Saturday, January 21, 2017


I like sometimes to take the long view on education and think about how much it has changed.

A generation ago, it was a weird and radical idea. Resources were hard to come by and most publishers had a policy against selling teaching materials to parents. The legal status of homeschoolers was often unclear and there was a huge us vs them mentality.  Homeschoolers tend to socialize with other homeschoolers and to shop and dine in establishments owned by homeschoolers.

Today, in 2017, homeschooling is mainstream. In any group of parents, there are either homeschoolers or at least, everyone has a first hand friendship with a family that homeschools. It's trendy. Resources and groups for homeschooling are everywhere and many families homeschool for a few years and then switch back to relying on schools.

Online homeschooling resources are plentiful and many vendors have whole sections about how to homeschool.  There are specialized online writing courses for homeschoolers. There are community and information sites on homeschooling high school.

Are there real science homeschool programs for elementary students? You bet there are! And I quote:  Science should be experienced, not just read about from books, but science also doesn’t have to ruin your carpet! These important experiences can be had virtually, in a way that engages today’s learners and doesn’t turn into a chore for Mom and Dad.
Science4Us delivers a complete, interactive multimedia curriculum that allows early elementary students to investigate, explore, experiment and most importantly learn to love science. 
 Science4Us teaches using an educational model for science that teachers and parents should learn: the 5E Instructional Model by Rodger W. Bybee.

Again, I quote:

The 5E Inquiry-Based Instructional Model

The 5E model  optimal elementary science learning lesson. Each new “E” builds upon the last as students are able to successfully navigate through and learn important science skills at the kindergarten, 1st grade and 2nd grade levels. ... Language arts, math, technology and arts lessons are built into the Elaborate section of the 5E Model.

The first part of the 5E model, Engage, introduces the new science concept by determining the student’s’ prior knowledge while revealing student misconceptions.

Following the Engage is the Explore. When kindergarten, 1st grade and 2nd grade students Explore, they are provided with an opportunity to “play” as they identify and develop their current understanding of the foundation science concepts. This is where simulations happen...

During the Explain phase, elementary students are provided a clear, concise description of the new concept which will include formal labels and essential vocabulary through a fun and captivating video clip. ...
The Elaborate phase of the 5E Instructional Model is meant to provide in-depth learning experiences....

The final phase of the 5E model is the Evaluate. This was designed to assess overall student understanding of the foundational science concepts and the progress made towards learning the science objectives. ...

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