Home school science starts out as an interest in nature.... what boy
doesn't like bugs, snakes or exploding things? In the younger years this
interest can be developed or squelched. I'd prefer to develop it!
Nurture a sense of wonder and awe at the world we live in. Emphasize how nature works together. Explore, observe, collect things. Let the boys experience it! Especially in the the younger years.
As your child reaches high school this will be the time for more serious study and memorizing science terminology but in the mean time... explore your world.
Show them how to be a naturalist... a person who studies nature. Learn about classifications... but make it a fun thing. Science is best learned by natural curiosity and hands on activities.
Now that does not mean I don't have science books.... on the contrary.
I have shelves full of science books. But we don't sit and do an hour
of a science text with accompanying worksheets each and every day and
call that science.
If your student shows an interest in a particular area, go to the library and check out all the books they have on that topic.
Nonfiction books can be found at yard sales, thrift stores. Grandmas LOVE to buy books for kids. Let them know what their grandsons interests are.
Invest in Nature Field Guides - Ours are a bit tattered and worn. We have a guide to stars and constellations that is water warped and wrinkled. It was left out in the field and it got rained on.
At the time, I was irritated and frustrated that the book had been left out overnight and I'm not saying this is OK treatment of a book. However if I think about it, this is a good thing. (sort of)
Sure the book could stay perfect and wrinkle free on our shelf. But then it would not have been out with my child in the middle of a field of sagebrush on a clear summer night. Flashlight in hand searching the book, then switch off the flashlight... and find the REAL thing. THAT is nature study at its best.
Planet Earth DVD We were VERY pleasantly surprised with these wonderfully well done nature videos.
Going on a nature walk is just about as easy as it gets. Just go outside and walk. More on nature walks here.
Another great way to see things that you may not find in your own back yard. We have been to the Colorado Museum of Natural History. What fun! There is so much there that it would be difficult to see it all sufficiently in one day.
Check out your area for museums that have animal, plant or geographic displays. Look for presentations or tours. Often times a motivated volunteer will be your tour guide. If a person has enough passion for a topic to volunteer for these positions the presentations will show it and be especially interesting. A passion for a topic can't help but show in how they relate information.
If evolution vs creation is a concern for you be sure to ask what point of view the presentation may come from. If you don't agree with your guides point of view, you may not want to take the tour. However I'd not rule it out. The guide may still have some GREAT information. This is a perfect opportunity to let your child hear a different viewpoint. Then discuss it at a later time. Compare your point of view with your guides point of view.
If you do take the tour and don't agree with some information presented, please don't be argumentative! Listen, ask intelligent questions, take notes of things to discuss with your children afterwards. Teach your children manners even when you don't agree!
Plan your home school science activities around the seasons. Home school science lends itself well to studying year round. Plan your units around the seasons.
Study plants and insects in the summer when you can actually SEE a seed begin to bud. In the warm weather, you can find bugs and spiders and watch how they work. You can dig in the garden to collect earthworms and see how they tunnel.
Plan your study on birds in the winter when you can put a bird feeder just outside your window. In the summer, hummingbird feeders are great fun. Sometimes the birds become so used to people they will get up close.
Plan studies on electronics or magnetism in the winter when you are cooped up in the house. I'd suggest studying astronomy in the summer when the nights are warm and you can easily go out and see the stars. But I've also seen it recommended to study the stars in the winter because the skies are clearer and crisper. Visibility is better. If you live in town make a point to get out into the country where there are no street lights. The stars are much brighter.
Science is not just living creatures.
What about physical science. The study of all the nonliving marvels
of this world. Magnetism, electronics, astronomy, weather. Give your
boy old electronics and a screwdriver. He can open up a radio and see
where the sounds are coming from.
There are some great electronics kits available to play around with. Play with magnets. Learn about how they work. Learn about the magnetism of the earths poles.
High School is the time to start looking at his interests and possible future. Is he interested in a career that will require more science. Then high school is the time to focus more on serious study methods.
You may choose to work throught traditional texts that will teach the disciplines needed. You may want to look for online courses, or homeschool co-ops to cover courses that you may not be comfortable with.
If your highschool student is not looking at a career that will require higher science determine your state requirements and fulfill those. If he may be going to college, call your college of choice and find out their requirements as well.
More on homeschooling highschool here.
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