They love to explore, investigate, and discover…even if they won’t always admit it. A classic example was when we went to lunch one day this summer to a small shopping village that has amazingly beautiful gardens. As we sat waiting for our meal to be served, we happened to look outside and see bees pollinating the flowers. Now at the time, I was teaching the Science Sleuths In the Garden class and the next week we were going to be talking about bees and pollination. It was perfectly timed. We watched them for quite awhile and even made a video after we left the restaurant. Science had truly come alive.
Since then, we seem to stumble upon science lessons without even planning for them. It’s wonderful and almost magical in its spontaneity in our otherwise planned days. Spider webs, squirrels, tree growth (we actually got to count tree rings), a giant groundhog…we just can’t get away from science opportunities and, honestly, I am so glad we can’t.
It got me thinking about essentials for science exploration in homeschooling and the supplies you absolutely must have on hand. What is non-negotiable on the supply list and what can be skipped over. So, here they are, the five science tools every homeschool should have.
5 Science Tools For Homeschooling
1. A MAGNIFYING GLASS
There is something so fascinating about looking at things in magnification. Discovering the tiny pieces, fine lines, and intricate details in leaves, blades of grass, acorns, and blue jay feathers makes science infinitely more interesting than just observing with the naked eye. A good magnifying glass is a must.
2. A NOTEBOOK AND PENCIL
Whether it’s a sketchbook or a pocket size notepad, having a notebook to jot down notes and sketch out observations is invaluable. Keep an extra one in your car or bag with a pencil for when those moments of science exploration present themselves.
3. THE INTERNET
Being able to do research about the scientific questions you have soon after you have them, helps keep children interested in the exploration. You can bring out the books for further discovery and in-depth investigation later on, but make sure you have access to the Internet, as well.
4. A CAMERA
It can be a disposable camera, a fancy DSLR Camera, or your phone’s camera, but when it comes to science investigation, it’s a good thing to have a camera along to take pictures. I usually end up using my phone’s camera, because my phone is always in my hand. Since it’s a good rule to teach children not to disturb most things in nature, you don’t want them plucking flowers, carrying out logs, or taking home that wooly caterpillar in the name of science. Taking a picture (or a dozen) is a good way to capture the moment without harming the environment. Besides, if you’re talking about weather it’s going to be mighty challenging to bring home the clouds. (But you can make them with this science experiment.)
If you can afford nothing else for your science homeschool supplies, it’s okay, because a great sense of curiosity about the world can make any lesson come alive. If your children are reluctant to delve into science exploration, model it for them. “Oooh” and “ahhh” over the pollinating bees, get excited about seeing geese flying south for the winter, examine, sketch, and write a poem about the beautiful fall leaves. When you, as the homeschool parent/teacher, get excited about science, your children will too. Ask questions, research answers, and be invested. Nothing can replace a love for learning.
What would you include in your science supplies must-haves? What is the item (or items) that you can’t live without?