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Richele McFarlin

How to Choose the Right Homeschool Science Curriculum

By | Homeschool 101 | No Comments

Please enjoy this article written by the author of Science Shepherd, Scott Hardin, MD

How to Choose the Right Homeschool Science Curriculum

A little over ten years ago, our family entered the dreaded search for a suitable higher-level homeschool science program. As a physician, I had strong convictions about what made a science course “right”, and, although there are a lot of solid programs available, I did not find one that was as straightforward as I think works most effectively for most students. So, I wrote one. We’ve now been homeschooling for over 20 years, and that science program has grown into Science Shepherd. Obviously, writing a curriculum can’t be the solution for every family, and Science Shepherd curriculum won’t be the solution for every family either. So how can you find the right science curriculum for your homeschool? In no particular order, here are three questions to consider as you start (and continue) that process.

What are our family objectives?

Especially as you are just starting out in homeschooling or have younger kids, what you want to accomplish together is an important question to ask and can help guide your curriculum choice (in any subject). If you want to take science together, even across several grades, you’ll want a course that lends itself to that. If you want a more hands-on program, or one that allows you to spend more time outside or in a museum – we’ve got a free guide for that here – you’ll need to look for an accompanying activity book (or be ready to find one), and see what the daily time commitment is to textbooks, videos, and other classroom material. If you’re a family of learners who need hands-on lessons and want to foster learning that way, you don’t want to find yourselves stuck in a textbook, and vice-versa. Even be thinking about what’s more important to your family than science. If you have a passion for art, don’t let your schedule be dictated by an intensive science program. There are many ways to get a solid base of study in science, and the one that works the best is the one that fits your family’s style the best.

How does my son or daughter learn best?

This is one of the great strengths of homeschooling – being able to tailor your curriculum choice in each subject to the unique learning style(s) of your child(ren). Consider things like whether a video or text-based program is right, if a co-op setting is better for a particular subject, or if you’ll need to provide more one-on-one time (and so need a good parent book). This is also a dynamic concept; what worked well in 5th grade may not be the best for 7th grade. This is especially prone to change as reading, comprehension, and critical thinking skills improve. Be considering your student’s growth in this area regularly. Also be aware that this question goes beyond video versus text-based programs. Be thinking about note taking and study habits, the need for repetition, or dislike of it, structured review, etc. Find a science program that will fit your student as nearly as possible in all these areas. The habits your student learns now will be part of their learning/studying for a lifetime!

 

What are my son’s or daughter’s objectives after high school?

This consideration won’t be as important early on, but as your student(s) near and enter high school, you’ll want to begin considering what might come next. What does he or she want to do in college? In a profession? Starting to ask these questions when it comes to science (and math, too) earlier (7th or 8th grade) may help save a lot of stress for both of you later. These are particularly important years for science-education, as the foundation is laid for more advanced concepts. If a career in biology, medicine, pharmacy, nursing, etc. seems like a possibility, you will want to start planning early for a more rigorous science program (and don’t leave out the labs) so you aren’t scrambling senior year to finish a college-prep chemistry class. Of course, plans change, and perhaps your student’s interest in science will be sparked in 10th grade, and you’ll have to adjust at the last minute for more advanced studies to prepare for college. Or maybe that initial interest in science will wane, and the last year of AP Biology you had planned becomes Intro to Photography. That’s great! Time to leverage the flexibility afforded by homeschooling.

When our family first entered homeschooling, choosing a science curriculum, particularly in high school, was a daunting proposition with few options. Today, there is an abundance of great science programs available, maybe to the point of seeming to offer too many options. My hope is that by considering these three questions – What are your family objectives? How does my son or daughter learn best? What are my son’s or daughter’s objectives after high school? – you will be able to focus on a few key factors and have an easier time finding the right science curriculum for your family.

Homeschool 101
January 13, 2020

How to Choose the Right Homeschool Science Curriculum

Please enjoy this article written by the author of Science Shepherd, Scott Hardin, MD How to Choose the Right Homeschool Science Curriculum A little over ten years ago, our family…
Science Curriculum Homeschool Planning
January 6, 2020

Learn From The Past. Explore The Future.

Learn From The Past. Explore The Future. Helping your kids learn from the past and explore the future is a tall order sometimes, isn’t it?  Raise your hand if: Your…
Free Printables
October 28, 2019

FREE Science Lab Sheet {for subscribers}

Science Curriculum

Learn From The Past. Explore The Future.

By | Homeschool Planning | No Comments

Science Curriculum

Learn From The Past. Explore The Future.

Helping your kids learn from the past and explore the future is a tall order sometimes, isn’t it? 

Raise your hand if:

  • Your best ideas come in the shower.
  • Your kids feel like they know they are right, but no one will believe them? 
  • People in your family get grumpy when doing difficult science or math problems? 

Guess what! Your family has something in common with three very famous scientists! 

The Let’s Study Great Scientists, by Captivating Compass is the perfect online ‘curriculum included’ lesson plan on Homeschool Planet to help your family learn from the past and explore the future.

Don’t forget to check out the free offer at the end of this post! 

captivating compass

Use Museums To Study Great Scientists – No Matter Where You Are Or Where You’re Going.

I want to share a story with you. Maybe you will find answers to help eliminate the struggle you may be having with science and field trips in your homeschool.

As a digital nomad, homeschooling family, we travel quite a bit and use the world as our textbook. It is the ‘spine text’ for our homeschool.  But, after quite a few ‘family field trips’ to world-famous museums, I realized we were not well prepared for the level of knowledge and understanding of the people and places that made the museum famous. This surprised me, because we study science, history, geography, and everything else every day. What was the root of this problem?

I was finding that my kids seemed uninterested in the exhibits. Honestly the seem bored, or just walked around like zombies. They didn’t have an accessible and transferable understanding of what they were looking and interacting with. They struggled connecting science to its place in history. From a homeschool academic perspective I was frustrated that we were not meeting our academic goals. As a traveling family, it often felt like a waste of time and money to even go visit some of the museums. 

“Eureka!”

What I finally realized is that they were not so much uninterested, but they were overwhelmed. They lacked focus because they were being bombarded by so much excellent information at the museums, it became a museum and academic overload. They checked out. 

Becoming intentional in our museum visits became my top academic priority. Through research and careful planning, I found the most delightful resources. These became the core of the Let’s Study Great Scientist lesson plans.

Using these science resources before, during or after a museum visit, I found the kids responded with excitement and expectation of what they were going to see and experience on their next field trip. 

They had been given another peg on which to hang new science ideas. It’s exactly what they needed for the next level of deeper understanding of foundational science essentials that would keep them challenged and inspired to keep learning about the world around them.

The Importance of Understanding The Chronology Of Science

Studying the Great Scientists chronologically, by exploring their personal life history, is a remarkable way to study science in-depth. When history & science intersect, the understanding becomes exponential.  Ideas we take for granted now (like gravity, or a heliocentric planetary system), were revolutionary in their time period.  

Expanding on the history, and delving into the personal life of great scientists is the perfect way to learn from the past. Exploring the future becomes the next natural step, especially on science museum field trips, as the ideas of these great scientists are the foundations of continued groundbreaking modern science. 

Newton said it best…

Isaac Newton

Studying the life and works of famous scientists is an enjoyable way to immerse your family in the history, culture and daily living in which these early scientists lived.  Exploring their lives using quotes & copywork is a perfect way to cement all the swirling thoughts about science concepts.

The Isaac Newton Quotes & Copywork FREE Companion Resource

Science curriculum

The Isaac Newton Quotes and Copywork is a companion resource to use alongside your Let’s Study Great Scientists lessons.  This 20+ page download of Isaac Newton Quotes & Copywork includes short activities to create opportunities for discussion and to help cement science facts in a unique and creative way. 

Get your FREE copy of Isaac Newton Quotes & Copywork when you purchase any lesson plan from Captivating Compass that can be uploaded into your Homeschool Planet dashboard. 

Homeschool 101
January 13, 2020

How to Choose the Right Homeschool Science Curriculum

Please enjoy this article written by the author of Science Shepherd, Scott Hardin, MD How to Choose the Right Homeschool Science Curriculum A little over ten years ago, our family…
Science Curriculum Homeschool Planning
January 6, 2020

Learn From The Past. Explore The Future.

Learn From The Past. Explore The Future. Helping your kids learn from the past and explore the future is a tall order sometimes, isn’t it?  Raise your hand if: Your…
Free Printables
October 28, 2019

FREE Science Lab Sheet {for subscribers}

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