Home School Science and the Science of Home Schooling

More and more parents each year are making the choice to take their kids out of the public school system and teaching them at home. In fact, although it's difficult to determine exactly how many parents have become teachers to their own children, it's estimated that the number in the United States is in the millions. And that means there are millions of home schoolers who must make a decision about the way they teach their kids throughout years of education - and it's not always an easy choice.

Here are several common problems many home school families face when it comes to teaching science and suggestions for getting past debilitating issues.

Limited Science Curriculum

Perhaps the first issue is the general lack of science teaching materials that go beyond the basics and beyond the elementary and middle school levels. When it comes to high school chemistry, for example, there are only a handful of textbook providers. Of the six or so most popular home school science courses, four of them are Christian. And a common theme in most of the available curricula is a lack of real science terms and methodology. So the first obstacle facing many home schoolers, particular secular families, is a lack of appropriate materials for varying age levels and beliefs.

The good news is that there are science textbooks available that teach real science to very young students, providing the necessary foundation for later, advanced learning. And there are materials that don't take a particular worldview, such as Creationism or Darwinism. If the subject matter covered is the most important aspect of teaching home school science, ensure that you opt for nothing less than quality materials that present all worldviews so your child can make an informed choice.

Becoming At Ease With the Material

Another problem facing many home school parents teaching science is an unfamiliarity - or even fear - of the subject matter. Most of them didn't do so well in science when they were in school and now find it quite difficult to teach a subject they don't understand.

Chances are they were taught science from textbooks that focused on specific concepts of geology or biology or chemistry. Those concepts weren't related to other subjects nor were they presented in a real, scientific manner. They probably didn't perform hands-on experimentation until high school. They might have learned diverse bits of information that were presented at an "appropriate" age level and didn't learn the proper terms for scientific techniques and concepts until the latter years of undergraduate learning. They might never have learned anything about physics because it was considered a higher level subject.

Fortunately, home school teaching materials aren't always of the type that you may remember when you went to school. Look specifically for curriculum that presents diverse information which is connected to other subjects.

Science is a Process of Discovery

Many home school teachers worry that their lack of understanding will cause them to quickly fall behind their children's aptitude.

When it comes to the science of home schooling, it's often best to use teaching methods that don't provide hard and fast answers. The beauty of home schooling is that you get to decide how and what your children learn. Why not encourage them to enjoy the process of learning and incite their curiosity? Find a curriculum that allows you and your child to explore possible answers to questions and problems together. Public schools often stifle curiosity; the home school environment should stimulate it.

Don't be intimidated by the thought of home schooling your children in subjects such as chemistry, physics, and biology. Find the right curriculum and use it to explore the vast topic of science as it relates to the world at large with your kids. When it comes to the science of teaching home school science, there are no hard and fast rules or answers other than the importance of building a solid learning foundation.

Real Science-4-Kids frames science in a way that encourages kids to examine opposing models. To find out more about our books, check out our website. You can see the full text of all our books online for free, so you can decide for yourself if our books are the back-to-school science books you want for your child.

Find out more about the worldview neutral Real Science 4 Kids curriculum created by Dr. Rebecca Keller, herself a homeschool mom, and other home school teaching resources on our Real Science blog.