Science Courses for Homeschool

Teaching homeschool science classes gives many parents nightmares…and sometimes rightfully so! Some of the challenges associated with this task can include:

  • Becoming at least somewhat familiar with difficult subjects yourself.
  • Labs…requires a list for itself!
    • Determining what to purchase and where to purchase it. Example: flasks, scales, chemicals, etc. This can get expensive if you are doing it on your own.
    • Time to set it up and conduct the experiment.
    • Safety
    • Trying to figure out why the experiment didn’t work the way the course outlined. In science, this does happen as there are a lot of “confounding variables” that can invade an experiment and affect the results.
    • What to do with the leftover materials and hardware?
  • Working with children who aren’t interested in the material.
  • Working with yourself, as you aren’t interested in the subject.

How to find a good homeschool science course or elective

Finding a good course can help with most of these tasks, sometimes even eliminate them. So how do you do that? Here are some ideas

  1. Talk to friends who have successfully taught their children and find out what worked for them. This can save you a lot of time and trial and error. However, all children are different, and what works for one might not work for another, so be flexible.
  2. Look at a sample chapter or lesson to see if it is at the right level for your child. Too easy or too hard can both cause a lot of student frustration.
  3. Take special care to examine the experiments when you can. Are the explanations clear? Is there a detailed list of items needed, and even better, suggestions of where to get them? Are there discussions at the end of the experiments explaining reasons why the experiment may not have worked properly?
  4. Choose science courses that don’t require a lot of materials, or at least materials that are useful for other purposes than just the experiment.
  5. Choose science electives that are different than the normal, standard classes, broadening helping to broaden your child’s exposure to new things. Many of these will be much more interesting to your children, especially if you can find one you know lines up with their interests already.

The Edible Knowledge Difference

For example, the Edible Knowledge® food science courses are quite different than the standard science class:

  • The subject is something you and your children will use every day, throughout your lives. You see it whenever you eat or prepare food!
  • Experiments include detailed materials lists and where to buy anything that is out of the ordinary. Most items you already have in your kitchen.
  • What you have to purchase, will be useful later. You might even use it to make lunch or dinner.
  • Explanations at the end of each experiment include common reasons why results may have be different.

These food science courses are available in print or online versions. Written for ages 6 through high school and are just one example of great options for homeschool science. There are many others out there, just look for what your children likes, or even better what you like! If you don’t expose them to things, they’ll never know it exists.

Take myself for an example: I loved baking and cooking as a teenager but didn’t discover food science as a career path until I was a junior in college. I wish I was introduced to it when I was younger. I had no idea you could make decent money developing new food products and troubleshooting production lines.

And great fun with LEGO too

Another option from Beakers & Bricks, LLC is Introduction to Physics and Engineering, which uses LEGO® bricks to teach physics principles through custom designed models. The course is created the same way as the food science courses, and you probably already have some of the parts and pieces you’ll need.

One last thought on experiments: Don’t get too frustrated when something doesn’t work. Rather, recognize that this is part of science and use it as a teaching opportunity. Go in search of why it didn’t work, which will help you understand even more principles being taught. In fact, sometimes goofs can be the best teachers! Good science courses will have explanations of why an experiment didn’t work.

Go find some fun science courses! Science truly is what helps us understand the world around us. I love it!

Some other ideas on finding good courses can be found here.