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:
Scroll on down to see what we’re studying this year (2016-2017) 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. 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 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).
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 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:
Properties 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.
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!
We 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
Then we talked about the Human Body Systems again (in general).
Now 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
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!!)
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.