In this homeschool science article, you can learn about how to find the national science standards. Get the basics on different areas of science including physical science, earth science, space science, and life science, as well as the history and nature of science and an understanding of science as inquiry.
Wondering where to start in teaching homeschool science? This article will help you lay the groundwork for science success.
First Steps for Planning Your Homeschool Science Curriculum
If you are starting a homeschool in the United States, begin your curriculum planning by checking your state’s Department of Education website for curriculum requirements. Use this website to locate the department of education webpage for your state: nces.ed.gov. You may find further useful information in the article “Getting Started with Homeschool Curriculum.”
Your home state is likely to provide a science specialist who can assist you, in addition to a homeschool consultant. On the state website, you may find curriculum frameworks and content standards as well as other requirements. Another place to find your state’s science materials is here: edstandards.org. You may want to take a look at materials provided by other states as well, because you can sometimes find a wealth of resources including, but not limited to, weblinks, bibliographies, and instructional materials.
Using the National Standards for Planning Homeschool Science Curriculum
The national standards for science curriculum are found at the website of the National Science Teachers Association -nsta.org. Because detailing the standards of each state is prohibitive, this article will, instead, review some important elements of the national science curriculum. You should adapt these to your state’s requirements and your homeschool science class as needed.
The national science curriculum presents eight categories of content, equally applicable to homeschool science as well as science taught in public or private schools. They are:
- unifying concepts and processes in science
- science as inquiry
- physical science
- life science
- earth and space science
- science and technology
- science in personal and social perspectives
- history and nature of science
Let’s look at each in turn.
Unifying Concepts and Processes in Science
Understanding this area of the content standards begins with knowing the concepts and processes that are involved. They are:
- Systems, order, and organization
- Evidence, models, and explanation
- Change, constancy, and measurement
- Evolution and equilibrium
- Form and function
These concepts and processes are not meant to be studied in a theoretical way only, but by practicing and using them in scientific investigations.
Science as Inquiry
This category helps students to understand how one “does” science: what is the nature of science and what kinds of dispositions, skills, abilities, attitudes, and approaches allow us to gain knowledge of scientific concepts.
Physical Sciences and Earth and Space Science
At the university level, the physical sciences are considered to include chemistry, physics, earth science, astronomy, and mathematics. For the purposes of K-12 curriculum, mathematics is treated as a separate discipline, and physics and chemistry are separated from earth science and astronomy.
At the university level, the life sciences may be called biological sciences. At K-12 as well as higher education, one may find elements of anatomy, cell biology, ecology, botany, zoology, genetics, and the cross-over subject biochemistry taught.
Science and Technology
The science and technology standard focuses on links between science and technology and assists students to draw parallels and find connections between the natural world and the designed world. It is closely tied to developing problem-solving abilities.
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
Science is not just an object of study but, as this category points out, an area of study that provides opportunities for understanding and means for acting on issues of both personal and social importance. This could be as individual as personal health decisions and as broad as a perspective on global issues like the use of natural resources and attitude towards biohazards.
History and Nature of Science
The ongoing and developmental nature of scientific understanding is part and parcel of this category. Besides focusing on the history of science, it helps students understand the role of science in shaping history.
This understanding should give you a start towards considering how you will implement your own homeschool science curriculum.
US Department of Education - nces.ed.gov
Science - edstandards.org