Archive for the ‘Homeschool Science’ Category

Life of Homeschool Science #8

March 30, 2014 Leave a comment

Early in our homeschooling experience, we heard about a young man who graduated from a local community by his tenth grade. I never could confirm this for it was learned from a friend’s husband who taught at the community college. This put the seed in my mind of if this person could do so would my oldest. I pushed the Educator to direct our oldest’s education towards a community college. It became apparent in a year or so that my goal could not be achieved. My oldest was not going to graduate by tenth grade. He first had much to learn before being able to take on that type of load.

There is a point with homeschooling families where they believe they can not teach the subject. The Educator thought the sciences to be this area. The Educator was wrong but this direction was no longer needed. A college opportunity for Youth 1 arrived and we seized the opportunity.

Youth 1’s senior year required a math and a science. Youth 1 was ready for calculus and only physics was never attempted. The college placement exam allowed Youth 1 to proceed with these classes if so desired. This is what Youth 1 did. He took calculus, chemistry and physics. Taking these course alleviated the need to find curriculum for Youth 1 and the Educator. These courses also count at credits if my son goes to this school after high school.

He recommends you teaching your child physics at home before taking it at the college level. This would apply with chemistry. If you’re familiar with the subject it will help in college. I would say do precalculus before taking calculus. We made a mistake by skipping physics.

Check with your local community colleges and universities to see if your child can attend. You are not relieved of duty if they can attend and take these courses. I recommend you get every supplemental help you can get and monitor your child. Youth 1 has visited his professors quite often and developed friendships where they help each other. There are also other online help and books to assist. The biggest need in these types of classes are problems to do. The more you do the better you get.

Give this route a thought.


Life of Homeschool Science #7

March 23, 2014 Leave a comment

I’m going to jump ahead to the late middle school years and early high school. To me this is a very important time. For some scholarship requirements, you need to start applying letter grades and documenting textbooks. This is also an important preparation period for college bound students.

The Educator had an initial fear of how to instruct Youth 1 in the sciences at this point. The experiments were easy enough but when you apply mathematics everything changes. How do you teach a subject you are not familiar with? We started looking at ways to educate Youth 1.

We looked at my old college textbooks. I had a chemistry and a calculus book ready to be used. The help would come in a form of the internet. It was doable but difficult. This would require some concentration on all to get this done in a school year. There were other alternatives.

This is where a homeschool group is worth the value of membership. There was a parent that would teach biology. I believe Apologetics was used. The class was formal and instruction occurred. Labs were also done in this class. All reading, homework and lab reports were done outside of class. Even the exams were to be given by the parents.

Youth 1 experienced a classroom environment consisting of homeschoolers. Quizzes and lab were graded and grades posted. This was a real-world experience for Youth 1 and the other students. This class helped to prepare Youth 1.

There was even a chemistry course that Youth 1 participated in. This class was of a similar environment to the biology course. This chemistry class used Apologetics as well. In fact, this course helped provide the opportunity for Youth 1 to test out of first year chemistry at the local university, an option we chose to not take.

As a student enters the upper years of schooling, the educational style needs to change. If you look at chemistry you now need to know how to do stoichiometry. No longer can you only scratch the surface. If your studying physics the simple stuff no longer apply. You need to be able to understand the formulas and utilize them in order to do the calculations.

As a homeschooling parent, you need to be aware of the time to change the way your child is learning. We transferred to a textbook and away from multiple books. No longer was Youth 1 looking at a general subject. He was now going into depth with the subject. Think about how you will go about educating your child during the middle school and high school years.

Why was Apologetics textbooks used? The person teaching required this.

Life of Homeschool Science #6

March 22, 2014 Leave a comment

The early years of science in our household was based on many books and magazines supplemented by visits to nature parks, museums and yes even the television. I can not begin to tell you of the many experiments done in this house.

If you were to ask me if there was one item in our science program that was instrumental to us what is it? The first word would be TOPScience ( We have relied on this material for many of the experiments. The PS
material has been used into the middle school years. There are a few Tops ideas we have used since with Youth 2.

The higher grade years for us has required a more in depth look at science than TOPS provides. We have never touched to my memory the physics or chemistry. A different method has been utilized by us. These two fields require more than what TOPS can offer but could be a supplement to the main material.

I highly recommend everyone to check this out. The parent can learn just as much as the child. A good way to go through this material is to use outside material as well. We commonly use age appropriate books to go along with the tops.

Life of homeschool science #5

March 22, 2014 Leave a comment


Unlike many adults, I do not find it odd to come home and see paperclipped leaves and paper on a tree alongside my driveway. Entering our kitchen, it is not uncommon to see organic items in various states of decay and rot. A visitor would think us a bit untidy with our food. I am not surprised to see a blue or purple celery stalk or some liquid concoction of a strange color. Open my closet door and I can find some type of plant growing there such as a lima bean. I have no problem of having to stand and eat my dinner because an lab experiment is in progress on our dining room table or has just finished. There was even a time when the solar system was pinned to our living room wall that required my covering the holes as the Educator repainted the living room later on. I must confess the room was due to be painted in the summer.

There are strange requests, too. It is not uncommon for me to receive requisition requests for items. We do not regularly consume two liters bottles of soda. I find Walmart, Lowes and the local grocery store a nice place to get some of the items. Others I must rely on ordering from Amazon.

There are experiments where I am asked to be involved in. There has been a time where I had to set up a telescope in 40°F weather for Youth 1 and Youth 2 to see a planet or the moon. I have been asked to help identify the type of lizard we have or to find directions to the Maryland Science Center and participate.

I support my family in these tasks as well as other homeschooling tasks. I am inconvenienced often but willingly go along with this. Eat cereal, waffles or some other quick food for a dinner is not minded by me. This is part of my duty as a spouse and parent.

Homeschooling in general requires support from the spouse. The more active the support is the easier and more educational homeschooling is. It is sad for me to hear some homeschooling families that MUST clean up the area before the husband is home and need to get that meal ready. How is this translated to the children? The message is as straightforward as intended, though not the message that was expected.

Life of Homeschool Science #4

March 15, 2014 2 comments

In our “enlightened” society sexuality and sexual experimentation is encouraged. Even drug used is subtly encouraged. You can not go far without these being thrust at you. There is even a new show called “Sex Box” to be displayed on the tely. This is a show where couples have sex in a box with a studio audience outside. After their encounter, they come out and talk to three experts. This is what our world encourages. It is pushed off as educational, but we all know it is exploitation and a form of sexual gratification. By the way we got this show from the Brits.

What is not encouraged is the exploration of the world around us. How many families encouraged their children to explore nature? I constantly hear “Don’t pick that UP!” or “Leave it alone!” There is a push for us to not explore nature. My children have always been encourage to explore what is around us without damaging anything. This is why I know what reptiles are on my property. We know what trees are growing on my property and what insects are damaging our trees.

I see too many teenagers more concerned about sexuality than education. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math are not important to them. It is dating, kissing and sex. This is happening at eleven, twelve and even earlier. Parents are seeing nothing wrong with immature and developing brains dealing with complex issues. These are children and NOT adults.

Why am I concentrating on this. We do not allow exploration anymore. Everyone is discouraged from climbing that tree over there. Don’t walk in the water. Don’t touch the creature. We even say these things will hurt you. How can we improve in the science field if all we know is NO.

How do we solve this problem? We stack more shingles on the leaking roof instead of fixing the leak. We get a few successes and declare the program worth the money. We fail to see the student that is succeeding with STEM is the student that would succeed without it. My children have been involved in STEM style programs and the people involved are the families that stress education. Sorry, but lower incomes families are not there. Sports pushing families are not there. Materialistic families are not there.

It is my personal belief we need to encourage and allow our children to explore nature. This will help to enhance our love of science.

Life of Homeschool Science #3

March 15, 2014 Leave a comment

Our second year was much of the same as the first year. This year 46 books were read. Wow! That is a lot isn’t it? Each science subject Youth 1 learned had multiple books to it. There were at least 13 books on the weather. This is where I public and private schools fail. You may get two books involved in the subject you are studying.

I need to explain the books. A few of the books were indeed educational magazines. The majority of the books were age appropriate, too. Nah, let say all of the books were age appropriate. Having multiple sources helped the Educator to understand the subject as well as Youth 1.

We also looked at our local community for help in science. Youth 1 went to a community college for additional learning during the summer. The program was College For Kids. Here Youth 1 was in a classroom setting learning about science. Youth 1 really had a lot of fun with this program. It cost a few bucks but was worth it.

This year we learned of the lapbook. It was very helpful in educating Youth 1. As the Educator and Youth 1 worked on the weather, they would build the lapbook. This would reinforce what Youth 1 learned. It is also a nice keepsake for Youth 1.

A pizza-book was constructed for the study of reptiles. Youth 1 really enjoyed studying reptiles. We would forever be cursed with Youth 1 bringing snakes, lizards, frogs, toads, salamanders and whatever creature that could be found to us. Many times he would bring them indoors to the chagrin of the Educator. Watching Youth 1 smile as the creature has a mouthful of this finger or hand was amusing for me at least. The Educator not so much.

How does the pizza-book work. In our case the pizza was cut into four quadrants with information on each. Each quadrant could open up in a different direction thus allowing more information to be included. This is similar to a lapbook.

Another method similar to the lapbook is the overlay. While studying plants Youth 1 and the Educator created an overlay. The finish plant and soil was on top. As you open it up or peel it back, you see the life cycle of the plant. Now the cover is the finished product and as you open each section you see the growth of the plant. The very end is the seed.

Kitchen Chemistry was big this year, too. The book Kitchen Chemistry by John B. Bath and Sally C. Mayberry was the main part of this education. Youth 1 would learn about mixtures, solutions and reactions. Even Youth 2 got involved when they were making pennies shine once more.

We are beginning to set our educational structure. Lab experiments and reading will become a major player early on. Our family utilizes outside help for science education. Everything we do is hands-on and exploration is encouraged.

Life of Homeschool Science #2

March 15, 2014 Leave a comment

Youth 1 began his science in the first year. This was a how to period for homeschooling. I can’t say it was perfect but our background was set. This first year method was like many other homeschool families for this is what we only knew at the time.

How you teach and what you use to teach is important when teaching science. Unlike the arts and humanities, science needs to be structured. You can not learn calculus before you learn algebra. You need a structured environment to learn the sciences (STEM).

This first year was a hodge-podge method of learning. The one consistency were the books we used.
A total of 27 books were read that first year. Here is a sample of what was read:

A Child’s First Librarry of Learning: Sky and Earth – E.D. Hirsch Jr
Amazing Monkeys – Scott Steedman
Show How They Grow: Pig – Mary Ling
Mammals – Time-Life Books
Outside and Inside Giant Squid – Sandra Markle
Experiments With Electricity – Helen J. Challand
Fearsom Fangs – Anthony D. Fredericks
What is a Bird – Robert Snedden

Many topics were covered. There were multiple books about the pigs, monkeys and other science fields. The Educator would read to Youth 1. 27 science books were read to Youth 1.

We also did hikes in the woods. Again, we were learning this on the fly. I was able to show the two youths (yes, Youth 2 went along) the signs of deer from a buck rub to a deer trail and droppings.

We used the “3 in 1 Science Kit Water Works!” for experiments. Youth 1 was learning about displacement. In fact lab experiments are instrumental in our education even in our first year. Youth 1 would have to answer questions such as, “What does displacing water mean?” and Does the amount of displaced water weigh more or less than the boat?” Youth 1 was able to understand for he did the experiments. He was able to place the words from the books to the experiments done.

As a member of a co-op at this point in time, we used them for group experiments. One such session was an owl pellet study. Youth 2 took apart an owl pellet to see what was eaten. It was very fascinating to see the bones and fur while discovering what the owl ate. It was a mouse in Youth 1’s case.

We visited nature preserves or any place that could teach Youth 1 especially if it was hands on. There was a goat farm to visit as well a cicadas to hear and touch. Constructing items related to science helped to reinforce our child’s learning

This hands-on approach would continue through graduation. Books, many books would now play a role in our education. Experiments would be another major factor.

The Educator would be involved from now on until Youth 1 began to take science courses away from home.