You don’t have to have a degree in education in order to home-school your children. In fact, it can be lots of fun to learn along with them as they go. When it comes to science, a lot of parents who are not actual teachers fear that they will not have what it takes to help their kids learn about this important subject.
There are many ways that you can teach your kids science without having to be a teacher or scientist yourself. Today we are going to talk about how to teach science to your kids in a way that will help them to not only learn, but to develop a life-long interest in science. Let’s get started.
Science Must Be a Priority
First of all, it is important that as a parent-teacher, you need to make science a priority. Obviously it is going to be part of the recommended curriculum, but many parents tend to let science fall a bit by the wayside because they have difficulty understanding many of the concepts themselves. They just don’t realize that this is as much of a learning opportunity for themselves as it is for their kids.
You are the person who sets the tone for the education your kids receive, so it is important that you have a very positive and upbeat attitude about science. If you think it is boring, chances are you are going to pass your own disinterest along to your kids. They will see that you don’t care, so they won’t care about it either.
In the United States, the Education Commission requires that students have no less than three to four years of science education, including a lab, in order to be considered eligible to graduate from high school.
In fact, most colleges won’t accept students who have any lesser science background. It is actually recommended that science lessons start when kids are in the first grade.
Make Science Hands-On
It is important that you find a curriculum that works for our family. This is likely to insure that you will be successful in teaching science to your kids. The curriculum must be created in a way that will hold kids’ attention and keep them interested in what they are learning about. If you notice that they are becoming bored or acting indifferent towards science, it may be that you will need to change up the curriculum.
One of the best ways to keep them interested is to make science a hands-on subject. In high school, kids are asked to do experiments for science classes. You can get them to do experiments at home as well.
When they are doing hands-on experiments, they will be learning about a lot more than just science. They will also be learning about critical thinking and problem solving, along with many other important life skills.
It is important that you plan plenty of experiments, and that these experiments are right for your kids’ grade levels. It is recommended that home-school parents plan a minimum of one science experiment per week, but the more, the better.
Get Some Science Kits
Now, you may be wondering how your kids are going to be able to do science experiments when there is no actual laboratory in your home. The solution to this problem is to stock up on plenty of fun and interactive science kits.
These kits come with most, or in many cases, all of the items needed to conduct a variety of fun and interesting experiments.
The biggest benefit of these kits, besides the fact that your kids are going to be learning from them, is that you won’t have to go out and buy a lot of items or search your home for items because everything you need will be right in the box.
Sure, you may have to spend a bit of money, but this is one investment you can’t afford not to make.
Keep Science Materials Well-Organized
When it comes to teaching science at home, it is important that you have science materials stored in a well-organized manner. There should be a specific place for everything that your kids will need for their science classes.
It is also just as important to teach your kids that once they are finished with any supplies that they must return said supplies to their proper locations.
Not only is this a way to stay organized, but it is also going to help maintain the science equipment that you will be using in your classes. Make sure that the area for science materials and supplies is well out of reach of younger children. Ideally, everything will be placed inside a locking cabinet.
Keep Science Supplies Well-Stocked
Even if you are buying science kits for your kids, you may still not have everything you need to teach them about various areas of science. You might even be surprised to learn just how simple some of the supplies you will need actually are.
For instance, there is a lot that can be done with balloons, straws, and string. These are all things that are easily lost, or can wear out or you simply need more. You can find these and other science-related items at your local dollar store, so you won’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money.
Other items you should keep on-hand in large amounts include paper towels, popsicle sticks, q-tips, and aluminum foil.
Supply Plenty of Up-to-Date Reading Materials
There are some pretty amazing science books available for students of all levels, including younger children. It is important that you use these books to help supplement your children’s science classes. The more they read, the more they are going to learn.
Here is a great example. If you are working on a chapter in the textbook that is about animals, make sure they have plenty of books about various animals so they can do more research on their own.
You can even go as far as to make sure you leave a few of these books lying around the house. That way, if your kids happen to become bored, they may decide that they want to read the books, and even though they aren’t in a classroom setting, they will continue to learn.
Lead Them Down Rabbit Trails
There are always going to be some areas of science that interest some kids more than others. So, when your kids find something they are interested, encourage them to dig deeper to learn more than what they are getting from their textbooks. Make sure you allow them plenty of time to explore this new interest, and give them plenty of encouragement.
The more learning materials and resources you are able to provide, the farther down the rabbit holes your kids are going to be able to travel. They will be learning about stuff they are really interested in, and this is going to help keep their grades up.
Watch Science Documentaries
Surely you remember how exciting it was to walk into a classroom to find a television set up. You just knew you were in for a treat, even if it was educational. It meant not having to spend the entire hour with your nose stuck in a book.
Science documentaries are not only a great way to keep kids interested in science, but also to help in areas that you may not be so sure of yourself. These shows can be amazing teaching aids, and they help break up the monotony of a long, boring school day.
There are so many different types of science documentaries available online, and of course, there are also plenty of channels that offer nothing but science documentaries, such as the National Geographic channel.
Don’t forget about YouTube science channels as well, of which there are several. Keep in mind that the documentaries you show to your kids are age-appropriate and in line with what they are already learning.
Go Outside of the Classroom
Learning doesn’t just take place inside classrooms. There is a whole world out there, just waiting to be discovered by your kids. So, instead of doing all of the teaching inside, take them out where they can see science at work. This can be anything from going to a park to learn about nature to visiting a museum to learn about astronomy. There are many options available.
For instance, if your kids are learning about astronomy, take them outside at night to look up at the stars. If you live in a brightly-lit area, you may have to take a short drive out into the country where they will be able to see more stars.
There are some really cool glow-in-the-dark astronomy charts you can get to bring along, so you can locate various constellations, planets, etc.
Even if you were only a fair-at-best science student, it doesn’t mean that you can’t find ways to teach your kids about science while home-schooling them. You just need to find activities and resources that work for you and your kids.