Science and Scientists

Children are natural scientists, always exploring, investigating and gathering information from the world around them.

Linda Dobson described this process in her 1999 November-December HEM Column, Early Years Child’s Learning Assets.

With childhood energy flowing, imagination and creativity turn your child into a learning scientist who puts the information he’s gathering to the test. He’ll hypothesize, investigate, analyze then do it again and, likely, again! Creativity then allows him to expand the thinking process to bring ideas together in new and unique combinations.

In our fast paced frenzied society, the world can only grow richer as our children become self-educated adults, continuing to investigate, think and contribute to the world around them.

Below you will find some great science articles and resources.

Articles

Learning High School Science Outside a Lab – Sue Smith-Heavenrich

Most homeschooling parents have no problem accepting that science, at least for young children, is largely a matter of discovery and exploration. However, when those children begin reaching adulthood, the ages one normally associates with high school, a sort of panic sets in. “How can I teach biology (or chemistry) without a lab? How can I teach physics if I never took it myself?” You can’t – teach, that is. You can gather materials, open doors to opportunities, share ideas.

Of a Flat Universe and the Nature of Science – David Albert

When Aliyah was working through her high school biology (which we did via a distance learning course with the University of Missouri), she’d find errors all the time (based on her reading of Scientific American) and would come to me with her laments. What she was learning about, even if she didn’t immediately realize it, was the process of scientific revisionism, and how textbooks (and teachers who parrot them) aren’t holy writ a good lesson!

Shooting Hoops, Riding Bikes – Sue Smith-Heavenrich

Science and Math in a Kid’s World

My younger son loves to play basketball. Or ride his bike through the just-melted mud patches on the logging road. Or follow frogs or kick a soccer ball or just about anything except sit for long periods of time trying to figure out useless math problems from a workbook.

Learning with Leonardo – Rebecca Rupp

Leonardo da Vinci is a treat for homeschoolers: just like us, he had a multiplicity of interests, and those studying him are thus likely to spin off in any number of mind-building directions. Variously a painter, sculptor, inventor, mathematician, meteorologist, geologist, biologist, philosopher, and engineer – and a left-hander, who kept his voluminous journals in mirror-writing – Leonardo is both an enviable role model and the quintessential Renaissance man. He’s also just plain irresistible.

How a List Can Become a Personalized Curriculum and Learning Adventure- M Roth

Learning about heroes and heroines, their lives and ideals, their struggles and triumphs, leads us into history, science, art, architecture, music, literature, civics and many other traditional school subjects. But it also reaches beyond academic learning.

Running Through Walls - Cafi Cohen

Just Read

This is a variant of self-instruction. One homeschooling mother explains, “We have shelves of books by creative people who have done it better than we ever could on our own. Our homeschooler learns science from real scientists – Mendel, who grew peas in his garden, and Gerald Durrell whose first scalpel was a razor blade.”

A Visit with Mary Hood – Janine Calsbeek

For science, the critical element is to learn to think and act like a scientist, said Mary. Ask a legitimate question and find the answer. Don’t simply do experiments because you think you must. Gardening, wildlife, and nature are explored by the Hoods – Roy got out the bird-identification books and that inspired the kids. But more structured subjects like chemistry haven’t been part of their “school” and may never be.

Good Stuff- Rebecca Rupp

Rain, Snow, And Sun: Weather For Kids

The weather in Vermont lately has been spectacularly disastrous. We’ve had torrential rains, glacial ice sheets, wind, thunderstorms, floods, and week-long power outages. Four counties have been officially deemed emergency zones. This meteorological excitement has affected all of us – small talk about the weather isn’t as small as it used to be – and the boys have picked right up on the current trend. Ethan, our middle kid, – the weather freak – was beside himself at missing two days’ worth of dramatic data. (“Mom! Where’s my rain gauge?”)

H is for Homeschooling - Scott Stevens

S is for Simple Science Experiments that you can do in your kitchen or your garage that can provide more opportunities for young minds to learn than the most advanced science labs in any school building. Science is about trial and error, making observations, learning from mistakes. Some experiments may be quick and easy, but many require time, and homeschoolers, fortunately, have control over how they to choose to spend their time.

Gifts of Homeschooling – Rachel Phillips

Experience of What?

The gift of time lets children explore, discovering through experimentation where their innate interests and talents lie. But what about homeschooling’s gift of experience? Experience of what? Homeschooling offers children experience of the real world. While their schooled peers are in the artificial world of school at least six hours a day, homeschooled children are immersed in the intricate, diverse, nuanced world they will navigate as adults. What a gift!

Interview with Sandra Dodd - Emily Subler

I think setting “academics” apart from the rest of cool stuff to know is just as bad. Is science more important than auto-mechanics? Hey, it is auto-mechanics, everywhere but at school, where auto-mechanics is in one building, and science is in another building, different teacher, different book, different line on the report card. In real life there are thousands of buildings, and teachers, and books.

Resources

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