It’s no secret that I love science and nature. Thankfully my kids do too, or we’d be in trouble… Really, though, I think science has the potential to appeal to everyone—young or old.
So why are so many homeschoolers nervous about teaching science?
I think too many people buy into the stereotype that only super-smart, funny-looking, socially-awkward people are scientists:
The truth, though, is that we can all be scientists! Science—at its best—is a process of discovery. It’s not being afraid to say, “I don’t know” or “Let’s find out” or “what would happen if…” We’ve been conditioned to believe that we need to have a right answer for everything. We can’t not know the answer to a question…
But, if we don’t know, and admit that we don’t know, how can new discoveries ever happen?
So how does all this relate to “Free Resource Friday?” Well… there are FABULOUS and FREE resources available all over the web to help get even the most reluctant homeschooler (or classroom educator) over their fear of science. Check out a few of these:
ABC3: I Heart Science… a fun site produced by a TV station in Australia that features “The Surfing Scientist’s” blog, Black Hole High School, TV episodes, interactive games and more.
US Geological Survey: Ask a Geologist… a tremendous resource! When you’re stumped on a geology issue, have exhausted your research, and just NEED to know, you can enter your question on this site and a USGS geologist will email you back. This type of site is especially good for gifted kids – I’ve used it throughout the years as I taught kids that wanted to know more than the kids’ resources could tell them. It is extremely validating to a kid when their question is valued and answered.
NASA: Ask an Astrophysicist… same deal as above, just related to all things astrophysics.
Bill Nye the Science Guy… who says you need a formal curriculum? Especially in the elementary grades, kids learn a TON through hands-on experiments, activities, and demonstrations (plus – they’re FUN!). Bill Nye’s video clips, demonstrations, experiments and more can be found here on his blog and in the teacher resource section. Pick a topic a week… or month… or year… and play with it. Better yet – let your kids pick the topic!
Animal Learn: The Science Bank… a FREE lending library of biological science models, CD-ROMs, DVDs and more. Their mission is to promote ethics in science teaching, and they oppose the practice of dissection. Their Science Bank was started to offer educators an alternative to dissecting real animals. They have hundreds of life-sizes realistic dissection models and other materials for students from Pre-K through Post-Grad. You do need to give them a credit card number to insure against loss or damage, but if you take care of the materials and get them returned, they’re free to use in your homeschool or classroom.
Handbook of Nature Study… a homeschool blog that provides a weekly outdoor challenge for families that love nature study. Subscribing to this blog gets you regular updates, notebooking pages, and a monthly newsletter. There are also eBooks available that detail past season outdoor challenges.
Not an exhaustive list by any means, but a nice sampling of the things that are out there to help you get over your fear of science.
And while sites like these, free resources, and inexpensive or free curriculums can help you feel comfortable teaching science to your kids, the most important thing to remember about science is that it is universal – everyone is a scientist.
From my three little kiddos… to the heart researcher I interviewed for Real Life Science Mysteries… to people who make history like Albert Einstein… everyone can question, experiment, observe, and draw conclusions.
That’s science at it’s best… curiosity encouraged.