Kids can get very into science. Finding an engaging curriculum that feeds that curiosity can be challenging especially if you're looking for something rigorous. Perhaps you're not even sure how to judge what good science materials are. That's an even more significant problem if you're not into science. Well, here are the top recommendations from homeschoolers online.
Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding (K-8, Amazon link) is a book series that teaches the foundations of scientific thinking. It is very thorough and it takes work to get through both the student and also teacher preparation time. It is considered the best way to get the fundamentals down so it kind of makes sense. It has a vibrant community to help you out when you get stuck. For an example of what to expect you can check out some free materials: Lesson Plans Vol 1 and also Notebook Pages Vol 1. Some kiddos find this overwhelming so make sure you try out the free materials first.
Mystery Science (K-5, homepage). The price is $89 for a homeschooler. It's online video lessons with hands-on experiments. The materials are oriented around previous students' questions so you know the children are engaged. The only downside is that it is designed for a classroom so there are group activities that you'll have to adjust to. There are only a few preparations to do here, mostly it's ready to be taught. Parents say their kids especially enjoy these materials.
REAL Science Odyssey (K-10, homepage). The price is around $40 (eBook) per book and the whole curriculum is 6 books for K-6. It's a full curriculum that makes it easy for students to understand the material while still using proper scientific terms. It's pretty much open and go, besides the lab experiments.
All of these curriculums have lab experiments where you should expect to spend extra money and time on equipment and materials.
- Scientific Connections through Inquiry
- Beast Academy - level 3 only
- Blossom and Root - not incredibly rigorous, but nature oriented
Note on religion
Many religious families online say they have trouble finding something that's actually neutral. Many courses claim they are, but then actually turn out to be religious. It would make sense that neutral actually gives both points of view without judgment. A common solution for parents is to use fully secular materials for science (at least then it's rigorous) and then supplement with religious subjects. In any case if you do want religious materials The Good and the Beautiful is the highest recommended resource of them all.
While Mystery Science and REAL Science Odyssey are highly recommended, the same people that recommended them also said that if the format suits you Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding is the real way to go if you want your kids to be critical thinkers and thoroughly understand science.
At an early age our job isn't so much to teach everything as precisely as possible, but to intrigue the children, help them think in a scientific way, and create the yearning to learn more. This is why subscription boxes are becoming so popular. It's an easy way to have a lab at home and do real experiments.