Teaching homeschool science for middle or high school can be a big challenge. I’m going to address some of the most common challenges and suggested some solutions.
Difficult Science Subjects Unfamiliar to Parents
When children advance into middle and high school, more is expected of them and subjects become more detailed. Parents trying to help their children can have trouble if they’ve chosen a curriculum that doesn’t give them sufficient support for questions. Most parents aren’t trained chemists, physicists, or scientists, so the prospect can be intimidating. Even when a parent does have special training in one of these subjects, teaching is another matter entirely. It can be difficult to explain complicated science in a way that promotes comprehension.
“When am I ever going to use this?” Does this question sound familiar? You hear it a lot for math, but also in science. And, unfortunately, frequently it isn’t ever used again. That can be frustrating. It doesn’t help if the course is taught in a way that doesn’t engage the student.
Expensive experiments, and strange stuff to buy
Most school labs are equipped with equipment that isn’t normally found in the home. Chemicals, rocks, flasks, beakers, Bunsen burners,…you name it, lots of strange things that aren’t normally used in every day life are required for some science classes. And they can be expensive!
Experiments don’t work
What’s even more frustrating than purchased a bunch of expensive items and setting up an experiment is…it doesn’t work! Annoying, to say the least.
A universal problem…too much to do and not enough time. Learning unfamiliar material sufficient to help teach our kids takes time, sometimes time that we don’t have. It can be fun and rewarding, but what if the time just isn’t there?
So what to do? Luckily, great options exist to help solve your teaching homeschool science for middle and high school students.
Choose curriculum that your students enjoy
This may seem obvious, but strategies for success are worth mentioning. Some curriculum is set up more like a traditional class, with textbooks and lab manuals, that require a teacher, or at least someone available to answer questions when the students get confused. Look at reviews, and especially talk to homeschool groups in your area. You will find others whose situation is (or was) similar to yours who can share courses they found that worked.
Curriculum that’s organized according to the teacher’s time availability
You can find courses that are designed for minimal instructor involvement. Online courses are a great option for this. Additional study aids such as printables, interaction with other students for questions, and the availability to communicate with course creators can be a great source of help to students, and even make them more engaged in their own learning.
While some are weary of online classes, self-paced online classes are a great option. Material presented in person by video can be better and more easily understood than when presented in just text. Courses where both are combined is a particularly good and effective option at learning.
Join a homeschool co-op to share expertise and equipment cost
For example, classes where parents trade off as teachers, often based on their areas of expertise. Or larger groups that meet in a public space, and still trade off teaching responsibilities, and sometimes even hiring instructors. Both large and small groups can meet through live online formats when meeting in person isn’t possible. More expensive equipment costs can be shared in this way as well.
Choose science subject electives that are more interesting
For example, my company publishes food science courses that serve as science electives. Food science principles are seen every day as you prepare and consume food. Few have experienced food science taught by a food scientist and are amazed at how much they learn is applicable to even making dinner, for example.
Cost doesn’t necessarily equate with instructional quality
Some lower priced curriculum is fantastic, and some higher priced courses are terrible.
Give this a try
Lastly, the Edible Knowledge® self-paced online and print course series were designed to make teaching science easy at home by solving all the problems outlined in this post. Food science is useful every day, interesting and engaging for parents and children, and applicable to our lives. Teaching physics and engineering using LEGO® bricks is another great option in the series. I invite you to give them a try!