Are you having difficulty choosing a homeschool science curriculum? It can be confusing to know where to begin! Narrow down your options and find the science program that will be a perfect fit for you and your child.
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Choosing a Homeschool Science Program
Choosing any kind of homeschool curriculum takes time and research. And homeschool science can be especially tricky. It’s important to know what you want before selecting a program.
? Do you want a secular, neutral, or faith-based science program… and what does that even mean?
? How much science is enough for your child?
? What kind of teacher are you?
Secular, neutral, or faith-based?
…and what does that even mean?
What do you believe? What do you want to teach your children? Worldview and the history of humans is the first major factor to consider when shopping for homeschool curriculum.
Let’s start with the basic definitions:
Secular: The word “secular” by definition means the absence of religion. A secular homeschool curriculum may or may not include evolution, but definitely does not include creationism or other theories of human origin based on religious beliefs.
Faith-Based: A faith based curriculum focuses on religious view of the origin of man. Most faith-based homeschool science would likely teach Creationism from the Christian Bible as a large percentage of homeschoolers are Christian.
Not all curriculum publishers represent themselves clearly. It can be difficult to decipher the worldview from a short, online blurb or sales pitch.
When in doubt, I consult Cathy Duffy’s Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum. Cathy’s book and website clearly state whether a homeschool curriculum is secular or faith based – and what particular faith the curriculum represents.
How much science is enough?
How much or how little science you’ll need can based on a few factors. You’ll want to consider the grade level and interests of your child as well as be sure to meet any requirements set by your state, charter, or potential college choices.
If you’re just starting science in the elementary grades, you might be guided by interest level.
Does your child want to study science daily? Is she interested in animals and nature, how things work, experimenting and investigating everything around her? If yes, you are probably looking for a full science curriculum.
If your child has less of an interest in science, you might lean toward using more supplemental materials, books, or even spreading a year of curriculum out over a longer period of time.
Middle and high school curricula are usually directed toward meeting high school requirements and/or getting your child on the right track for their career. You’ll need to understand the high school science sequence and plan your curricula to align with your future plans.
How much or how little science do you need?
What kind of teacher are you?
Surprised I didn’t ask what kind of learner your child is?
If you follow my blog you’ll know I love child-led learning. I like to say we are child-led and curriculum-supported. We all love science at our house!
But even when I was teaching, science was the common denominator. Science inspired and fascinated every child because science encompasses every learning style and preference.
Any good science program will include hands-on experiments and investigations through the scientific method, new vocabulary words, and age-appropriate writing.
However, science is teacher-intensive. Some programs ask more of the teacher than others. How much time and effort are you willing to commit?
Are you excited to do hands-on experimentation daily? Are you organized in your planning and always have the needed materials on-hand? Or are you a parent that will largely outsource science experiments and activities? Most of us are somewhere in-between.
Science that Meets Our Needs
Until recently, I’d been following my son’s interests and using a wide variety of materials to learn all about science. I chose secular materials, and we did science all the time. Experiments several times a week!
This was great for him, but it was difficult for me. Planning and executing experiments, having everything on hand, and the clean up… the clean up gets me every time.
We made a huge change when we began using Bookshark for our science curriculum. Take a peek inside their Level 2 Package.
How Bookshark Stacks Up
Bookshark is free of religious and faith-based references. Bookshark does not mention creation or evolution but focuses on all the many other facets of science.
√ Short lessons four days per week
Four days is the perfect amount of science for us. The extra day in our week gives us flexibility for catch-up or extra time for enrichment. The lessons are short and sweet. Little chunks that satisfy my son’s appetite for science while leaving time for the rest of our studies!
√ Open-and-go teacher’s manual and experiment kit
This was the decision-maker for me. I couldn’t keep up with all the experiments my son wanted to do!
Bookshark has a very easy-to-follow teacher’s manual that lays out all of your plans. They even give you a heads-up on the materials you need for next week’s experiment.
Most of the materials you need are right there in the package. It’s great having everything on-hand. (And not having to buy a whole package of straws or balloons when you really only need one!)