Sharing ideas, teaching tips and resources for the homeschool journey.
The Australian National Curriculum (ANC) breaks science teaching into three areas of study:
Within each school year a mixture of topics are chosen for study. The curriculum states that these topics are interrelated and that scheduling of topics can be taught at the teacher’s discretion. So for those who cover topics in a different order don’t worry, I am sure if you demonstrate that you are teaching in all areas this will satisfy the assessors.
This is how the Australian National Curriculum splits the topic of science into strands:
• Living World (Biology)
• Physical World (Physics)
• Chemical World (Chemistry)
• Earth and Space Science (Environmental Science, Geology and Astrophysics)
You won’t need a science textbook to teach from Foundation Year to Year Two. These years are the years of observation and discovery with an emphasis on nature. Children are taught to wonder and you can basically loosely teach in all the strands. Children are usually ready to start teaching science in a more formal way around Year 3 or 4. You will need to demonstrate that you cover all the major areas of science in the ANC but you can doing one science specialty a year for four years (immersion method) rather than doing all four subjects every year for four years (spiral approach). See our curriculum guides for specific suggestions.
The National Curriculum for high school science teaches a spiral approach to science until Year 10. In year 11 and 12 students can stop learning science or they can also choose science electives in Chemistry, Physics and Biology.
Charlotte believed in a teaching from nature and teaching from living books. Children read nature stories, living books on science and science biographies. You won’t need a science textbook to teach this your early primary school children.
"Books dealing with Science...should be of a literary character, and we would probably be more scientific as a people if we scrapped all the text books. Where science does not teach a child to wonder and admire, it is perhaps of no educational value. " Charlotte Mason
The Wonderland of Nature is living book on Australian nature. It covers biology, earth science and some physics and chemistry topics and give you opportunity to use your scientific skills with nature journaling. This book has long been recognised as a Charlotte Mason homeschool science book.
Nature Stories about Australia's plants and animals are another way to cover science in the early years.
Finding Living Science Books on various topics can grab your child's interest on physics and chemistry topics.
Australian Book Traveller is a literature based unit study that combines English, science, art, history and geography using Australian picture books.
For High school Science (add link) to high school page.
Science sounds like such a technical subject. It brings to mind experiments, chemicals, analytical thinking, microscopes and scientific research. All these topics are a part of science and when your children are young you can begin introducing these topics to them in a very natural and enjoyable way.
For those of us who practice nature study, science skills are easily encouraged with observation, record keeping and documentation in nature journals and field trips.
Making lesson notebooks is the best way to make a record of your science lessons.
"Let them once get in touch with nature and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight and habit through life." Charlotte Mason
Science lessons when you are homeschooling are so much easier than in the classroom. Why? Our children have more time and freedom, and they can explore. Nature study reinforces two essential components of the scientific process, observation and an enquiring mind. Nature Study also leads to lessons in geology, conservation, habitat, endangered species, land care and more.
Nature Journaling With Kids is a way that will help you develop young children's scientific recording skills. A child will learn so much more than filling out worksheets.
The Wonderland of Nature Journal and The Wonderland of Nature Book is an easy way to start nature journaling.
“I have just looked at the Wonderland of Nature set, may I congratulate you, it is absolutely FANTASTIC!!! I am thoroughly impressed and inspired. More excitedly I have the books you also recommend. It is a goldmine you have put together. I can’t rave enough.” Erin Hasett. 2007.
A Bush Calendar and My Bush Calendar Logbook is another nature notebooking resource that will help with recording scientific skills. This resource can also be used for geography.
What about experiments?
Simple experiments can be devised when studying different topics. However observation is the skill that you are trying to develop in the early years.
Teach your children to still record experiments in their notebooks.
Labelling objects, recording the phases of the moon, noticing the direction of the winds, all help develop scientific skills.
Science biographies illustrate the influence great men have had on science through human endeavour. They also demonstrate the development of science inquiry skills as observation, questioning, planning, processing and evaluating are used in real life examples.
For more specific recommendations see the graded curriculum guides.