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STEAM Learning in Your Homeschool: A Parent’s Guide

STEAM learning with homeschool child

As a homeschooling parent, you’re always looking for ways to provide your children with a well-rounded enriching education. One approach that has gained significant traction in recent years is STEAM learning, but what exactly is STEAM, and how can it benefit your homeschool?

What Is STEAM?

STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. This interdisciplinary approach to learning encourages students to explore both the natural and constructed worlds through the lens of multiple disciplines, leading to a deeper understanding of concepts and their real-world applications.

Unlike traditional siloed academic subjects, STEAM learning emphasizes the connections between these fields, challenging students to think critically, solve complex problems, and tap into their creativity.

By integrating these elements, STEAM education prepares learners for the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of the modern workforce and equips them with the skills needed to thrive in a rapidly changing world.

In your homeschool, STEAM learning can take on many forms, from structured unit studies to more open-ended, project-based activities. The key is to encourage your children to explore, experiment, and engage with the material in hands-on, meaningful ways.

The Benefits of STEAM Learning

One of the primary benefits of STEAM learning is its ability to spark your homeschoolers’ natural curiosity. By presenting them with real-world challenges and problems to solve, you can tap into their innate desire to understand how things work and how they can be improved or optimized. This curiosity-driven approach helps to foster a love of learning that can last a lifetime.

Moreover, STEAM learning is valuable because it develops critical thinking and problem-solving skills. As your children work through STEAM based activities, they’ll learn to break down complex problems, analyze data, and devise creative solutions.

These skills are not only essential for success in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields but also transferable to a wide range of academic and professional pursuits.

Another important aspect of STEAM learning is its emphasis on the arts. By integrating artistic expression and design thinking into the curriculum, you can nurture your children’s creativity and help them develop a more holistic understanding of the world around them.

This can lead to enhanced problem-solving abilities, improved communication skills, and a heightened appreciation for the role of aesthetics in daily life.

How to Incorporate STEAM Learning in Your Homeschool

To incorporate STEAM learning into your homeschool, you might start by introducing your students to engineering challenges, where they work to solve problems using the engineering design process.

Encourage your children to sketch their ideas, test their prototypes, and review their designs based on feedback and observation.

You can also integrate STEAM concepts into your existing curriculum by exploring the science behind art, the mathematics behind music, or the technology behind historical innovations.

For example, you might have your children create their own geometric art pieces, compose rhythmic patterns, or investigate the physics of flight by building and testing paper airplanes.

Berean science courses offer plenty of opportunities for practical applications of STEAM activities. The many hands-on science experiments included with every course gives your students a starting point for further investigation using STEAM concepts.

You’ve got the science! Here are some examples to bring focus to technology, engineering, art, and mathematics in your Berean science homeschool planning:

Leverage Technology

  • Introduce your children to emerging technologies like robotics, 3D printing, or renewable energy systems, and have them experiment with applying these tools to solve scientific problems.
  • Encourage them to research and report on how recent technologies are advancing scientific discovery and innovation.
  • Integrate virtual reality, augmented reality, or other digital tools into your science lessons to enhance visualization and exploration.

Incorporate Engineering

  • Present your children with open-ended engineering design problems, such as building a bridge that could hold the most weight or creating a device to clean up an oil spill.
  • Guide them through the engineering design process of defining the problem, researching solutions, prototyping, testing, and improving their designs.
  • Have them document their design process and present their final solutions to you or other family members.

Integrate Art

  • Have your students create scientific illustrations or diagrams in their notebooks to help visualize and explain scientific concepts they are learning.
  • Engage them in designing their own experiments or models, focusing on the aesthetics and visual communication of their designs.
  • Encourage them to create sculptures, paintings, or other art pieces that represent scientific phenomena, principles, or theories.

Explore Mathematics

  • Show your students how to analyze scientific data and measurements to help them understand how mathematical concepts like statistics, geometry, and algebra are used in scientific inquiry.
  • Have them create mathematical models to predict or explain scientific phenomena.
  • Incorporate math-based coding or programming activities into your science lessons, such as using simple computer simulations.

Emphasize Real-World Connections

  • Tie your science curriculum to current events, local environmental issues, or technological advancements to help your children see the relevance and practical applications of what they’re learning.
  • Plan field trips or virtual excursions to museums, science centers, or research facilities to expose your children to STEAM professionals and authentic scientific work.
  • Invite STEAM experts, such as engineers, scientists, or artists to share their experiences and insights with your students.

As you delve into STEAM learning, be sure to foster an environment of collaboration and communication. Encourage your children to work together, share their ideas, and provide constructive feedback to one another. This not only promotes teamwork and social skills but also helps to reinforce the interconnected nature of the STEAM disciplines.

Remember the key to successful STEAM learning is to make it engaging, relevant, and fun. By tapping into your children’s natural curiosity and allowing them to explore their interests through hands-on activities, you can help them develop a deep, lasting understanding of the world around them.

As you continue on your homeschooling journey, embrace the power of STEAM learning to nurture your children’s creativity, critical thinking, and love of discovery. With this comprehensive approach, you’ll not only prepare them for academic and professional success but also help them become well-rounded, adaptable, and curious individuals, ready to tackle the challenges of the 21st century.

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Creating An Excellent High School Transcript for Your Homeschool

Mother and son working at table

You are resolved to finally do something about that transcript you know you need to create for your student.

This is your year to see this resolution to completion. But where to start?

Making a high school transcript can sometimes feel daunting, but the good news is, it doesn’t have to be complicated. You can do it!

Continue reading Creating An Excellent High School Transcript for Your Homeschool

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Why We Teach The Sciences In A Specific Order

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.

Conceptual Physics For Lower Grades: The Pros and The Cons

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: Teaching Sciences In A Specific Order

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 physics after 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 In Your Homeschool? 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.

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3 Benefits of a Historical Approach to Science In Your Homeschool

Taking a historical approach to science in your homeschool helps make the learning come alive! In this approach,  students learn science in the order it was discovered by the great scientists of history.

If you have multiple children in elementary level studies, good news! Dr. Wile’s elementary science series contains multi-level books you can use for any grade K-6. And the unique feature of this wonderful course is it uses history as its guide. Science Through HiStory is elementary science simplified! Science concepts are presented in the order they were discovered while constantly reminding students of the Creator who fashioned the marvels they are studying.

Homeschool Science: Historical vs. Topical

Most elementary science programs are built around a topical approach to science where students work through a unit focused on one area of science (i.e., weather) before moving to a different topic.

But Berean Builders’ five-volume Science Through HiStory series takes a completely different approach, exploring science through a chronological journey through science.

Students learn science in the order it was discovered by the great scientists of history. As a result, the topics change frequently.

For example, in the first 15 lessons of Science in the Ancient World, students learn about measuring tall things, fire, music, atoms, and medicine. The topics are unified by the people who studied them and the way science was developing at the time.

You may be asking, “Why chronological science?”

3 Reasons to Teach Science Using a Historical Approach

  1. Students learn the enormous debt science owes to Christianity. 

Many unsuspecting students are taught that Christianity has opposed science throughout history. In fact, if it weren’t for Christianity, we wouldn’t have the science we have today. When a

student sees how science developed, this truth becomes obvious.

  1. Students get a more realistic view of how science works.

Science is mostly about making mistakes and then learning from those mistakes. For example, in other curricula, students could be taught a brief synopsis of how the scientific view of the solar system changed over time. In our course, they learn in detail what scientists initially thought and see each major step that produced the modern view of the solar system.

  1. Thanks to frequent review, students have better retention. 

In a historical approach, students continually revisit science topics but in the context of a new person and how he refined an old idea. This narrative method makes science more interesting than a topical approach so children remember the material longer.

For more information about our historical approach to science, see p. 4 of the catalog.

The Eras of Science Through HiStory

science in the beginning book cover

Science in the Beginning uses the Biblical days of creation to introduce a wide range of scientific topics including the nature of light, energy conservation, the properties of air and water, introductory botany, our solar system, basic zoology, and some aspects of human anatomy and physiology.

science in the ancient world book cover

Science in the Ancient World covers the work of the natural philosophers who lived from about 600 BC to the early 1500s AD and presents science as it was developed. The ancient scientists, some who were devout Christians, got a lot right but also missed the mark on certain ideas. We explore these mistakes to advance our understanding of the natural world.

science in the scientific revolution book cover

Science in the Scientific Revolution spends time with natural philosophers from 1543 to the end of the 1600s covering new science concepts as they were discovered. From human anatomy to electricity and the laws of motion, this book shows the scientific thinking of the philosophers who embraced the Christian faith.

science in the age of reason book cover

Science in the Age of Reason sheds light on the discoveries of scientists from the 1600s to the early 1800s. The book covers a wide range of topics being discovered at the time and allows students a peek into the worldview of these pioneers and how that worldview shaped their scientific conclusions.

science in the industrial age book cover

Science in the Industrial Age encompasses the multitude of scientific discoveries that took place during the 1800s and early 1900s. The variety of topics covered includes biology, chemistry, geology, medicine, cell biology, and radiation, and brings to light how the worldview of the scientists affected the conclusions they drew.

Flexible and Engaging Science for Elementary Students

Each of these books can be used as a stand-alone science text and presents plenty of hands-on activities to keep elementary students engaged and curious.

Plus, with three levels of review for the lessons, you can adjust the level of challenge for each individual child. Older students can work with their younger siblings to enrich their science learning experience.

Coordinate Your History and Science Lessons If You Choose

What’s this special approach that no other science program takes? It’s a chronological one.

With this linear approach, it seems a natural fit to synchronize your Berean science to whatever history program you’re using. We have a guide here where you can find detailed notes for meshing these popular history programs with the Science Through HiStory series:

  • Biblioplan
  • Diana Waring
  • My Father’s World
  • The Mystery of History
  • Simply Charlotte Mason
  • Story of the World
  • Tapestry of Grace
  • Veritas

But Should I Synchronize My Science and History Programs?

Yes, aligning your history and science programs may make sense on the surface, but please be forewarned: The process is a bit difficult and not all that beneficial.

First of all, history progressed at a steady pace, but science did not. Science started out slowly and then gained a lot of momentum as the Christian worldview developed. It gained even more momentum as technology developed.

For example, Science in the Ancient World covers about 2,100 years of history. The next book, Science in the Scientific Revolution, covers only 200 years. And the remaining two books, Science in the Age of Reason and Science in the Industrial Age, cover only 100 years each. Science in the Atomic Age (for junior high) also covers only about 100 years.

Your history program’s pace may not match at all!

We think the best thing you can do is cover history and science separately without worrying about matching them up perfectly. When you encounter the same ideas, scientists, or events in a different course, you get a chance to review what was already covered!

Your homeschool is a reflection of you and your family’s needs and goals.

We are delighted to offer this flexible, chronological approach to elementary science you can use in the way that works best for you!

And, as always, we are available to answer your questions about how to get the most out of our courses for your unique homeschool experience.



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The Importance of Summer Science

two girls enjoying summer science in a forest

Fall, winter, spring…ahhhh summer. Should your student take a long break from schoolwork or keep learning year-round?

No matter the season, learning never stops.

But some studies have shown that an extended time away from active learning can cause knowledge to wane, especially in math and reading.

To keep these skills sharp, we recommend some fun summer science activities, so your student retains what you’ve taught them and is ready for the next Berean Builders course.

You can find many lists of summer science activities for your students of all ages with a quick online search.

Look for fun projects, natural observations, seasonal crafts, and kitchen chemistry (cooking) that include plenty of reading and math.

Project Based Learning For The Win (PBL FTW!)

Project based learning can be a great summer focus.

  • Plant a garden,
  • keep a weather record,
  • map the moon, stars, and planets each night.

Your student’s interests should lead the list of summer learning. Find what they love, then have a blast incorporating stealth lessons throughout the season.

Why stealth? Because some students balk when it comes to using “vacation” time for learning. Use your best judgement for your particular situation and find the quiet lessons in everyday science.

Most of all, give your student opportunities for critical thinking.

Let them decide what activities will be most effective. Let them do the research and planning.

Once they’re excited about a topic, let it run its course as long as they’re interested. Every moment spent enjoying a project is a moment dedicated to keeping their skills sharp all summer.

Get Out There and Science!

Whether you take a break from lessons or school year-round, summer is a great time to do science experiments in the great outdoors.

Biology, chemistry, physics, and earth science experiments abound, and summer is ideal for observing and interacting with nature and the world around us.

Summer is also a great time to complete any experiments you may have missed during the year.

Berean Builders science courses contain hundreds of hands-on experiments to help students comprehend abstract concepts with concrete actions and observations.

Moderation is the Key

Of course, we know you and your student need time off from teaching and learning to reboot, relax, and refresh. Summer learning doesn’t have to be every day! A couple of activities per week is plenty to make sure math and reading stay at level and learned science concepts stay in your student’s knowledge base.

Your future self will thank you for encouraging your student to practice what they’ve learned so you don’t have to reteach concepts or rehash last year’s lessons.

Make this summer one to remember with plenty of interesting science experiences. Then get ready to start a whole new science adventure in the fall!