Teaching hands-on homeschool science without curriculum isn’t difficult. Just take a look at the world around you and dig in. Pick one specimen or topic you have access to and get to work.
During different times of the year, we see lots of different insects and critters come out of the woodwork on the farm. And, to us, one of the more particularly interesting creatures is the spider.
A couple of years ago, we awoke to a huge garden spider web complete with spider in our kitchen window. It was huge! My husband wanted to tear it down, but I told him it was our new ongoing science lesson.
She was missing a leg but looked to be busily accomplishing her mission anyway, so we watched her work.
My kids and I rescued a little baby bird from the extremely sticky web on one occasion. I hated to disappoint our new spider friend, but I’m not sure she would’ve eaten the poor thing and I hated to see it suffering.
I was a nervous wreck during that rescue mission. We had to use a broom to try and retrieve the little baby without completely destroying the web, killing the baby, or killing the spider. Talk about sweating bullets…
We got two different science lessons that day — one on spiders’ webs, one on birds’ wings, how they move, and how delicate they are. We were successful in our attempt to free the little thing and I think it was thankful, I think. It perched on a nearby wire, looked back at us, and chirped before flying off. So, it was either thankful or telling us off, I’m not sure which.
Over several months, the spider and her web gave us a close-up view of how she truly lived. Then, one day, after creating a ginormous egg sac and depositing her eggs on two separate occasions, she just disappeared.
I have to admit, I was disappointed that she’d gone. We enjoyed watching her intricate movements to repair her web, catching her prey, and even devouring them. (Yeah, I know, that last part’s a little weird, but in my own defense, the kids enjoyed that as much as I did.)
She sparked many conversations about the circle of life, how people, insects, and animals can live without a limb, the purpose of some insects, and, in the end, death.
We watched her egg sac for a while, but never saw any confirmable activity. I’m sure her little spider babies went on to have happy lives, though. I do wish one of them had chosen to come back and make a new web in my kitchen window, on the outside of course.
This wasn’t my first time teaching my children about an interesting topic without a curriculum, but it was one of my family’s most memorable.
We’ve used the world around us for many science lessons since then. Here’s how we do it…
Choose a Homeschool Science Topic
It’s always a good idea to choose something you’re going to be able to access. Hands-on access is best, but don’t be discouraged if that’s not possible. As long as your child is interested, they won’t mind not being able to have hand-on access.
Some topics are best studied during certain seasons. This short list will help you get started.
Frogs — best if you live near a pond or can visit one to see tadpole development
Flowers or vegetables — grow a garden, a small container garden or one on land
Animal reproduction — been watching the rabbits in your yard at night, before long they’ll bring their young, gestation is approximately 30 days for them
Ocean — study the tides and sea life
Moon — you could study this one after the ocean since the moon governs the tides
Heat — if it gets really hot where you are, take outside temps and fry an egg outside
Leaves — make a leaf collection and do some tree identification
Apples — go apple picking and make an apple pie
Pumpkins — get up close and personal with a pumpkin and roast some pumpkins seeds
Spiders — study their body composition, the types around your home, the different webs they make, and what they eat (This is a beautifully written book about spiders with lifelike illustrations.)
Snow — examine snowflakes with a magnifying glass
Cold — study freezing temperatures, blow bubbles outside during really cold temps
Hibernation — which mammals hibernate and which ones don’t, what do fish and frogs do during the winter
Rocks — study the different types of rocks
Microscopic organisms — look at all types of things under a microscope, like pond water, saliva, blood, dust, tiny insects, etc.
Kitchen Science – demonstrate chemical reactions created by making bread with yeast or mix baking soda and vinegar
Homeschool Science Resources About Your Topic
In order to teach homeschool science without a curriculum, you’ll need to gather resources about your topic.
You can check out books from your local library or purchase them from Amazon.
Do an Internet search for your topic. Look for good-quality videos that will keep your children interested. If you find these on YouTube, it’s a good idea to save them to a playlist.
Make a list of reputable websites you find. If they have awesome printables, download and print any you want to use while doing your study.
Homeschool Science Experiments Hold Kids’ Interest
While you’re doing the Internet search and making a list of websites, take notice of any experiments about your homeschool science topic. Make a list of items you need for any experiments you’re planning and order any science tools you may need well before time to study your topic.
You’ll especially want to do some experimenting if your child is a hands-on learner.
How to Homeschool Science Without Curriculum
There are many ways you can homeschool science without curriculum. A few fun and easy ways are journaling, with either you or your children doing the writing, notebooking, lapboooks, or unit studies.
Homeschool Science Journaling
Composition notebooks are cheap and effective at keeping notes in one place. Your younger children can use these notebooks to draw pictures, while older ones can write about what they’ve seen and the best parts of what they learned from your topic study.
Notebooking Your Homeschool Science
Notebooking is similar to journaling, but notebooking pages are usually prettier and may have blank areas for drawings and areas for writing, they may also have a theme. These are some of the notebooking pages we’ve used and still enjoy using on occasion. Here’s some free ones for you to try. You could use them as a regular part of your homeschool if you find you and your children like this method.
You could also explore notebooking online. We haven’t tried this before, but it does look interesting.
Lapbooking Your Homeschool Science Topic
A lapbook is a great way to study homeschool science without curriculum. Lapbooks add a crafting aspect to your studies.
Lapbooking is using a regular file folder to hold small pieces of different shaped paper containing little bits of information about your topic.
Each piece of paper is folded and glued or stapled into the file folder.
Lapbooking adds a crafty aspect to your science lessons and your lapbook can be completed over the course of several sessions or days.
Homeschool Science Without Curriculum Using Unit Studies
Unit studies are a great way to homeschool science without curriculum.
A unit study is based on a specific theme and incorporates several subjects. So, for example, you could study dogs as a science topic, but also study math, grammar, and history all at one time.
Studying homeschool science without a curriculum can be fun for you and your children. Explore different methods and decide which works best for your family. You may even decide on a way to study homeschool science without curriculum that’s all your own.