Science should begin at birth and be a natural part of daily life as your children explore the world and discover how things work. Take toddlers for walks and allow them time to look at bugs, weeds, and other things that we easily ignore. We found some very good field guides that help us identify and learn about the plants, lizards, bugs, and snakes we find. Stay up late and learn about the constellations. When kids become interested in the weather, let them use an experiment book for guidelines in building their own weather station.
This exploration of the natural world should continue well through the elementary grades. Homeschoolers usually call this “nature studies”. Public schools call it botany, biology, anatomy, astronomy, geology, and other -ologies.
Wal-Mart carries placemats (in the toy section). I bought planets placemats, so after we eat (and while we eat), the kids read information about the planets. We’ve also borrowed books about the solar system from the children’s section in the library. I have a couple videos from a Christian perspective, too. They guy who wrote Curious George also wrote an excellent book about constellations.
When children become interested in dinosaurs, around age three-five, there are some good resources to use as bedtime stories. At this age, children can be told that people only know what they’ve been taught, so it’s important that they not ridicule those who haven’t been taught the truth about creation/evolution (this works regardless of your personal beliefs on this topic). Older children should have this reminder repeated, and can be provided additional age-appropriate resources to do their own research on this crucial topic.
Around 2nd-3rd grade, I recommend the songs from Lyrical Life Science. This is a junior high curriculum, but the songs are a great introduction for younger kids. Parents can read the textbook portion themselves and assign portions they deem appropriate, or simply use the information as background to be able to answer their children’s questions (lyrics from the songs will inspire questions). We began with volume 3 to correspond with our study of anatomy, then followed with volumes 1-2.
Second-Fifth graders can work together on Beautiful Feet’s History of Science. Third graders are capable of working through TOPS experiment books; we liked the electricity and magnetism studies. At the time we needed fourth grade science, Lyrical Learning came out with a volume on geology that we liked every bit as much as the life-science series.
Apologia now carries astronomy and botany for the elementary-ages. On the light side, Schoolhouse Rock has a fun science video/dvd.
Secondary Level Science
One option for junior high science is the aforementioned Lyrical Learning series. If you’ve already completed this curriculum, or just want something more rigorous, the best curriculum (imo) is published by Apologia.
The Apologia series originally began with general science for seventh graders and physical science for eighth graders. Other courses in this excellent series include biology, physics, chemistry, and marine biology, plus advanced placement courses in biology, physics, and chemistry. Washington state colleges will require high school students to study two years of high school lab science. If chemistry or physics are taken during the student’s senior year, it can also qualify as the senior-math requirement.
One Thing To Note
Some people oppose homeschooling strictly on the grounds that some Christians teach about creation. Regardless of your personal beliefs about creation/evolution, when you homeschool your children, you have a responsibility to teach about all theories so that your children have a thorough education. It is perfectly acceptable to say, “This is the theory that I believe, and here is why… Other people believe __ because__.” Kids should have enough facts to evaluate the different theories objectively and come to an educated conclusion for themselves. This is true whether you believe in big bang, intelligent design, or something else.