This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Get Your Teens Interested in Science, Interview with Kristin Moon. This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.
How to Get Your Teens Interested in Science, Interview with Kristin Moon
Vicki was excited this week to get together with our old friend, Dr. Kristin Moon. Both Vicki and Kristin are natives of the same hometown in Florida (although neither of them live there these days). Therefore, we like to swap old stories. However, on the podcast this week we want to talk about getting teens actually interested in Science.
As you have probably noticed, some teens are born scientists. They love Science from an early age. Many of them go into some kind of science-related field for careers. However, many teens feel intimidated by the subject or simply think they dislike it. That’s why we asked Kristin to help us out.
Kristin’s homeschool story
Kristin and her husband have graduated their two sons from homeschooling. Both are at the University of Kentucky now. One is studying Engineering, the other was has started an Organic Chemistry major.
Kristin earned her PhD in Microbiology from the University of Florida. Her idea was to have a career as a lab scientist. However, when she had her first son, she decided to be a full-time mom. She heard about homeschooling while her sons were just toddlers and decided to give it a try. After that she was sold! They homeschooled all the way through to graduation!
Kristin got interested in Science in part because her dad was an engineer and a favorite uncle was a scientist. However, she discovered a love of Science in her first semester of college she was required to take “A Survey of Biology” course. She discovered the wonders of DNA and how viruses work to hijack cells and turn them into virus factories. Kirstin declared a Biology major at that time!
When she finished her undergrad degree, Kristin went on to get her graduate degrees specializing in lab science and loved every minute of it.
Then, as a mom, her church’s homeschool group would invite her to teach some Science classes. From there, she was asked to teach Science at various co-ops. When her sons were in high school, she wanted her sons to love Science as much as she did. However, she could not find inspiring labs and curriculum for high schoolers. Therefore, she developed her own labs and courses! She is now sharing these labs and courses on her Kristin Moon Science website. (The website has WONDERFUL short courses, tons of lab videos, tutoring, resources and MORE!)
Then she added teaching high school Science courses with two online academies:
How to get your teens interested in Science
So, how to you get your teens interested in Science? Here are some tips:
Do not rely only on textbooks
Textbooks have their place. However, if you only use textbooks, it will be hard for your teens to feel inspired.
Teens need hands-on experiences
You can explore Science in everyday life. Leverage something that they already like and find the Science in that area. For instance:
- If they like, cooking, explore the chemistry of baking
- For those who love sports, what are the physics involved?
- If they like cars, look for the engineering that goes into cars
The internet is a world of information, so perhaps you can google together and log hours on a special interest Science elective credit. This kind of fun Science credit often gets a teen “hooked” on Science!
Watch your words
Parents should be careful to watch their words. So many of us accept that our teens need to know Math or Language Arts. Therefore, we do not bemoan the fact that we must work with our teens through those courses. However, sometimes parents project their intimidation or bad feelings about Science onto their teens. This gives them the unwritten, but easily caught, message that Science is going to be a bad experience. That would be sad if God might have been calling them into the field of Science as a career!
Therefore, try to remain neutral in your words, or even help them find ways to be inspired by their Science classes. In other words: try to present Science with a positive tone.
Help teens remain curious
Children are born curious. Remember when they were young, they were always asking, “WHY?”
When teens ask, “why?” about any lab or textbook information, take the time to model curiosity for them. Sit down with them and google the question. See what you can find. This helps them know that questions are worth exploring and keeps them inspired.
Notice the world around you with your teens
Discuss the lovely or challenging things in the natural world around you. Point them out casually:
- The days are longer in the summertime. When is the sun setting?
- When do the cicadas sing?
- In the springtime, how do flowers know to break forth from underground?
- When do the birds migrate in your area?
- Why kinds of clouds are there in the sky today?
These do not need to be the topic of this year’s Science class. Instead, they bring Science (and God’s handiwork) to life on a day to day basis. (However, if you want, add some of these observations- especially if you spend some time with it- to your teens’ lab hours).
This makes Science relevant and helps our teens find beauty in God’s world. This often even helps teens’ faith grow!
Don’t be afraid that Science will damage your teens’ faith
What both Kristin and Vicki found (Vicki was a Biology major during her youth), was that learning about the wonders of the world around them drew them closer to God, not away from Him.
Some hands-on ways to make Science relevant
- Try to find or create some models or diagrams of the things they are learning, for instance:
- When teens have to attend to detail as they create a model, they tend to understand and feel inspired.
- If you can, gather some basic tools, such as:
- Magnifying glasses from the Dollar Store
- Plastic table cloths
- Use YouTube for lab ideas
- Teach that failed experiments are not a failure
- They can learned a growth mindset and perseverance
Connect with Kristin at
And check out this interview with Kristen: Engaging Teens in Science.
For more in our series on how to get teens interested: Getting Teens Interested in Writing.
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