5 Reasons to Teach High School Science
Parents sometimes look to me to reassure them it’s OK not to teach science in high school. The bad news for them is, it really is important! The good news is, I will show you how to make it as painless and enjoyable as possible!
When pressed, I give five strong reasons to face the situation and teach science.
Reason 1: Science is required for high school graduation
Almost all school districts require science as part of their core curriculum. It’s a core element of graduation in many states. When you look up your state requirements, make sure they are your state homeschool requirements because they may be different from state public school requirements.
Reason 2: Science is also required for college admission
Colleges usually demand more than what is required for high school graduation. In general, as part of a college prep education, colleges look for at least three years of science with at least one lab. If you plan to teach four years of science, that’s great, you can exceed expectations. Your child can earn better scholarships by taking science every year. Four years of high school science can be important, even for kids who have absolutely no inclination of a science-related career. It’s a good idea to include a full four years of science. It can pay off in the long run. Besides, teenagers change their minds and may someday decide on a science-intensive career. You want them to be ready!
Reason 3: High school science helps students build critical thinking skills
Learning critical thinking through science prepares children for the ACT test and understanding science helps them better analyze data and form accurate conclusions. As adults, they will be able to think critically about news reports or studies in the paper. The thinking skills learned in high school are skills used daily. Science helps form these critical thinking skills. For children who love science, it is equally important to study English, art, and the liberal arts. It helps them develop critical thinking skills in a different way. They need a college prep education in order to pull all the pieces together. People who make great scientific discoveries also have information beyond science they can bring to the forefront. They can take their acquired knowledge about the human body and other information about engineering and come up with amazing new prosthetic devices.
Reason 4: Science demonstrates that students have the ability to work hard
Colleges and employers both want people with a strong work ethic. Strong, academic subjects on your child’s transcript show they have the ability to work hard. Four years of science shows that your child worked hard for four years. Your child can be successful getting into college and career because they have demonstrated their hard work.
Reason 5: Science is required for STEM careers and colleges are willing to pay for it
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. The good news is, if your child has an aptitude in these subjects and you’re preparing your child for a STEM career, they are eligible for some fabulous scholarships. Keep an eye on the big picture; you’re investing money in science and math curriculum for good scholarships in the future. If possible, graduate your child with a calculus and a physics class if they are looking forward to a STEM career. This isn't always possible and it’s not mandatory (you can search for a college that doesn’t require these subjects instead). There are some great jobs available for those with STEM degrees.
Teaching vs. Facilitating
You do have to cover science in your homeschool, but that doesn’t mean you have to “teach” science. Instead, you can facilitate science. Once your children are high school age, your job will change and you’ll become the facilitator or project-manager. You’re the one who makes sure they learn and not the one who has to teach the entire curriculum.
What does teaching science look like at home? When I was homeschooling high school, my children would read the textbook with the teacher’s manual in their hands. They would work through each lesson on their own; if they were stuck, they would look at the solution manual and compare the answers to their own work. They would teach themselves through the questions and answers given in the curriculum.
When it was time for a test, I would take away the solution manual and give them the test. Because I was not perfectly prepared to teach, being a good facilitator and not a good teacher, I didn’t know what the answers had to look like, especially in physics. When marking tests, I made sure the answers looked exactly like those in the solution manual. It didn’t matter if my children claimed their answer meant the same thing –each answer had to be exactly the same as the answer key, unless they could prove they were correct.
My best friend’s children had learning challenges. All through high school until her children were 18 years old, she read the science textbook aloud to her then 18-year-old sons to help them learn. Then they chatted together about the answers in the solution manual.
Your goal is to encourage your children to start becoming independent learners. I wanted my children to do all of the reading themselves since they were capable. My children completed all of the experiments with an adult standing-by. It was a little different with biology because I love it so much and I tried to teach them how fun and exciting it was. Unfortunately, of all the sciences, they liked biology the least.
The bottom line is that science is a core subject students need to cover in high school. If your child wants to go into a scientific or medical profession, then biology, chemistry, and physics are critical. Many universities offer scholarships when children are well prepared in science, technology, engineering, and math. In addition to preparing them for graduation, college admission, and career requirements, teaching science can lessen overall college expenses through scholarships!
Would you like to learn more about teaching homeschool high school science?
This article is Chapter 1 of my Coffee Break Book, Simple Science for Homeschooling High School: Because Teaching Science isn't Rocket Science
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