Homeschool Biology
without a Microscope

You don’t need a microscope to homeschool biology especially in the elementary school years. Microscopes are only good for viewing life at the cellular level. There is a lot more that can be studied.

Here are 52 ways to teach biology. Some involve observing life in your backyard. With other activities you will take your family on field trips.


Look through the list to see how you can teach this interesting subject.

Pets

For our family pets and children just seem to go together we have had several cats and dogs that we have raised from babies through adulthood. My children have also experienced death while raising pets. With pets we learned;

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  1. What animals need – Having pets is a good opportunity for teaching children the needs of animals. All animals need shelter, food, and to feel safe.
  2. Growth – Having animals at home is a good way for children to observe the stages of life.

Observe

Our homeschool biology included a lot of observing life. Here are some of the activities that we did or have heard about;

  1. Ant Farm - I have never let my children do this. I was always afraid that the container would fall and break. Then ants would escape and live happy ever after in my house.
  2. Birds - We have had several different bird feeders. Our first was outside the room that we did school in. Besides watch the birds we also had a squirrel who visited. Now we have a humming bird feeder. We had field guides so that we could learn the names of the different birds that came to visit.
  3. Butterfly kit – When I was in science class in college we used a butterfly kit to observe the life cycle of a monarch butterfly. I wish that I could recommend a kit. The ones sold on Amazon have bad reviews.
  4. Bee Hive – I don’t remember if this was at a zoo or a county fair but we were able to see a working bee hive. One side was glass. There was also an opening to the outside. We were able to observe the bees coming and going.

Field Trips

We like going places and we have done a lot of our homeschool biology on the road. Depending on where you are going you will want to take your field guides along. Here are some of the places that we have visited;

  1. Pet store – going to a pet store is usually fun for young children. We have looked at fish, snakes, birds, tarantulas, and baby dogs. The staff is usually knowledgeable about the animals that they sell.
  2. Arboretum or other gardens – Most of the gardens that we have visited have had identifying markers on the plants.
  3. Fish Hatchery – There is a salmon hatchery near where we live. When we went we were able to see the different stages of fish growth.
  4. Nature Trail – We have been on many nature trails. Most are easy to walk. There are markers to tell you about what you are seeing.
  5. Wild Life Sanctuary – Some have wildlife viewing areas.
  6. Zoo – Besides seeing animals most zoos have educational lectures.
  7. Aquarium – We were able to learn more about the sea life that lives in the Puget Sound and the ocean.
  8. Aviary– The only one we have been too has been at the zoo.
  9. Museums – We have been to the Pacific Science Museum. We mainly went to see the dinosaurs’ exhibit. There are also other biology exhibits that you can look at.

Habitats

Different plants and animals live in different areas. You can study each habitat by;

  1. Going there
  2. Reading books about different habitats
  3. Watching movies

Another idea is to place a circle of string on the ground. Use a magnifying glass observe living things in the circle. Write what you see in a notebook. Leave the circle on the ground for a period of time such as fifteen minutes to a half hour. Watch and observe life that visits the circle. You might see spiders or ants that pass through.

Here are some of the different habitats that you will want to learn more about;

  • Desserts
  • Forest
  • Grassland
  • Lake
  • Pond
  • Oceans
  • River
  • Tidal Pools

Homeschool Biology Tools

You don’t need many tools to teach biology. We have used a magnifying glass to see items more closely.

 Field guides are good for identifying different living organisms. We have used ones for trees, birds, and wild flowers.

I have used tooth picks to help dissect seeds.

When my children were young I make a 3D body.

There is a virtual microscope online. 

Other Activities

  1. Classify living and non-living things
  2. Classify living things into the five kingdoms
  3. Classify living organisms into producers, consumers, and decomposers
  4. Learn about the different between creation and evolution
  5. Grow flowers
  6. Plant a vegetable garden
  7. Study the human body
  8. Learn about the life cycle of a frog
  9. Go to lectures about birds, reptiles, or other living things
  10. Grow mold
  11. Do plant experiments
  12. Make a terrarium
  13. Set up an aquarium
  14. Study the food web
  15. Dissect a seed
  16. Dissect a fish
  17. Identify trees
  18. Watch a virtual dissection
  19. Dissolve the shell of an egg and observe the other two parts
  20. Raise a guinea pig or other small animal
  21. Draw and label the parts of a flower
  22. Visit a farm
  23. Learn about different insects
  24. Study your favorite animal, bird, sea life, or reptile in depth
  25. Raise garden snails
  26. Learn about reproduction
  27. Grow yeast
  28. Study Gregor Mendel’s pea experiments on genetics
  29. Study bones
  30. Look at a bird feather
  31. Learn about ecosystems
  32. Learn about dinosaurs
  33. Use a textbook
  34. Learn about the chemistry of life

Textbooks

If you want a more systematic approach to homeschool biology use a textbook. Apologia has books for elementary and high school. They present a creation view point but also talk about evolution.

We used Exploring Creation with Biology by Apologia when my daughter was in high school. She did not like doing classifying. Also a lot of the experiments required a microscope.

I think that high school biology should be taught in a co-op environment or at a junior college. I feel that students can benefit from using a microscope.


Using a microscope is only a small part of homeschool biology.


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