Who is Dr. Keller?
by Rebecca W. Keller, PhD
I am first and foremost a mom. I wrote Real Science-4-Kids for my kids and for my friends’ kids. I started homeschooling my three children somewhere between doing laundry, planning meals, changing diapers and finishing my PhD. I remember the days when I was furiously working on my dissertation and nervous about homeschooling my kids. I wanted a science curriculum that would present real science in a way that was easy for my kids to understand and easy for me to use. I went to our local homeschool conference, and failing to find what I was looking for, I sat down one weekend to teach my oldest daughter a little physics. My little weekend project has grown into what it is today — a small independent publishing company called Gravitas Publications, producing my now award-winning science program Real Science-4-Kids.
I am a science nerd. I guess I’ve always been drawn to books and stories, symbols and puzzles. I also love sports, and in high school I swam and played basketball. I actually got a basketball scholarship my senior year in high school to a small Colorado college, but my basketball coach, knowing my real strengths were in academics, encouraged me to pursue my academic interests. This led me to the decision to attend New Mexico Tech to study science.
I really wanted to be an oceanographer. However, I was born in the middle of the New Mexico desert, and my undergraduate advisors didn’t really know what to do with my interest in oceans because there are no oceans nearby. In fact, on a summer vacation, I made the important discovery that I get horribly seasick. Rather than pursue a degree in oceanography, I decided the study of chemistry would be a better choice. After my formal education was complete, I came to the realization that science, really all science, is a combination of chemistry and physics, and it just made sense to me to teach my kids chemistry and physics first, before the other sciences. This is how I came to write my first book – Level 1 Chemistry – which has led to many, many other books.
What’s Different About Real Science-4-Kids?
Parents, teachers, and educators often mistake volume for learning. In other words, the more material a student is required to read, memorize, and repeat on an exam, the more the student has learned. But this teaching concept is actually contrary to the way real learning occurs.
Real learning is deep enough to stimulate understanding. This can only occur when a student has had enough time to absorb the material being presented. For this reason the RS4K curriculum focuses on providing the essential building blocks for science and does not overwhelm a student with too much information. When one building block has been understood, then the student is ready to begin on the next one.
My goal in creating the Real Science-4-Kids curriculum is to teach kids about science from a very early age so they will have much better science comprehension by the time they are ready for high school and college level classes.
I want kids to learn basic science concepts while also learning how to use the scientific method and open inquiry for discovery. It’s also important for kids to understand how science is a fundamental part of their everyday lives.
My curriculum is designed to help kids make sense of science, find it fun to learn, and make it easy for their parents and other educators to teach the subjects of chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy and geology. I believe all of this has been accomplished with the unique Real Science-4-Kids home school science curriculum.