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Easy Homeschool Science Ideas

For many parents doing science in their homeschool can seem daunting. It is a subject which conjures up different preconceived ideas about expensive equipment, dangerous chemicals, or perhaps even just lots of mess. However there are many simple, yet interesting experiments that can help spark a kids interest in science. Here are a few simple experiments in the different fields of science to begin with. Biology Seed Germination Take a jar and fill it with cotton wool, place a butterbean seed down the side of the jar. Add enough water to moisten the cotton wool, but not so much that the seed is sitting in a pool of water. Leave the jar in a warm place to watch the seed germinate. This experiment can be taken further. For example, you can set up a few jars: one that is left dry, and also leave one in the fridge, but with moistened cotton wool. Doing this allows you to see the affects temperature and lack of water have on seed germination. Bird Watching Keep a journal of birds that visit your garden. To do this set up a bird feeder and record the birds that visit. Doing this will enable a child to learn the names of different birds. It will also be a practical way for a child to help local wildlife and begin to learn about conservation. The RSPB website have some excellent resources. Chemistry Density Density is the weight of an object in a given volume. A solid will sink in a liquid if it is denser, and float on a liquid if the liquid is denser. This experiment explores different liquids and solids of different densities. Take a large glass and fill it with water, vegetable oil and maple syrup in equal portions. The three liquids will separate out according to their density. The most dense will fall to the bottom and the least dense will go to the top. Next drop in a stone, a piece of cork, and a grape. These will order themselves according to density. Elephants Toothpaste This is an experiment which explores catalysts. A catalyst is a substance that seeds up a reaction, but does not take part in the reaction itself. To do this experiment you will need hydrogen peroxide, 3% concentration. This is labelled food grade and is safe to use in an experiment at home, but do not consume and supervise young children. Hydrogen Peroxide is the stuff used to dye hair “peroxide blonde”. It can be bought on Amazon or eBay. Hydrogen Peroxide slowly decomposes into water...

Online Resources That We Use

We use a few online resources in our homeschool. Over the years we’ve tried some that haven’t worked for us, and other that are now firm favourites. English My favourite site that we use is Reading Eggs. This has helped my boys a lot with their reading. The lessons are fun, and in depth. They compliment our Jolly Phonics/Grammar really well. This is not a free resource, but I have had my money’s worth from it. And renewed our subscription last year. It is also a British site, which is also helpful when teaching phonics. Computer Programming To get my lot started in computer programming we have used Scratch. We have used it both online, and I have downloaded the program onto the computer also. This is a free resource, and is fun to use. We have just started to use Tynker. I have been looking for better resources to move onto after scratch. This is free, but also has a subscription option. Currently we are looking into whether this would be worth doing. Science The Mystery Science site has been one of my favourite finds of this year. These engaging lessons have been fantastic for my younger two boys. They have captured their imaginations. And the activities have been simple and achievable as well. French My daughter has used DuoLingo for a few years now and I have been really impressed by it. It is not only French you can learn from this site, but various modern languages. This is also a free site. Maths This year we have used XtraMath. This is not a flashy site, but it is a good free resource to improve mental arithmetic skills. A few minutes a day for each child is all it takes. We have also started to use Nessy Maths. Again this is not a free resource, but it is inexpensive for a year’s subscription. Nessy maths focuses on multiplication skills and telling the time. We have used it for a couple of months now and I am seeing the improvement in multiplication skills. Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

Homeschool Science: Magnetism

It’s interesting how in homeschooling one thing leads on to another. We had been doing Geography and learning about the different hemispheres, this lead naturally to the points of the compass, which lead onto the earth’s magnetic field. Thus a whole day of studying magnetism. Here are the experiments we did to study magnetism (all apparatus was bought on ebay with little expense). Experiments for Studying Magnetism I gave the children magnets and asked them to look around the house for things which are magnetic and things which are non-magnetic. They then looked at there results and worked out what makes a material magnetic. It is easy to assume all metals are magnetic. This is not the case only iron, nickel, cobalt, gadolinium, neodymium and samarium are magnetic (although you will not be finding neodymium in your house!) An easy way to test this is to find a gold or silver ring or something made from aluminium. We took two bar magnets and experimented with how they interact with each other. From this they were able to work out that opposites attract. Next we looked at the magnetic field of a bar magnet. I bought some iron filings off ebay scattered some on to a plastic lid. We then placed the bar magnet under the box and watched how the filings moved into the direction of the field lines. The children enjoyed moving the magnet around under the lid to see how the filings reacted. Finally we made our own compass. We took an ordinary sewing needle and a small piece of cork from a wine bottle (about 1cm thick). We used our magnet to magnetise the needle- you do this by running the magnet along the length of the needle- making sure you only go in one direction with it- the same way you would stroke a cat. Then attach the needle to the top of the cork with a piece of tape. Gently place the cork and needle into a basin of water. The needle should rotate to north-south. You can check this has worked by looking at a compass (compass apps can be downloaded onto a smartphone). We supplemented the experiments by reading books on magnetism from the library, and watching a couple of youtube videos about magnetism. Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...
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