Homeschool

Choosing Science Homeschool Curriculum

This is my eighth year homeschooling and we needed to change our science curriculum. Neither my three kids or I were excited about using our old approach to science. Researching curriculum is both exhilarating and exhausting. There are so many factors to consider when selecting a new program such as cost, learning styles, and teaching style. 

Before I even started looking at a new curriculum I wrote out what I’ve used in the past and things I wanted to consider for this year of homeschool. 

All of this preparation doesn’t guarantee I will love the curriculum I choose. I reserve the right to chuck the curriculum later in the year if none of us are enjoying the material. 

Previous Science Curriculums 

Apologia – Exploring Creation with Botany  

We spent one year barreling through Botany using the junior notebook as guides. 

Apologia – Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics 

For two years we tried to make our way through Chemistry and Physics. I bought a box containing all the materials I needed to complete the experiments. Towards the end of the book, the kids were tired of me reading the textbook and we only did the experiments. We never finished the book! 

MakeCrate Electronics 

Purchased through the Homeschool-Buyer’s Club. The kit is fantastic and the kids enjoyed working through the projects. My year subscription is almost up and I wish I had done more of these projects. 

Programmed games in Scratch 

I bought three books from Costco walking my students through developing Scratch games. One kid completed all the projects. The other two built a few games. 

Curiosity Stream 

A documentary subscription service. I still use this app. I always write down in planner under “Science” any documentaries my kids watch. 

SciShow Kids and YouTube

In the younger years, all we did was watch SciShow Kids. As they got older I used the videos as a supplement to what we were already learning. Sadly, Jessi doesn’t make anymore shows.

Elementary Science classes at our co-op. 

My kids have taken geology, astronomy, engineering, and botany all through other parents teaching at our homeschool co-op. 

Things to consider for this school year 

Do I want science to be topic-based or do I want to cover a large variety of topics? 

Do I want a religiously neutral science curriculum?

Should I do a separate curriculum for each child or can I combine them?

I have a 3rd, 5th, and 7th grader. 

The 7th grader has some learning challenges and finds it difficult to read large chunks of small text. I would prefer a large-print type and hands-on experiments. Also, an audio or video option would be nice for the 7th grader. The 7th grader needs to be ready for Biology, Chemistry, and Physics in two years. 

The 5th grader is good at science and may enjoy the 7th-grade curriculum. I also plan on supplementing the 5th grader who loves science with Khan Academy videos. 

The 3rd grader enjoys science and is happy to do anything. 

Curriculum Options 

1. Apologia General Science 3rd Edition 

Grade level: Recommended for 7th grade

How to use it: Read the text, complete workbook, do a few experiments. 

Notes: Now comes with video and mp3 cd audio. Small text size. Very religious. Has a clear path through middle school and high school (Biology, Chemistry, Physics courses). Made to be completed in 33 weeks at 4 days a week. 

2. Pandia Press – REAL Science Odyssey – Biology Level Two

Grade level: appropriate for 5th – 9th grade

How to use it: Read the text and do the experiments. 

Notes: No High school level provided by the publisher. Uses a microscope and we have one. Experiment supplies can be obtained through Amazon. I love how the text is organized. Easy to read. Easy to add extra student pages. 

3. Mystery Science 

Grade level: Kindergarten – 5th grade

How to use it: Watch the videos, discussion time, and complete printed worksheets. 

Notes: I love it and we would all be happy doing this one. I’m afraid it wouldn’t cover everything my 7th grader needs to know. I would use this for elementary, but it may not work for middle school.  

4. Supercharged Science 

Grade Level: Unclear.

How to Use it: Watch a video and follow the experiment step-by-step. 

Notes: Someone recommended this one to me. The website has recently been redone to be more clear. There is a monthly video subscription for $37 a month. The full Science Mastery curriculum including materials is $600 to $1900. I love the idea of my kids being to watch a video and being able to follow along step by step. 

5. Real Science 4 Kids – Building Blocks Book 6

Grade Level: Depends on the book level. 

How to use it: Read the textbook. Answer “Think About it” questions. Do a formal experiment using a scientific method. 

Notes: The text is large and easy to read. The material is organized clearly. There are 22 experiments and I would need to purchase experiment supplies through Home Science Tools. There is not a solid high school curriculum provided by the publisher.

Other Curriculums I Considered

Novare Science 

The Rainbow 

Monarch Online 

The Science Curriculum I Chose

For my seventh and fifth-grader, I chose to do Real Science 4 Kids – Building Blocks Book 6. Then I chose to do Book 2 with my third grader. Both Book 6 and Book 2 cover the same topics, but the lower level will make the science much easier for my third grader. He will still get to do science like his older siblings, but it will make sense to him. I will be able to continue to work through books each year if we like the curriculum.

I’m glad the textbook only needs one school day to read the entire chapter. Then we can focus on the experiment for the rest of the time. Book 6 is a good middle school level with challenging content. It will also introduce the scientific method and will prepare my kids for a higher level science.

I’ll have to post later in the school year how this one works out for us!

Which science curriculum did you choose? Is science something that is easily dropped from your school day?

Photo by Manuel Barroso Parejo

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