High School Science for Homeschoolers
Have you noticed how many kids seem wired for science from a young age? They love learning about bugs, and space and rockets and volcanoes and all about their bodies. But by the time they reach their high school years, that natural enthusiasm is often replaced by moaning and groaning and dramatic eye rolling. They can protest loud and long when we call, ‘time for science!’.
When Did Science Become Boring?
How did these cute little inquisitive souls change from bubbling over enthusiasm to eye rolling teens who hate science? The fault, I think, is ours as adults. We are the ones who can tend to suck the fun out of the magical world of science.
We stop providing captivating, colourful books which delve into fascinating topics and instead we dish up dry, often black and white, thick textbooks full of words. We stop most, if not all, hands on activities and instead try to fill their heads with as much knowledge as possible - to pass the test. The drive to help our children get into the career of their choice often necessitates science proficiency for higher education and this can see the wonder of science buried under a mountain of outcomes and test results.
Is it any wonder then when our teens roll their eyes and say they hate science? And if you are wondering how to teach highschool science to your homeschooler, we have great news.
How to Encourage a Love of Science
The good news is that eye rolling highschoolers who are not naturally inclined to study chemical formulas, or plant and animal physiology or objects propelling through space, can actually develop a love for all things science as they experience the wonder of the created universe through engaging curriculum. This doesn’t need to come at the expense of meeting academic requirements set by the different state regulations.
There are ways to teach high school science in your homeschool without draining all the life out of the wonder of science. At Simply Homeschool we create engaging and fun science Cores to light a fire of enthusiasm in students as they delve deeper into fascinating topics.
We use great books as our spine and then add in engaging hands on activities, links to media resources and yet more good books, to further understanding. We use notebooking, nature study and nature journaling to record what learning is taking place. Our new Science Core 100 Things To Know About The Human Body is a great place to start this exciting adventure of homeschool science. You can relax and know that teaching highschool science to your homeschooler is a fun adventure you will both enjoy.
Teaching Homeschool Science and the Australian Curriculum
Meeting the Australian Curriculum requirements becomes easy when you know what is required by you as the homeschool educator. The Australian Curriculum takes a spiral approach to teaching with a little bit of Biology, Earth Science, Space Science, Physics and Chemistry each year.
The key ideas that underpin the Australian Science Curriculum are:
Science Understanding - this is where key ideas of science and associated skills are developed.
Science Inquiry Skills - asking questions, investigating theories, interpreting evidence and recording findings.
Science as a Human Endeavour - improving our understanding and explanations of the natural world.
How do Simply Homeschool Science Cores teach these three key ideas?
Our Science Cores teach Science Understanding through observing the living world and recording these findings in Lapbooks and nature journals. We discover the living world through biology, botany, zoology and anatomy. We explore earth and space through astronomy, geology and the natural environment. The physical and chemical worlds are discovered as we study concepts of physics and chemistry.
We facilitate the development of student’s Science Inquiry Skills as we question, observe and make predictions in experiments. Students collect, analyse and evaluate data from these experiments and learn to record this data and communicate in a scientific way.
As students study the lives, inventions and discoveries of past scientists they see Science as a Human Endeavour. They gain understanding that science knowledge develops over time through the inquiry skills of observation, questioning, planning, processing and evaluating. They gain an appreciation for how science affects all our lives and how we live, work and spend our leisure time.
Simply Homeschool’s top 5 Tips for Homeschooling High School Science
1. Start with the end in mind
Sometimes this is easier said than done as we just don’t know what our students want to do when they are finished school. They may want to attend university where they will need specific science knowledge or they may not. Start by mapping out a general idea for the early high school years. You might want to cover biology, astronomy, earth science, anatomy and geology. Take a look at the Simply Homeschool Cores for inspiration.
If your student plans on attending university, it's a great idea to ring up their university of choice to check on any science requirements for entry to their chosen course. Then you can map out their high school science course to ensure you have provided them with the relevant studies.
2. Interest Led Learning
One of the first words a child learns is why? Around the age of 3 or 4 it can be THE most spoken word - ‘but why?’. We are all born scientists, actively seeking out information on how this world works. As we grow we can lose this desire for asking ‘but why?’. This shouldn't be the case though. We as homeschoolers are in a unique position to teach our children to keep asking the why questions - to be curious and always wondering.
Ask your high school student what they would love to learn and launch from there. You may need to model the process for them, demonstrating that we all continue to learn and in so doing you will help them cultivate a lifelong love of learning.
If you are in an area where there are a lot of homeschoolers, you may be able to find a homeschool co-op or group where they can participate in science classes taught by a teacher passionate about their field. There are also online options now as well. Check out our science Core Make Science Fun. The author, Jacob Strickling runs fun interactive classes to work through the book.
4. Hands On opportunities
Exploration and wonder are at the heart of the discipline of science and experimentation is one of the best ways to gain a love for and a deep knowledge of many of the wonders this world has to offer. So many experiments can be done using simple household items and for those more simple experiments, we are able to purchase affordable science lab kits. And if space or budget are an issue, we can now use technology to assist us. There are endless websites that have quality virtual labs and simulations. Check out this one as a teaser. https://emindweb.com/
Don’t be scared to get in and get your hands dirty - lots of hands-on activities will help make the learning of abstract concepts much easier as you teach highschool science to your homeschooler.
5. Science is everywhere
As homeschoolers we know that learning doesn’t happen in tidy little buckets called math, english, history, science, but that it is all interconnected. Look for ways to seek out the scientific concepts and knowledge in other areas you are studying. When they read about Henry VIII and his determination to have a son, blaming his wives for not producing one, we can delve into genetics and learn that it is actually Henry himself who is responsible for his lack of a son. The famous Irish potato famine can see your student learn all about fungus and how detrimental it can be when infecting whole crops the people rely on for food. And cooking has endless opportunities to experiment and work on your students scientific understanding and inquiry skills.
So jump into highschool science with your homeschooler and be encouraged and inspired to confidently deliver a quality science education from home. Remember - science is SO much fun!