I decided that science from the beginning should be fun and engaging.
We should not bore our students with science, but open the world to them.
We are in our 18th year of homeschooling. Through the years, I have heard many mothers lament the
teaching of science. Some of those mothers actually spoke of science with a look
of fear in their eyes. They are not alone. I
have taught workshops on the scientific
method every fall for the last few years to
public and private school science teachers,
preparing them to work with students interested in science fair projects. If it is any
consolation, they also have that look of fear
in their eyes, and they are paid to teach
science. I teach research methods and statistics to undergraduate, masters, and doctoral level students, and my students begin
my classes with that same look of fear.
Thankfully they find out, or most of them
do, that science is fun; it is engaging, and it
is critical to their education.
What is Science?
What is science exactly? Science is about
process; it is about discovering information and testing it out, it is about looking
at the data you get from the testing, and
it is about drawing conclusions from that
data. Science is about inquiry. Science is
about procedure. Science is about critical thinking. In essence, science is much
more than a laboratory, and it is much
more than an animal to dissect or bugs to
collect. Science goes beyond a textbook
and encompasses our everyday lives. We
live in a world where we should question,
explore, and test. Science is knowledge.
What Should They Know?
I asked a physicist a few years back what
he thought our homeschooled students
should know about science by the time
they graduate from high school. His
answer was interesting. He said that our
students really did not need a specific
science education until they got to high
school. Once they’re in high school, he
felt they needed to take biology, chemis-
try and physics. They also needed to take,
at a minimum, algebra, and if possible,
geometry and trigonometry. He went on
to say that our students did not need to
worry about a laboratory class, even in
high school, because if they go on to col-
lege, students are taught what is expected
in each laboratory class. Do not worry if
you feel unprepared to have your child
conduct experiments, dissect animals, or
collect and study bugs. That is not what
is important. What is important is pro-
cess, procedure, discovery, inquiry, and
critical thinking. What else is important?
Neatness and order. In science, and in
math, neatness and order really matter.
Science at Home is Easy;
You Can Do This!