Course Length: Full academic year (30 weeks)
This Year's ScheduleTBD 

Overview of Dreaming Spires Science Courses

All our science courses use a unique approach to scientific study -- instead of boring, dry textbooks, students are drawn into the subject through reading modern, award-winning books like The Hidden Life of Trees for Biology, or Elements of Murder for the forensics unit in Chemistry.

We focus on not just scientific facts, concepts, and principles, but often looking at the ethics of a topic and how the issue applies to our modern world. Think, for example, how our unit on viruses (where we read The Hot Zone about ebola) is entering a student's discourse with the rise of Covid-19.

The ultimate aim of the Dreaming Spires Science courses is to obtain a working and applicable knowledge of the principles of science, to engage students in an active and enjoyable way, and to encourage them to see how science is something real and concrete and seen all around them.

Aims of the Physics Course

Many students are seeking three or four solid science courses but may struggle with getting the right fit, especially for those who think more visually and spatially than those who are good with numbers.

The science tutor at Dreaming Spires, Ms. Jones, understand this, having battled through dyscalculia with several of her children, and so began teaching physics in an accessible way with living books and a lot of support for those who aren't particularly "math-y". 

Students will explore the world of Physics from small to large while reading living books to gain insight and perspective. The living book selection explores both the discoveries in the past and the possibilities coming in the future, books such as Storm in a Teacup by DeGrasse and Physics of the Impossible by Kaku.

How It Works

Students will attend the weekly one-hour, live, online webinar where their comments and contributions are generally made via chatbox, typing while the tutor uses the mic to present information that expands, deepens, or broadens what was read during the week for homework. Occasionally, we will make use of webcams and microphones, but this is only ever optional.

For the rest of the week, students will work in their own time, reading, responding, and applying what they've learned in class as well as submitting homework. While the work is never *hard*, it is challenging to engage one's brain in all the ways we stretch our students as opposed to most textbook approaches that lack the techniques for retention.

Add-On Lab Option

New for this year, we're adding an optional extension for those who want more practical exploration via lab work. This extra half-hour webinar each week will make use live demonstration and/or pre-recorded experiments, and provide PDF instructions for anyone who wants to re-create the study at home as well. An online lab extension like this is perfect for anyone who can't access lab equipment or supplies.

How It Supports Your Child's Education

For US students, the course can be taken as one honors-level high school credit for a transcript.

For UK students, the course is taught in support of the UK IGCSE Physics exam. The add-on lab is specifically designed to work through the syllabus, so it is especially recommended for students looking to take this exam.

Who Teaches Physics?

Kimberly Jones holds a BSN from the University of Texas at Austin and an MEd in Secondary Education from Texas State University. She is currently working on a second master’s degree in Educational Technology with plans to complete her doctorate once her youngest graduates.  Kimberly served in the military as a medic and behavioral health specialist before taking posts in pediatric and post-partum nursing. Since 2001, she has been teaching science in homeschool co-ops while homeschooling her own children -- one of whom attended university, another of whom served in the military, and two more of whom are still at home.
See all courses taught by Kim