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 (16 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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Character Training and Books

Character training is something that continues all of our lives. Every situation and circumstance we encounter builds, tears down, repairs the character of our person. Children are even more susceptible to this process, I think; they are more fragile and yet more resilient. It’s important to give them worthwhile examples as best we can. There is perhaps no better substitute than having a role model in the flesh, but I think that having books with characters that exhibit good traits is wonderful as well.

I won’t even try to pretend my character is flawless. I have points I struggle with daily. However, my experiences with virtuous characters in books has helped in ways that my introverted self prevented me from learning from others in the real world. Also, with my own kids, I can see how books have helped shape what they understand about good character traits. Some they try very hard to emulate; others I wish they would.

Slimbook by lacybekah, on Pix-O-Sphere
The first book I might recommend to use in character training is the Bible. There are many curricula available for character development on the market. Some are very well done; others not so much. I’ll leave that to you to decide if they are good or not to use in your home. But I’m not going to actually suggest books for character training. This world is made up of very diverse cultures and beliefs. We cannot possibly experience them all, and especially not {all} in real life. Nor would I hope that we would!

By using books, fiction or nonfiction, we are able to present and discuss a situation before actually being in that situation. There are many situations that I’ve read about that I have never encountered myself; reading about it helps us all by giving an outside perspective. Sometimes we experience a situation in a book so well, and understand the strengths and weaknesses of the character who went through it, we can take it for ourselves. Doing what is right, in any circumstance, would be a treasure we find and keep.

A worthy idea is like a room in a beautiful home. It becomes a place all our own where we can store the treasures we want to keep. Information is just stuff. Christine, Charlotte Mason Basics: Living Books

While discussing these situations and issues that we may {or may not} confront in our real lives, we can see that there really isn’t “do this/don’t do this” in the books. But isn’t that the way it is in life? There are absolutes, yes. But there also times when one “right” is the “wrong”. Reading good books helps us get a feel for what we would or wouldn’t do in that case.

good books by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere

There isn’t really a substitute for a real life role model but sometimes really good ones can be found in books. Here are some ways to find books that will help instill good character traits in children:

  1. Think of books you yourself have read that were influential in your life. Did the books have role models you would like your children to emulate? Introduce these to your children.
  2. Ask individuals with admirable character qualities for book recommendations. Of course I am not suggesting taking their list and handing it over to your child. Pre-reading is always a good idea.
  3. Search out books that have situations that you know your child will encounter. Pre-read these and then, if they are suitable, read along with your child.

Of course our example will likely be more influential to our children’s character than any book could be, but sometimes a good book goes a long way in this respect.

What are some books you would recommend to help solidify a good character?

North Laurel (3 Posts)

Blossom- "North Laurel" to the online world- lives in Ohio with her husband and two teens, homeschooling the Charlotte Mason way with Ambleside Online. She is graciously allowed to be a moderator for the Ambleside Online Forum. North Laurel loves to read, be on the computer, and learn. You can read her blogging about homeschooling, book reviews and life in general at North Laurel Home & School.


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5 Items to Pack for a Homeschool Convention

 

 

 

I am going into my sixth year of attending homeschool conventions, so I think it’s safe to say that I’ve learned a few things along the way that I would love to share with you, in hopes of making your convention experience a little easier.

 

5 Items to Pack for a Homeschool Convention

Now keep in mind that I attend these conventions solo (as in without husband and child, but NOT without girlfriends), so this list of must-haves is completely focused on what I need to make the convention successful for me…a homeschool mom on the loose, doing her best to feed her teaching soul and select the best material possible for her child.

1.  Comfy shoes.

I really cannot stress to you how important that this one is.  Between walking the vendor hall, going back and forth to workshops, traipsing around for coffee and food…those puppies will be tired no matter what you have on them.  If you add those cute heels that you are positive are so comfortable because you wear them occasionally to church, you have a recipe for disaster.  Church does not last for three days with this much walking.  You owe it to yourself to be as kind to your feet as you can.  My favorite shoes for this occasion are a pair of Yellow Box sandals.  Cute and stylish, yet air to my feet.

2.  Tablet or smartphone.

And I suppose I could add laptop to that list as well, except that in my opinion, it is much easier to use one of the other devices. They are much easier to whip out to look something up while in the vendor hall, take notes when listening to a speaker, or whip out a tweet or two!

3.  A lightweight sweater or jacket.

Normally I consider myself a pretty bright person, but for some reason it took me about 4 conventions to figure this one out.  For the life of me I couldn’t remember to bring a cardigan or something warm to wear in those chilly vendor halls or speaker rooms.  And I am cold all. the. time.  You’d think I would have this at the top of my list!  You won’t need anything bulky…just something that is easy to slip on and off will do.

4.  A plan and a wish list.

You will save so much time (and hopefully money in your curriculum budget for the year) by printing out the list of exhibitors before traveling to the convention.  It is sooo easy to get caught up in the awesomeness that is a hall full of curriculum.  Focus first on the vendors that you know may be in your lineup for next year, so that no matter what, you have purchased the necessities before you start spending any discretionary funds you may have brought with you.

5.  A tote bag or larger purse.

There will be many tables you’ll stop by that won’t be applicable to your current season of homeschooling, but may be something you’ll want to take a look at in the future. If you have a bag to put their literature in, you’ll be able to take it home and file it away for safe keeping.  Not to mention mints, hand lotion, or possibly some lip balm.  Try your best to consolidate your purse and tote bag….it’s not fun to keep up with both!

What homeschool conventions will we find you visiting this year?

 

Ellen Pool (2 Posts)

Ellen is a homeschool mom of one who blogs about homeschooling, faith, family and fitness at Grace Tells Another Story. She homeschool an "only", and they have a blast together!! Every day is "girls day"! She and her family live outside of Houston, Texas.


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