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:
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. The first guide is completed!
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.)
How to Create Your Own Homeschool Curriculum: Gr. 2-3 is in the works (to be followed by 4-5, 6-8). In the meantime, 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
What science units have we covered? As many of you know, we spent a lot of time on Earth Science — covering topics like the solar system, Earth’s geologic timeline (eons, periods, etc.), plate tectonics, volcanoes, earthquakes, etc. Then we moved on to a Study of Cells (cell organelles and their function, plant vs. animal cells, Eukaryotic vs. Prokaryotic cells, etc.), and then from there we moved into cells of the human body, tissue, organs & body systems. We returned studied the skeletal system again. Suddenly, the school year was at an end, so we’ll have to cover the other human body systems (that were next on our plate) when we’re back into the swing of things in August or so.
What did we study for science (2015/2016)?
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:
Then we did a Biology Unit on the Biosphere: biomes, habitats, feeding relationships, biological interactions etc. We covered a lot!
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.
States of Matter: We are doing 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’ve been doing 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 have gone 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 last week (ie. Sept 10) that the kids adored!)
Properties of Matter: Next will be another chemistry unit on the properties of matter. We’ll talk about elements, compounds and mixtures. We’ll spend some time reviewing the organization of the periodic table. And we’ll spend quite a bit of time on physical and chemical properties. We’ll be doing a lot of hands-on activities about density in this unit.
Electricity and Circuits: Then we’ll be diving into a very hands-on unit to learn about electricity and circuits. I have a dozen hands-on activities planned for this unit… Plus I’ll have the kids learn some basic symbols so they can sketch out (very basic) schematics. Available Nov. 15, 2016
From there, we’ll probably go back to studying the Human Body Systems. We still need to cover the muscular and circulatory systems. There are several units/topics that we *should* go back and cover again. And, we really need to dive back into physics again at some point. I haven’t quite decided.
You might be interested in what we covered for science in 2015: This post has tons of links to our various science activities.
You might also enjoy our new Science Unit Tab — with links to ALL of our Science Units!!
We’ve made a number of science packets that are available here at our blog. These links will give you more information:
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!)
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.
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!!
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.