Exploring Homeschool Science with Wonder and Hands-On Fun: a video interview with Dr. Kristin Moon

homeschool science

Enjoy homeschool science with wonder, curiosity, and hands-on exploration. Watch an interview with Dr. Kristin Moon: molecular geneticist and homeschool mom!

I recently spoke with my friend Dr. Kristin Moon, a microbiologist, molecular geneticist, and veteran homeschool mom. We discussed how to encourage our child to love science from the early years all the way through high school. Kristin had great tips and ideas to make science exploration accessible for every homeschool family, and she gave some amazing encouragement you won’t want to miss!

Check out the video and show notes below and please share them with your friends!

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Who is Dr. Kristin Moon?

Dr. Kristin Moon

Dr. Kristin Moon has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology and a PhD in Molecular Genetics. After graduate school she worked briefly in research designing a viral delivery system for therapies directing drug delivery for patients losing their sight due to macular degeneration.  It was during her time in the lab that she discovered her affinity for teaching.

Kristin homeschooled her 2 sons through high school graduation and continues to teach science to other students both in person and online in ways that are fun, memorable, and easy to understand. 

Kristin writes and teaches online at KristinMoonScience.com, and her Facebook page is one of my favorites to follow.


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Show Notes {with video time stamps}

Kristin’s personal history with science: it did not always fascinate her! {1:40}

Kristin always loved being in nature, but the textbook approach to science during her school years sucked the life right out of science. During her survey of Biology class in college, however, her interest was sparked… and the rest was history!

Kristin’s experience shows us that we don’t have to accept the pressure that our high schoolers should completely know what they want to learn before they graduate. The general education courses they take may open them to a whole new area of interest.

Kristin did not always plan to homeschool. Listen to her share some of her favorite parts of homeschooling as well as some of the challenges her family experienced. {3:34}

Homeschooling was not originally on Kristin’s radar. She was having so much fun spending time with her kids and exploring with them, however, that when it came time to send her oldest to Kindergarten, she didn’t want to send him! Kristin thought, “Let’s try this out”… and that one year experiment turned into homeschooling all the way through high school graduation!

The most fun part was learning alongside them,” Kristin said. “I learned things I never learned in school.”

One of the best things? All the time they got to spend together. “You can’t put a price tag on that,” Kristin exclaimed.

Of course, it wasn’t always easy. Kristin’s oldest son was diagnosed with dyslexia and her youngest son with ADHD. But the challenges brought them closer together and developed other areas of strength.

Because they were home educating, they were able to teach and learn in ways that worked for their unique needs. “That’s the great thing about homeschooling. We don’t have to teach a certain way,” Kristin reminded us.

Jumping jacks with math facts? Running laps between lessons? Yes, you can!

This was such an encouraging reminder that sometimes the thing that seems like it will be the biggest challenge may actually bring the biggest opportunities.

What are some of the best ways we can lay a good foundation for future scientific studies in the early years of homeschooling? How can we encourage a sense of wonder and delight as we homeschool science? {7:44}

Kids are programmed to be curious. They love to ask WHY! Kristin recently discovered some research that claims the typical 4-year-old asks between 2 and 300 questions each day! (My 4-year-old definitely loves to ask questions, so I believe it!)

Children ask great questions. The trick is to have them keep asking these questions as they get older. Our job is to give them the tools to explore the world around them and to help them learn how to find answers to their questions.

homeschool science

Kristin’s Tip: keep some sort of easily-accessible container filled with simple tools even young children can use to explore their world. They can collect rocks in an old egg carton, or head outside for open-ended exploration with funnels, magnifying glasses, and measuring cups.

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Of course, there’s also a place for textbooks, especially as you get to middle and high school. Kristin encourages us to use them as a guideline and structure, but to remember they’re just a starting off point. Children need to learn how to answer questions for themselves.

(You may also be interested in this “Does it sink or float” experiment our kids have loved!)

As students enter middle school and high school, what should we prioritize in their science studies? {11:29}

Kristin encouraged us to help our students learn to:

  • Answer their own questions
  • Think critically (it’s important that they know how to investigate and evaluate the things they see, read, and hear)
  • Keep up with high school math (this doesn’t mean they have to be Calculus experts, but especially with Chemistry, it’s really important that they understand algebra)
  • Continue hands-on science exploration

Kristin also encouraged us that high school science doesn’t have to be intimidating; we have technology at our disposal, and resources like Home Science Tools mean it’s easy to obtain our own dissection specimens, microscopes, and lab equipment.

Science can be messy, but don’t let that stop you. Kristin suggested having a designated space in your house where it’s ok to make a mess while exploring science. It doesn’t have to take over your whole house, but it’s so important to do that hands-on learning. It’s how we learn best as children all the way thru adulthood.

What often gets overlooked when educating our children about science? {15:04}

Kristin thinks that every student should be exposed to Life Science and Chemistry, even if you currently believe your children won’t be going to college or pursuing a scientific career.

Science is all around us, and it’s important to have a basic understanding of these topics. Don’t let fear of these subjects keep you from studying them. There are great videos on YouTube and Khan Academy, and plenty of resources online to make these high school science subjects more easily accessible.

Kristin asked, “What if they change their mind? Prepare them for anything.” I love this reminder to keep our children’s options open as we consider homeschooling high school!

Encouragement for the homeschool mama who feels overwhelmed by science or who worries she doesn’t know enough about science to teach it to her children {17:10}

This was one of my favorite parts of the interview! Do you need to hear these words of encouragement from Kristin?

“There’s no shame in not knowing these things…You have the opportunity to learn beside your kid.

“Show your kids you don’t stop learning… You should live a life of love of learning.

“That’s part of the wonder of homeschooling and learning beside our kids: you can learn things together.

wonder of homeschooling

Kristin mentioned how even though she took Calculus in college, it wasn’t until she did an experiment with her sons demonstrating the relationship of the diameter and circumference of a circle with yarn that she finally understood the relationships of diameter, circumference, and pi.

The homeschool parent is a guide to their student; they don’t have to be an expert. “Show [your children] they can keep asking questions; they can keep learning,” Kristin encouraged us. “Don’t feel intimidated. You’re going to do great.”

This is a pep talk we’ll want to return to again and again as we homeschool, and not just as we teach science!

Hands-on homeschool science projects we can easily do today! {20:42}

Kristin has some fabulous ideas for us:

  • DNA extraction from strawberries or from your own cheek cells is super simple and fun (What’s So Special About DNA?)
  • Density Towers are an easy way to explore density
  • Microscope exploration

There’s science everywhere! You don’t have to have fancy equipment.

Is anyone else ready to start exploring? I know I am!

Find Dr. Kristin Moon online {26:20}

Thank you, Kristin, for sharing your wisdom with us today!

Follow Dr. Kristin Moon on her Blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Be sure to check out the courses she offers as well: Self-Paced online courses, True North Homeschool Academy, and Chemistry at Funda-Funda

You may also enjoy these other homeschool science posts here at Humility and Doxology:

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