The Best Homeschool Science Curriculum
The best homeschool science curriculum for elementary, middle school and high school home educated students and my top picks to use in your homeschool classroom. The needs of homeschool parents and students vary widely and there simply is not a single “best” science curriculum for everyone or every family since everyone is so different. Since selecting the best homeschool science curriculum is a difficult task, I am highlighting my favorites and my most used and loved science curriculum that may help you on your research for your family and homeschool journey.
Best Elementary Homeschool Science Curriculum
When I first began this homeschool journey with my daughters, I simply read reviews online to (hopefully) find the best science curriculum that we would like. I admit that we hopped around for a couple of years until we settled on our favorite. Some parents my not be comfortable teaching science and science may be your kids least favorite subject.
Our first Science home school curriculum, for Kindergarten, 1st grade and 2nd grade, we used R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey and Christian Kids Explore by Bright Ideas Press. I know it may seem strange to use two science curriculum in the same years simultaneously, but my kids love science. Like, LOVE science. Our main curriculum was the RSO and the supplemental was the CKE.
The RSO Level One Courses are to grade 1-4 and we used the Life, Earth & Space and Chemistry. I taught my daughters the Life and Earth & Space and my son the Chemistry in addition to the first two. My son is a science genius and literally gobbled up anything Science related that I taught him. I did purchase the student pages with the RSO and all my kids had fun creating lap books with these pages. My daughters are very crafty and tactical, so I simply let them use their own creativity whilst completing the worksheets.
RSO Life (level one) is divided into three sections: the human body, the animal kingdom, and the plant kingdom. Students study the major body systems through making models and doing tests on their own bodies. Classification and the five kingdoms of living things are studied as students make an animal kingdom book. Animal kingdom labs include examining real worms, mollusks, arthropods, and butterfly metamorphosis. Students learn about the plant kingdom through looking at the makeup and function of seeds, flowers, leaves, stems, and roots.
In RSO Earth & Space (level one), the topics include weather, seasons, the earth, minerals, rocks, our solar system, and space. Students study the weather and atmosphere with several hands-on labs including making an anemometer, a rain gage, and water cycle in a bowl. Rocks and minerals are studied in depth with students identifying their samples through the same tests used by geologists. Each planet in our solar system is studied individually as students make their own planet book. Earth & Space has recently been revised to include changes to the status of Pluto and the definition of planet.
In RSO Chemistry (level one), the topics covered are usually those reserved for high school chemistry, but are presented in way that youngsters can easily grasp. Topics covered include atoms, molecules, the periodic table, states of matter, acids and bases, and chemical reactions. Students start small, pondering the size and magnitude of atoms and molecules. Then students make their own periodic table and study 18 of the most common elements. They experiment with states of matter and make their own pH scale. Students end big with chemical reactions and exciting combustion labs.
We also used the Christian Kids Explore Earth & Space and Chemistry, but we definitely preferred RSO over this book and these were used as supplemental only.
We liked the RSO the best at the earliest elementary grade levels and moved onto Apologia curriculum at grade 3-6. By grade 3, we were ready for a change in science and Apologia was our answer. I have three children in three different grades, and Apologia has jr notebook journals that work well when the kids were in 4th, 2nd and K and 5th, 3rd and 1st. I was doing two science curricula simultaneous through all elementary for my kids, but only because we love science and my kids are fast learners.
Apologia Science curriculum is the Best All Around Curriculum, Most Affordable, best for new homeschool moms, and the best for homeschool hands-on learning with great labs.
Apologia's Young Explorer Series are great for Elementary Homeschooled Science students. We have used Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology, Exploring Creation With Astronomy, Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day, Exploring Creation With Botany, and Exploring Creation With Chemistry and Physics. These are the perfect science curriculum for grades 3-6 and my personal favorites at these grade levels.
Best Middle School Homeschool Science Curriculum
Apologia is our favorite. By the time my kids entered middle school or junior high, we were pretty set with using Apologia. We have used Apologia Science curriculum for quite some time now and it fits with my family well for this age group. The day to day work is manageable, easy to navigate through and the labs are doable in a home setting with science experiments easy to incorporate into your daily schedules AND you can perform and demonstrate the science experiments right in your kitchen with great success. Apologia is interesting, engaging, thought provoking and it is not expensive. Be sure to also purchase the journal with the textbooks.
In 7th grade, we used Apologia General Science along with the notebook journal. This science course explains the scientific method, designing experiments, simple machines, archaeology, geology, paleontology, biology, and human anatomy and physiology. Its scope is very wide because it is introducing all the sciences to the students. The experiments are hand-on and easy to navigate with household items.
In grade 8, we used Apologia Physical Science, as well as the notebook journal. Make sure your student has taken the correct math prerequisite for this science level. This text discusses such topics as the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, weather, the structure of the earth, environmentalism, the physics of motion, Newton’s Laws, gravity, and astrophysics. Loads of opportunity for hands-on experiments at home again and we tied in research paper topics from this course to write papers for literature as well.
Best High School Homeschool Science Curriculum
Apologia is in the running since we have used this curriculum for so many years. However, it is not our favorite science curriculum for 9th grade in high school. I'm not stating that the Apologia Biology is not great, it just didn't work for us for this particular class.
We moved on to BJU Biology in 9th grade These seems to grasp what I want my kids to learn, whilst having great labs. I would suggest if you have the ability, to take this course with a group of homeschool friends and rotate the labs, or take this class through a consortium. I know some moms in my area who have hired a graduate student to come and teach once a week and that is another choice.
For 10th grade, I suggest Discovering Design with Chemistry by Dr. Jay Wile, another Apologia textbook. This textbook has a content-rich website with video explanations to help students who don't understand the explanations in the text, videos of cool experiments the student can't do at home, and links to other information related to what is being discussed in the text.
By grade 11, your home educated student be able to decide what curriculum they like the best, but I can suggest Exploring Creation with Physics, Apologia again. There are advanced versions of these textbooks if your students wants the Honors level courses.
My son attends a Science and Engineering Academy for high school and he took an Honors Advanced Biology class in 9th grade and and Honors Advanced Physics class in grade 10. In Grade 11 he will take Advanced Honors Chemistry and in grade 12 he will take an AP Science course of his choice. Even though he is not required by state law to take 4 years of science, and most colleges do not require 4 years of high school science; he will be taking 4 years of Advance Honors science classes because it is highly recommended, especially if your student will apply for merit scholarships.
A homeschool science curriculum that works well in elementary school may not meet your needs as your children move on to middle school or even high school. I recommend sticking with a science curriculum that works for your family throughout the elementary grades and then evaluate if the middle school level curriculum will also meet your needs. I also suggest doing the same when your child moves on to high school.