Remember when you were in high school? You probably took science in this order: Biology, Chemistry, Physics.
What is the reason for this sequence? To keep the subjects in alphabetical order?
Far from it.
The study of each of these sciences requires a certain level of understanding in mathematics for each. This discourages lower grades from leaping right into physics.
But What About Conceptual Physics For Lower Grades?
Some educational institutions have attempted to circumvent this by offering something called conceptual physics in lower grades.
And while it may offer a basic grasp of physics concepts, conceptual physics does not lead to a deep understanding of the science behind the equations.
Math-based physics is a superior approach in order for students to have an appreciation for the operations they are performing to demonstrate a physical concept.
A statement attributed to prominent physicist Ernest Rutherford is,
“All science is either physics or stamp collecting.”
In other words, we must understand the processes of biology, chemistry, and the other sciences through the lens of physics, or we’re simply gathering disconnected facts.
Physics, Or Natural Philosophy, Is The Basis For All The Sciences
Early scientists were all physicists. At the time, physics was called natural philosophy and focused on understanding the laws of the universe.
Speaking broadly, physics is the basis of everything, and to comprehend this broad natural philosophy, scientists needed to understand math.
Galileo stated it best when he said,
“Philosophy is written in that great book which ever lies before our eyes — I mean the universe — but we cannot understand it if we do not first learn the language and grasp the symbols, in which it is written.
This book is written in the mathematical language, and the symbols are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without whose help it is impossible to comprehend a single word of it; without which one wanders in vain through a dark labyrinth.”
And to comprehend physics, students must have a firm grasp of trigonometry.
We Teach High School Science Backwards
So, we teach high school science “backwards”.
Our courses begin with biology, which only requires basic math skills.
Then we offer chemistry, which needs an understanding of algebra to grasp.
And finally, we dive into physicsafter the student has moved through geometry and trigonometry.
Alphabetical order, maybe, but for a very concrete reason.
If we were to begin with the hardest subject, even though it’s the basis for all science, we’d turn some students off, as they would struggle without strong math skills.
In short, no trig, no physics.
The Importance Of Keeping Students Engaged In Science Courses
Even students who don’t naturally gravitate toward the sciences are more likely to stick with science courses if they start with the easier math-based subjects before they move on to physics.
And it turns out, students who have taken trig-based physics (versus conceptual physics) in high school do better at university with a calculus-based course.
As you’re looking through our course sequence, you’ll notice we have math prerequisites listed for each.
Once your student has mastered the specific math levels, you can confidently approach that science for the year.
Not Ready For Higher Level Sciences? No Problem
But what if your student isn’t mathematically ready for the next subject?
You can fill in their science requirements with any one of the other basic courses we have available while you wait for their math skills to catch up.
Give your student the best chance at learning and appreciating science by following our course schedule to offer the appropriate subject based on the level of math they have mastered.
When planning out your homeschool year, you want to include engaging science information to help your student understand our amazing world.
But which course should you choose? And in which order should you use the available courses?
The good news: you can pick any one for elementary grades!
Since elementary years are all about becoming proficient in reading, writing, and math, your student will spend a lot of time practicing these skills.
We want to make science fun while helping your student learn to observe, record, and marvel at the universe around them.
Which is why you can begin your elementary homeschool science adventure with any one of these engaging courses.
We even make it easy by letting you know what concepts your student should already know when beginning a course.
If they need to know a bit more about a topic than the course offers, a quick online search will fill in the gap.
Let’s examine the sequence of the science courses offered.
Although the courses explore scientific developments chronologically, you may choose to present them in any order depending on your other homeschool subjects or the time period that interests your student.
For Students in K-6 Grades
Science in the Beginning
You can start with this course to give your student a solid foundation of how our world was created.
Using the days of creation as an outline, the material covers basic concepts such as
the properties of light, air, and water,
basic botany, zoology, and human physiology,
and our solar system.
This examination of how the world began helps students understand the beauty of the Creator and the wonder of His works.
Science in the Ancient World
Follow the Beginning with a look at how ancient scientists explored God’s creation to learn more about the Creator.
Covering the years 600 BC to 1500 AD, this course covers the work of these naturalists and philosophers, both the concepts they got right and the mistakes they made.
Since this course examines early science as it was developed, your student will discover a wide range of new ideas including
basic physics and simple machines,
the Earth’s place in the solar system,
and the effects of erosion.
As they are introduced to the science and the men who furthered fresh ideas, your student will also come to understand the later scientists for the devout Christians they were.
Science in the Scientific Revolution
Expand on the fresh scientific ideas from the ancients with the next book in the series.
The time covered in this course is less than 200 years, and the advances made in the basic areas of science were vast.
Also covering science as it was developed, the topics included echo those in Science in the Ancient World, but on a deeper level.
Your student will increase their understanding of
the physiology of plants, animals, and human anatomy,
and the scientific laws developed during this time.
The scientists who investigated the world around them from 1543 to the end of the 1600s were pioneers and curious about the world around them. They were also men of God interested in learning more about the Creator and His creations.
Science in the Age of Reason
Continuing the tour through the history of scientific development, this next course explores natural philosophers from the early 1600s to the early 1800s as they built on previous discoveries to further their understanding of the world around them.
basic chemistry and physics concepts,
human physiology, botany and zoology,
and atmosphere and weather.
Not only will your student see how new science discoveries begin with older ideas, but they will also understand how the worldview of the scientist can affect their conclusions.
Science in the Industrial Age
The final book in the elementary science series covers discoveries made from the early 1800s to the early 1900s.
As scientists continued to explore the world, they made a multitude of new discoveries and advancements.
Your student can follow these discoveries in
medicine and human physiology,
basic physics and chemistry,
and explore the development of new scientific laws.
They will also learn the beliefs of the scientists and how those worldviews directed their theories and conclusions.
A Well Rounded Tour of Elementary Science
These five courses follow science through history and demonstrate the growth of scientific discovery and understanding.
Each course includes many hours of hands-on activities to keep the lessons engaging for elementary students, plus three levels of review exercises so you can choose the depth of understanding you wish for your student.
An added benefit of these five courses is they are multi-level.
This means even if you are diving into homeschooling in the later elementary years, you can choose any course to begin your scientific journey.
In addition, you can teach several ages/grade levels using the same course by assisting younger children with the experiments or using the more thorough review exercises for older students.
Middle School Science for Students in 7th and 8th grades
When your student is headed into the middle grades, you may wonder which courses to choose next.
The most important factor in deciding on a course is your student’s level in mathematics.
Since the courses offer problems involving calculations, you’ll want to be sure your student comprehends that math level before you dive into a course to assure their success.
In addition to observing and recording their experiences, your student will be asked to learn and apply specific concepts, both in the abstract and in the concrete with hands-on experimentation.
Science in the Atomic Age
Modern scientists have furthered our understanding of the world around us, and this course covers these discoveries.
From atoms to biomes, this course covers the organization of our world and God’s design in nature.
Your student will need a firm grasp of 7th grade math to do the calculations presented.
Because this is a laboratory-based course, your student will have plenty of hands-on experiments and activities to help them grasp the concepts presented.
The topics build on what the student has already learned in earlier science studies, and the experiments can be performed using common household items easily found in local shops or online.
Discovering Design with Earth Science
This course explores earth in great detail from the formation of rocks to the properties of water and the interaction of each on our earth’s crust.
Your student will be able to exercise critical thinking as they are presented with the opposing ideas of uniformitarianism and catastrophism.
Each of these concepts is presented in a fair and balanced examination with plenty of follow-up questions to generate thoughtful contemplation.
This course also includes 55 hours of laboratory instruction using hands-on activities and experiments.
A kit containing laboratory materials is available for purchase, and some of the experiments can only be performed with items from the kit.
As you can see, these seven courses cover science from creation to modern day exploration.
You and your student can decide which of the elementary topics to cover and in which order.
And your middle schooler can move confidently into more complicated science when they have the math proficiency to do so.
We hope this helps simplify your homeschool science curriculum choice!
We’re available to answer any questions and to help your student explore God’s world through hands-on science.
The latest earth science textbook by Dr. Wile is here!
Written in his warm, conversational style, this book is a spectacular introduction to earth science. Filled with stunning images, detailed descriptions, and awesome experiments, this book has it all.
These experiments are designed specifically to increase understanding of the concepts introduced.
Some of the experiments require particular items available in the optional lab kit. You can take a peek here at the list of materials included in the kit for the lab experiments, as well as the items you’ll need to provide.
Let’s explore the chapters and the science contained inside.
Dr. Wile gives a thorough explanation of how to get the most out of your Discovering Design with Earth Science book, experiments, and worksheets and how to incorporate science study in your homeschool schedule.
He covers the importance of including hands-on learning through experimentation. He also stresses the need to keep up with notes and record the results of experiments performed.
Dr. Wile wants to make sure your student has access to as much support as needed. He has created a special online library including videos and links to incredible online resources hand-picked to add more understanding to each concept.
Chapter 1 Basic Concepts Required to Study Earth Science
Dr. Wile presents the essential concepts students need to understand how to study earth science. From phases of matter to measurements, each topic is spelled out clearly and demonstrated with concrete, hands-on experiments. Students learn different ways to measure matter and the reasons behind each. He goes on to show how different units are used in scientific study with easy-to-understand equations. These basics are applied throughout the rest of the book.
Chapter 2 It’s a Little Crusty
This chapter introduces the layers of our beautiful planet with its defined sections of atmosphere, geosphere, and hydrosphere. Dr. Wile digs into the soil to show the makeup of the geosphere and how it is affected by different physical events. He also begins his comparison of uniformitarianism and catastrophism, along with definitions of each and how they compare. These two comparisons continue throughout the book with a fair and balanced approach.
Chapter 3 Minerals
Continuing his exploration of the crust, Dr. Wile makes minerals the focus of this chapter. He explains chemical compositions of rocks and explains how they are formed. There is a section on how we use minerals in our everyday lives to bring the science to life. The experiments help solidify these concepts so students have a wonderful hands-on experience with the rocks provided.
Chapter 4 Rocks
Expanding on the previous chapter, Dr. Wile talks about the different types of rocks and how they are formed, along with discussions of major rock formations. He describes the rock cycle so students can see how each type is connected. He also compares and contrasts the views of uniformitarianism and catastrophism. Many of the concepts in this chapter flow into those following, which makes the topics much easier to understand.
Chapter 5 The Lithosphere
Now the book concentrates on the whole crust with its continents and oceans. Dr. Wile takes students through a description of Earth’s magnetic field and its effects. Plate tectonics, the movement of the continents, and crustal displacement feature in this chapter. Again, hands-on experiments make the broad concepts much easier to understand.
Chapter 6 More About Motion in the Lithosphere
Continents move, sometimes slowly, sometimes violently. Dr. Wile explores these movements in this chapter with clear explanations of earthquakes and seismic waves. He weaves in concepts learned in earlier chapters to deepen students’ understanding of the different results on our planet such as mountains and rifts.
Chapter 7 Fossils in Rocks
Now Dr. Wile discusses the once-living plants and animals present in different rock formations. He explores the different approaches taken by uniformitarianism and catastrophism to explain the presence of tell-tale evidence of life long past. He also includes cautionary tales of fossil interpretation and introduces the geological column. The lab kit contains fossils students can explore up close and in person.
Chapter 8 Interpreting the Geological Column
In this chapter, students learn about radioactive decay and how this process is used to date rocks and once-living organisms. Dr. Wile touches on the differing viewpoints of scientists using radioactive decay in determining the age of the earth and those things found on it.
Chapter 9 Uniformitarianism and Catastrophism
Using a solid compare-contrast approach, Dr. Wile explores both the uniformitarianism and catastrophism ideas used to explain the evidence found in the geological record and discusses the bias each side holds. He introduces evidence from both sides that strengthen their viewpoints, but does not push one over the other. He encourages students to investigate both sides for themselves and draw conclusions from their own research.
Chapter 10 Water and Hydrosphere
Now Dr. Wile moves from the land into the oceans, lakes, and rivers. He dives into the polarity of water and how water behaves. He includes wonderful hands-on experiments to demonstrate the exceptional properties of water including the stark difference between freshwater and saltwater such as density and freezing points. This chapter includes a detailed explanation of the hydrologic cycle.
Chapter 11 More on the Hydrosphere
The beginning of this chapter focuses on the oceans, their currents, waves, and the effects of the sun and moon on tides. He goes deeper into global oceanic currents and explains how and why they are so important to life on earth. He then talks about the freshwater on the earth and where it is located in the lithosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere.
Chapter 12 The Atmosphere
Up into the air, Dr. Wile now explores our atmosphere. One of the experiments dramatically demonstrates air pressure. He then goes into the composition of our air and the different layers of our atmosphere. He includes an investigation of ozone, pollution, and an acid-base tangent that leads right back into the effects of carbon dioxide on the atmosphere and the pH of the ocean.
Chapter 13 Weather, Part 1
Expanding on the previous chapter, Dr. Wile goes into a thorough exploration of weather by beginning with a breakdown of the different types of radiation and light coming from the sun. He describes the tilt of the earth during its trip around the sun and how this creates our seasons. He introduces wind, temperature, global wind patterns and trade winds as some background information before heading into a detailed review of clouds.
Chapter 14 Weather, Part 2
Now, Dr. Wile gets into the detail of weather systems and describes weather fronts and how to read a weather map. He talks about precipitation and humidity, then talks about severe weather systems such as thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes.
Chapter 15 The Earth’s Solar System
This chapter heads into outer space to discuss gravity and our neighboring planets. He touches on comets and asteroids and explains why the heliocentric view of the solar system replaced the geocentric view.. Then he focuses on the sun and moon and their properties and behavior.
Chapter 16 Earth’s Solar System and the Universe
Dr. Wile teaches about parallax and its use in determining some distances throughout the universe. He covers the heliosphere and explores the vast tapestry of stars and their colors, brightness, and classifications. Then he describes our galaxy and others in the universe and shares breathtaking images of some of them.
In fact, every page of the book has incredible images or detailed illustrations to help further understanding. Dr. Wile sums up his wonderful earth science book with this passage:
Psalm 24:1-2, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, The world, and those who live in it. For He has founded it upon the seas And established it upon the rivers.”
We hope you will add this text to your library and enjoy it not only for a season, but for years to come
.Get Started with Discovering Design With Earth Science
In addition to solid science and thought-provoking questions, this set includes printable Worksheets as well as a Student Notebook for exploring questions and keeping track of chapter review answers.
It is quite surprising to know that many parents, who homeschool their kids, are of the view that audiobooks or listening to a book isn’t really beneficial for their kids, especially in comparison to silent reading. There is no evidence in support of this argument. As a matter of fact, audiobooks are considered beneficial for all listeners, especially for those kids who struggle with reading books. In this blog, our aim is to help parents understand that there is no harm in using audiobooks. They will only help your kid learn better. We have listed some benefits of audiobooks. Let’s take a look at them. Continue reading Parents Should Definitely Consider Using Audiobooks While Homeschooling Their Kids
With each passing year, increasing number of parents are deciding to homeschool their kids. Usually, there are two groups of parents when it comes to homeschooling. The first group of parents are excited to teach their kids in the comfort of their home and spend time with them. The other group of parents feel nervous and worried as to whether they will be able to teach their kids properly. In either case, parents want to make sure that they do not make any mistakes while homeschooling their beloved kids.
In this blog, we will share with you some common mistakes that parents tend to make. Try your best to steer clear of the below-mentioned mistakes when homeschooling your kid.
A local homeschool resource is a valuable asset to the community. Not only do customers have a wide selection of new books and curriculum to choose from, often local homeschool shops offer a place for homeschoolers to buy and sell used materials.
While this variety is important to homeschool families, an even more precious resource resides in local stores specializing in homeschool resources.
Not just any people. Caring current and veteran homeschooling advocates whose sole mission is to help parents and grandparents succeed and thrive as they home educate their students.
We had a chat with Julia Harris, the former owner, and Laura Stowers, the new owner of The Homeschool Gathering Place in Raleigh, NC.
Julia and Jim’s Story
Julia began her homeschool adventure over 25 years ago, back when resources were few and far between. At the time, many home educators passed dog-eared catalogs back and forth as they took a stab at choosing what they hoped would be the ideal science book or math program for their kids.
The only available opportunities to have a hands-on experience prior to purchase were homeschool conventions and the occasional curriculum fair at a local church.
Seeing a gap that desperately needed filing, Julia listened to the still, small voice that urged her to provide a solution. She and her husband Jim began a curriculum consignment shop in their basement. In just 18 months, the business needed more space, so they moved it into a shopping center.
Before the year was up, demand for just such a place had them upgrading their space again, and yet again until they landed in the current location offering both new and used curriculum, resources, and loving support to the community and to visitors from all over the country and around the globe.
Clearly, Julia and Jim created a solution where demand was high.
Over the years, they helped a wide variety of people from brand new homeschoolers testing the waters to veteran home educators who not only shopped at the store, but also offered their encouragement and advice to other customers.
In short, they created a community.
After 24 and half years, they felt the call to pass the torch to someone else. Enter Laura and her husband, Mark.
Laura and Mark’s Story
Earlier in 2021, Mark took early retirement from his corporate job to join Laura. They both felt the urgency to support the homeschool mission through the sweeping changes currently taking place.
Laura says she and Mark inherited a true legacy from the Harrises. Indeed, the Stowers have become the stewards of this legacy and continue to provide a warm community atmosphere for all homeschoolers who enter the store.
While this is just one example of one location, it is a shining beacon of hope and promise to others hearing the call to provide their local homeschool community with resources and support.
Julia offers a word of caution, though. Running a local homeschool shop is not for the faint of heart, nor is it a way to get rich quick. It is a true mission, delivered from the heart and bolstered by the unwavering hand of God.
What’s In It For You To Shop At A Local Homeschool Supplier?
So really, what’s the point of hauling yourself down to the local homeschool bookstore to stock up for next year’s lessons?
The reasons are numerous, and some you won’t expect.
Obviously, the first reason is so you can touch the books and leaf through the workbooks and compare and contrast all the options in real time. You can’t do that online. Sure, you can click back and forth between two math programs on a website, but the limited bits of product descriptions often leave you with more questions than answers.
More importantly, local shops are staffed with experienced, knowledgeable homeschool moms and dads eager to consult home educators on the best options for their families. These people offer their time and expertise at no charge as their personal mission to assist everyone who enters the store with their questions and concerns.
Speaking of consulting, the influx of new homeschoolers has created a wave of parents in need of calming reassurance and the chance to begin their homeschool adventure on solid footing. Local shops graciously provide this support for free. An army of chat bots on a website cannot create that sense of understanding and peace that comes from talking face-to-face with a parent who’s been in the trenches.
A unique feature of some local homeschool shops is a well-stocked, year-round curriculum fair right in the store. Instead of waiting 364 days for the church to host their year-end swap, these shops provide gently used materials at considerable savings every business day.
In addition to physical resources and support, the store acts as a liaison for local co-ops, testing services, and homeschool events in the form of a community bulletin board and word-of-mouth references. This community connection brings together diverse people from around the area to meet and offer support to one another. No online book retailer can embrace the community as well as an in-person location dedicated to homeschoolers.
Why You’re Important to Your Local Homeschool Resource
All the features and benefits listed above are all about what YOU can get from a local homeschool shop.
But what about what your patronage gives back?
Every time a loyal customer supports a local homeschool shop, the shop benefits, and not only financially.
Buying from the store does help keep the doors open. But what about the non-material benefits?
The used curriculum section is an enormous boon to the community. Buying and selling locally blesses other families in your city. You make a bit of money, they make a bit of money, and these funds can be spent on next year’s resources. Everyone wins.
As Laura says, “It’s a symbiotic relationship. It’s a unique model.”
In addition, the veteran homeschool moms and dads are blessed as well by being able to share the wisdom they’ve garnered over their decades of combined homeschool experiences. They have a calling and are eager to support others on their homeschool path.
The shops can host seminars that bring together the “accidental homeschoolers” of the past year or so with the parents who’ve been at it a while to offer support and encouragement. Some parents are struggling, some are thriving, all can benefit from a genuinely caring homeschool community.
Laura tells a story of a gentleman who enjoyed an hour of personalized assistance in her store. He left with an armload of books and materials and a confident step.
Imagine her surprise the next day when the gentleman returned with three 18-count cartons of eggs from his farm an hour away. Just to say “Thank you.”
That is the power and beauty of a thriving homeschool community.
Awesome! So What’s The Problem With Not Buying Local?
Well, we’ve outlined the absolute gift to the community a homeschool shop can be. Unfortunately, not all communities have such an amazing resource. And, according to Julia, providing such a resource takes a special sort of people.
Aside from the geographical logistics of homeschool resource real estate, there lies an ominous dark cloud on the horizon.
What do we mean by this?
As we mentioned in the post about purchasing from homeschool vendors at conventions, many people tend to soak up advice and answers from the person behind the table, then scurry off to purchase the resource from a big box retailer to save a couple of dollars.
We can’t stress this enough:
The pennies you save by clicking “buy now” on your phone are vastly outweighed by the monumental value you receive while interacting with the author or creator of your chosen homeschool resource.
The same heartbreaking scenario plays out at homeschool resource stores.
Imagine spending an hour consulting and instructing a brand new homeschool mom on the best curriculum or program for each of her children based on their learning styles and educational needs.
Now imagine that homeschool mom thanking you while proclaiming, “Now I know what I’m going to buy!” and walking out of the store to save a collective $7 by buying online.
Of course, we’re being facetious about the savings, but you get the point.
The VALUE of the interaction, the support, and the professional consulting is exponentially greater than the mere dollars you perceive you’re “saving” as you walk out of the store (away from the actual products) to click around online and wait by your front door for the delivery truck to arrive.
Do You See The Disconnect Here?
In all fairness, not everyone makes the connection between buying at the local homeschool shop and actually helping keep that shop open and supporting their local homeschool community in the process.
People go out of their way to buy organic vegetables at the local farmer’s market and head to the consignment shop to purchase name brand clothing at a discount.
Both of these actions not only save money, boost health, and make you feel good about your stewardship of your funds, they also help the local community.
It’s no different buying local from the neighborhood homeschool shop. Your purchase, yes, helps the store stay open and pay the bills. Your purchase may also help another local family fund their next year’s homeschool supplies because you bought items they had on consignment.
Perhaps you’re in the store when a brand-new, frightened-of-the-unknown homeschool mom tiptoes in with a basket of questions and fears.
You may be the exact person she needs to hear offering suggestions and may breathe a sigh of relief that she’s in the right place as she forges ahead into a life-altering decision to educate her children at home.
Perhaps you’re at your wits end with questions about a particular resource.
Because of the relationships these local homeschool shops have with the authors and providers of the resources they offer, they can pick up the phone and call the author directly to find answers to your questions.
Wait, you can do that? You certainly can.
Can you do that in a big box store or through a faceless online retailer? Doubtful.
The ultimate goal here is to help all homeschoolers make educational success a reality.
Buy Local. Your Patronage Is Vital.
We want to encourage you to frequent your local homeschool resource store. But more importantly, we want to encourage you to buy from that store.
And no, you don’t have to drop your entire homeschool budget there.
But won’t you set aside at least a portion of your funds to help keep these rare jewels, these educational blessings alive in our communities?
Your homeschool community and your local area will benefit from your contribution.
And if you are called to provide such a beautiful resource in your community, talk to Julia and Jim and Laura and Mark first.
They’re living examples of fulfilling their mission of service to others. And we’re so grateful to know them and share their stories.
“The last five or so year’s worth of sales have been underwhelming for many homeschool vendors. Consequently, more and more of them have stopped traveling to conferences.
Consequently, conference organizers have struggled to make enough from vendor booth fees to be able to pay speakers. Consequently, speakers have stopped coming.
Consequently, the homeschooling community is losing advocates to encourage and equip the rest of us…and even educate the naysayers and policy-makers who make state and national decisions about homeschooling. It’s an ecosystem.
When one part dies off, the rest gets affected.”
Can we boldly say that if convention-goers continue to purchase from big-box retailers after attending conventions, pretty soon there won’t be any conventions to attend?
And what of the desire for homeschoolers to see and touch the offerings firsthand?
And what of the presentations and workshops where homeschoolers learn so much from the vendors who give them?
And what of the camaraderie experienced in the convention setting when homeschoolers and vendors share space and concerns and wishes and encouragement?
What becomes of conventions?
What becomes of vendors when they don’t make enough money selling their curriculum or other products and must close their shops, virtual or otherwise?
If the vendors no longer produce their products, you won’t be finding them on the big-box sites anyway.
We Homeschool For A Better Future
Let’s remind ourselves why we’re homeschooling in the first place. We homeschool to give our children the most amazing educational experience we can provide.
And we do this using books and videos and resources from a variety of companies, many of whom are mom and pop operations.
These moms and pops are just like you.
They’re also homeschooling to give their children the most amazing educational experience they can provide.
And they love what they do so much, they took their experience and knowledge and solidified it into an offering for the rest of us.
We do an enormous disservice to these generous vendors when we glean and gather from their booths or websites or seminars or workshops then hand over our money to faceless corporations to save a buck or two.
Those savings may very well signal the end of mom and pop homeschool shops.
Frankly, we think it’s not worth it.
We need moms and pops and their beautiful ideas to help us maintain the freedom and flexibility of our homeschooling lives.
If we don’t support them, they won’t be able to support us as we journey down our chosen paths.
Remember this as you venture out to homeschool conventions. Do your research, make your rounds, gather information.
Then consider purchasing from the vendors.
As Jamie says, “It’s an ecosystem.”
Your patronage and support of local vendors, of moms and pops standing behind the table with their hearts in their work, will go a long way to keeping the homeschool ecosystem healthy and thriving for years to come.
If you’d like to read Jamie’s inspiring post, please visit:
When you homeschool your child, you watch them learn and grow. You know how your child processes new information. You develop an understanding of your child’s learning style. And it is pure bliss to see your child expand their pool of knowledge. But, at-home schooling comes with a few challenges that parents have to navigate.
Does your child spend more time in front of the television than with their books? Are they lagging in their high school science course sequence? Whatever may be the problem responsible for those unproductive days, lack of motivation is usually at the core of most of them.
Acts 17:11 says the Bereans received gospel information with great eagerness and examined the scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. We think that is exactly what education should be.
We want to help parents teach their children to become critical thinkers. We want to build continuing generations of Bereans who will seek the truth and build a life-long foundation on those guiding principles.
What Does It Mean to Build a Berean?
Diving deeper into this mission, the following explores the meaning behind being a Berean. In addition, we’ll discuss why these role models highlighted in Acts continue to demonstrate the firm desire behind our aims.
Although mentioned in Scripture, the term Berean is not recognized by the majority of homeschool families. However, the methodology is.
At the risk of using a tired term, homeschoolers who follow the Berean principle are raising critical thinkers.
And just like the Bereans of Paul’s day, these students take in information willingly.
But their differentiation arises as they are encouraged to analyze the information critically before they reach a conclusion or make a judgment on the facts as presented.
Dr. Wile’s Berean Style
Dr. Wile has taken information he learned while pursuing his PhD and, with this same Berean research and discernment, written his thoughts and opinions in his books.
However, he doesn’t intend for his students to take what he’s presented at face value. He encourages his charges to think critically about the facts and opinions he organized.
By this action, his students become like the Bereans. As they hear the teachings and then examine both scriptures and other scientific research, students build their own library of independent thought.
Student Examples of Critical Thinking
In his writing, Dr. Wile offers examples of students who have looked thoughtfully and critically at a notion presented to them.
One student heard a sermon at church containing an object lesson about eagles. The story seemed inspiring and encouraged the listeners to welcome the often-difficult efforts required to change for the better.
However, the science of the story didn’t make sense to the student. He brought his questions to Dr. Wile for discussion.
In his article, Dr. Wile dissected the story, explaining the inconsistencies of the lesson with the facts of nature and biology.
The ultimate takeaway is that creative license may get in the way of the listener seeing the deeper meaning of the lesson as they try to understand the literal meaning of the tale.
In this case, Dr. Wile was pleased his student was diligent in his questioning and underscored the importance of critical thinking, not only in school lessons but also in everyday encounters with leaders and teachers.
The Question of Half-Life
A university student attending Dr. Wile’s chemistry course was introduced to the concept of half-life in radioactive decay. After listening to statistics that describe the time it takes for half the amount of a certain element to decay, the student asked a thoughtful question.
The time of decay is over 5000 years! So how can we know this to be true if we’ve not been measuring it for that long?
This critical thinking led to a lively discussion of how conventional science uses extrapolations to determine these time spans. Dr. Wile encourages his students to think for themselves and not simply accept conventional wisdom because “that’s the way it’s always been done.”
Self-Esteem vs. The Truth
Elli, a talented musician, shared a fun quiz about musical knowledge on a social media feed. She’d scored 100% and was understandably happy. When several of her non-musical friends also scored 100%, Elli became suspicious.
She ran a few tests on the quiz and found that no matter her answers, she scored 100%!
Elli then announced to her friends the results of her investigation and astutely encouraged all her friends to keep their day jobs.
While this is a humorous example, the lesson is that some official-sounding presentations are meant to raise self-esteem without actually providing accurate results.
Only critical thinking can expose these feel-good exercises. And though this is a fun example, the deeper concern is that students may be encouraged to accept certain outcomes as fact when indeed the methods for reaching those outcomes should be questioned.
How You Can Apply Berean Principles In Your Homeschool
Encourage your students to follow 1 Thessalonians 5:21:
“But examine all things; hold fast to what is good.”
Dr. Wile expands on this verse by saying students should, “Examine all things and hold to what can be shown to be good and true even if one doesn’t want to examine the information presented.”
Often, students find it easier to follow the path of least resistance and simply accept what is taught, taking what is presented at face value.
But Dr. Wile reminds homeschool parents to help their children keep an open mind when taking in new information and research for deeper understanding.
Then the students can weigh any differing opinions and base their ultimate conclusions on their personal findings.
Hold What Is True
In addition, students should hold to what is true in order to be a good Christian.
Dr. Wile mentions Robert Boyle who said in his book The Sceptical Chymist,
“He whose faith never doubted may justly doubt of his faith.”
Although Boyle pursued scientific study, he never dismissed the importance of viewing the universe from a Christian viewpoint.
This allowed him to question the conventional wisdom of the day and use science to support the claims of Christianity.
Encouraging Scientists Who Are Christian
By providing open areas of inquiry and a solid Christian foundation, you give your student the gift of free thought and examination while yet holding fast to the good they uncover.
As your student is exposed to more information, even that which does not seem to fit certain paradigms you personally hold, you set them up to better understand the ideas as presented or even to create fresh ideas of their own.
Enough information will allow your student to know what scientists know or don’t know. This sets them on the path of being capable of judging the truth for themselves, just like the Bereans.
For, as Dr. Wile mentioned, clones do not advance science. Parroting back what is presented does not allow for free thought. Tests may only offer options in black and white, yet there are so many more colors of the spectrum your students can investigate.
They can learn what data appear the most meaningful or are more well-known. Your student can then draw clearer scientific conclusions with fewer mysterious deductions.
Robert Boyle wrote, “God would not have made the universe as it is unless He intended us to understand it.”
Building Bereans takes patience and a willingness to allow your student to explore the world around them, compare contrasting viewpoints, and draw their own conclusions.
As one of Dr. Wile’s students said, “I’m still not sure where I land on the whole creation/evolution issue, but I still appreciate the information I got from your books.”
He says in one of his articles,
“…listening to serious scholars who disagree with you is an important part of the process of critical thinking. The only way I can properly evaluate my positions is to listen to those who disagree with them.”
As we continue to build Bereans, we can see the wisdom in this.
No matter how long you have been homeschooling, or if you’re brand new to home education, you should attend an annual in-person homeschool convention this year.
Are you a homeschooling parent or interested in one day making the jump into home education? The decision to educate your children at home is not new. Parents today are seeking a more personalized learning approach for their children.
Homeschooling is quickly gaining a large following due to the freedom and flexibility it provides both parents and their children.
What is the best way to learn more about homeschooling?
The best way to learn more about home education is to attend a homeschool convention.
This guide will help you pick the best convention for your family. Plus, you’ll get some help with getting the most out of your experience. Using this guide, you can achieve the goal of a successful and rewarding homeschooling convention trip.
Attending an in-person homeschool convention is like earning an unofficial “crash course in home education” certificate.
To renew this unofficial certification, attend each year to keep your knowledge of laws, requirements, and the latest curriculum! You will learn much from attending whether you’re a new homeschooler or a veteran.
First Things First: Research Conventions In Your Area
Do a little research. Read over what conventions are offered in your area. The state you reside in may have one or more homeschool organizations which offer annual events. There are also conventions put on by groups specializing in multiple conventions across the country.
Take a look at the list of speakers and workshops to see if the topics seem interesting. Do any of the session summaries tackle your burning questions?
Once you determine which convention is your best fit, buy your tickets. Make hotel reservations and travel arrangements if needed.
Most home educators benefit from a general homeschool convention, preferably in their home state.
A state-sponsored convention will keep you updated on current state laws about homeschooling. You’ll also have plenty of opportunities to meet new homeschooling families from your area.
Budgeting Both Time and Money at the Convention
Conventions cost extra money and time. You may need to set aside an entire weekend to attend. Hotel reservations, travel, and dining out can be expensive.
In this world of streaming entertainment and one-day shipping, is it worth it to use your valuable time away from home?
The short answer is yes.
You will have greater success as a home educator if you carve out enough time to attend a convention in person.
Remember, most businesses provide training to their employees.
If you treat the responsibility of educating your children as a career, you will need some instruction and camaraderie as well!
Investing in your training is easy to overlook as a homeschool parent, but neglecting your education leads to Burnout City. You don’t want to end up discouraged and frustrated living there with your children!
Scholarships and Volunteer Opportunities
For many families, money is a struggle, but there are many ways to attend a homeschool convention without paying a cent!
If money is a concern, including a convention in your budget may seem out of reach. Yet, the discounts and further education you receive make the experience worth the expense.
There are attendance scholarships available for parents who need further help to homeschool their children. Another option? Volunteer a few hours at most conventions.
State organizations often offer discounts or free attendance if you are a member of the organization.
There’s So Much Information At A Homeschool Convention! What Should Be My Focus?
An essential list of your state’s homeschool guidelines can determine what you will need for each child for your school year.
This is the most valuable piece of information to keep in mind as you prepare for the homeschool convention.
The required courses will provide structure around which you can plan the rest of your student’s studies.
Don’t Get Overwhelmed By Comparing Yourself To Others
In the words of a wise homeschooling mom, keep your eyes on your own homeschool.
Don’t try to keep up with the homeschooling Joneses.
Grab some paper and begin by brainstorming. Describe your ideal homeschool day.
Remember, no two families are alike. In the same way, no homeschool will look precisely like yours.
Using a clean piece of paper for each child, list the subjects they will be studying next year with curriculum ideas. It’s time to take some notes while you learn about your kids and their preferences.
Study Your Children Before Attending A Homeschool Convention
Time to watch your students.
What motivates them?
Look at their favorite subjects and books. Are they colorful? Is the text easy to read and visually stimulating? Ask your kids! You know they have an opinion, so use their honesty to benefit your research.
Why is their favorite subject their absolute favorite? If you are willing to ask, be ready to completely change your mind if necessary if you learn something new about your child. It won’t be the first time your child teaches you something new.
After talking with your students, go back to your papers and then to the internet for research.
Is there a curriculum that presents your student’s least favorite subject information in a manner similar to their favorite topic? Write down your findings.
The more you educate yourself on your students’ needs, the more effective a home educator you will be.
Open-minded and curious teachers create lifelong learners.
I Found A Great Curriculum, But I Want To Look At It In Person
Is there a curriculum choice that you keep returning to online but were hesitant to purchase because you couldn’t interact with the curriculum before deciding?
When you get to the convention, make visiting these booths a priority.
The perfect way to decide which curriculum will benefit your students the most is by holding it in real life.
Look through the table of contents.
Check the topics covered in the book. Are the illustrations engaging or distracting?
Did the publisher leave enough visual white space for your child to process the information presented?
These questions may seem trivial, but all play a vital role in the curriculum’s usability for your student.
The greatest reward of a well-planned convention trip is a smooth sailing school year.
If you were online, you would probably stick to your original plan. A slight deviation from your plan and discovery as you shop for listed items is an excellent balance.
In-Person Conventions: Better By Far Than Virtual
While it may be more convenient to seek online assistance, using the internet as a general research tool before attending an in-person convention will be a much better use of your time than trying to answer all your homeschool questions online.
Save some time. Take your questions to the convention and seek out the people that can quickly clarify your questions and help you plan your best school year yet!
It’s hard for most people to feel the friendliness and solidarity of an in-person convention behind a computer screen.
Face-to-face interaction levels the playing field between you, the homeschool consumer, and them, the homeschool suppliers and experts.
Virtual interaction can be highly one-sided as it unintentionally positions the speaker to appear superior to the audience due to the limitations of a virtual teaching platform.
This vertical approach limits the engagement between the speaker and the listener. Also, the mind wanders or can get caught up in the inevitable distractions no matter how entertaining the speaker may be!
There is less wiggle room to bounce ideas around or ask a speaker questions virtually with time delays, technology glitches, and presentation-focused instruction.
Dr. Wile’s Opinion Of In-Person Conventions
Dr. Wile speaks passionately about the importance of in-person conventions.
As a scientist, he understands the value collaboration plays in reaching a deeper understanding of any topic. Meeting real people in person makes your home education journey so rich.
It seems obvious, but with the online world connecting us so well virtually, we often forget the tremendous benefit of face-to-face interaction.
The Value of Organic In-Person Conversations
The conversation is not organic online. Tone and inflection are challenging to interpret via the world wide web.
Dr. Wile believes spontaneous conversations between families, vendors, and students are the most valuable part of any homeschool conference.
“You meet the most interesting people face-to-face.” Dr. Jay Wile
These horizontal conversations offer excellent opportunities for the student interactions he’s enjoyed over the years. Conversations outside the online classroom are enriching for both instructors and students alike.
Often, these interactions uncover an interest or fresh idea the student has that the instructor would not have known without this in-person exchange.
Conversations overheard around café tables often reward the new homeschooler with golden nuggets of information from veteran homeschoolers.
These opportunities are the perfect time to ask questions and get answers real-time. Remember, networking is a two-way street.
In-Person Conventions Can Foster Lasting Friendships
Do you want to meet other homeschool mothers? Online conventions are not the best place to foster lasting local friendships.
While online support bridges the gap during the long school year for home educators, relying primarily upon it year-round is not ideal.
Use the yearly in-person homeschooling convention to make local connections for your family.
While you’re there, ask about local co-ops and regular gatherings.
If you have homeschool acquaintances, attend the convention together for even more direct support.
Making the Most of Speakers and Classes At A Homeschool Convention
There will be descriptions in the program guide next to every seminar, session, workshop, demonstration, or class offered during the homeschooling convention.
Take advantage of these experts and gather the information you need from the learning opportunities available.
However, be flexible. You will not be able to attend all the exciting sessions because there are simply not enough hours in the day, nor duplicates of you.
Prioritize The Sessions You Most Want To Attend
Then, attend the sessions you have prioritized.
Things to remember:
Focus on keynote speakers and anything of serious interest to you.
Build your schedule around the speakers that are the best fit for your needs.
Ask yourself: Which sessions do you think will foster the most interaction between speaker and listener?
Think about the speakers you would most enjoy having a conversation with.
If you and a friend want to attend similar sessions and workshops, divide and conquer. Attend separate sessions, then trade notes at the end of the day.
And remember, most sessions are recorded and will be available for purchase. You can listen at your leisure after the convention, but you won’t have the advantage of in-person follow-up questions.
If there is any speaker you want to interact with, make a point to go to their session.
Even if they do not open the floor up for questions, often they will remain at the front for those wishing to continue the conversation.
If they must hurry back to their vendor booth, follow them! (At an appropriate distance, no stalking.)
When they are available at their booth, ask your burning questions. They will be excited that you attended their session and want to chat more.
Convention Sessions Or Vendor Hall?
Also, be willing to walk away from a session if you need more vendor hall time. The hall will be less crowded during daytime speaking engagements.
If you need quiet time to think and shop:
Use this time and purchase the mp3 recordings of the sessions to listen to at your convenience at home.
Use this precious time to speak with vendors about your concerns and questions.
Give yourself time to learn, digest information, and make informed decisions.
Lighten Up At Night
The nightly entertainment is light on information but heavy on entertaining!
The convention reserves one night as a mom’s night out, and the other night is a family fun night.
Both nights are equally enjoyable. The nightly entertainment is usually an additional cost, but it is worth the price to relax at the end of a day chock full of information and learning.
Let your mind rest, sit back, laugh, and relax.
Mom’s night out can be the first or second official night of the convention.
The most inspirational of the keynote speakers will deliver a message directed at homeschooling or motherhood.
Sometimes chocolate is involved, but there is no guarantee every convention will have chocolate. Bring your own if necessary.
You will most assuredly find laughter, encouragement, and time to visit with other homeschooling mothers. Take the time to strike up a conversation with another mom.
Finding A Community Of Likeminded Friends At A Homeschool Convention
Finding a community of friends is essential at every stage of our lives, and the season of homeschooling our children is no different.
It is always better to have others walking alongside you.
What you haven’t discovered in your never-ending pursuit of the perfect curriculum, another mother might have discovered.
But keep it in perspective. There is no perfect curriculum.
There are always more beneficial choices and less helpful choices based on your student’s learning style.
Women who attend these “extra cost” break-out sessions to meet friends and hang with the girls always come back laughing!
The other night of the convention will be a night to bring the kids or bring the whole family.
All ages will enjoy a comedian who keeps you in stitches with good clean humor.
Other conventions will feature a children’s storyteller. No matter what your literary preference, these talented performers will astound you. You will be on the edge of your seat, captivated by their fascinating tales.
Some conventions open the stage up to family talent as well. The amount of hidden talent in the audience at a homeschool convention is impressive. Bring your talented family, or come ready to enjoy the talent of other newfound family friends!
Bringing The Kids To A Homeschool Convention
If your children travel to the convention with you, they will have a fabulous time.
There are programs for children, teens, and some have childcare available.
If you have babies, they are welcome as long as they are not disruptive.
But there is no need to fret; these parents know the challenge you face.
Smile and look around.
Get your babies settled.
Have your items organized during the session in case you need to make a quick escape.
Rest assured, most of the moms there have been exactly where you are now.
Children’s Programs At Homeschool Conventions
The volunteers and convention staff organize the children’s program to run like a well-oiled machine.
Vacation Bible School-style learning units will fill your elementary student’s day as you take care of needed planning.
Teens are encouraged to volunteer to help out during the convention if there is no set program for them.
Assisting at the convention is beneficial to both your student and the convention. These service hours can be logged as volunteer hours for their transcript!
If you have a child with special needs, choosing a large convention will give you the option of assistance during set times of the convention. You can attend sessions or shop knowing that your children are cared for by well-trained volunteers.
Remembering Why You Homeschool
A refreshed mindset will allow you to approach your school time with renewed energy and perspective.
Attending a convention gives home educators the confidence to approach another year without fear.
They find continued excitement planning the year ahead.
Some years are plain hard, and it is difficult to cross the finish line at the end of the school year.
A weekend away will benefit your children’s future education and bring you headfirst into an exciting adventure of learning together with your children!
You should take the time to attend a conference if your plans for the next year include homeschooling your children.
Bring a flexible attitude, a smile, a friend, and something to carry your purchases- rolling is best.