Science is the study of why. When kids ask why is the sky blue, why do bees buzz, why is grass green, why do I hiccup, it’s all science. Children are natural scientists, born investigators, experimenting with everything they can get their hands on. Science should be a life-long adventure, hands-on and experiential. It is full of questions, hypotheses, observations, recording of data, examination with analysis of observations and data, and conclusions that lead to new questions. In short, that is the “scientific method."
One parent's tip: "When buying books of experiments, go through the book before the kids get to it, make up a shopping list, and buy everything they'll need in advance. Keep a plastic 'science bin' with all the unusual stuff plus an ample supply of everyday materials (balloons, small glass jars, litmus paper, magnets, etc.), so that the right materials are always on hand."
You can submit your question for next year's Flame Challenge. Homeschooled kids are encouraged to participate.
Check out Exploravision, a competition for all students in grades K-12 attending a public, private or home school in the U.S., Canada, or U.S. Territories. It is designed to encourage students to combine their imagination with their knowledge of science and technology to explore visions of the future.
Entry deadline is around the end of January each year.
eSkeletons. One parent's review: The eSkeletons Project website is devoted to the study of human and primate comparative anatomy. It offers a unique set of digitized
versions of skeletons in 2-D and 3-D in full color, animations, and much supplemental information. The user can navigate through the various regions of the skeleton and view all orientations of each element along with muscle and joint information. eSkeletons enables you to view the bones of both human and non-human primates ranging from the gorilla to the tiny mouse lemur. All of the large apes are represented as well as other species from different parts of the world. Many of these primates are rare or endangered species.
All About Birds from Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The Lab is an excellent source for info on birds. They now offer a Science Investigator's Kit for Homeschoolers, which offers seven fun, hands-on activities that bring science to life through birds! Your children will get outside, connect with real Cornell University researchers, learn about and build feeders that will attract a variety of local birds, gain an understanding of local habitat and the creatures that live there, participate in citizen science, and potentially develop a new hobby. The kit includes lesson plans, a journal, and resource guidebook as well as a CD-ROM, two books, and a feeder bird poster. Importantly, the kit also includes membership in Project FeederWatch (PFW), a citizen science project, and the PFW research kit. The Cornell Lab has recently reduced the price of the kit and is are now offering it for $69.95. Plus, you can use the code HOMESCHOOL1O for an additional $10 off and if you order in November you will receive a free finch feeder sock. The BirdSleuth program lets kids do real science investigations.
Deep Earth Academy. Activities and lesson plans based upon authentic scientific ocean drilling data are available for a wide range of learning audiences including grades K-4, 5-8, 9-12, and post-secondary geosciences.
Latest Lesson — educators hand-pick their favorite lessons, books, on-line lectures, courses and videos for teachers, parents and students. Lessons in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects, from preK to adult, are now available. Humanities subjects are forthcoming.
Real Science 4 Kids. One parent’s review: "This takes upper-level concepts, strips out the complex math, and presents them at a 4-5th grade level. There are texts and labs for Chemistry, Biology, and Physics. The Chemistry and Physics are particularly good. Bio is your generic bean-growing and butterfly hatching stuff. You DO need the time and money to go with these! In my opinion you can get away with not buying the lab sheets."
The Sciences: An Integrated Approach, by J. Trefil and R. Hazen, with The Joy of Science lecture video series (Great Courses), by R. Hazen (an introductory-level college course for the non-science major that includes an introduction to all areas of science)
If you want to purchase a microscope, a homeschooling parent and science teacher suggests two options:
The first, My First Lab Duoscope, sounds like a toy, but it's actually a great little monocular scope that I've used in my classes. Very good quality for the money — all glass optics and sturdy construction. It goes up to 400x magnification, which really is fine for anything you'd be doing in middle or high school level biology. It's battery powered, so you can take it outside for field studies if needed. It sells on Amazon for $65.
If you want something more advanced, and you have the money to spare, this AmScope looks great — *note* I have not used this microscope myself, but from the description and having used many a scope in my day, it looks like a very good value. What you get here that you do not get with the other scope is a binocular scope which is easier on the eyes and can make learning to use the microscope easier and less frustrating for beginners, a mechanical stage, which makes it much easier to move a slide around and "track" a live, moving organism (I also recommend ProtoSlo for that purpose), and higher magnification so you can see more detail, which is nice, but again, 400x is sufficient for middle/high school.
This sells for $195 on Amazon.
NASCO - kits, materials, and free activities and lesson plans
The NY Hall of Science in Queens has science kits for only $5 for museum members (their membership gets you into other museums around the country). The Hall of Science lab area is a great place where you can plunk down for an hour and do experiments.
WARD's Natural Science. For middle school, high school, homeschool, and college: lab experiments, supplies and resources in Biology, Biotechnology, Earth Science, Environmental Science, Forensics, Physics, and Chemistry. They have a special homeschool section.
Science Fair Central The site has project ideas, research sources, materials lists and
videos, which may give you ideas for conducting experiments in biology,
earth science, and physics, adaptable to various ages.
Merlin Science. Self-paced, self-learning science courses
specially created for distance (flexible) learners (only $40 each!) One parent's comment: Merlin Science
is good, and you can do the first 25% of the course free, and only pay $30 to get the rest of it if you want to continue."
iclasses.org a non-profit organization offering courses for grades 6-12