I know I’m not the only homeschool mom out there that thinks science curriculum is the hardest thing to stick to. Our shelves are full of (I’m sure!) great science curriculum that we absolutely cannot get through to save our lives. So, how do you teach science when you hate the curriculum?
Think you’re tied to a complicated science curriculum for a whole year? Not so! My kids take standardized tests every year and their science scores blow me away every time. I know they’re learning it even without a standard curriculum. I can’t recall a science curriculum we’ve ever actually finished cover to cover. We love to dabble in lots of great science-y things instead.
How to Teach Science When You Hate Science Curriculum
I’ve spent hours paging through the amazing-looking science curriculum at homeschool conferences. We even have many different ones gracing our shelves right now! We’ve done some really fun science unit studies, but I can’t think of one book we’ve actually worked all the way through.
What we do instead is science-hacks instead. We use a bunch of really amazing resources and amazingly, that adds up to a whole lot of science learning.
Here are four things to use instead of a science curriculum:
1. Nature Study
Nature IS science! I realized I was stressing about doing both science and nature study for years–then it hit me! When we study nature, we are studying tons of science too! It’s a double-whammy win for all!
Nature study for us is done really organically and not really in an organized fashion, but we still do a lot of nature study. When working in the yard together, when planting flowers, while on walks and bike rides.
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Even in winter, we still get outside and study nature. You can read a ton of ways to study nature in winter here. OR I even created a whole course on studying nature in winter–complete with video tutorials on feeding your birds in winter and loads of other fun projects.
Winter Kids Nature course covers:
- Birds in the winter
- Winter weather
- Snow and ice
- Animal Hibernation
- Maple Sugaring
- Nature poetry
- Art projects from nature
- Tips on nature journaling
- Making a photography book of your own nature photos
- How to study nature when you can’t go outdoors
- Creating a winter nature table
We also use the following nature guides that help us a ton:
These are two very different resources and can definitely be used together. Nature Explorers offers LOTS of different guides based on a topic. There’s birds, fruits and nuts, frogs, fungi and more! She’s also written a whole book on creative nature walks and more.
Also, Nature Explorers just launched a LIVE nature class membership. We are so excited about this and can’t wait to get started!
Why We Love Nature Explorers
We have been using Cindy’s nature guides from the very beginning of our homeschool. It brings back so many great memories to think about making nut dye and studying snowflakes when my boys were just little.
These studies are awesome because:
- there’s a study on every topic you could think up
- each study can last for as little or as long as you’d like
- the studies are just packed with ideas and extension activities to go along with the topic
- there’s a new live class option that I am just itching to get into!
- all of Cindy’s curriculum is very gentle! No pressure on mama OR kiddos–so important when you’re studying nature, which is supposed to be a tranquil time!
Why We Love Exploring Nature with Children
This is a full year-long curriculum that includes so much more than nature. It’s very Charlotte Mason-driven and contains enough material to keep you busy all month.
Each month focuses on a different theme, which I love. It includes nature walk activities, a reading list, a piece of art to study, a poem, and lots of extension activities as well.
I love that you really don’t need anything else for your nature curriculum. It’s perfect for using with multiple aged kids. There’s so much to do within this curriculum, we’ll use it over and over each year.
Actually, I love both of these resources and use them all year long.
Another way my kids learn a lot of science is through documentaries. This is such a great way to learn! CuriosityStream is hands-down our favorite resource for documentaries. There are literally hundreds of options to choose from on just about every topic.
My kids love the ones that focus on different animals–OR they also loved the one that taught all about animal eyes–so cool!!
CuriosityStream is constantly adding more titles too–you’ll never run out of content. This is also a great way for kids to learn without sitting there managing everything. We can just chill and watch a show and learn tons!
Good picture books!
This miiiight just be my favorite choice. 😉 There are SO many awesome picture books that teach tons of science! Sure, there’s great adult-aged books too, but picture books teach in such a gentle way that all kids love.
We keep our science books all mixed in with our regular picture books so they are constantly being grabbed and read.
30 Picture books that teach science + nature
BIOGRAPHIES FOR KIDS ABOUT SCIENTISTS + MATHEMATICIANS
- The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos by Deborah Heiligman
2. Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau by Jennifer Berne
3. The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps by Jeanette Winter
4. Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty (technically not a bio, but still a very fun story)
5. Who Says Women Can’t be Doctors: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell by Tanya Lee Stone
6. Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein by Don Brown
7. Electrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit up the World by Elizabeth Rusch
8. Timeless Thomas: How Thomas Edison Changed our Lives by Gene Berretta
9. Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
10.On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne
11. Summer birds: the Butterflies of Maria Marion by Margarita Engle
12. Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci by Joseph D’Agnese
13. The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of James John Audubon by Jacqueline Davies
14. Look Up!: Henrietta Leavitt, Pioneering Woman Astronomer by Robert Burleigh
15. The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin by Julia Finley Mosca
16. Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky
17. Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
Great Picture Books About Animals
19. Actual Size
20. Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World (all by Steven Jenkins)
Picture Books about the Human Body
22. Dem Bones by Bob Barner
Picture Books about Nature (Geology, Earth, Birds, Etc.)
25. Sugar on Snow
29. A Seed is Sleepy
30. A Rock is Lively
Trust me, there are so many subscription crate options out there–and SO many good ones–you could go broke trying to keep up! But the one we go back to and just can’t quit is Tinker Crate. It’s so good.
Tinker Crate is aimed for ages 14+ but my 11-year-old daughter gets it and loves it. My boys have loved receiving it too.
They’ve created so many STEM projects I can barely keep up. These are the perfect thing for rainy afternoons when you don’t want to just plop the kids in front of the TV. They take time to put together and seem to be just challenging enough for my kids.
The kids include things like batteries, blinking lights, wires, washers, bolts and more! It’s seriously so fun to watch them create with these crates and it’s something I could never put together on my own.
A few times we’ve received boxes with a missing or broken piece and the customer service has always been really great to us!