The Big List of Awesome Living Books for Homeschooling Science

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Approaching STEM Activities for Teens in an out of the box way, often requires something other than a traditional text book. Our current (and last) high school senior has always learned science through biographies of famous scientists. The next best thing for him is reading books written about a science topic that are authentic and genuine quests for information to satisfy the author’s curiosity. The Big List of Awesome Living Books for Homeschooling Science is a large, curated list of titles that you might use for homeschooling high school science.

tall stack of books on a wood floor in front of a book case blurred in the background with the words The Big List of Awesome Living Books for Homeschooling Science

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Books found on the shelves in bookstores are often called trade books. You can buy them on your next trip to your favorite bookstore or find them on Amazon or your favorite online shop. I realized as I starting put this list together that really what we’re talking about here is “living books”. Charlotte Mason homeschoolers adore their living books, but in this context we are reading books about all sorts of science topics, written by one author who wanted to answer a question or many questions about their topic of choice.

Why Choose Living Books for High School Science?

It may seem counterintuitive to choose individual paperbacks and Kindle books to teach high school science. After all, isn’t it time your student gets acquainted with text books?

To be sure, there is value in working with textbooks to understand how they are written and organized for you to learn. However, it is extremely rare for a textbook to inspiring your student to keep asking questions and learning more about a topic.

The books on this list, and many others not yet on this list, will not only teach at a high school science level, but they will help your teen to enjoy the subject. Does it get better than that?

Living Books for High School Biology & Nature Study

notebook pages showing drawings of onion cells at two different magnifications

Biology is close to my heart and nothing brings me academic pleasure as much as seeing middle and high schoolers enjoying biology, the science of life.

Keep reading to see how we put these books into action. For example, I have a post dedicated to using a Fern Finder book.

Living Books for High School Chemistry

teen boy watching a sepatory funnel while looking at a blue liquid inside

This list is probably the most fun list of them all, to me. If your teen is dreading chemistry, I recommend trying a few of these books. The best thing that can happen is for your teen to see chemistry in action in their lives.

Living Books for High School Math

a kindle with a red covered book with the title Change Is the Only Constant: The Wisdom of Calculus in a Madcap World. There is a teen blurred in the background at a computer

Personally, I adore a good living math book because it helps to make sense of the things I learned in high school and college. When it comes to math, that is the key to success!

Living Books for High School Engineering & Technology

student over an arduino unit at a table

This part of the big list includes books that explain an engineering phenomenon or are books with technology activities.

Microscopic marvels

Explorations in Microscopy

In this course, you’ll get self-paced, hands on instruction using your home microscope. We’ll start with the earliest microscopes and progress to what researchers use in modern day microscopes. Join us!

stack of science biographies on a table with the title How to Teach Science through the Lives of Scientists

These links go to posts where we use the books that I’ve listed here. Take a look at how you can use living books in your homeschooling high school science courses.

How to Teach Science through the Lives of Scientists– this has been a go to for many year for our youngest, who is now a senior.

How to Teach History and Science with Beautiful Feet– History of Science is an absolute favorite at our house.

Art & Nature Study with Beatrix Potter– one of my most popular studies!

How to Approach Middle and Early High School Science with Literature– this program has a fabulous book list and great lab materials.

What Gregor Mendel & Growing Peas Can Teach Us about Heredity– this whole study is based on a picture book about Mendel and comes with a set of notebooking pages if you sign up to download them.

The Salamander Room: Reptiles & Amphibians– this is a great study that we did in our FIAR days, but we revisited it again for a look at animal habitat AND we invited the author to our home during one of the many days we held a Writer’s Workshop with teens and tweens. Hint: If you click on the Workshop link, you’ll be able to sign up for a free 6 week writer’s workshop that you can host for your friends and family.

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