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

The Challenge of Choosing Curriculum

I know that it’s still only January but since I am a planner and I have to budget way in advance I am already researching curriculum choices for the 2016-2017 school year.

Help!
Help!

I never imagined that science would be one of the hardest subject to plan for (History has actually been the hardest one but that is a subject for another day). This year we’ve been “winging it” when it comes to science doing assorted experiments based on what’s trending online and supplies in hand. While it’s been fun, it has been very random so I want a little bit more structure for next year.

The first hassle was finding truly secular science resources. I asked around and have gotten many good recommendations. While I was able to narrow down the choices, I am having the hardest time choosing one to buy. So I am hoping that you can help me choose! If you have experience with any of these, please let me know their pros and cons and if you would recommend it.

Top Finalists:
1- Elemental Science- Classic Science for the Grammar Stage Series
A lot of people have recommended this and it’s a Cathy Duffy choice. A friend shared a sample of the workbook, it looks good and the price is right but I can’t say that I am in love and don’t like that I have to buy extra books to go with it.

2- Elemental Science- Sassafras Living Books
Same publisher as above but a different format. I am drawn to this because we’ve had so much success with Life of Fred Math and the reviews say that “if your kid likes Life of Fred, they will like the Sassafras Twins”. While most people like it, some complain that the story seems forced due to trying to cram the science information into the storyline. If we use this, we would most likely skip the lapbooks.

3- Critical Thinking Company- Devel​oping Crit​ical Thin​king thro​ugh Scie​nce Book 1
So far I have loved every single product from the Critical Thinking Company that I’ve tried. I like the critical thinking component of this book teaching the child the “why” and “how” behind the experiments because a lot of other materials don’t cover that aspect and the ease of finding supplies the supplies needed is a plus. This would be the clear winner if we hadn’t already done a lot of the same type of experiments already. I am thinking that repetition isn’t bad but I am hesitant to jump on it as I don’t see as many reviews for this and don’t know anybody currently using it.  One book is supposed to last 3 years which makes it a great value but I see us either finishing it super early or supplementing with random fun experiments.

I had also been recommended Pandia Press- R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey and Home Scie​nce Adve​nture​s Sets  and while they both look good. I didn’t get as excited about them and cost wise it would be a bigger expense so I am not considering those at the moment.

I was hoping that by writing this down I would be able to make a choice but I am still as undecided as I was when I started.