When the kids move from elementary ages to middle school, it can cause more than a little anxiety in parents. This is the time when many homeschool parents start to question their choice to homeschool.
You might be starting down that path and beginning to think about worst-case scenarios if you don’t make the right choices. If you are like most homeschool parents, science and math feel the most daunting as the kids get older.
When things get tough, there are really two types of people. Are you researching science and math options (with more than a little intensity) or are you avoiding it altogether?
As the kids get older, there are more subjects that you might not feel the most confident teaching. I’ve taught for many years, but I know that language arts is not an area of strength in my own toolkit. That means that I spend a lot of time looking for things that are interesting, easy to teach, and low prep. What are you looking for in science and math?
STEM gets more important in middle school
STEM (science, technology, engineering, & math) education is my jam and it is also a point of excellence for my kids. As someone who was in the college classroom for a decade, I can tell you that the foundation (or lack) really does start in middle school. This is SO IMPORTANT if you have any plans for dual enrollment.
I have been piecing together things for science for most of our homeschooling, but this upcoming school year I’d decided to buy a curriculum. I didn’t find anything that was able to check all of my boxes and what I wanted for my kids. Purchasing homeschool curriculum can prove challenging (especially if you are looking for nonreligious resources).
Sometimes it’s about how it makes you (and the kids) feel
When I choose a curriculum, I’m really searching for how it’s going to impact our homeschool. How will this make me feel after a long day? How will my kids feel after working with this?
For myself, I want to have a sense of calm and ease about whether my own kids are prepped for the next steps following middle school. For my kids, I want them to feel challenged but not overwhelmed. I want them to feel a sense of satisfaction in a job well done.
What that looks like in our day?
My kids are both right-brained thinkers with some learning differences. This means that I’m looking for a curriculum that is flexible but still challenging enough to engage all their senses. We spend a lot of time discussing assignments and assessments rather than doing lots of reading and writing, but we have slowly increased our expectations of both over the years.
I expect my kids to pay attention when I talk and I do the same for them. I know that I have to have my own kids attention and eyes or I don’t have their brains. This also means that we can do more fun science activities and lessons.
What I look for in a middle school science curriculum
- Hands-on learning with science experiments for middle school
- Time spent applying concepts to real-world scenarios
- Constant review of key concepts.
- We keep religion and academics separate so a secular program is important to me.
This year I’m writing a science curriculum for middle school. It is still a work in process, but the first 6-week unit is ready! Check out Hypothesis Middle School Science.