years, but you can go through twelve
years of science study using household
items just as easily. One of our pur-
chases early on was a really good micro-
scope. Another was a telescope. Too of-
ten people buy low quality science tools,
and students end up frustrated. They are
unable to see what is on their slide. Or
they are unable to really see, for example
the rings of Saturn. We have made slides
of just about anything you can imagine
and looked at the results under our mi-
croscope. We are interested in astron-
omy and regularly use our telescope to
view the planets and stars.
We love studying bugs and have collected, identified, and entered entomology displays in the county and
state fairs. We have dissected crawfish,
fish, snakes, a fetal pig, and a coyote, as well as a sheep eye, heart, and
brain and studied the anatomy of each.
In fact, after the fetal pig dissection,
our daughter spent a couple of weeks
cleaning the bones and reassembling
the skeleton. What an educational experience—and she certainly learned
much more than she would have ever
learned from a textbook. Our children
love to build and launch model rockets.
There is nothing more fun than experimenting with baking soda and vinegar.
How about planning, planting, and
harvesting a garden? Maybe you have a
rock collector in your home. Turn that
interest in rocks into a science project.
All of this is science.
We have recently moved to Missouri after
having lived in New Mexico for the last
30 years. We have new bugs, new reptiles,
new animals, new plants, trees, and soil
to learn about. We have different weather
than we experienced in New Mexico,
with fascinating clouds we haven’t seen
before and humidity we are not used to.
We are going to put up a weather station,
and track the wind, rain, humidity and
temperature. The data we collect will en-
able our children to create graphs, and
learn about weather patterns. We have
purchased several field guides to help
us better learn about our Missouri envi-
ronment. Field guides are a great source
of information, and our children spend
hours flipping through them as they
identify things like trees, plants, animal
tracks and scat, birds, insects, and rep-
tiles. This is all science.
If you are squeamish about dissection,
opt to skip that. However, if your children are interested and old enough to
dissect without supervision, get them the
tools they need and the item they would
like to dissect, (very inexpensive through
Home Science Tools and typically comes
with a detailed dissection guide) and let
them do it. Similarly, if your children
have particular interests in some other
area of science, let them pursue that interest. My rule of thumb in our homeschool is to give each of our children
the tools required to pursue their interest, and get out of their way. It is amazing how much they learn and how much
they teach their siblings.
Remember early on I mentioned that
neatness and order matter? They do. And
because science is about process and pro-
cedure, discovery and inquiry, and criti-
cal thinking, a journal or lab book is im-
portant. All of my children have always
had a journal. I actually feel that the jour-
nal is fundamental to science, and each
should use that journal in a manner that
works best for him or her. Some prefer
to capture their observations through
drawings with supporting text. Others
prefer writing about their observations
with supporting drawings. Even my hus-
band and I have journals.
Did you know a trip to the zoo is science? How about a trip to the botanical
gardens? Science is all around us, and
we can jump in as deep as we want, or
maybe just get a toe wet. Science at home
is easy. You can do this!
Heather, her husband Steve, and their
family live in Pleasant Hill, MO. The Allen’s have been homeschooling for 18 years,
have graduated three, and have two to go.
Heather teaches for the University of Phoenix, works as a Human Factors Engineer,
and makes goat milk soaps, lotions, lip
balms, and soy candles with her family (see
Where They Belong.