Let me get right to the point. After 14 years of homeschooling with two graduates so far, Adventurer awards and Pathfinder honors are still my favorite science. I’ll tell you why.
You will find a wide variety of topics among the awards and honors. Our family preferred that over single subject science programs. Just the Pathfinder nature section alone features more than 90 honors covering zoology, botany, astronomy, etc. The Bridges honor in Pathfinder Arts and Crafts is a study in physics. Don’t forget Adventurer awards like Butterfly or Friend of Animals for the younger children. The nice thing is , the majority of the work is already done for me. These awards and honors are essentially free, organized, ready-to-go unit studies just waiting for me to download and print. Doesn’t get easier than that! If you’re not a science-minded person (I’m not), you will find the convenience of the answers in Adventurer and Pathfinder Wikibooks.
It is not hard to adjust the difficulty of the requirements to fit a child’s individual needs. Customize the requirements by looking for library resources that extend the learning, as well as check for advanced or related honors. Become and expert in a particular area by completing the Master award requirements. Add in videos, trips to museums, community classes, and specialty equipment and you’ll be working on some serious productive interest-led science learning. The key is, you’ll only get out of it what you put into it.
I usually choose several awards that I think my children would benefit from experiencing, and ask my children to choose some that they would like to complete. Some years we have worked on only one or two honors, other years we have completed multiple honors. The interest level has always been high for my kids and as they grew into their high school years, my oldest two advanced from completing the honors themselves to teaching an honor to others at summer camp.
In high school, my children experienced traditional science courses, 4-H science classes, online coursework. They did well in those classes, but their strong interest in science was founded in the awards and honors we completed through their middle school years.
If you are a new homeschooler, or on a tight budget, or need to meet special needs, or want to kindle an interest in science, I wholeheartedly recommend giving Adventurer and Pathfinder honors a try.