I remember being a little intimidated at the thought of homeschooling science as my oldest son reached his teen years. I mean, that’s the time you have to get “serious” right? In high school it seems the stakes are so high—labs, credits, and vocabulary, oh my! But Apologia makes it easy to navigate the transition, and keeps it interesting. Homeschool science for middle school isn’t difficult when you have the right resources.

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With a little bit of knowledge we can go from intimidated to confident. As homeschooling moms we don’t have to know everything. There are so many great resources available that allow us to start turning more of the responsibility of our children’s education over to them. And you’ll see that is a HUGE benefit for our young learners!

But first, it’s important to know a few things about middle schoolers.

What You Need to Know About Middle School Students

  • Middle school students are increasing in their ability to do independent work. It’s an exciting time for both you and them! They still need some guidance and accountability, but they are ready for more responsibility too. We want our kids to be life-long learners. That’s why teaching them how to learn and not just what to learn is so important.
  • Middle school students still need hands-on activities. Just because they are getting older, it doesn’t mean they don’t benefit from doing hands-on activities anymore. Involving as many senses as possible is simply a great way to learn no matter what age you are.
  • Middle school students are still really curious. We often think of the elementary years as a time of discovery, and that is true. But it doesn’t have to stop when the teen years. With the right resources, our kids can keep their curiosity alive as they explore God’s beautiful creation.

What You Need to Know About Homeschool Science for Middle School

Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition is a great resource for transitioning your students from their elementary years to their high school ones. Why? Because it addresses each of those things: increasing their ability to do independent work, providing them with engaging hands-on activities, and nurturing their curiosity. 

1. Homeschool science for middle school can transition them into independent learning.

I have a friend who coaches swimming. We were talking the other day about learning things “the hard way” and it made me think about how she teaches kids to swim. Yes, there are those who will just throw the child in. But most teach them, step-by-step, before they have the kids jump in for themselves. I’m kind of partial to the second method.

And that’s why I love some of the things that have been added to Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition. Apologia shares on their website:

We want your students to make a smooth and successful transition, so we’ve added to our general science course instruction for: 

  • Note taking skills 
  • Proper experimental processes and reporting results 
  • Abilities needed for appropriately analyzing and creating graphic materials 
  • How to logically think through and beyond the textbook materials 
  • Seeing evidence of God’s creation as they learn scientific principles

YES! We did Apologia’s General Science ten years ago 😲 It was great then, but I’m so excited about this. These are skills that go beyond learning about this specific subject—they are necessary in order to know how to learn.

Another great resource to help your students make the transition is the Student Notebook (another resources I really wish we would have had!!!). In addition to a being a great way to interact with the text, the Student Notebook provides students with information on what they need to do and when. There’s a flexible, four day plan for each of the modules that will help your student stay on track as well as  daily to-do lists. The Student Notebook is truly one of the best learning resources I’ve seen!

The General Science Student Notebook Includes:

  • Daily Lesson Plan
  • Breakdown of the assignments, detailing exactly what needs to be done each day
  • Pages where the student takes notes. These pages include prompts to help teach the student how to pull out pertient information from the text.
  • Space to answer the On Your Own questions that are listed in each module.
  • Space to record their results from the many hands-on activities.
  • Solutions and Test Manual only for Exploring Creation with General Science, which contains answers to Study Guide questions, module summaries, tests, and test solutions.  One test packet is included with this manual.
  • Creation Connection pages where students record their intellectual, emotional, and spiritual reactions to what they are learning.
  • Space to record answer to the On Your Own questions. These questions serve as review and prep for the tests.

2. Homeschool science for middle school provides great hands-on learning activities.

The experiments throughout Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition will deepen their understanding of science concepts as they “do” instead of just “read” about them. Both reading and doing have a lot of value in learning, but when you put them together students are more likely to understand and not just recall the facts. They are more likely to remember the why and not just the what. 

(I also love that that the experiments use household items instead some obscure ones I have to search for online!)

And an added bonus: if you have younger kids, they’ll enjoy watching the experiments and will learn a lot too. That’s one of the beauties of hands-on learning—it appeals to a variety of ages and skill levels. And the experiments are simply FUN.

3. Homeschool science for middle school gives students the chance to explore a variety of topics.

General Science is just what the name says it is: general. Another word for general is widespread. This is the year that students will go wide instead of deep, but this is the perfect time for that approach. Your kids are still curious, and as they take the year to explore a variety of topics, they’ll discover the ones that interest them the most. Then they can choose where to do a deep dive and jump into the water (without you having to throw them in).

The 14 modules include:

  • The History of Science
  • Scientific Inquiry and the Scientific Method
  • Documenting and Interpreting experimental Results
  • Scientific Analysis and History
  • Earth Science – Astronomy
  • Earth Science – Geology and Paleontology
  • Earth Science – Meteorology and Oceanography
  • General Chemistry
  • General Physics
  • Life Science
  • General Biology
  • The Oceans of the Earth
  • Environmental Science
  • Science and Creation

And there’s more to love…

  • Eye-catching, colorful illustrations and photographs
  • “On Your Own” questions to get your kids thinking
  • “Explore More” activities that are quick and easy to do, but really valuable
  • “Think About This” inserts to help students connect the study of science with the Creator of it all!
  • Study guides to prepare students for tests
  • AND DID I TELL YOU HOW AWESOME THE STUDENT NOTEBOOK IS 😍 It’s truly my favorite part, and the one that makes me want to bring my college boy home so he can do this again. (My other one is in graduate school here so maybe there’s a chance…)

Learn More!

I want to encourage you to learn more about this great resource for teaching middle school science from a Christian worldview at apologia.com. It includes samples, videos, testimonials, and so much more. (It’s seriously one of the most comprehensive product pages I’ve seen. You’ll feel like you are at a convention thumbing through the book while talking to one of their representatives!)

And check out the new edition launch page! You’ll want to watch the video of Author Sherri Seligson on General Science’s Big Ideas!

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