Science often intimidates homeschooling parents. There are several reasons for this. First, modern science has become so highly specialized, each branch with its own vocabulary, techniques, paraphernalia, and “ivory tower” mentality, that we think it is beyond the understanding of the average person.
The second major reason science seems difficult is that modern man is out of touch with the natural world. We no longer interact with plants, animals, or the environment in ways that allow us to learn and apply scientific principles. We now have to learn from books what former generations knew about animals and plants because they kept livestock and raised crops, or knew about the weather because they spent a lot of time outdoors. What once was a natural part of life has become very unnatural and sometimes even forced. In fact, modern children spend very little time outside.
The third reason for dreading science is that most science teaching materials are laboratory oriented and information intensive. Things are taken out of their natural setting and studied in parts, laboring over details and bits and pieces. All of the information is “second-hand,” because the student never interacts with the real plant, animal, rock, or weather in its natural setting. Even the physical science experiments tend to stress entertainment or acquisition of information.
An Overview of Science Study
Science is the study of God-created things and systems. There are four major branches of science study:
Life Science is the study of living things. The big concepts in Life Science are (1) the characteristics of being alive (eat, grow, reproduce, respond, basic unit is the cell); (2) taxonomy (the organization of living things into categories based on their similarities and differences); (3) vocabulary or nomenclature (most scientific words are derived from Latin or Greek); and (4) understanding of systems (like photosynthesis, respiration, digestion, the food chain, etc.).
Earth Science is the study of non-living phenomena. The big concepts in Earth Sciences are (1) a general understanding of the major branches: Meteorology (study of weather); Astronomy (study of stars, planets, and outer space); Geology (study of rocks and minerals, the makeup of the earth); (2) understanding of earth-related processes and systems (the water cycle, how rocks are formed, the dynamics of weather systems, etc.
Physical Science is the study of heat, sound, light, electricity, magnetism, gravity, energy, work systems, atoms and molecules, states of matter, and chemical reactions. Physical Sciences would include Physics (heat, light, sound, electricity, magnetism, gravity, energy, work systems), Engineering (application of principles of physics), and Chemistry (study of atoms and molecules, states of matter, chemical reactions).
Social Science is the study of man and his interaction with society. Social Science would include Sociology (man’s interaction with man, cultures, etc.); Anthropology (how man lives and his social systems); and Psychology (the mind and how it effects human behavior).