This year we made a slight deviation from the usual recommendations in The Well-Trained Mind. We’ve followed the science sequence laid out for the last 4 years and I thought it was time for a little change. TJ will begin the upper-level science sequence in 7th grade so I thought that two years of interest-led science would be a nice break from the routine. If you’re intrigued by the idea, here are my interest led science tips.
Interest-led = independence
Lest you think I’m straying too far – we are still following the basic instructions laid out in The Well-Trained Mind. TJ still has some specific guidelines to follow. I’m just giving her the opportunity to select her own topics. I believe that the middle grades are a great time to let students start ‘owning’ their own education and allowing them choices for study will give them that ownership. Some interest led science tips:
Interest-led science guidelines:
During our science week, TJ spends 1 hour each day working on the topic of her choice. These are the only things that I require each week –
- 2 experiments, observations, or demonstrations
- experiment page for each experiment
- research from at least 2 sources
- 1-2 short papers or outlines from science text
While I provide the basic structure, she chooses the topics. If it is broad enough she’ll focus on that topic for the whole term.
I’m requiring more output and thought now as well. Instead of just an observation and simple experiment, she is learning to form a hypothesis and track her results. She’s learning to research and write simple reports from her reading. It requires more thought and effort on her part than previous years.
Clicke the image below to download your free printable:
Resources for interest-led science
If you want to create time for interest-led studies, there are some resources you’ll want to have handy. Here are the things I like to keep on-hand (read more about our favorite science resources):
- science encyclopedias
- experiment books and supplies
- notebooking journals and supplies
We don’t have a large home so our schooling space is limited. I try to keep books and supplies that provide a broad overview or include many topics. Then, when TJ chooses her topics, we order piles of books from the library that provide more detailed information and experiments.
If you’ve thought about including some interest-led studies in your homeschool, give it a try! Provide a basic framework for your child, start building your science library, and let them explore.