Posted in Homeschooling

DIY Science Kit

There are so many cool experiment kits in the market that it’s easy to get carried away buying them all. They are great for the parent that doesn’t mind spending a bit more to get everything they’ll need in a neat little package. Alternatively, you can invest in a homeschool science lab kit for a lot of money but I don’t have that type of budget. For a while I would grab kits on clearance at Barnes and Noble or during Amazon lightning deals but the quality of many is plain horrible and you are limited on the experiments that can be done with them.

I had been drooling over the Magic School Bus Science kits for over 2 years but kept telling myself that I would just be paying a premium for licensing and pretty graphics so I decided to make my own kit.

Most of our experiment ideas come from blogs, YouTube, Pinterest, etc so I paid attention to the most common items in them and made a list. A lot of these items can be found at the dollar store.

Still due to the length of the list the cost does add up so I created our kit over a period of time, I started it back in 2015 and got some generous contributions from a friend and I still occasionally find something new to add.

I am 99% complete, still trying to find a cheap microscope that isn’t total junk but we have enough to do most experiments that we come across.  I have a couple of items not on the list but the items below will suffice for many elementary level science experiments.

My list:

  • 1-2 Clear Plastic Containers with Lid (quantity depends on size)
  • 4 Good Plastic Disposable cups
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Assorted Batteries 9 Volt, C, and D are the most used
  • Balloons
  • Beans
  • Bouncy Balls
  • Candles
  • Coffee filters
  • Corks
  • Cotton Balls
  • Disposable Plastic Gloves
  • Distilled Water
  • Food Coloring
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Insulated Wire
  • Large Handkerchief
  • Lemon Juice
  • Magnet
  • Magnifying Glass
  • Marbles
  • Measuring Tape
  • Modeling Clay
  • Paper Towels
  • Pennies
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Protractor
  • Purple Glue Stick
  • Push tacks
  • Rubber bands
  • Sand
  • Soil
  • Stirring stick
  • Stop Watch
  • Straws
  • String
  • Tape
  • Test tubes
  • Thermometer- immersion
  • Thermometer- outdoor
  • White Vinegar
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Yard or metric stick
  • scale
  • safety goggles
  • basic microscope
  • basic telescope
  • droppers or pipettes
  • food coloring

What else is in your kit?

Posted in Homeschooling

Curriculum shopping when broke…

…It CAN be done!

This is the 3rd year in a row that I’ve done it.

I am thrilled to report that I am DONE shopping for next year’s curriculum. I know that I say that I am done every year and then buy more later but at least I am done with my core shopping list and anything else is just gravy.

I always like to get this shopping done early in the year because everybody else’s birthday in my house is in July so things get expensive for me starting with Father’s Day and I wouldn’t be able to do any homeschool shopping then.

I still managed to save a good chunk of money but not as much as last year mostly because of some supplemental purchases and 2 of the books were harder to find used so their used price was higher than I usually pay but it was all worth it.

The final stats curriculum for 2 kids =
$137 spent with a savings of 63% over retail.

If we don’t count my supplemental purchase of 2 Reading Eggs (discounted of course) and some workbooks I impulse-bought at Aldi the total would have been $103 and the savings 73%.

To make it easy on the wallet the expenses were spread out between the months of January and May and the most I paid at once was $27.

It may be more time consuming that just going to an online catalog and clicking “Buy Now” but the savings when every penny counts are more than worth it.

Now all I have left 2 buy is 2 notebooks that I’ll pick up at Walmart when they are on sale for $0.18 during their Back to School Sale. I am swimming in pencils, crayons, glue and construction paper so we are good with the rest.

Coming soon, what I bought to use for next year.

Posted in Homeschooling

Free Printable Homeschool Tracking Forms

There was enough interest on the homeschool planning forms that I had created that I am making them available to you in hopes that you find them useful.


Please note that my forms are plain because I value function over aesthetics. If you want pretty fonts, clip art and colorful pages you will find better options on Google.

The forms are:

  • Weekly Log- can be used for planning or after the fact tracking
  • Attendance Record
  • Resource List
  • Field Trip Log
  • Reading Log
  • NEW! Unschooling Log

I decided against creating a grade log because it turns out that I already had the right solution in the form of an Excel spreadsheet that I had downloaded years ago and forgotten that I had so I wasn’t going to reinvent that wheel.

All forms are available for free download for all e-mail subscribers. You can download them individually or get all forms in one file (plus cover and 2017-2018 calendar).

I am doing things a little differently from other homeschool bloggers that give free printables. While all of my forms are available for free download as-is, what is different is that if you want to have a simple modification made to the form (such as add, delete or rename a subject, change the font, change the title of the form, have your child’s name and grade added, etc), I’ll be happy to do it for you for a very nominal charge of just $0.99 per change.

I make this offer because I would have preferred to pay somebody else that has a free printable a couple of dollars to remove “Bible” from the subject list or to change the font than to have to create my own thing from scratch because I couldn’t violate their copyright and change it myself.