It Started with a Stick...

My kids had a stick. 
They turned the stick into a sword, a staff, a magic wand. It was no longer a stick, it was a toy

They wanted to make sure this particular toy was never mistaken for a stick. They realized that the adults of the house, may not recognize this toy because it still looked so much like a stick. 
They decided to mark it. They started to write on it, but markers on rough bark was not noticeable enough. They decided to remove the bark. They soon found peeling bark off of a stick (oops, I mean toy) was fun! Now they had a smooth toy that was very different than the other sticks. 

Then came the questions:

Why did the bark peel off? 
Why is the bark different than the inside? 
Why doesn't grass have bark? 

Out came the books.

Hmmmm... woody plants.... parts of a plant.... cell walls.... 
It says you can see plant cells under a microscope. We have one! Can we use it?

This is how I love to homeschool. When the kids are engaged and excited, the learning comes so easily. It isn't always this way, but those moments are priceless. Being prepared for those moments isn't so easy or inexpensive. Having good references and a microscope made science happen that day. I've often asked other homeschooling moms what science curriculum they use and a large number of them say they save their money for a few good references and the real equipment. Library books are used for the rest. I'll be honest, I have no memory as to where or when I bought this microscope kit. I do know it is a good one though. Having a bad tool can take a child's interest turn it into frustration. If I had to sacrifice quality for cost, I wouldn't get one at all. Most good kits I've found lately are at least eighty dollars. The cheaper ones usually don't have a light source and depend upon mirror reflected light which is difficult to set up. They also skimp on the optics. Why buy a microscope if it won't allow you to see anything?

Owning a personal microscope isn't the only way homeschoolers get to experience them.  Science Museums will sometimes have demonstrations where kids will get to see and sometimes use real equipment. Another option is to check your local community colleges and universities. Here in Middle Tennessee, we are fortunate to have great science classes offered by Belmont University for homeschoolers. I plan on taking advantage of this next year. Another hidden science opportunity is Aquarium Restaurant's "Marine Biologist for a Day" program that my oldest attended years ago. It really made a good impression on her. Homeschoolers are a resourceful lot. What ways do you make science available to your kids?


  1. We have a really nice local zoo and aquarium, and in Seattle there is the aquarium there (as well as Woodland Park Zoo) and we have the Pacfic science center. We also just get outside and play in nature/outdoors. Living where we do, we are blessed to have so much beauty around us, as long as we own a raincoat and rainboots. :-)

    One local resource I discovered as well is the local Audubon Society offers birds and nature walks.

    Thank you for your post! Here from the Hop.


    1. I will have to check out the Audubon Society here as well. I agree the beauty of nature is the best teacher of science! Thank you for stopping by.