Is it necessary to use a formal science program during the high school years?
I have a question about teaching science. My kids are approaching high school age. So far, we have mostly dabbled in science using some curricular choices; but we have mainly preferred unit studies and various science related activities like field trips and cooperative-type classes. This year I attempted to use a more formal science curriculum, but my children required more hand-holding than I anticipated. I feel guilty about giving up on the curriculum we started, but I also feel like it is strangling me. I am also worried about limiting my children’s education because of what I lack as a science teacher, especially as we approach the high school years. Help!
The first thing I will share is that any curriculum you use for whatever subject you teach should always be your servant and not your master. In other words, it should be a tool to help you homeschool better, which ultimately will help you to better glorify God. If that tool becomes a burden to use, then it is no longer serving its purpose of being a helper, and has now become your master. In that case, I would say it is time to make a change.
The second thing I will share is that you need to always keep your focus on why you homeschool. Is it so you can provide your children with a top notch academic education so they will get accepted into whatever colleges or post-high school programs they want to get into? Or is it because God has called you to homeschool as a way to better help them draw closer to the Lord, and so that they may be trained up in the way they should go so that when they are older they will not depart from it? If it is the latter, then take whatever science you are able to joyfully teach to your children and offer that program(s) up to the Lord, trusting Him to take your meager offering of a few fishes and loaves and turn it into an abundance to help them achieve whatever God’s plans are for them for the future.
So, with that having been said, I encourage you to use a science program that will help you to joyfully teach science in a way that will draw your children’s eyes to Christ, the Creator of science, while letting God be the One to worry about whether the program is college prep level or not. It is far better to instill a love and joy of science in your children than science skills for the sake of learning science skills. That love and joy will ultimately carry them a whole lot further than a skill set.
I will also add that I believe the best way I helped prepare my son who ended up getting a B.S. degree in biology was by providing him with plenty of resources that he could use for his own personal science studies. I have found that if a child is particularly interested in a topic, he/she will be motivated to do independent studies of the topic. As homeschool parents, we just need to provide a solid foundation and the resources to encourage further independent studies.