Creative High School Science for Homeschoolers

Sprouting beans, dissecting owl pellets, and making a rubber chicken bone are some of the ways a homeschool mom can make science fun in the early years. There is no end to the fun, hands-on projects available to younger homeschool children.

Somehow, our perspective on science changes once they enter the teenage years. 

We think we need textbooks, lab reports, and real supplies to make high school science count. We seem to place some undue reverence on science, and believe a mere mortal homeschool mom is incapable of understanding.

Even in everyday life, we see the science card thrown up as a means of shutting down dissent. A homeschool mom friend recently attended a county meeting to discuss the proposed change of an intersection near her home. It is currently a four-way stop, and the county wishes to change it to a roundabout. When she asked the county representative why they believed a million dollar roundabout was a better choice than a traffic light, his only response was that it involved a lot of science.

Mysterious, all-knowing science is our answer to everything. I think this belief is perpetuated by making high school science so complicated that most of us give up trying to understand. We finish our classes and quickly remove all unnecessary minutiae from our brains.

So how can we as homeschool moms make high school science fun, understandable, and relative to our children's lives?

Find Alternatives to Textbooks

Why choose a dry, committee-written textbook when you have the option of a non-fiction title written by someone who is fascinated by and has thoroughly researched the topic? Isn't it so much easier to remember information delivered through a story versus attempting to memorize a table of data?

Here are a few ideas for alternative sources of information:

  • Interesting non-fiction books
  • Science related podcasts
  • Documentaries and television shows
  • Magazine subscriptions

When there is such variety of available information, why do we limit ourselves to a rote textbook?

Use Online and Outside Classes and Labs

Once our children reach high school, we often feel like there is no way we can offer a thorough science course to rival that of a public school. But we're not a traditional school, so it can look like whatever we want.

If you desire something that mimics a high school course in materials and scope, an outside class may be the best option. Today, though, we have numerous online courses and resources available to use in creating a course of study to fit our child and family best. Look outside the box and use:

  • Online courses through websites such as Schmoop, Outschool, and Khan Academy
  • Virtual dissections
  • Simulated online Chemistry lab

Be creative in finding and utilizing potential resources to complement your upper-level science studies.

Simplify the Process

Creative High School Science for HomeschoolersI learned many years ago that trying to cover several subjects a day with numerous kids was the shortcut to homeschool mom burnout. So in all things, I try to simplify.

In a perfect world, I would do a science rotation similar to a four-year history rotation. That doesn't seem to have worked out yet, but I may give it a try soon since I do have a high schooler in need of some Chemistry.

So how can you simplify science when it seems so challenging?

  • Cover the same topic with all children at their level. If it’s a Chemistry year, everyone does Chemistry.
  • Have the older ones teach the younger kids. Let your teens research an experiment, then demonstrate and explain it to their siblings.
  • Batch your experiments. Experiments can be time and space consuming, so why not just take a week or so each semester to gather all your materials and complete numerous experiments?
  • Forget the typical high school sequence. There is nothing magical about studying Biology in 10th grade; you can cover it whenever you like.

Find the Fun and Make It Interesting

Why does high school science make so many homeschool moms nervous? We worry we'll do it wrong and leave our children woefully behind. However, it’s simply the continuation of an interesting, inquisitive homeschool life.

Try to find ways to keep science engaging and fun. This will help ensure that the information will be absorbed and remembered. With so many resources available to us today, we shouldn't view high school science as only being obtainable through the use of a bunsen burner or a fetal pig dissection.


About the Author

Bethany Ishee

Bethany is the mom of six always homeschooled children who one day realized she'd lost herself in the process, probably under a pile of laundry. Her eclectic style of relaxed homeschooling draws upon classical to unschooling methods and everything in between.

While homeschooling her children, teaching at a Project Based Co-op, and writing about learning outside of school, she still tries to find time to read a book, drink coffee, and pay the bills. Read more from Bethany on her site BethanyIshee.com: Real inspiration for the authentic mom.

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