If you’ve found a science curriculum you love, it probably covers the basics of what your kids need to learn, at least from book-based learning. But what about hands-on learning? The hands-on approach lets children apply what the textbook says to real life situations, and it lets them figure out how to use the knowledge they’re learning. Understanding the scientific method is a required skill, and being able to present scientific findings in an understandable manner is something all kids should experience. Science experiments are in invaluable part of school, and they should have a role in homeschooling too.
If you aren’t using a book that includes experiments to go along with the lessons, you can find one at the library, or you can always design your own. Especially at the 6th grade level, this isn’t a difficult task. Just figure out how the material applies in real life. It doesn’t need to be a formal experiment, with a hypothesis to test, and variables to control. Young children just need some hands-on reinforcement of what they’re learning. For example, if they are doing a weather lesson, how about measuring the temperature outside on several consecutive days and learning how to graph that data? Measure rain with a rain gauge. Look for trends in the weather over a period of time, and maybe let the kids pretend to be a weather forecaster to give the day’s weather report. Make it fun!
Perhaps a short trip to the park or a nature walk could help kids learn about evergreen trees. In the middle of winter, which trees still have their green leaves, and why? That’s so much more fun than reading a botany book about trees! Even if the science curriculum you’ve chosen covers everything a homeschooling parent ever dreamed of, you can always add some hands-on science to enhance the experience and make the book-learning more enjoyable.