4 Tips for Getting Your Child Excited about Science
by Stacey Wolking
HSLDA Toddlers to Tweens Consultant
Have you ever come across a news article about some new scientific development and suddenly found yourself watching mind-blowing science videos and doing impromptu research about, for example, the fifth state of matter?
That’s what science study is all about! It should inspire curiosity about the world we live in and how things work. Science is so much more than just learning facts and definitions.
So how can you, as a homeschooling parent, be enthusiastic about science and share that excitement with your child—especially if, like me, you’re not a science person?
Here are a few tips and tricks I learned along my homeschooling journey.
- Do plenty of hands-on experiments with your child—and don’t worry about the experiment turning out right. Your child will learn something, no matter what the outcome is. Make it fun to learn why the experiment did what it did.
- Reverse the order of learning. With science, it’s common to do the book work first and then the hands-on. Instead, I’d encourage you to pique your child’s interest and get her fascinated by giving her hands-on projects and experiments first—and then follow-up with “Why did that happen?” That will motivate your child to find the answer! So try the fun stuff first and then dig into the books for the answers.
- Inspire your child’s interest by learning about the often eccentric and quirky lives of the great scientists. Did you know that Nikola Tesla (Thomas Edison’s primary rival, known for designing the AC electrical current system which we still use today and which ultimately powered the automobile) suffered from insomnia and OCD? Or that he built a 185-foot tower for the purpose of sucking electricity out of the air? (It didn’t work.)
Or did you know that René Descartes (a scientist and philosopher) spent a good part of his days in bed? Yet he pioneered the study of barometric readings and atmospheric pressure for the purpose of forecasting the weather, and he earned the title “the father of analytical geometry.”
Did you know that because Isaac Newton feared controversy and criticism, he was a very shy and lonely recluse until his friend nagged him to publish his scientific discoveries? Thank goodness for his persistent friend!
So consider spicing up your science studies by exploring the eccentric lives of scientists; their stories might just intrigue and motivate even the most reluctant science student.
- If you want assistance teaching science to your child, or your child has advanced to a level beyond what you feel comfortable teaching, look for someone who is passionate and excited about science and can help you inspire a similar passion in your child. This could be another mom, a tutor, a high school science geek, or even a resource that presents science in an awe-inspiring kind of way.
Awesome Science Resources
In the early and middle years of teaching my children, I tended to stay away from science textbooks, which were often dry. I was more focused on helping my children master the basics of language and math. Even though I am not the creative or crafty type, I did want my kids to have lots of curiosity-creating and wonder-based hands-on science experiences. There are now, more than ever, lots of great resources to choose from—many created by enthusiastic homeschooling parents!
- I have already purchased the Jumbo Minds’ Science ABCs for my grandkids—but boy, do I wish these had been around when I had little ones. According to JumboMinds’ website, “Research shows that humans are best equipped to learn language from birth through age seven, during children’s explosive brain growth period. Exposure to science terms and concepts during that time can lead to improved language fluency and understanding later in life.”
- And speaking of learning the language of science, learning through song can be a lot of fun and can help make the information stick in your child’s memory. My kids learned so much from Lyrical Learning’s science program. If your child complains the songs are cheesy, just laugh and agree with her. But I will tell you this: my adult kids tell me they still remember a lot of anatomy because of those cheesy songs. That’s music to a mother’s ears!
- Science can be fun for mom, too; dissecting owl pellets was one of my favorite things! Home Science Tools offers a wide variety of science resources, including all kinds of complete science kits and free science experiment videos in their Learning Center. For finding the perfect presents for all the kids in your life, try out their Science Gift Selector, a program that searches by age, interest, and topic. Home Science Tools offers so many great resources—and as an added bonus, HSLDA members can get a discount on their products through our PerX program!
- Armed with degrees in biology and biochemistry, homeschooling parents Paige and Brad Hudson have a passion for sharing the wonders of science. Their website, Elemental Science, is jam-packed with all kinds of resources including free science activities, printables, and monthly email tips. They also offer easy-to-use homeschool science plans using a living books or hands-on classical approach, for all ages from preschool through high school.
- If you love a good story, combine Joy Hakim’s The Story of Science series with the optional student workbooks and teacher’s guides, which include coordinated hands-on experiments and activities. This classical and biographical approach to science is geared for upper–middle school aged children.
- The creator of Supercharged Science is a NASA rocket scientist–turned homeschool mom! In addition to fun and exciting science curriculums, activities, and cool science videos, she has some awesome free materials including a science experiment guide.
If you’re wondering whether all your hard work teaching science to your child will pay off, remember that science is the foundation for critical and analytical thinking, and that hands-on science projects also help develop creativity. These skills will help all kids, no matter what career they end up in. So find something you and your child both enjoy, and follow that curiosity!
For more science resources, check out these articles: