Struggling With Science

We can NOT find our groove with science. This is our first year homeschooling with a 5th, 3rd and kindergartener. I feel like everything has clicked but this. I chose Noeo science but as the year has moved on we just can’t find our groove. We do science 2 times a week and it includes reading a little out of the book and then watching YouTube videos that are linked with the book. We all love that but the Notebooking is so boring. My kids don’t know what to write, it gets dragged out, everyone is unhappy… I did a short little unit on chemistry after Christmas with the cool kit my parents got the kids. They loved all the little experiments but at the end the remembered nothing of the “why’s”! So I had them write out a bunch of definitions which I’m pretty sure accomplished nothing. We are loving homeschooling and this is our only struggle now!

I should add the weird thing is I LOVE science. It was always my favorite subject but I can’t find that magic blend of making it fun but also making sure they are retaining something :frowning:

We love science :slight_smile: I have loads of ideas for you, but it’s all dependent on what topics you are focusing on. We, like you usually begin with a book or two and a video. The final piece(s) that I ALWAYS add on are an experiment or project that relates to the topic. I am a planner, so for me, each unit is a month long, 2 days/week, each lesson always building upon the previous ones. This is daunting to many people, so… easiest… choose your topic then type it into Pinterest. You’ll get loads of hands on idea for everything you can imagine. Science should be hands on. I try to ask guiding questions as we go, but really, we are experimenting, crafting and having fun.
My daughter is in 2nd grade this year. I wanted her to do a little bit of writing for science, but not too much. Once each week (after we have finished our 2 lessons (meaning 2 projects/experiments) I have her draw a picture of something she enjoyed doing in science or something she learned - then I have her write 2-4 sentences about it on an index card. I hope this helps :slightly_smiling:


It does help. We are doing Biology right now so lots of animals which is good because it interests my kids, especially my littlest one but REALLY hard so far to do experiments. I am cool with planning (in SO type A!) but it just feels so disjointed right now :weary:

Animal studies can be all sorts of things - not just experiments (zoo trips are fun!) Maybe if you think more along the lines of “projects” instead of experiments? They can learn and read about a particular animal, then make a clay model of it? Compare types of fur? Take a nature hike to chart/graph what kinds of animals you can find in your local woods? Use scraps of wood to make a model of an animal? Sketch a life size replica of an animal on a giant piece of wrapping paper then label the body parts and draw in a background… etc etc. Just looking at things under a microscope or giant magnifying glass can be fun. We compared how much different animals drink… elephant vs deer vs squirrel, etc - we researched the amounts then filled buckets/cups to see what it would really look like. Then we watered the garden (so as not to waste it) :slightly_smiling:
Are you doing “animals” in general? animals by habitat? Animals is soooo broad, that perhaps narrowing it down will help you come up with experiments or projects? Our local zoo even did an experiment day comparing animal poop. I love the topic of animals, because most children love it, and it’s so versatile.
As to being type A - THAT’S ME ALL THE WAY! I love seeing other people out there like me :slight_smile:


Yes it’s all animals and SO RANDOM. There is no rhyme or reason. We loop back around to some animals and don’t full talk about some things. We are luckily I think about to wrap up animals and move on to the human body and plants. Maybe that will get easier.

Science in the Beginning has two things going for it. 1/ Every lesson starts with a science experiment. They never take too long (5-10 min tops) and none of them are too complicated. 2/ The lesson can be geared to younger children and older children, so there is built in flexibility.

And may I recommend Pinterest? I LOVE Pinterest!

There are plenty of documentaries on Netflix and YouTube.

Check out library books - Magic School Bus (DVDs and books), for example.

I have 4th, 3rd, and 1st graders and we all do science together. I would highly recommend the God’s Design for Science series (if you are looking for something from a Biblical perspective). Each book in the series has a different focus. I look ahead a few weeks to see what we will be studying, then I plan out supplements (videos, coloring pages, books from the library, etc.).

What I love most about this curriculum is that it is designed for teaching multiple grades. There are three different levels for each chapter. So I teach the beginner level to all of them; then while my 1st grader is coloring a picture about the subject, I can go into a little more detail with the older 2. And as they get older, you can spiral back and go into further detail out of the same book. It’s been great for us so far!

Each book is relatively cheap. I got our book this year used on Amazon.

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Ok let me ask you guys this… I guess part of my issue is retention. I am concerned more with my 5th grader and a tiny bit for my 3rd grader about retaining some of this. I can find things to fill our science time but I don’t know how to implement the retention. Like I said we went through the chemistry stuff and at the end I felt like the still didn’t understand or couldn’t tell my WHY some of that happened. Is it to early to worry about that? I just don’t know but my oldest will be in middle school next year which is scary new terrain! :slight_smile:

Hi not sure if this is helpful or not but we are using a series called The Sassafras Science Adventures. It is a living science program , that incorporates copywork, dictation, lapbooking, notebooking . activities etc… Our family just loves it. It says it is for K and up. I am using it for my special needs High Schooler and plan to use it for my younger son. It is a newer Science Program it has 4 volumes out but there will be 8 in total. We did Zoology last year and this year we are doing Anatomy. I thought it might be worth a look at. As price goes I think it is very reasonable. Sorry about my spelling but hope this is helpful to you!!


@marie1970 I’m going to look at that curriculum, based on your recommendation. :slight_smile: I have a daughter with special needs (including learning challenges). What other curricula have you used for your high schooler? And, if it isn’t too personal, can you tell me more about any learning challenges he/she has?

Hi Kathi! My son is 16 years old and has several challenges that makes learning a challenge to say the least! He has Bipolar disorder, ADHD, Anxiety, ODD and is on the Austism spectrumn. It is hard to put together a program for him as boxed programs are not on his grade level due to his delays but in addition to his Science we use Story of the world for History, Wordly Wise for Vocabulary, Spelling you see for Spelling, writing is a challenge so we just use a Draw then write type program, he does alot of silent reading and we also do Read Alouds. The Science and History are very similar as they are a living book type program. My son likes a story rather than read and take a quiz even though there is a chap. test in History. We also use some lapbooks and use Handwriting without tears for handwriting. My son is more on about a 4th-5th grade level right now and I am checking into Bridgeway Math for next year. It is a remedial math program for 5th-8th graders they also have English I think. Math has been our biggest struggle. we have been using Math you see but it just doesn’t seem to be the right fit.I hope this helps. Good luck if you do decide to try some of these…

Hi there! My daughter is 13 and has 22q11 deletion syndrome, which (among other things) causes learning disabilities. Wordly Wise was rough for her, because comprehension is an issue and each word had more than 1 definition. So we had to stop midway through the third grade level and go back to what we were already learning.

We do a lot of hands on learning, which is how she learns best. I’ve heard good things about Spelling You See, but there is too much handwriting and, with her low muscle tone, she gets tired too easily. Math U See Delta (division) has been good, until we hit long division with double digits. We just hit a wall, so we are really focusing on functional math (add/subtract/divide/multiply, calculator use, time and money).

We are starting the four year history cycle next year. We will be using History Odyssey (as the spine) which also recommends Story of the World as a reading book. It’s just tough to know what will/won’t work for her.

Anyhow, thanks for replying. Good luck to us both! :slight_smile:

@marie1970 I also just looked into the science and it looks interesting from the samples. It seems Story of the World-ish:) Is that a correct assumption? Can you kindly list pros/cons to this curriculum? I also HS special needs, and so far the different science books we have tried my son hates:(

This is on the same style as Story of the World. They also offer living book list, activities, etc… they also offer a lapbooking part that you can purchase.And coloring pages. I like that this can be read aloud, and has lots of hands on activities. Which my son likes to pick some of his own activities. But on about a 5th grade reading level which makes it easy for my son to read by himself as well. I don’t really have any Cons for this program, if I had to pick one I guess it would be that I didn’t find it sooner. I hope this helps!

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I was going to recommend Sassafras, too. I’ve been trying to find a science curriculum that works for us for five years! Finally tried Sassafras and it is a good match for us.

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Hi @julie! I am interested in God’s Design for Science as our science curriculum for next year. May I ask you some questions? Do you use the teacher manual and the worksheets/quizzes/tests included in the curriculum? Do you consider the worksheets and quizzes/tests suitable for the different grades/levels? Or are they just for the older students? My kids will be 2nd, 5th, and 6th grades next year. I love the idea of teaching them together but I am afraid the curriculum/activities be so difficult for my littlest one.

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I saw a lot of recommendations for Sassafras. Also check out Quark Chronicles. Most like it better than Sassafras. Also, we found that Elemental science was easy to get done, and included great projects to really “cement” what we were learning. I always recommend Elemental Science!


Hi @Elizabeth! I don’t use the teacher’s manual. I bought one when we first started the series, and it sat on the shelf all year. It does list some discussion points, but it’s basically just repeated from the lesson.

The workbook comes with a disc that has all the worksheets/quizzes/tests for all the subjects in that series. When we are doing a lesson that has a worksheet or quiz, I look over the sheet first to see if my first grader can do it. If it’s too advanced for him (and it usually is), I just do a quick online search for another worksheet on the topic ( is a good resource). For example, we are doing the “Our Universe” book this semester. For the lesson on constellations, my older two were doing the worksheet while the younger colored a simple page about stars.

Usually, I read the beginner section for the lesson to all of them. The older two start asking questions and we end up going more in depth while my first grader colors. The older two usually take some simple notes in their notebooks (kind of like notebooking, I guess?). Their natural curiosity tells me how in depth to go. Does that make sense?

I also supplement the lesson when the topic calls for it. For example, for the lessons on the movements of the earth, I found some great videos on youtube (much easier to understand than just reading about rotation/revolution!). We do the supplements together.

I’m happy to answer any questions you have! I really love this series.


Thanks so much for your reply, @julie! It is very helpful! Exactly the information I needed :slightly_smiling:!