Homeschool Science Unit Checklist for Elementary and Middle School

When I’m planning our units for the upcoming year, I think a lot about the science topics should we cover in our homeschool by the time they finish 8th grade.  I have a general checklist of topics that I go consider… and try to fill in the gaps as we go (and as the kids’ interests change).  We actually circle back around to cover these units every few years and go into more depth each time we cover it. I have shared this checklist before, but I’ve updated (and added in a few things).  I know that many of us are planning for the new school year, so this is the perfect time to share it again.  This checklist is free to download:

Free Homeschool Science Checklist

Science in the Elementary and Middle School Years Homeschool Checklist

If you scroll down, you’ll see a more narrative version of what science has looked like for our Homeschooling Family (plus you’ll find more links to helpful posts on the website.)

ScienceHomeschoolChecklist

Scroll on down to see what we’ve been studying  for science! 🙂

New Series! Creating Your Own Homeschool Curriculum – Grade-by-Grade! I am in the process of creating a new series of posts which have suggestions on which units and topics we covered in which grade. These resource guides are all FREE to download:

How to Create Your Own Homeschool Curriculum: K, Gr. 1 This FREE 50-page Homeschool Resource has been created to help answer some basic questions: What subjects should I teach my Kindergartner/1st Grader?  Where do I start? How do I know what to teach my kids? There are suggested units and topics for the basic subject areas: Language Arts, Math, Social Studies (and Geography), Science, and Other (Holidays, Music, Art, etc.)

Homeschool Curriculum Kindergarten Grade 1

How to Create Your Own Homeschool Curriculum: Gr. 2-3 is also now available (also a free resource packet).  At some point, I also plan to create a curriculum guide for Grade 4-5, followed by Grades 6-8).

Science Curriculum Grade 2-3

Creating Your Own Homeschool Curriculum Grade 4 - 5

Homeschool Curriculum Grade 6-8

You might want to browse through the Science Unit page, History Unit page, or Language Arts page for links to dozens of resources.

I made a video about Homeschool Science in the Elementary and Middle School Years. It was one of my first videos… so it’s not exactly the most polished, but you have to start somewhere, right?!! 🙂  It highlights some of the activities and experiments we’ve incorporated in our science units over the years. I added in the blooper at the end! 🙂 And the link I mentioned in the video is here: homeschoolden.com/ScienceUnits


Younger Students: If you have kids in PreK to Grade 2 or so, I also have a checklist of topics we studied with links to some of our activities: Homeschool Science in Early Elementary. There is a video and more information at this post.

Early-Elementary-Science-Curriculum-Topics
If you are new to homeschooling, you might not know quite where to begin. There is no “set” homeschool curriculum.  I suggest you start with your child’s interests… then go from there!

Homeschool Science Checklist

The Narrative Version!

What science units have we covered? 

As many of you know,  we have spent a lot of time on Earth Science over the years — covering topics like the solar system, Earth’s geologic timeline (eons, periods, etc.), plate tectonics, volcanoes, earthquakes, etc. We did tons of hands-on activities for this unit. (This is probably our most popular packet and has material appropriate for most any age… since we have added in new material and have studied Earth Science several times now! There are so many fun, hands-on activities you can do in this unit, so my kids have always loved studying this topic!). We have also studied Rocks and Minerals and the Rock Cycle (those are free packets here on the website.

We have also studied the other major Earth Systems (biosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere).  Our study of the biosphere included biomes, habitats as well as feeding relationships, food chains and food webs.  That’s available in our Biology Packet.  We did a huge study of Earth’s oceans (hydropshere… ie. our Ocean Packet) – studying everything from marine habitats and features of the ocean floor to ocean life (including the kids’ favorite – bioluminescent creatures!). We also did a big study of the Layers of the Atmosphere. From there, we have gone on to talk about Weather and Natural Disasters.

Changing the subject back to biology… the kids have always loved animals so when they were younger we did a study of Animals (our Animal Packet) doing basic classification (feathers/fur/scales, vertebrates vs. invertebrates, insects vs. spiders, animal homes and shelters, animal tracks, etc.).  We also talked about the World Animals (animals from the 7 continents). We also talked about animal Life Cycles when the kids were younger (different stages in the life cycles of the chicken, sea turtle, frog, mosquito, butterfly, dragonfly, bee, mouse, and ladybug.)  Last year, we did a more in-depth discussion of Scientific Classification and Taxonomy (on the middle school/early high school level). We have also touched on Botany, though we’ll be going into more detail this coming year.

We’ve done  a Study of  Cells (cell organelles and their function, plant vs. animal cells, Eukaryotic vs. Prokaryotic cells, etc.) several times through the years.  And then from there we often talk about  human body, tissue, organs & body systems.  We usually dive into a study of one of the body systems in depth such as the skeletal system.  Each year we’ve studied a different body system so we’ve also studied the digestive system and circulatory system and touched on the brain and nervous system and the muscular system.

We have done quite a number of different units in Chemistry as well. When the kids were younger we talked about the States of Matter. We have also done a unit on Physical and Chemical Properties of Matter followed by a unit on Electricity and Circuits (which the kids loved, loved, loved!). This past year we did a fabulous unit on the Periodic Table and the kids really “got it” with the activities we did. Our Chemistry Packet has chemistry cards and Bohr Diagram cards for the first 20 elements.  I’m itching to share a picture with you, but I’ll have to let you go check out the store or the actual chemistry post!)

Physics – We have done quite a number of physics units over the years. When the kids were little we did a fun unit on Simple Machines. We weave various engineering challenges into our homeschooling.  Here’s a fun post with 7 fun STEM Engineering Challenges for kids. 🙂 Last year, we did a huge Physics Unit with my son (age 14). We used a science textbook and online video lectures for that.

If you are interested in checking out our Science Packets, be sure to visit our store. We have packets for almost all of the science units in bold above and they include worksheets, notebook pages, interactive notebook pages and (very important to us!!) lots of hands-on activity ideas!!  We have a number of bundles available, so be sure to check into that if you are interested.

These posts might really help you get a feel for what science looks like for our family (since we do science together as a family). We often review topics from year to year (for example, we go over the organelles of the cell most every year even if we don’t do an entire unit on it).

Homeschool Science Year in Review (Grades 9, 7, 4)

Science Year in Review 2016-2017 (Grades 8, 6, 3)

Science Year in Review 2015-2016 (Grades 7, 5, 2)

What did we study for science (a couple of years ago)?

We spent time studying chemistry again. The kids learned about the periodic table and we used a chemistry video series that the kids really liked.

Last year ED worked on a unit on Land Animals — covering things like animal adaptations, animal habitats, animal homes, animal characteristics, migration, camouflage, animals and their young, vertebrates/invertebrates, herbivores/carnivores/omnivores, conservation – extinct vs. endangered animals,  etc. She’ll keep working on that into next fall. (She read a book by Joan Gottlieb — Land Animals (affliate link), which she is reading on her own.)  I also made some animal worksheets (types of animals, animal characteristics, insects vs. spiders, domesticated vs. wild animals, animal tracks, etc.) for her that go along with what she’s learned.  If you’re interested, you can check out our Animal Packet here:

Animal Unit - worksheets - feathers fur scales skin characteristicsvertebrates invertebrates insects spiders

Then we did a  Biology Unit on the Biosphere: biomes, habitats, feeding relationships, biological interactions etc.  🙂 We covered a lot!

Biology-Unit-Biosphere-Biomes-Habitats-PacketFood Chain Food Web Food Pyramid Activties - Interactive Notebook Pages

We went on to do a unit on Ocean Systems & Ocean Life (including tides, currents, ocean zones, as well as animal life).  This unit was *amazing!!* We all learned so much. 🙂

Ocean-Unit-Packet-Marine-Habitats-Ocean-Currents-Tides-BioluminescenceUpdate: What are our plans for this year (2016/2017)?

Fall 2016:

States of Matter: We started off the school year with a unit on the States of Matter and Changes in States of Matter.  My youngest daughter (age 8) really needed to learn this material and my older kids needed a refresher.  In this unit we did a TON of hands-on activities.  🙂  We finished talking about some of the properties of air (it takes up space, has weight) and looked at the composition of air (and did a graphing activity for that).  And then talked about some of the properties of water (adhesion, cohesion, buoyancy, etc.)…  And went on to talk about the changes in states of matter (really focusing on a couple terms they didn’t know well – sublimation and deposition)! I have an exclamation point because we did some activities that the kids adored! Find out more here:

States-of-Matter-Solid Liquid Gas Worksheets and ActivitiesProperties of Matter: Next we did another chemistry unit on the properties of matter. (My youngest, but this was definitely geared more towards my 11 and 13 year olds.)  We talked about elements, compounds and mixtures. We spent some time reviewing the organization of the periodic table.  And we spent quite a bit of time on the various physical and chemical properties.  We did a lot of hands-on activities about density in this unit.

properties-of-matterDensity hands-on Activities

Electricity and Circuits: Then we dove into a very hands-on unit to learn about electricity and circuits. The kids LOVED this unit!! (So did I! It was pretty fun!) We did a half-dozen hands on activities as we learned about electricity, batteries, amps, ohms, simple circuits, parallel circuits, resistors, and basic symbols so they could sketch out (very basic) schematics. The best thing about this unit, though was how hands-on it was!

electricity-and-circuits-stem-packetWe did a ton of hands-on activities with this unit!! The kids built their own circuits with LED lights, did paper circuits, tested various conductors, blew out light bulbs and then protected them with resistors, made an art bot and more!! See more about this unit here: STEM: Electricity and Circuits Unit

hands-on-electricity-circuits-stem-projects

We have started studying the Human Body Systems again.  We spent some time reviewing the organelles of the cell again. We did a full study of cells a couple of years ago. Our cell packet is now over 100 pages.

Cell Packet - Cell Unit Homeschool Curriculum Cell Biology - Organelles of the Cell worksheets activities

Then we talked about the Human Body Systems again (in general).

Human Body Systems WorksheetsNow we are in the middle of our circulatory system unit.  We are currently talking about the blood vessels and heart. Then we will talk about blood and move on to cholesterol and some diseases that affect the circulatory system. The kids are in the middle of their hands-on circulatory project (and I’ll share that on the blog sometime in February probably)!!

The packet will be shared then too (though contact me if you need it earlier.) ~Liesl

Circulatory System Worksheets and Activities

From there we’ll talk about the muscular system.  Then we’ll shift gears completely and will probably do an astronomy unit. (That’s my thought at this point!!)

MuscularSystemWorksheetsWe have also studied the Digestive System a couple times. That’s a fun unit!

Digestive System Worksheets and Activities Digestive System Hands-on ActivitySmall intestines, liver gall bladder pancreas large intestines notebook pages

You might be interested in what we covered for science in 2015: This post has tons of links to our various science activities.
Science-Units-Homeschool-Den-2015You might also enjoy our new Science Unit Tab — with links to ALL of our Science Units!! 🙂

Here are some Quick Previews of some of our Science Packets

Earth Science Quick Preview

Layers of the Atmosphere Quick Preview

Chemistry Packet Quick Preview

States of Matter – Quick Preview

Human Body Systems Quick Preview

Skeletal System Packet – Quick Preview

Digestive System Packet Preview

Circulatory System Packet – Quick Preview

Cell Packet – Quick Preview

Animal Packet Quick Preview

World Animals Packet Quick Preview

Rainforest Packet Quick Preview

Life Cycles Packet Quick Preview

Biology Packet Quick Preview

Scientific Classification and Taxonomy Quick Preview

Ocean Packet Quick Preview

Electricity and Circuits STEM Unit Quick Preview

Simple Machines Packet Quick Preview

We’ve made a number of science packets that are available here at our blog. These links will give you more information:

A Study of Cells Packet

 

Human Body Systems

 

Skeleton Lapbook and Notebook Pages

 

Digestive System Pack

 

Simple Machines Packet

 

Earth Science Packet: Plate Movement, Earthquakes Volcanoes and more!

Animal Unit: Vertebrates and Invertebrates Worksheet Packet: (By the time we finished the unit, it actually turned out to be more than 40 pages!)

Rocks and Mineral Packet

 

Plus, we have a Weather Unit, A packet on the Layers of the Atmosphere and lots of animal classification worksheets and printables. We also have some notebook pages I made for the kids on chemistry, animal characteristics, animals and their groups… and much more!  🙂 Again, the easiest place to scan through all our posts at one glance is using the Science Unit Tab above!!

A few weeks ago I also made a Language Arts Checklist. You might want to check out that post as well. Plus, this post that talks about the language arts curriculum we use in our homeschool is pretty popular too: Our Homeschool Language Arts, Spelling and Grammar Curriculum.

LanguageArtsChecklistHomeschoolLanguageArtsCurriculum

You’ll find our  the Homeschool History Checklist and History Activity List here. You will find a list of our history posts and units in the History Unit Tab above. We have tons of free notebook pages on everything from Ancient Egypt and Ancient China to the Civil Rights Movement and tons more!!

HistoryChecklist-Homeschool-GradesK-8

See you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page! Don’t forget to subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter! ~Liesl

Disclosure:  Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.

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11 Responses

  1. Deb Blackburn says:

    What a great resource! I am so excited – I have been trying to figure out what we are doing and this is a gold mine of information! My son is in 7th grade and we have just started homeschooling. Thank you!

  2. Nancy T says:

    Such awesome resources!! I especially like the anatomy and in depth cell information

  3. R G says:

    Thanks for such a great resource!

  4. Kari says:

    Thank you very much for providing everything you have for people to use. I’m fairly new to homeschool and I am a bit overwhelmed at how to fit it all in! I’m excited to use your resources and your references.
    Cheers!

    • homeschooldenadmin says:

      Hi Kari,
      I’m glad our materials can be of some help! Every family’s journey is very different and it’s been a joy sharing some of the activities and things that have worked for us. For sure, we won’t cover everything I’d like to, but that’s okay! It’s about planting seeds, finding the excitement in learning, and finding joy in our homeschooling life — as much as it about covering this or that. Anyway, I say all that because I think everyone feels overwhelmed from time to time. We all just jump in feet first and take it from there. 🙂
      Warm wishes for a *terrific* homeschool year!! ~Liesl

  5. Jo says:

    Hi, I have to admit we have had a rough start but I am now looking forward to our homeschooling journey after finding your website. Thank you for allowing us to access your material. When does your eldest start high school? My eldest is 14.
    Regards Jo – New Zealand

    • homeschooldenadmin says:

      Hi Jo,
      I’m sorry to hear homeschooling got off to a challenging start. It can take a while to find your groove. My oldest is now in 8th grade; he’s 13. Our school year just started in August. (I say that because I assume New Zealand’s school year starts in January like Australia, right?) I also have a daughter who is in 6th (age 11 very soon) and another daughter who is in 3rd grade this year. Just to add in… My kids were all born in Central Australia (we lived there for 12 years). 🙂 We had the privilege of visiting New Zealand (both islands)… We enjoyed Rotorua in the north — and found the south island to be breathtaking (Milford Sound, the mountains, etc.) That was all before we had kids. Hopefully we can get back there some day!! 🙂 ~Liesl

  6. Maria says:

    Love to this,how to get more.

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