Do your kids love to learn about science and the natural world? Check out Ask Science’s 6 fun ways to make your kids put down their electronics and enjoy learning.
As readers of my blog know, my wife and I homeschool our 5 children. While we've taken a rather traditional approach to teaching mathematics in what you might call a sequential order, we've found that approach isn't very effective in teaching science. Over the years we've refined our tactics, until we developed a sort of pattern that works well for our family. And while every child is different in their interests and in the way they learn, I wanted to share some of our experiences with you in the form of Quick and Dirty Tips for teaching science at home.
Unlike other educational methodologies you might read about, I don't have any double-blind controlled tests which measure test score changes resulting from the application of these methods. While those types of metrics have their place, our measure of success for teaching science to our children is whether or not they develop a love for learning science.
Tip #1: Be Prepared
While we occasionally plan things in advance, our preferred method is to wait until one of the kids have either experienced something new or wait until they come to us with a question on their own. Since we're far from knowing everything, as any of my children would happily attest, we find it useful to have a large supply of reference material which spans different age levels.
When we moved to the UK this year, one of the things my older daughters were most excited about was being able to see new kinds of plants and animals. They are big backyard naturalists, so they were quite happy when we acquired several field guides to various forms of wildlife. Some days, they'll spend hours identifying wildflowers in the yard or waiting for new birds to land on their homemade bird feeder, just so they can look them up in the books.