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
Look through the list to see how you can teach this interesting subject.
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;
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.
Growth – Having animals at home
is a good way for children to observe the stages of life.
Our homeschool biology included a lot of observing life.
Here are some of the activities that we did or have heard about;
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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;
- 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.
Arboretum or other gardens – Most
of the gardens that we have visited have had identifying markers on the plants.
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.
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.
Wild Life Sanctuary – Some have
wildlife viewing areas.
Zoo – Besides seeing animals most
zoos have educational lectures.
Aquarium – We were able to learn
more about the sea life that lives in the Puget Sound and the ocean.
Aviary– The only one we have been
too has been at the zoo.
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.
Different plants and animals live in different areas. You
can study each habitat by;
- Going there
Reading books about different
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;
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.
- Classify living and non-living
Classify living things into the
Classify living organisms into
producers, consumers, and decomposers
Learn about the different between
creation and evolution
Plant a vegetable garden
Study the human body
Learn about the life cycle of a
Go to lectures about birds,
reptiles, or other living things
Do plant experiments
Make a terrarium
Set up an aquarium
Study the food web
Dissect a seed
Dissect a fish
Watch a virtual dissection
Dissolve the shell of an egg and
observe the other two parts
Raise a guinea pig or other small
Draw and label the parts of a flower
Visit a farm
Learn about different insects
Study your favorite animal, bird,
sea life, or reptile in depth
Raise garden snails
Learn about reproduction
Study Gregor Mendel’s pea
experiments on genetics
Look at a bird feather
Learn about ecosystems
Learn about dinosaurs
Use a textbook
Learn about the chemistry of life
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
Leave Biology for Homeschooling Science
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