Welcome to the month-long series “Homeschool HIGH SCHOOL Made Easy,” a follow-up to the popular “Homeschool Made Easy” series (now published on kindle). I’m sharing tips from my experience as a homeschool graduate and homeschool mother, showing YOU how easy and enjoyable these high school years can be for you and your teen. Be sure to sign up for the entire series so you don’t miss a thing!
This week, we continue our overview of homeschool high school subjects with the one that is, perhaps, the most dreaded of all: Science. Science is hard, science is messy, science is required so we can’t get around it.
Science is also essential. Our fast-moving world is propelled forward by the scientific advances of the past century, this new scientific revolution that has changed every part of our lives from birth to communication to transportation to recreation. The science classes I endured as a homeschool teen over two decades ago contained a wealth of information that neither I nor my parents could anticipate would be so important. Before I had the opportunity to begin teaching the same to my own teens, these seemingly dry facts and diagrams had become the basis of ethical, political, and societal dilemmas we all face every day:
- nutrition, diet, and food safety
- health, wellness, and vaccinations
- reproduction, reproductive rights, and so-called family planning
- controlled substances, chemical and biological warfare, and legalized drugs
- ecology, recycling, and environmental activism
- satellite communication, space travel, and the search for life on other planets
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Most of the above list was barely discussed in my science textbooks, and definitely not to the extent they are debated on social media today. What further scientific knowledge will fuel the worldview issues of our teen’s generation?
We can’t know it all. And for most of us who are not scientists, we can’t even comprehend most of it. It behooves us, however, to prepare our teens for the coming questions they will face.
Homeschool High School Science Made Easy
This, then, is out goal for high school science: not merely to pass the required courses for graduation, to fulfill the arbitrary lab requirements, and to check off the worksheet questions, but also to provide our students with the knowledge to comprehend the basis of modern scientific study and to discern the inherent moral and spiritual values.
Ok, no pressure, but science gets to the heart of your homeschool why. Take a deep breath and look back at your homeschool why statement. Then make sure you are fully prepared to prioritize those important goals in your science studies.
Overall, your goal before graduation is to prepare your student in these areas:
- Fulfill your state’s graduation requirements for high school science. For many teens, that means two or three years of lab-based biology, chemistry, and physics or other elective science course.
- Read and comprehend scientific articles, graphs, tables, and experiment reports.
- Understand the scientific method, apply it to his own experiments, and document any findings.
- Learn the foundational concepts of each branch of science studied and memorize the key scientific laws, formulas, and models that shape current thought.
- Recognize the differing worldviews in the scientific community, particularly the difference between humanistic evolution and biblical Christianity, and how these views affect the research and interpretation data.
- Evaluate ethical disagreements in society and how scientific findings are used correctly or irresponsibly to support a particular position.
This is a lot of work, but remember, we have four entire years to touch on all of it. Keeping in mind your why will really help you and your teen soldier through it all.
- The courses that must be completed for graduation should be finished first. This ensures they get done and also prepares the student for the upcoming college entrance exams.
- Reading and answering questions on science articles, graphs, etc., as well as applying the scientific method are covered in college entrance exams. Familiarity with foundational concepts of biology, chemistry, and physics will make this portion of the test much easier to complete, as well.
- Analyzing worldview presuppositions and discussing ethical dilemmas prepares the student for real-life problems he will face as an adult.
Science is a course that easily overwhelms me. But when I keep these above principles in mind, everything is much easier.
Wondering what to study? Here are some ways to fulfill the graduation requirements.
When I was a homeschool student back in the dark ages, I fulfilled my science requirements with these courses:
- high school biology (with lab)
- high school chemistry (with lab and microscope! That was a big deal back then)
- high school physics
- computer (one semester. I thought it was a waste of time, but my father thought maybe computers might become a big deal some day, even though we were the only ones I knew who owned one. I learned binary code.)
When my oldest graduated, he had completed the following courses:
- physical science (with lab)
- biology (with lab)
- chemistry (with lab)
- physics (with lab)
My high school daughter is not as interested in science. In her second year of high school, she has already decided she wants to minimize her science studies. Our state requires three years of science for graduation, but she will soon have the most difficult courses behind her. Her transcript will probably include the following:
- biology (with lab)
- chemistry (with lab)
- an elective science (with or without lab) like food science, animal science, or engineering design
- no science her senior year
How do I help my student study independently? When we think about science class, we think about labs and chemicals and lectures. Unless your student is attending class for his high school science, that’s not what it looks like in your homeschool Here’s how you can make science easy:
- Use a high-quality, student-friendly textbook. My favorites right now are the Master Books science courses for this reason.
- Attend conferences and lectures on biblical creationism to enhance your student’s understanding. We try to catch events by the Institute for Creation Research whenever possible.
- Visit science museums, fairs, and other events in your area, and discuss the exhibits and value statements together.
- Encourage your student to ask thoughtful questions of the scientists in his life: doctors, chemists, engineers, and educators.
How do I hold the student accountable? Your science curriculum likely has fairly straightforward accountability built into it.
- Give your student closed-book tests regularly.
- Require lab notebooks for laboratory courses, and show your student how to properly document his work. (If he applies to an exclusive college for a science major, he may be asked to produce this notebook as proof of work).
- Teach your student how to write a research paper (English!), then require one or two formal reports a year in each course.
High school science can seem overwhelming for the homeschool parent and student. But by keeping the homeschool why in focus and prioritizing the subject goals, these courses can become some of the most practical the student learns.
What about you? What is your high school student studying for science?
This article contains affiliate links to help support this site, but all recommendations are products I actually use and love. I am not a legal expert on graduation requirements in any state; please do your own research and plan accordingly.