May 16.pngI’m leading a discussion on using youtube to help teach science, particularly when you don’t know the subject material. is a great website for secular homeschoolers, they have a section of curriculum reviews and a forum where you can ask questions about anything homeschool.  Click on the image above to see the discussion.

Here’s my post from Monday:

Teaching science is one of the hardest subjects for most homeschoolers for many reasons, one of which is that the parent feels inadequately prepared to teach science because it was so hard and/or boring when they took science in school. This is exactly why I hate teaching English/grammar/Literature and unfortunately my hatred for writing has rubbed off on my oldest. But you are not too old to learn science along with your children, and with the resources available on the internet, particularly youtube, it can be very entertaining. When people ask me if I feel like I’m wasting my degree in physics staying at home with the kids, I say NO! I’m still learning, in my first year of homeschooling alone, I learned more history than I ever learned in school. I’ve also learned Japanese, some basic piano (before my child shot past me on the learning curve), and a whole lot of science which I did not know 10 years ago.

Even though I have a degree in physics, that does not mean I’m equally comfortable teaching biology, earth science or chemistry. So last year when I taught high school biology using a college textbook, I was basically one week ahead of the kids. I had never had biology in college and my high school biology class??? I guess I had one but I have absolutely no memories of it. So I was learning as I went and youtube was my hero. The text we used was really good and I understood most of what I read, but it was nice to go to Youtube and watch Hank Green, the Amoeba sisters or Khan Academy explain the concepts as well, not to mention its more fun to watch Crash Course than to read a textbook. Youtube is also a gold mine when looking for labs, especially labs you can’t or don’t want to do in your kitchen. We actually did quite a bit of dissecting in our biology class and I would watch videos on youtube as a preview so I would know what we were looking at in class. These videos are also great for the kids who just don’t want to dissect as they can watch somebody else do it without all the mess.

The Royal Institution (RI) has some amazing videos, especially their Christmas lectures which I guess are special lectures for the public they do around the holidays that are just jammed pack with amazing demos. I was just going to show the first 30 minutes of RI’s Chemical Curiosities to my chemistry class and they begged to watch the whole show, so we did. The Science of Fireworks! is another fantastic one for getting kids interested in chemistry.

One of my go-to favorites for chemistry is Tyler DeWitt, I really like the way he explains things, I’m thinking I may just use his videos for the lecture portion of my high school chem class this fall. Let the students watch the video lectures at home and do the labs in class. Doc Schuster does great physics lectures and he’s very entertaining as well. Physics Girl doesn’t have a complete class of lectures but its worth watching the ones she has made. Mr. Anderson’s videos at Bozeman science are useful as well and I think his videos have gotten better but sometimes his voice puts me to sleep. Arvin Gupta has series of videos called Toys from Trash and most of those ‘toys’ are actually science demos that you can make with stuff around the house, straws, soda bottles and plastic cups – useful when you’re doing science on a budget.