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 middle school student in your busy school days.
Tips for the Beginning to Understand Stage
The middle school and junior high years usher in the more formal study of science that is necessary in high school. But formal learning doesn’t have to rob science of the enjoyment!
- While it can be tempting to move into the read-and-answer-questions method only of teaching science at this age, don’t! Continue to do fun hands-on activities even as the science concepts increase in difficulty.
- Shift from doing science a couple of times a week to completing daily lessons.
- Look for experiments and activities that will amaze and engage your child.
- Make sure your child realizes that scientific understanding is always being tested and updated. Discuss scientific theories that were once accepted and now have been proven false.
- Don’t shy away from discussing evolution. At some point your child will be faced with defending her beliefs, so arm her with correct information on creation science now so she will be ready later on.
- Let your child take things apart. Find used items such as personal DVD players, old computers, and lawn mower engines and allow him to “dissect” them.
- Science is often more fun when done with more than one person and can be done over a range of ages. If you have more than one child in this age group, rather than purchasing grade-level curriculum, consider teaching them together. Or team up with another family. The work of preparing science experiments can be offset if you share the duty.
- Read science biographies. Whenever possibly connect these to your history studies.
- Purchase full field guides for your student to use. Have fun as a family trying to identify animals, birds, and plants that you see as you travel or hike.