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Choosing the Right Homeschool Science Resources

This week, Everyday Einstein explains the 4 rules he uses to help choose the right homeschool science resources for his kids.

 
By
Lee Falin, PhD,
August 22, 2014
Episode #112

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homeschoolscienceresourcesOne of the most common questions homeschool parents ask me when they find out that I’m a scientist is what science curriculum I recommend for homeschoolers.

I’ve talked before about how we don’t use any particular science curriculum, but instead use a more modular-based method tailored to each of our children’s interests. Once we know what their interests are, we provide them with the resources they need to explore the topic on their own, and help guide them in that journey.

This week, I want to go into a little more detail about the 4 rules we use to help us choose the right science resources for our kids.

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Rule 1: There’s No Such Thing as “Age Appropriate”

The first rule we follow is to completely ignore age recommendations. Every child is so different, that saying that a particular book or activity is for ages “8-12” isn’t really that helpful.

Instead, we use two metrics to decide what would be appropriate: the current reading level of the child in question, and their current mathematic abilities. 

For example, if my youngest daughter, who is still learning to read, expressed an interest in electricity, I might switch on a Magic School Bus video on the topic. For my son, who has more confidence and experience with reading, I’d use the Magic School Bus book, instead, since it goes into more depth. If they wanted to do some kind of hands-on project, we have the Snap Circuits experiment kit, which has electrical components that snap together like Legos. 

For one of my older daughters who has already progressed into algebra, I might go even more in depth and recommend either "The Manga Guide to Electricity," or "Make: Electronics (Learning by Discovery.") If they wanted to do a hands on project, I’d get a basic soldering iron and some electronic parts for them use, to follow along with the projects in the book. 

Notice that it isn’t their age that is the deciding factor, but what math and reading ability they have. 

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