"Houston, we have a problem!" Homeschool parents often approach teaching high school science as if being asked to build the space shuttle. But teaching your kids science doesn't require a PhD. All it requires is a willing heart, an organized approach, and some simple facilitation skills. There is no reason to be scared when it comes to homeschooling high school and teaching 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 is important! The good news is, I will show you how to make it as painless and enjoyable as possible in the pages to follow!
When pressed, I give five strong reasons to face the situation and teach science.
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 state requirements, make sure they are your state homeschool requirements because they may be different from state public school requirements.
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!
Learning critical thinking through science prepares children for the ACT 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 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 knowledge on engineering and come up with amazing new prosthetic devices.
Colleges and employers both want people with a strong work ethic. Strong, academic subjects on your child's transcript show they can 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 hard work.
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 great jobs available for those with STEM degrees.
You do have to cover science in your homeschool, but that doesn't mean you must 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 needs to teach the entire curriculum.
What does teaching science look like at home? When I was homeschooling high school, my children read the textbook with the teacher's manual in their hands. They worked through each lesson on their own; if they were stuck, they looked at the solution manual and compared the answers to their own work. They taught themselves through the questions and answers given in the curriculum.
When it was time for a test, I took away the solution manual and gave 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.
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 sons to help them learn. Then they chatted together about the answers in the solution manual.
Your goal is to encourage your child to start becoming an independent learner. I wanted my children to do all the reading themselves since they were capable. My children completed all the experiments with an adult standing-by. It was a little different with biology because I love it so much and tried to teach them how fun and exciting it was. Unfortunately, of all the sciences, they liked biology least.
Science is a core subject 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!
Understanding science is a requirement for every homeschool graduate. It isn't just essential for college, but for functioning in the world. The good news is, there have never been such great tools available to help you impart this critical knowledge to your teens. Simple Science for Homeschooling High School will reveal these tools and provide you the insights you need to put them to work in your family.
Another thing to keep in mind is the level of science can be determined by a child's goals. Unlike their brothers, my older daughters are going the non-STEM route. I have therefore been more flexible with their math & science choices.
For example my daughters won't be taking Calculus (by special request). This differs from their brothers who had already taken Calculus I & II when they graduated from high school.
That being said I do want my daughters to have a certain scientific body of knowledge. Not only does it prepare them academically post high school, but it prepares them to understand the complex scientific issues of our age.