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Copyright 2006 Julie Shepherd Knapp
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Copyright 2006 Julie Shepherd Knapp.  All rights reserved.
about the book
The Homeschool Diner's Guide to
Homechooling by Subject

How Do I Teach Science at Home?
by Julie Shepherd knapp, copyright 2006

Homeschoolers teach science in a variety of ways
, from library books,  
textbooks and unit studies to hands-on and audio-visual materials.  
Prospective homeschool parents seem to worry the most about Lab Science
and how homeschoolers do experiments without a school lab.  It sounds
complicated!  It sounds expensive!  But please...

                                        Don't Panic   

It's doesn't have to be either.  There are plenty of lab programs, designed
for home use, that call for house-hold or other easy-to-find materials.  
There are also virtual labs, lab videos, and all-inclusive lab kits made just
for homeschoolers.  Often homeschoolers can find outside classes to take
subjects like high school chemistry.  
Even without outside help, science
can be taught at home, and it can be taught well.

Let's take a look at the different options
homeschoolers have for
learning about science.  Some parents like to use a purchased science
curriculum, others prefer to pull together their own curriculum from Internet
resources, library books, textbooks, and community resources.

science curriculum is usually included in most School-at-Home
curriculum packages, using either public school  textbooks or texts created
specifically for the supplier.  These science units can also be bought and
used independently from many of the suppliers.  None of the major
alternative homeschool approaches have a big focus on science and
technology in the elementary years, though many do include nature studies
and a history of science.  If you choose an alternative homeschool
approach, but want to also place an emphasis on science,  you will need to
take the initiative and seek out materials and hands-on opportunities for
your child.  

To find local hands-on science opportunities, begin by checking with
your nearest science and technology museums -- many offer homeschool
classes and most offer Saturday and summer programs.   Homeschool
co-ops may also offer (or be willing to organize) hands-on technical
workshops and classes and even science fairs.  State-sponsored 4-H clubs
offer guidance and instruction for science and technology projects, and
exhibit opportunities, as well.  For fun one-on-one experiences, seek out  
local mentors, retired teachers, or other volunteers who can help you guide
your child's projects and encourage their interests.  

Older children may be able to take science and technology classes thru
local high school or technical college (policies vary by state and
school district - check with your local schools).  Many science and
technology classes are also available thru online distance learning
programs, some with high tech virtual lab simulators, such as Model

textbook and homeschool curriculum publishers have materials
that cover the standard
high school chemistry and biology classes.  
Some are aimed more at liberal arts students, others are taught at a higher
level. Some publishers include topics in
physics, earth science, geology,
computer science, programming, robotics, astronomy, etc

The large
book sellers (such as Borders, Barnes & Noble, and also have an interesting and wide assortment of books on
science and technology. For example, many of those wanting serious
chemistry labs (such as needed for AP Chemistry) turn to the
Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture by Robert

For younger children look thru library books about science, watch
science videos and educational TV, and do lots of hands-on learning in
your home and yard.  Provide plenty of opportunities to play with water and
with sand (or dried rice or beans if you find sand too messy).  Step outside
and take a walk -- look for animals and insects and flowers and trees...
notice the weather and observe how it changes, set up a thermometer
where your child can read the temperature.  Try out a sundial and talk
about how the Earth spins.  Learn about the animals your child enjoys.

Don't be afraid of science -- it is all around us, just waiting to be
observed and explored. You can join the Yahoo! Group,
Living Science
for more ideas and reviews of resources, and the sister blog site,
FunSchooling, which has a wonderful
Living Science Booklist (scroll
down the page to see it)  The Diner
Science section is filled with options
for fun kits, games and activities, too-- many available free online!

If you really feel you need something structured to help you teach
science to your K-3rd grader
... then explore your options in the Science
Curriculum section of the Diner -- you'll find several fun, low-pressure
curriculum to choose from, such as TOPS Science (Lentil Science units),
Noeo Science (Young Scientists Club), Real Science 4 Kids (Pre-Level 1),
or Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding (K-2).  

If you still feel "iffy"... try this lecture on How NOT to teach Science (it
asks for a donation for the download). Maybe read the article,
Help For
Homeschoolers: Opportunities abound for learning science outside
the home by Linda Wang, too.  Here's a tip from Robert Krampf on how
to be that "really cool science teacher". (Krampf is the guy who does the
Experiment of the Week.)

Still not sure you're "qualified" to teach science? Check out this
series of teacher help books, intended for public school K-8 teachers
(see -- they don't all know how to teach science, either!)
Stop Faking It! Finally Understanding Science So You Can Teach It
by William C. Robertson, Ph.D.

Finally, go to Science Options for Homeschoolers for links to
specific resources in all science topics :-)

You CAN do this :-)))

Related Issues

WorldBook Encyclopedia Typical Course of Study -- see a summary of
which science topics are generally taught at which grade levels
California Science Content Standards for grades K-12 , all topics
A Review of Earth Science Education Standards -- lists and provides
online resources for the topics typically covered in elementary, middle and
high school earth science classes
(back to)
science options
(back to)
homeschool basics
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