Science Experiments are Important in Our Homeschool
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"Mom! We have an experiment today in science!” my daughter, Moriah, calls out….

I’ve been homeschooling for 25+ years, and God blessed me with 8 children, which translates into a lot of labs and experiments each week. Inwardly my gut reaction is to groan. “Supplies, supplies, supplies!” I begin to think. “More supplies to have to hunt up, another mess to clear and clean! I just wiped the kitchen counters down from breakfast, and now this!”

But then I do a gut check! I force a smile and start thinking of why doing labs, also known as activities in BJU curriculum, is so important in the homeschool. My daughter has grown to love science, purely because of the labs that we do. And I know that a love today can make a scientist tomorrow.

Whether you are homeschooling or your child is in school somewhere, science experiments are the backbone of science. What can seem like a simple, almost meaningless experiment to me is designed to reinforce and ground concepts that can be built upon as we progress through learning.

Take today, for example. We did an experiment on soil erosion. We set up aluminum pans with soil, placed a variety of items for “erosion protection” and then “rained” water onto the soil and observed and measured what was carried away. I call it “Making Mud 101,” but Moriah got so much more out it. After we finished recording the last detail, put up the triple beam balance, wiped down the counters and had hidden away the other evidence of our mud-making escapade, Moriah looked at me. She was beaming with so much confidence! And she said, “Now I understand why they put hay on the berms next to the highways!” Could Moriah have learned the same information out of the textbook? Probably. Would it have made such an impact or allowed her to apply these concepts to larger principles? Probably not.

It is human nature to take the simplest route. We are, after all, creatures of habit. It might seem easier to just toss aside that lab as “time-consuming” or “expensive.” We justify omitting an experiment because it involves more planning, costs extra, or we have to obtain unusual supplies (although with the exception of the triple beam balance and the microscope, both purchased more than 2 decades ago, I have been able to locate the needed supplies easily.) We tell ourselves that our child can just watch the teacher do the experiment and get the same benefits as if she were doing it.

But – we are wrong. The actions involved in doing the experiment, the emotions invested by the child, and the sense of accomplishment when a child completes her lab just like the teacher are unobtainable any other way. The mess that it makes and the cost that it takes all reap a reward when the experiment is recorded. Moriah tells me that there is another experiment. We could avoid doing it – but at what cost? My daughter is worth every penny invested in her. I will make the time to do every experiment, and I will sacrifice what I have to in order to make sure that she gets these experiences. These are memories and impressions that we will always have.

Meet the Author

Rebecca Kruc - HomeWorks by Precept Consultant


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