By Lucinda Leo
My kids love science. We’ve never followed a curriculum. Instead, we’ve done experiments, been to science shows and read interesting books. Pinterest has loads of fun ideas, or you can buy or borrow books full of experiments (one of our favourites is Robert Winston’s Science Experiments).
I’ve never worried about making my children write up their results or engage formally in the scientific method (as many school-based curricula do) – some children might enjoy that, but it would be a complete turn-off for mine. Children love to play and are naturally curious – and so am I. I’ll often research a topic in detail simply because *I* want to find out what’s going on. And if the children are interested, I’ll share what I’ve discovered conversationally.
We’ve followed this approach since we started homeschooling six years ago and have reached the point where we’re starting to repeat some of the early experiments, maybe because my Cordie and Jasper have forgotten them, or because they’re ready to understand what’s going on in greater depth, or just because they’re fun.
I’m glad I have my blog to remind me what we did – and to jog my memory about the scientific explanations!
Where we can’t do experiments to help us learn about a topic we find interesting books to read aloud. The Uncle Albert series by Russell Stannard were fantastic when my son (now 11) asked to learn about quantum physics – they stimulated lots of ‘thought experiments’ and juicy conversations. (We did manage to find an experiment to explore whether light is a wave or a particle, too.)
My 12-year-old daughter, meanwhile, has overtaken us all in her understanding of scientific concepts by watching dozens of YouTube videos on channels like Vsauce, Veritasium and John and Hank Green’s Crash Course.
You can find a list of many of the experiments we’ve done on the Science page of my blog, Navigating By Joy. I always try to give full instructions, a scientific explanation, plus a few tips about any changes we might make if we did the experiment again (so you can benefit from our mistakes!).
Thank you, Lucinda, for allowing me to publish your science post on my blog, and also in my unschool science ebook!
Yes, you can find Lucinda’s article in my new PDF ebook, Unschooling Science – Stories and Resources. If you’d like to download a copy of it, please do. It contains loads of helpful links!
So I’m wondering if you enjoy science. How about your kids? Do you have any favourite resources? Please stop by and share your science story!