I have a friend who is preparing to homeschool her two kids, and she recently asked me what curriculum I use for science. I immediately panicked and thought, “Oh crap . . . science! I don’t have a curriculum for that at all.” But after I calmed down a bit, I realized that we actually do a lot of science. It’s probably my son’s favorite subject after art.
I have to say up front that my son is just nine years old right now. My plan is to get really serious about science when he is high school age and enroll him in community college classes and online classes through Ivy League schools. And he will have massive books full of highly technical information that, of course, he will immediately understand because I will have educated him so well up until that point. [The italics represent sarcasm and overly optimistic dreaming.]
Right now, my plan for science with my third/fourth grader is to pick a topic that seems to interest him at the time, get a ton of books from the library and try to find relevant field trips and science experiments/observations. Also, my husband reads to him every night and usually that reading is either science or history related. And he loves to watch science-related shows on Netflix and Hulu (shows like Mythbusters). So I feel like we have things pretty well covered.
For example, we recently completed a unit on astronomy that was supposed to last a month but we extended it for more than three months because we were all enjoying it so much. My son was inspired by an article he read in Ask magazine (affiliate link) about Adolph Schaller. Schaller is an astronomical artist who specializes in creating images of space and imagining what other planets and alien life might look like. My son loves art and especially loves creating his own creatures so he was intrigued.
We decided to write an email to Mr. Schaller who promptly responded with tons of advice and encouragement about how to do what he does. My son was so excited and was eager to learn even more! We checked out bags full of books on space, alien life and astronomy from the library. We visited our local science museum (which just so happened to have a special exhibit on imagining life on other planets). We visited a local observatory and received a lesson on the observable planets and constellations. And my son made some amazing astronomical art on his own (see below). Our studies also happened to coincide with a big meteor shower so we laid on a blanket outside and watched the shooting stars.
Right now, we are studying how to be a naturalist, which includes reading about famous naturalists, learning how to classify plants and animals, keeping a nature journal and more. Stay tuned for more details!