look for the “wow” factor that will get your child excited about science.
- Follow your child’s lead. See what science topics interest your child, and then consider developing a longer unit on that topic.
- Teach the scientific method, using correct vocabulary.
- Insist on proper safety procedures and equipment. You want to train your children to do science properly so that they will follow procedures when using more dangerous equipment and materials later on.
- Purchase basic nature study guides, sketchbooks, and drawing materials to use during nature hikes.
- Get a pet.
- Investigate getting an incubator and eggs. The same organizations that rent or lend these items to schools will sometimes do the same for homeschools, especially if you are willing to complete this activity after most schools are out for the summer. Alternatively, or in addition, consider purchasing a butterfly, ant, tadpole, or sea monkey kit from a science supply company.
- Begin building a “research library” as part of your home library. There are books and websites full of science experiments that you can do at home for this stage, using materials you have at home or can easily obtain.
- Integrate history and science, teaching about scientists that lived and scientific discoveries that were made during the period of history you are studying.