Be sure to read to the end of this post – there’s a fantastic giveaway you won’t want to miss!
I like science and I think it’s incredibly interesting, but I’ve never been what you’d call “good” at the technical side of it. I completely understand why things happen as they do, but I can’t really explain them in “science-y” terms.
For example, I passed 10th grade chemistry (barely) because my teacher realized, in May, that I still had no idea how the equation applied to the experiment.
I could practically write a story about why something worked, but I couldn’t write a simple lab report. He realized I hadn’t been handing in my reports all year because I had no clue how to do them, so he took pity. I kid you not.
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I started hunting down online and DVD-based courses for chemistry and physics, figuring those were coming next. The thing is, though, he had no interest in taking them!
His interests lay, of course, in fields that not many high school courses exist for. Not only was I going to have to teach them, I was going to have to put them together myself.
So I did!
Traditional Science Courses
Now, traditionally, students will follow some sort of a pattern in high school. Generally, this includes some combination of physical science, biology, chemistry, and/or physics.
There are several companies that produce textbooks, DVD or online classes, and other resources for these classes. Some will even take it beyond those levels.
Apologia, for example, starts out with an overview of General and Physical Science in junior high. It then moves on to Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, with options for Human Anatomy, Marine Biology, Advanced Chemistry, and Advanced Physics.
We did several of these, and we enjoyed them. There is literally something for every level, and they’re really good – and really user-friendly!
If you have a child who wants to study a non-traditional field, however, you’re going to find resources a bit harder to get ahold of.
For some fields, there literally are not texts that are written beneath a college level. This means that either your child is going to have to work with a harder text or you will have to get creative.
My son was ok working with a college text, but I really didn’t want to spend college text prices, so I got creative. And it actually turned out to be pretty fun!
Some of the courses he took included Environmental Science, Botany, and Astronomy. We also designed some classes that were a blend of life skills and engineering.
While learning automotive skills, we also studied the engineering side of cars – everything from aerodynamics to the mechanical engineering.
When he apprenticed as a handyman and contractor, he also studied the physics behind what he was learning.
Since my husband is a training manager at a composite materials plant, they studied the chemistry and physics behind the products that the company makes.
There are so many ways to study science! And the lab requirement (if your student is college-bound) is actually really easy to work in. It doesn’t have to include lab equipment, just hands-on experience!
When my son studied Environmental Science, he volunteered at a local nature center. He made it known that he was ready to both learn and work, and boy, did they oblige!
He learned everything from how plants, animals, and natural resources come together to form and sustain an ecosystem. Lastly, he learned what happened when that ecosystem was disrupted.
A lot of his learning was project-based, and one of these projects even turned into his Eagle Project. These included everything from removing an invasive species from a square mile of forest to helping to maintain various sections of the nature reserve.
And because he was far more interested in learning through the project than he would be in finishing a textbook, almost all of his research was self-driven. Five years later, he can still discuss what he learned easily.
For resources, we didn’t use a textbook; rather, we used mentors. We used the internet and Boy Scout merit badge handbooks.
We used local Master Gardeners and their manuals. And we used time with naturalists and park officials who already hang out at the nature center.
We used real life.
Now, I wouldn’t recommend that for every subject, since there are some that you really need a text for. For some subjects though, it works incredibly well.
Philosophy of Science
Another “out of the box” course that my son chose to take is Philosophy of Science. This is something that has fascinated him since he was very small, the early elementary years.
He wanted to find out why two or three highly trained, highly committed scientists can look at the same evidence and come up with completely different conclusions.
Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to EvolutionThe Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of DarwinismDarwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design
He knew that it all depended on their starting points, their worldviews, but he wanted to know why.
As part of our worldview studies, he also chose to read the works of a variety of scientists – everyone from Charles Darwin and Richard Dawkins to Michael Behe, Mitch Stokes, and Andrew Snelling. He watched documentaries and interviews of scientists from all sides of the issues – and listened to what they said.
He did not read their work to accept it as fact, but to analyze it. Instead, he broke each down to find their presuppositions, methodologies, and conclusions, and then determined for himself which had the strongest and most objective work.
When he got to college, he was very glad that he had done this. In college, information is presented from a wide variety of views, and a student needs to be able to see through it.
Seeing stories on social media and hearing conversations and debates on a regular basis, he’s even more thankful. He knows what he believes and why, and he can discuss it confidently with a wide range of people.
How to Be an Atheist: Why Many Skeptics Aren’t Skeptical EnoughA Shot of Faith (to the Head): Be a Confident Believer in an Age of Cranky AtheistsEarth’s Catastrophic Past: Geology, Creation & the Flood
And in the end, I’m thankful for that. He won’t always be under my roof, and I want him to be able to think through those situations for himself.
Wrapping It Up
If your student is interested in the traditional science class lineup, that’s awesome! Go with it. There are a ton of great resources, and if you have any questions, I’m happy to point you toward what might work for you.
If you have a student who walks the road less taken, though, be encouraged. There are several great options that are completely doable. Check out my Science board on Pinterest; you might find some great ideas there!
And now…for a giveaway you’ll love!
Could you use some free curriculum? If so, you’re going to love this giveaway! Now through Sunday, September 22, you can enter to win your choice of a science curriculum from Apologia!
To enter, just fill out the entry card below. You can pick and choose which entry options you complete, and along the way, you’ll find some fantastic new homeschool bloggers to follow!
In addition, by entering you will also receive a Digital Swag Bag valued at $60 – so everyone who enters gets free curriculum resources! You can find the details of the Swag Bag below the entry.
It is your responsibility to read the terms and conditions upon entering. Entering this giveaway signs you up for the following email newsletters: The Fervent Mama, Life Beyond the Lesson Plan, The Art Kit, Peace Creek on the Prairie, Brookdale House, My Joy-Filled Life, The Unexpected Homeschooler, Finding Joy in the Journey, and With the Huddlestons email if you aren’t already subscribed. The winner has 48 hours to claim their prize before a new winner is drawn. Giveaway ends September 22nd, 2019 at 12 AM CST.
Swag Bag Details:
All entrants will receive the Swag Bag (valued at $60) within 24 hours of the giveaway closing.
With the Huddlestons – Science Experiments That’ll Blow Your Mind It comes with 4 videos and printable worksheet pages that are needed to complete each experiment. This is the perfect self-paced course for the science explorer looking to be wow’d! This is a $20 course!
The Unexpected Homeschooler – Career Exploration Worksheets This is a course teens can do to explore what careers would be best for their personalities, interests, and strengths.
Peace Creek on the Prairie – The All About Animals an early childhood resource packet is filled with eleven lesson plans for elementary aged children to teach children valuable science lessons. $12 value
Brookdale House – Thirty Pages of Panda Themed Handwriting practice including letter tracing practice. The fun panda graphics will help your child look forward to the next page of practice.
The Art Kit – Outer Space 3-Part Cards (4 sheets that include Sun + Planets) and STEAM Challenge Color Mixing Activity Cards. $10 value.
The Fervent Mama – Our Bible Trivia for Kids Game Kit includes 54 printable pages of fun for ages Elementary and up! Valued at $15, each set of questions is sorted by difficulty and labeled by categories. There are 240 questions total; 40 Level 1, 60 Level 2, 110 Level 3, and a Bonus 30 adult questions. ($15 value)