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Hands-on Science that Makes Sense: Supercharged Science

 

We enjoy science in our homeschool, but I’m not always confident about the best way to teach it and make it really relevant and approachable to my kids.  If you’ve ever felt challenged teaching science, or if your kids really love science, you’ll want to read today’s post.   Plus, you’ll have access to 5 free really cool complete science lessons, including “self-teaching” how-to videos.  (If you can’t wait, CLICK HERE to get them now!)

Supercharged Science 5 free lessons for The Homeschool Post readers @hsbapost @destinyblogger

{This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Supercharged Science.}

When it comes to teaching science, so many parents ask as single question:
“WHAT DO MY KIDS REALLY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SCIENCE?”

Maybe you can relate.

I mean the curriculum publishers list out the chapters in their program, the state says something different based on standards, and friends tell us yet another story.
This is actually a really common question. Finally, today, I’ve got an answer – but it’s a bit different than you might think.

You see, it’s not the right question to ask first. It’s like stopping at a gas station to ask for directions and simply saying “How do I get there?”

First, you need to know where you want to go. Then someone can give you directions.
Different people have different goals in having their kids learn science! I’ll tell you some of the most common ones and explain how to get there. Then you can decide which is right for you and your kids.

Here are the top reasons people want their kids to learn science:
1.     To gain a true appreciation for the wondrous world we live in
2.     To learn to think in a logical & methodical way
3.     To learn to appreciate and enjoy a topic that they can really use in their future (like for a career)
4.     To be prepared for college entry requirements
5.     To meet state science requirements

Which ones are your top goals for your kids?

The good news is that reaching a number of these goals at the same time is pretty do-able.

If you picked any of the first three as your top choice, then you probably want to focus on hands-on science with academic material to support what kids learn through doing experiments (the rest of the reasons might be important to you, but I’m talking about your FIRST choice here.)

Your kids’ time should be focused on things like building robots, launching rockets, creating laser-beam splitters and stuff like that first.  Then, after teaching each topic, by providing the academics to support it, and also giving your kids flexibility to continue learning extra in areas that they’re really excited about.

Of course this first approach usually prepares kids well for college too and can be tailored to meet state requirements.

If reasons 4 or 5 were your top choices, then you may want a more “traditional” textbook based approach. State standards and entry requirements are usually based on a public school education, so they test for what that kind of education usually provides. This is typically memorization rather than true understanding. Kids tend to have less fun with this approach, but you can pack more academic material into a shorter time period. Note that kids who learn this way are much less likely to become inspired or excited by science.

I recently learned all this from Aurora Lipper, who is a master science teacher at Supercharged Science (not to mention a real live rocket scientist who used to work for NASA, but is now a mom who devotes her time to sharing her love of science with kids). She has created an award winning science curriculum that teaches science this way.

Click here to try a free sample of it, or to get details on the complete curriculum.

It turns out that when kids do hand-on science, they get much more excited to learn it and therefore teaching it is much easier (not a big surprise, right).
By doing this, kids gain a true appreciation for the world around them, AND they learn the academics.  They also remember the academic material much longer than kids who just learned from a book (and know it on a level they can really use).
If you want to see this with your own kids, today I’ve got a collection of science lessons for you that are actually “self-teaching”.  They feature step-by-step teaching videos that your kids can go through on their own, plus a supporting workbook.

And they’re entirely FREE for The Homeschool Post readers!

Click here to download it now.

The idea is that if kids learn about hydraulics by building a working hydraulic robot.  Then, they think it’s so cool, they really want to learn the academic side of things, because then they can build even more cool stuff.
The point is, it makes them WANT to learn.

I can’t imagine too many kids reading a chapter in a textbook where they had to do a bunch of equations on hydraulic pressure and then say “Wow, that was so much fun, can I do some more equations?!”

I believe that kids really need to try things in the real world in order to genuinely understand and appreciate it!

Remember when you first learned to drive. You may have known what the steering wheel, gas pedal and brake did on an intellectual level. But, going out in traffic armed with just this knowledge would have been a pretty dangerous thing. You needed hands-on experience to really know how to drive.

The same thing is true with science. The books might have all the facts, but to really know science, you need to do LOTS of hands-on experiments and projects.

Here’s the BOTTOM LINE:
If you want your kids to have a true appreciation for the world around them AND be prepared for college and life, get a science curriculum that focuses on hands-on science activities first, and then introduces the academics to support them (not the other way around).

Regardless of what science curriculum you choose, PLEASE ask questions before you invest in any science curriculum or program you’re considering.  I know you want to do the best you possibly can for your kids.

To get the free “self-teaching” science lessons and the risk-free science curriculum trial CLICK HERE.

 

Sara (23 Posts)

I'm a reader, writer, dreamer, wife, and homeschooling mom of 3 girls. We take a relaxed, eclectic, Charlotte Mason-leaning, Montessori-ish, literature-rich, delight-directed, almost unschooling-at-times approach to learning. Lots of unit studies, field trips, and lapbooks, too. I like to blog about our learning adventures (plus faith and encouragement) at Embracing Destiny.


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School Without Subjects

Math, Reading, Writing, Spelling, Grammar, History, Geography, Science…have you identified all of the curriculum you will need for the coming school year?

@selftaughtkids @hsbapost

Thinking about how to cover each subject can be exhausting, time consuming, confusing, and expensive! Because most of us have been traditionally educated in the modern school system, we bite our nails down to the quick wondering if we are giving proper treatment to all the facts and information our children will need to know to get into college, or just generally lead well-informed, successful lives.

Boxed curricula can fill that need, of course, but if you’ve been homeschooling awhile, or are a newbie interested in not simply re-creating a traditional school day for your child, you may be open to a cross-curricular approach which can cut down on the number of individual subjects you need to find curriculum for.

So, what do we mean by cross-curricular? In our house it means that everything connects. We don’t study anything in a vacuum – segmented and compartmentalized into 45- or 50- minute blocks of time. History crosses over into science, and vise versa. Literature prompts writing, as can history. History and literature become geography. Science and math go together – they don’t always have to be studied individually. Instead of choosing different subjects to cover, we may choose one or two areas to focus on and then let learning bubble up from there.

To give you a real-life example, I’ll give you a rough sketch of what my two (ages 10 and 13) will be doing this school year:

Math/Science

Life of Fred. I love Fred. Life of Fred isn’t just math, it’s a life education. He even covers grammar…really. His pre-algebra course contains math coupled with biology and economics. He also has an elementary physics book. My oldest completed those last year and learned more about science from Life of Fred math than from any other science book or course we have used before. I don’t know of another math curriculum that discusses the cause of the civil war while teaching pre-algebra. Life of Fred critics worry that the books don’t offer enough practice problems. Hang in there. Once you arrive at the high school program, you can purchase Life of Fred: Zillions of Practice Problems for Beginning Algebra. Zillions of problems sound like a lot of practice.

Joy Hakim’s The Story of Science: Newton at the Center. Last year the oldest read the first book in the series: The Story of Science: Aristotle Leads the Way and really enjoyed it. It can simply be read for fun, or you can purchase the companion student and teacher Quest Guides published by the John Hopkins University Talent Development Program. We love this timeline approach to science which blends in loads and loads of history. We’ll supplement our at-home science reading with hands-on classes offered for homeschoolers at a local science museum.

Literature/Writing/Geography

Last year we studied the ancients in both history and science, starting with Sumeria and ending with Rome. For history, we used the Beautiful Feet Ancient History Intermediate Pack and this year we’ll move on to Medieval History, utilizing the Advanced Intermediate and Junior High Pack. I love the idea of using the same student guide and reading lists for both age levels – the program is customizable to grade levels 5 – 8 and includes reading, mapping, research, discussion and hands-on activities though 35 weekly lessons. Again, we’ll feel free to supplement with additional reading selections that we will probably treat as read-alouds, and where possible, perform at-home science experiments that relate to Medieval times. Grammar and spelling will be reinforced through the weekly writing assignments tied to the time period. Additionally, both kids will participate in a 16-week creative writing workshop held at a local library.

For foreign languages, music and art, there are a variety of ways to add these to your schedule. We prefer on-line foreign language courses and out-source anything like art or music.

By focusing on all things Medieval this year, I hope to bring a certain level of cohesiveness to our school year, making the planning easy for me and fun for the kids!

It’s really not necessary to purchase a stack of workbooks covering every topic you can think of. With a little creativity and some smart choices, you can narrow your focus to three or four areas and expand from there. There are so many free resources out there, you can easily keep your expenses down, too. Since many of the books on our reading list are available at the library, I would be surprised if we spent more than $200 this year on curricula.

I love to think of our approach as subject-less, even though we certainly cover all of the most important areas such as math, science, literature and history. Allowing yourself more freedom in how these are presented is going to make for a more enjoyable homeschool experience for both you and your children.

None of the above links are affiliate links – we just believe in these resources. What are some of your favorite cross-curricular materials and books? I’m always looking for more great ideas!

Angela (27 Posts)

Angela is co-founder of Mosaic Freeschool and a homeschooling mom to two never-been-to school kids. Born in Southern California and raised on the East Coast, Angela had a bit of an unconventional education, but did not consider homeschooling seriously until her first child was born. Believing that young children learn best from those that love them most, Angela and her husband John chose homeschooling for their two boys. She is dedicated to the advancement of alternative education choices, creating the web-site Raising Autodidacts in 2011 to further explore the idea of fostering the self-taught individual. In June of 2013, she started an instructional writing service called Gathering Ink .


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Top Ten Favorite Educational Shows on Netflix: The Older Crowd

Last week we shared with you our favorite Netflix shows for the younger set. This week, we bring you our Top Ten Favorite Educational Shows on Netflix. for the older crowd.

Top-Ten-Netflix8

Every family is different, so please review any show before letting your kids watch it to ensure it fits your family.

Ten Favorite Educational Shows on Netflix for the Older Crowd

 

  1. MythBusters- Do not try this at home folks! Adam and Jamie, with their team, examine common myths and legends to see if they could have actually happened. Be sure to check out their Big Blasts Collection too!
  2. Drive Thru History-Dave Stotts takes you on the most entertaining trek through Ancient Greece and Rome in Season 1 of Drive Thru History. This history documentary emphasizes Christianity’s positive role in Western civilization. The humor may be lost on the younger kids, but parents will enjoy!
  3. Modern Marvels- From the Brooklyn Bridge to Extreme Gadgets, Modern Marvels digs deep to explain the history behind some of our greatest achievements.
  4. Electric Company- This modern take on the 70′s classic teaches new words using Hip Hop and R&B.
  5. How It’s Made- Take a tour through factories and see how everything from band aids to contact lenses are made.
  6. National Geographic- National Parks- National Geographic has a wide variety of topics available on Netflix. National Parks might be our favorite, but they also include episodes on the FBI and Tornadoes.
  7. Man vs. Wild- Follow ex-special forces soldier Bear Grylls and he tries to find somewhere on Earth he can’t survive. So far, he can survive anywhere.
  8. Beakman’s World- Do miss the big hair and wacky antics of the early 90′s? Nah, me either. But watching someone else act goofy while educating my kids- bring it on! Prof. Beakman uses some crazy antics, quick costume changes and a giant rat (okay, man in a rat suit) to demonstrate even complicated scientific principles.
  9. TED Talks-This is another collection of short videos, on a variety of subjects. From the TED Conferences, TEDTalks videos include reputable current scientists and professors (and more) sharing ideas and explaining new things. Also check out their Education Site with more videos: http://ed.ted.com/.
  10. Destination Truth- Do you have a monster lover? Host Josh Gates goes to remote places, learns about geography and culture, and then investigates the myths and monsters of the world. From Loch Ness to haunted Mosques to Icelandic Elves, Destination Truth is there. Note: Some episodes may be a bit scary for more sensitive kids.

Do you have a favorite Netflix show?

Have you checked out the Homeschooling with Netflix Facebook Group?

Join us next week for a new Top Ten List from our team!

Lisa Baldwin (59 Posts)

Disciple of Christ, Wife, Mother of Four, Homeschooler, Crafter, Designer (Graphics and CSS/HTML), Blogger. I share too much, laugh at the wrong things, and fall on my backside regularly. Thank goodness Jesus ignores all of that and loves me anyway.


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Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale - Up to 92% Off!
***SUNFLOWERS UNIT STUDY * New from SEE THE LIGHT 66 pages of dynamic, integrated, comprehensive instruction for an entire month for the student ages 10 and up. $9.99 - http://www.seethelightshine.com/store/unit-studies/sunflowers-unit-study.html***