Homeschooling Science – Inspiring Curiosity through an Engaging Curriculum

Science is perhaps the most exciting subject a primary school student looks forward to when entering high school. White coats, safety glasses and complex equations – it all makes the learning feel so important and grown up. Then there’s the science experiments, project-based learning and a whole lot of fancy, multi-syllabic words to learn and use. This is important, real-life stuff! So how can parents teach homeschool science in a way that sustains their child’s natural curiosity across a broad learning area?

The good news is that a complete set of beakers, Bunsen burners and chemicals are not required for a top quality science education. A rigorous, curriculum-aligned set of teaching  resources can perfectly complement all the ‘in-the-wild’ learning typical of homeschool. With the robust curriculum resources at a student’s fingertips, science lessons can be a straightforward addition to the homeschool timetable. But first up, a few key questions to consider.

Should I teach science in my homeschool curriculum?

Science plays a significant role in our society. In today’s information-rich age, it’s more important than ever for students to learn how to pick out valid data and reach their own conclusions, independent of bias or spin. By exploring how the natural physical world operates, and understand how scientists draw valid conclusions, students can become critical, informed and responsible citizens.

In New Zealand, home educators can follow the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC), although there is no requirement to do so. For those who prefer a clear direction for teaching science, the NZC document provides a framework. It assists in creating a home curriculum that connects to your local context and is supported by plenty of teaching material.

The Australian Curriculum, optional for homeschooling parents, organises science into three interconnected strands or overarching categories of science learning:

  1. Science understanding 

    • This is when a student selects and integrates science knowledge to explain and predict phenomena, and applies that knowledge to new situations. Science knowledge refers to facts, concepts, principles, laws, theories and models that have been established by scientists over time.
  2. Science as a human endeavour

    • This strand highlights the development of science as a unique way of knowing and doing, and the importance of science in contemporary decision-making and problem-solving. 
  3. Science inquiry skills

    • This strand is concerned with evaluating claims, investigating ideas, solving problems, drawing valid conclusions and developing evidence-based arguments. Students develop the tools they need to achieve deeper understanding of the science concepts and how scientific thinking applies to these understandings.

The learning encompassed by these three strands provides students with understanding, knowledge and skills through which they can develop a scientific view of the world.

See how EP delivers science lessons aligned to the Australian Curriculum

What science topics should I teach?

This really depends on which curriculum is being followed by the home educator. As in many other learning areas, the terminology in science changes with the times to keep pace with new pedagogies and research findings. Many parents will remember the classic trio of chemistry, physics and biology. However today’s science teaching options may also include any of the following topics:

  • Earth and space sciences
  • Biological sciences
  • Chemical sciences
  • Physical sciences
  • The living world
  • The material world
  • The physical world
  • Environmental science
  • Agricultural sciences
  • Science inquiry skills
  • Nature and development of science
  • Use and influence of science

Approaches to teaching science in a homeschool context

While a curriculum framework is useful for any one of a student’s school years, most homeschoolers will require further resourcing to get down to the lesson plan level and keep things fun. A digital learning platform is excellent for providing a clear framework to science content. Ideally parents want to work with a customisable bank of teaching resources that allows a personalised science learning experience.

Alongside a bank of quality learning content, there is endless opportunity to engage practical learners in fun science lessons. Finding that spark – whether it’s earth and space science, chemistry, physics or propagating plants to grow food for the household – can introduce home learners to the depths of our natural world.

To move from the superficial to deeper learning, there are a number of teaching strategies used in modern science education that are worth exploring if you are considering homeschooling or are currently a home educator.

In general, a home educator should consider the following when planning science lessons:

  • Using a mix of teacher-directed and student-directed activities
  • Working within clear curriculum progressions
  • Using a range of resources – both digital and paper
  • Drawing on local experts within the community – consider joining a home school co-op to share resources and knowledge
  • Linking science topics to students’ lives and interests
  • Modeling concepts for students using quality explanations

With a complex subject like science, it’s important to scaffold learning by introducing new skills and knowledge in manageable amounts. In this way, students will build on existing understandings and develop the grounding to move through to more advanced content.

Consider independent learner-led approaches such as inquiry and investigation. Students love  hands-on learning such as experiments – and there are so many a home educator can run with everyday household items! Keep an eye out too for citizen science projects. More and more scientific researchers are looking to the public for assistance with data gathering, making citizen science an excellent way to engage students in local science issues.

See how EP scaffolds science learning for homeschool students

So homeschooling science is not just about learning content?

Definitely not! There are a number of learner capabilities that are developed through the study of science. These include gathering and interpreting data, using evidence to support a claim or judgement, critiquing evidence and interpreting representations of data. Obviously these skills come in handy access a number of other subjects!

A program based solely around acquiring science knowledge would be fairly dry. For meaningful and purposeful learning, home educators should  integrate hands-on learning with knowledge building strategies.

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Why Use EP for Homeschooling Science?

EP is adjustable for every style of homeschooling. It’s built to enhance your ability as a home educator and offer your child both structured and flexible methods of learning. The platform allows you to adapt for individual strengths and weaknesses so every learner feels supported.

You can:
Create your own courses
Follow our pre built outlines
Unschool your learner with our interest led functionality
Join over 1500 other homeschoolers!

Why Use EP to Homeschool?

EP is adjustable for every style of homeschooling. It’s built to enhance your ability as a home educator and offer your child both structured and flexible methods of learning. The platform allows you to adapt for individual strengths and weaknesses so every learner feels supported.

You can:
Create your own courses
Follow our pre built outlines
Unschool your learner with our interest led functionality
Join over 1500 other homeschoolers!