It’s science fair season! For schools, that is. Students from coast to coast will be spending the next two to three months conducting research, writing reports and designing display boards.
Homeschooled kids enjoy science fairs, too. There is nothing like a little competition to get creative juices flowing and showcase the talents of budding scientists and engineers.
Some districts allow homeschoolers to participate in science fairs along with public schooled kids. If you’d like your child to compete against district kids, find out how to sign up.
But sometimes, parents prefer that their homeschoolers compete only against other homeschoolers. That’s fine, too. See if there is already a science fair going on in your region. If not, get a couple of parents together and start one of your own.
There are plenty of resources for science fairs, both in print and online. You’ll find books full of great science fair ideas, plus guides for how to pull the project off.
Get started by visiting Discovery Education’s “Science Fair Central“. There, you’ll find everything that students, parents, teachers and coordinators need to know about science fairs, including project ideas, display tips, and even judging sheets for scoring.
Keep in mind that homeschooler science fairs don’t have to be limited to science. Yes, you heard that right. By calling it a “Project Fair” instead, you can allow all kinds of projects to be entered, dividing entries into categories for individual scoring.
Though most science fairs do have winners, judging is optional, too. For the very young, you can choose to award certificates to all students just for participating. Or, every child can receive a ribbon or medal. Judging just the older students will take the pressure off of parents of younger kids, while allowing them to get a flavor for what a science fair is all about.
When judging older students, divide projects into age groups or project categories, according to your guidelines. Then, reward all students with praise, but award only the most extraordinary projects ribbons or trophies.
Science fair projects can be woven into the regular at-home curriculum, completed in a student’s spare time, or families may choose to drop everything and work on just the science project for an extended period of time. However you do it, it’s a great experience that many homeschoolers will enjoy.
[Photo: Classroom Clip Art]