Teaching Physics at Home
My least favorite science discipline was physics in high school. To me it was a bunch of formulas and dry, boring facts, at least that was my high school experience.
But one of the great things about homeschooling is that we get to explore subjects again. As we teach our children, we get to learn the things we missed and enjoy the subjects we were bored by in high school.
So when it came to teaching physics at home, I knew that I had to provide a different experience for my students.
Now I’m sure that we did some experiments as part of my high school class, but I don’t remember them. They were overshadowed by the difficult formulas and dry principles that were drilled into our heads. I’ll never forget that force equal mass times acceleration.
Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful that our teacher made sure we understood how to use the formulas and apply the principles of physics. I just wish that I had learned how much fun physics can be BEFORE I had to tackle to challenging concepts.
So when we made the decision to educate our children at home, I knew that I would teach subjects like chemistry and physics early and often.
In fact, I believe that teaching subjects like physics and chemistry BEFORE high school is critical to our students’ success with the subjects when they get there. It is the reason I have included a unit of physics in our preschool program and why I have written a physics programs for the elementary and middle school levels.
This month, I wanted to share a brief picture of how you can teach the principles of physics to your students before they reach the high school years. You can use these ideas to help you create or choose a homeschool science curriculum.
Teaching Physics at Home
PHYSICS WITH PRESCHOOLERS
Physics in preschool – is that really possible? Yes, it is!
You won’t be tackling any formulas, but you can introduce basic principles through hands-on demonstrations. You can teach a simple physics unit that covers topics like:
- Static Electricity
You can use simple activities, like rubbing a balloon on your hair and watching what happens, to show these concepts in action. You can also have the students memorize a simple sentence that explains the concept in a language they can relate to.
Physics with a preschooler will be short, sweet, and loads of science fun!
PHYSICS WITH ELEMENTARY STUDENTS
Physics during the elementary years will be very hands-on and slightly project-driven.
You can explore the principles of physics through hands-on demonstrations and projects that display the concepts in action. You can also read more about these principles in age-appropriate encyclopedias or living books.
You can spend three to four weeks cover topics like:
- Simple Machines
You and your student can enjoy running cars down ramps as you explore the principles of motion, gravity, and friction. They will learn a ton as the see the concepts of physics on display in front of them.
Physics with an elementary student will explore the principles in a practical hands-on way.
PHYSICS WITH MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS
Middle school students can dig deeper into the principles of physics they saw during the elementary years and add on a few more. They can also begin to use some of the simple formulas, like force equal mass times acceleration (F = ma).
In your students, you can cover concepts like:
- Waves (Sound and Light)
- Nuclear Physics
The students can learn what types of materials affect the amount of friction an object feels and what forces act on an object as they pull a block down an inclined plane covered with different materials.
Physics with a middle school student will reinforce the principles through inquiry-based methods.
PHYSICS WITH HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
If you have taught physics at home throughout the elementary and middle school years, your students will have a good grasp of the fundamental principles of physics.
Now, they can pick up that textbook and tackle the more abstract principles and use those challenging formulas without getting bogged down by the basics.
If you teach physics from the beginning, your student will be prepared and maybe even a little bit excited to learn about physics when they reach high school!
This article was written by our author, Paige Hudson. You can also find her mixing up solutions for homeschool science at Elemental Blogging. If you want to receive more articles just like this, plus our monthly discounts, sign up for our newsletter in the box below or click here.
Need some help teaching physics at home?
Check out our Physics Pinterest Board for ideas for activities:
Or check out the following Elemental Science programs with easy-to-use plans for teaching physics:
- For Preschool – Intro to Science
- For Elementary Students – Physics for the Grammar Stage or Physics Lapbooks
- For Middle School Students – Physics for the Logic Stage
- For High School Students – Physical Science On-line Course
Don't miss the other posts in this series:
Over the last year, we have been sharing tips and ideas for teaching the various disciplines of science at home. Here's a look at the complete series:
- Teaching Physics at Home
- Teaching Chemistry at Home
- Teaching Earth Science at Home
- Teaching Astronomy at Home
- Teaching Biology at Home
- Paige Hudson