What We’re Up To: Science Class and Study Skills

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Science is still going very well for us. I am so glad I chose Nancy Larson Science (read our review) at this age. We have tried so many things before switching over, and I am so proud to tell you that for the first time, science has consistently been getting done at our house. What I am really excited about though really has nothing to do with Science at all.

Bug has learned how to study.

DSC_0506No longer afraid of tests!

Study skills are incredibly important to me. When we first started homeschooling, I didn’t worry very much about teaching Bug to take tests, and I felt like learning to study wasn’t too terribly important. When he was young, it really wasn’t, because I could track his progress simply by doing lessons with him. It was easy to see what he understood, and what he needed to work more on.

As time went on, I realized I needed to pay more attention to what was “sticking” and I have become more concerned with teaching for him to remember, rather than teaching just to expose him to topics like I did when he was younger.

Bug is getting ready to start the fourth grade, and it’s time to learn how to take a test, and more importantly, how to study for a test. As an adult, I have to take driving tests, and my husband has to take tests for work and promotions.

Nancy Larson Science has been helping me teach Bug study skills in a systematic way, and I have been applying the same methods in his other topics.

In science, each day we read a small passage, and in the passage, there are bold faced words which are defined. The lesson has me point out these words to him, and then has him highlight the sentence with the definition of the word. The lessons help me guide him to make sure he is understanding what he should be taking note of. We then discuss the important concepts in the reading.

At the end of a group of lessons, Bug does a study guide. In Nancy Larson Science, the study guide is a worksheet he uses to help him re-read his science notebook, where he looks for the answers in the text he highlighted. Then, the takes the study guide he completed, and he studies for his test from it.

When it’s time to study, I send him with his science text, and the study guide, and have him read over the guide a couple times. If there is something that isn’t clear to him, he knows to look it up again in the text, and bring it to me to discuss if he can’t figure it out on his own.

The next day, he gets to read over his notes one last time, and then he takes the test.


We’ve been doing this in other subjects as well, but since they don’t come with Handy-Dandy worksheet study guides, I help him make his own study guide on lined paper from his highlighted text.

Last time he took a test, he told me he didn’t need to take it at all, because he could just tell me all about what we learned. Sure enough, he was able to verbally recall all of the important details from his lessons. I still had him take the test on paper anyways, but I am so proud of him and the progress he has made!


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