When it comes to homeschooling your kids in the subject of science, is there a cut-and-dried formula? While many parents have been led to believe there is, the reality is that it’s more beneficial to treat the process as an art than a science. It’s important for kids to use their natural curiosity to explore the world around them and truly enjoy science class. The following artful tips will help you teach homeschool science in a way that makes it fun and engaging.
Active Learning Through Open Inquiry
There are lots of scientific facts and data to be learned. But rather than have your child passively learn via memorization, science becomes interactive through the process of open inquiry. Encourage your kids to think about how things might work before telling them how scientists have discovered they actually do work; encourage them to question.
Kids are born with natural curiosity and will ask questions in the natural course of their learning. Rather than answer their queries with rote facts, answer them with questions of your own that make them think more deeply about a subject. If your child asks, “Why is the sky is blue?”, counter that with, “What do you think there is in the atmosphere that produces the color blue?” That’s open inquiry that encourages exploration and discovery.
Science Should Be Explored
There is a way of teaching that chokes off a child’s natural curiosity and then there is a way of teaching that encourages inquisitive minds to further explore scientific theories and facts.
If you think that science is a “hard” subject to learn, it’s probably because you were taught to memorize random facts or complicated equations. This is not the most effective approach to teaching science. Just knowing random facts about something doesn’t mean you understand it.
The same is true for your child. Don’t worry about having her memorize a set of facts, but encourage her to ask questions that come from her innate sense of curiosity. So rather than asking her to learn the Latin names for each species of North American bird, for instance, help her find the answers to things she wants to know, such as how birds are able to fly and how they communicate with each other and what types of food they eat.
Break the Rules of Experimentation
Performing hands-on experiments is a vital part of learning science. But rather than insisting that experiments follow a prescribed set of steps or rules, allow your child to dive right in and maybe even make mistakes. Guidelines are good but there’s no reason you can’t break the rules and, in fact, you should do so regularly. This encourages lots of questions and further experimentation to see what might happen if… if a variable is changed or if the experiment is moved or if the same results would occur with other variables. You never know, you and your child might just discover something new.
Teaching your kids science is about more than just following a prescribed curriculum. Every now and then you should step outside the box and see what happens. Have your kids think about broader possibilities and help them discover answers to their questions on their own. All science is really an art; it’s not black and white but shades of gray that color the results of those who dare to be curious and explore the world around them.