Study of Birds – Kid Ornithologists!

This year we have had an overarching study of birds going on in conjunction with our other homeschooling subjects. My two youngest have really enjoyed learning about birds and tracking which birds they have seen over the course of the year. We enjoy studying this way – it’s really great for unschoolers or even roadschooling. The learning is flexible and totally based on exploration and discovery! Science is really an amazing course of study. Whether you are conducting scientific experiments, playing a vocabulary game, or just plain observing… it can really be a lot of fun for children.

We started by learning about birds in general using the Apologia “Flying Creatures” text.

Zoology 1

We then created our own bird journals.

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Then we put out a bird feeder with several kinds of bird food.

Then we began to keep track of what birds visited our yard.

Science for Homeschooling

Over the past few years, I’ve tried quite a few different science programs. Some of these programs were amazing, so were not so much. In any case we have posted homeschool science reviews throughout our blog, so I thought I’d collect them all here.

Our recent review of Science4Us – our youngest homeschooler’s favorite way to spend science time!

Great ways to teach preschool and kindergarten science with ideas and tips for getting their attention.

Teaching homeschool Vocabulary Tips is a great post to help us realize that vocabulary instruction does so much more than just help with spelling skills. Homeschoolers can use vocabulary methods and skills to enrich science and history.

How to Homeschool Elementary Science is one of my favorite posts outlining some of the basic methods that we use to teach science in our home school.

One of our favorite subjects to study in science in astronomy. The post Making Homeschool Astronomy Easy outlines what we do for our astronomy studies.

Our post on Homeschool Science has a great array of interesting topics on how to homeschool varying ages and topics.

The Gender Gap in Education… an argumentable post about this so called idea and how it applies to homeschooling.

Teaching Kindergarten Science

States of MatterFor most children, kindergarten is the introduction to school. It’s their first experience with what is expected and how they are required to function for most of the their school experience. It’s kindergarten that teaches the fundamentals… and that’s no different when it comes to learning about science at this fantastic age.

Before you jump in to learning and experiencing science, there is one huge thing that you must remember. The kindergartener learns by play! You can’t expect them to just sit there and read a book and learn everything they need to know. A kindergartener learns through experience via playing. So, as we teach this amazing child science we must remember this first and foremost. Science can be HUGELY fun, if they are allowed to experience the excitement of discovery first hand.

1) Make science fun, and to do this you need a good backbone. What in the world? Sure,  I am talking about your science backbone… your textbook. A really great text/or foundational science program can make a huge difference! We love using Apologia Science, and have recently started using the new Science4Us online program. Both offer very unique kindergarten homeschool science perspectives geared toward getting the young child very interested in science.

2) Use exciting ways to teach the facts. Don’t just assign your kiddos a page to read. Oh, I know not every homeschool parent is a science lover… but we’ve got to at least find a way to get across the facts in an exciting manner. If you have no clue how to teach a particular topic – relinquish it to the experts. You can show a science video for class one day – or watch a cool you tube science how-to, or even watch it yourself and then find a fun way to teach it to your kids.

3) Take that extra time to get prepared. I know… that takes some determination and planning but it will be well worth it in the end. Whenever I have taken the time to teach my kids science in an extraordinary way – they usually remember everything!!! I also love to use interesting and colorful printables for recording the science that we learn. Here’s a free science printable about the scientific method. You can use it to fill out inquiry about particular science projects/experiments that you are working on. Make your science experiments fun and amazing and you’ll have your kids begging for science every day!

How to Homeschool Elementary Science

homeschool scienceFirst of all, science is not simply a “subject” out of textbook. Life learning is the key to a successful science study. Sure, I love using interesting science texts but science learning is not all about the book.

1) Use life, specifically nature to study the world around you. My children take every opportunity to do this even if it “interrupts” what they were doing. For example, a battle against a rather large spider was waged in our schoolroom the other day.  My children, being the victors, proceeded to dissect their spoils. They discovered how hairy the specimen was, and how the legs connected to the body. All very interesting, and all pure science!

2) Remember that your children are just that – children. As I’ve mentioned before in many of my posts about learning… children learn through play. Their play is learning, and their learning (to be most advantageous should be) play! Encourage scientific pursuits while the children are playing… ie… the spider dissection.

3) Let learning flow naturally from their inquisitive minds. Scientific method stems from “questioning.” How natural is it for our children to question the world around them? Don’t we often tire of hearing the word “Why?” Sure, but that is natural scientific investigation that your kiddos are hardwired to do… all we have to do is fan that flame!

4)I suggest investing in many “guide books.” These can be anything and everything from guide books to books that show how things work. Here are a few that we have: Look inside the Human Body, The Kingfisher I Wonder Why Encyclopedia, Birds of Georgia, The Usbourne Science Encyclopedia, and Stephen Biesty’s Inicredible Cross Sections. All of these are super books which encourage that natural investigator in your child.

5) Use a text book or online science program as your guideline if you feel like you need it. Really most of  science in elementary could be done without one. However, many people want to be sure they cover all the topics that prepare children for a more formal science study in Middle School.

Preschool Homeschool Fun!

preschool homeschoolingHaving a preschooler is always excitement. I know there are days when it doesn’t seem like so much fun, but even then there is always excitement. The preschooler is full of energy, giggles, and silliness; and they love it when other people join them. For this reason, I try to make my lesson plans for my youngest exciting and full of fun. Of course, since this is summer… things are definitely even more fun.

During the school term I usually schedule a few of my favorite tried and true curriculum work books for us to use, but then supplement with other great curriculum resources on my ipad and on the internet. This year we used Singapore math books for my youngest and a variety of other fun puzzle based books for language arts. We love to do jigsaw puzzles and play games as well! My youngest daughter seemed to really respond well to the animal games and other kindergarten science curriculum programs. Yet, during the summer… we typically just do the apps or computer programs, read together, and then spend lots of time having fun outside. A few of our favorite apps are cupcake math, short vowels, long vowels, meteor math, bob books, and seasons.

What do you do to make learning loads of fun for your preschooler? Comment and share below!