Homeschool Science Subject

Hip Homeschool Hop & Featured Blogger 6/4/13 – Science Fairs, Even for Homeschoolers!

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Now, say “hello” to our Featured Blogger, Andrea…..

“What?  A homeschool science fair?”  That’s the question I’ve received from several non-homeschooling friends over the past week.  Science fairs were expected at the public schools I taught at, but even I had never considered that my kids would be a part of a science fair as homeschoolers.  Oh, how naïve I was!

You better believe we can put on a science fair!   Simply gather up a few homeschool friends, set a date, and get ready to focus on science!  A science fair is a wonderful opportunity for kids to bring a science investigation into a final product, and it’s a special time to share the learning of a diverse range of interests.

Here are 5 reasons to have a homeschool science fair:

  • You, as the parent-teacher, can choose to incorporate the project-idea into many different learning areas: handwriting, literature, math, art, photography, etc.  It easily lends itself to a unit study!
  • Children can follow their own scientific interests, rather than worrying if their ideas are “good enough” to win.  We chose to make our fair non-competitive, so it was more like a “show and tell” eliminating any stress involved in competition.
  • As parent-teachers, we can help guide our kids in the language of science investigations, targeting scientific language such as “hypothesis” or “data,” even at a young age.
  • All of your children can participate in the same fair.  We chose not to segregate by grade level so the children were immersed in learning about investigations at all levels of learning.
  • Kids love sharing what they’ve done, and it gives them a chance to practice public speaking in front of the kids and adults who attend the fair.

So what did we do?  My kids’ topics simply stemmed from their own curiosity.  If you need a boost, or your kids need some topic ideas, don’t fret!  There are many web sites and books available with science experiment resources.

My oldest daughter, 6, absolutely loves birds.  We have a bird feeder in the backyard and one day while she was playing with the birdseed (yeah, she’s 6, remember?), she wanted to know which type of seed in the birdseed the birds loved best.  This led to an investigation that lasted several days.  Her hypothesis was that the birds would grab the sunflower seeds because if they were hungry, she thought they would grab the biggest seed.  Sure enough, at the end of the week, the sunflower seeds were the seeds that had been moved around the most!

My youngest daughter, 4, is a huge milk drinker.  One day while she was drinking her milk at dinner, she asked if she could turn her milk green.  I thought she meant with food coloring, but it turns out, she wanted to leave some milk out to let it turn green, which was probably a result of our current germ unit.  Nevertheless, her question was born, “Does milk turn green when it’s left on the counter for a week?” Her hypothesis was that it did because she knew that mold grew on old bread.  How fascinating it was to watch her find out day by day, that the milk actually turned yellow! (This experiment is definitely not for the faint-hearted.)

Science fairs may seem like something far-fetched, but they are a great opportunity to share learning.  I hope you get the chance to create and/or participate in a science fair, or even just conduct some science experiments of your own at home.  Letting my kids investigate their own questions has been one of the many blessings of homeschooling, and getting the chance to share their learning with others was a lot of fun!

HHMFeaturedBloggerAndreaHardman

Andrea lives in California with her husband and two daughters. She left 11 years of public school teaching to homeschool and hasn’t looked back. Andrea loves reading, writing, and spending time outdoors.  Connect with her on at her blog No Doubt Learning, Facebook, G+, Twitter, or Pinterest.

 

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6 Comments

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  • Today’s Hop looks just awesome. I can hardly wait to get started reading these homeschooling posts. Thanks for hosting and letting me include my link! betty jo

  • Reducing the excitement of science to a series of formal steps, stripping it of the joys of learning and knowledge for their own sakes, and turning the thrill of discovery into nothing more than a plodding “experiment”, well, it’s hard to think of a better way to destroy a budding interest in science. The downside, then, of science fairs is seeing students who are bored to tears by their science projects, having done a lot of work while learning very little. This was evident at this science fair: it was rare to find kids who spoke with any great enthusiasm and deep interest about their topics. Maybe the problem is the science fair structure itself, especially at the elementary level. An alternative concept that is gaining favor is that of a “science expo” wherein kids are free to make a study of some area of science they are interested in, and report on what they discovered and found fascinating. The whole notion of “scientific method” is de-emphasized to a more appropriate level. This gives a child much more opportunity to pursue personal interests, gain real content knowledge, and gain skill in communicating that knowledge (with enthusiasm!) to other children and to adults.

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