From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


9/15/2011 11:49:50 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA's Homeschooling Toddlers to Tweens--Science on a Shoestring

HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru the Early Years Newsletter
September 2011 -- Homeschooling on a Shoestring
Spotlight On: Science

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Dear Friend,

In today's economy, aren't we all looking for ways to stretch our
homeschool dollars? In last month's newsletter, we introduced this
series on homeschooling "on the cheap" with a spotlight on social
studies. This month, let's
review a few basics, then highlight some ways to investigate science
on a snug budget!

What does it cost to homeschool?

While the average cost is roughly $500 a year per child, this figure
usually goes down with subsequent children, since resources can be
shared, membership costs are not multiplied, etc. During the four
years that we were without a full-time income, I was able to
homeschool seven children at a time for less than $100 total in a
year, once I had accumulated a few non-consumable resources.

It is possible to homeschool with just a Bible and a library card, but
most of us will buy at least a few things. You'll want to invest in
your core curriculum materials first, then add other items as your
budget allows. (See sidebar for more ideas.)

How to Save on Textbooks and other Curricular Materials

> Borrow or rent books--check with your local support group.

> Purchase used books. Some
sources include used curriculum shops, exhibit halls, library sales,
support group sales, online swap boards (and of course, the HSLDA
Curriculum Market! )

> Provide educational "wish lists" to family members for gift-giving

> Use your state's standards of learning as a guide to check out
appropriate library books. (Search for Standards of Learning + [Your
State]. You are not required to use these standards, but it can give
you a starting point.)

> Use World Book's standards
of learning with library books.

> Science Scope, Kathryn Stout's Design-a-Study guide to science,
helps you identify science concepts and vocabulary to be covered at
various levels.

> Use a major textbook publisher's science scope and sequence with library books.

> Use What Your Child Needs to Know When or The Checklist (or Teaching Children by Diane
Lopez) as a guide to what to teach, then use library books or
living books. (Are you sensing a pattern here that includes library
and card?)

> Search online for free homeschool ____ (history, geography,

> Laminate your books and answer keys with clear Contact paper for

Use Multi-Level Curriculum

Use grade-specific materials for each child for skills subjects such
as math and language arts, then use multi-level materials for
content-area subjects such as science, social studies,
character/Bible, art, health, etc, working with all of your children
together, to economize on time and money! Here are a few suggestions
for materials that are designed for or easily adapted for multi-level

> Great Science Adventures series

> Christian Kids Explore Science series

> Science in the Creation Week--All the science studies are outlined
in the first chapter of Genesis! From Day 1 (light and energy) to Day
6 (land animals and human biology), this hands-on curriculum focuses
on science within the context of the Creation Week.

> Considering God's Creation

> God's Design for Science series (Answers in Genesis)-- set includes
K-8th material in one package (When you look at the price, remember
that it is an eight-year program.)
> Konos curriculum

> Five in a Row

> Student of the Word

> Beautiful Feet guides

> Daily Bread

> Heart of Wisdom

> Tapestry of Grace

> Valerie Bendt's Unit Studies Made Easy

> Scope and Sequence--Check out the scope and sequence info from your
favorite publisher and use that as a springboard, utilizing library
books. Or use your favorite textbook itself as a tool, teaching to the
level of the oldest child. Learn more about teaching to multiple

Everyday Activities for "Science on a Dime"

Science is simply the study of the world that God has made. I agree
with Cathy Duffy that the best way to teach
science for elementary students is not with textbooks but by teaching
them to observe, experiment, read, and think about the world
surrounding them, utilizing real books and your child's interests. The
most effective learning often takes place in the context of everyday
living or family activities, and many are free or very inexpensive:

> Backyard botany/biology--Grow a seed in a cup or plant a family
garden. Learn about the insects that help and harm specific plants in
your yard. Study the birds in your neighborhood. What grasses grow?
Why do some of your plants thrive and others wilt? Can you name the
trees, plants, birds, "visiting" animals, and insects in your yard?

> Use field guides--Our family accumulated quite a few field guides,
including Audubon guides to weather, butterflies, birds, rocks,
mammals, trees, reptiles and amphibians, and others, as well as Golden
Guides and Eyewitness Handbooks.
(Add these to your gift wish lists for relatives who don't know what
to buy your children.)

> Raise animals for fun and/or profit.

> Nature journals--Teach observation skills, care of nature, and more.
I once sent my girls out on a nature walk and they came back with two
baby foxes in their arms, so be prepared. We got an impromptu lesson
in how the local animal rehab center works!

> Animal habitat studies--Why does that groundhog keep coming back?
Where does he live?

> Weather observation--Besides the standard rain, clouds, and more,
our area has recently experience a hurricane and tornado--what
inspiration for further research!

> Backyard geology-- Examine the dirt composition, do a soil test,
study the rock formations. (And lately, you might be interested in the
causes and effects of earthquakes.)

> Broken appliances--Before you throw these out, are they items your
children can disassemble to learn more about the inner workings?

> Batteries, flashlights--Learn how the electrical currents work.

> Home "lab"-- No fancy laboratory? You do have your kitchen and your
backyard or the local park and pond. You may not have a Bunsen burner,
but you have a stove.

> Food chemistry--Cooking is science! Experiment with
melting/freezing/boiling points; solutions; and more. Learn about
crystallization in fudge; yeast multiplication, gluten and carbon
dioxide development in bread; caramelization. My daughter Rachel
wasn't particularly interested in cooking, but was fascinated with the
science involved; her studies inspired her to write X+Y=Dinner?, a
cookbook to help de-mystify cooking techniques and methods. Hey, a
science study that inspires my kids to write and cook is fine with me!

> Cars, bicycles, lawn mowers--machines/maintenance, engine repair

> Scout handbooks--The older scouting handbooks reflected more
conservative family values and include many hands-on activities for
all ages.

> Camping--Nature studies, survival and safety tips

> Extension service--Your local county extension service usually
offers 4-H, a Master Gardener program, Junior Master Gardener, as well
as classes and pamphlets related to your specific area.

> Local clubs, including robotics and other interests

> Science and nature museums, observatories, botanical gardens, zoos,
(Check out the field trips list at Homeschool Buyers Co-op.)

> Everyday curiosity--Why does stuff fall down instead of up? How many
babies does a spider have at a time? Why are the clouds different
shapes? Why are the stars in different places than they were last
month? How does the timer know when to ding? Why is the sky blue?
Where does the sun go at night? How does the roller coaster stay on
the track? What happens if [fill in the blank]? Google is your friend,
as is a good encyclopedia and--you guessed it--a library card! (While
you are at the library, look up The NEW Way Things Work by David

Next month: Low-budget math ideas.

Vicki Bentley
HSLDA Toddlers thru Tweens consultant

More on Homeschooling on the Cheap:

> "Homeschooling on a Shoestring Budget" HSLDA Homeschooling Toddlers
thru Tweens

> "What Does It Cost to Homeschool?"

> "Navigating the Used Curriculum Route" by Vicki Bentley, Practical
Homeschooling magazine

> "What Should I Be Teaching?"

Search for "free homeschool + subject"

"For since the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities--His
eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being
understood from what has been made. . . ."

Romans 1:20 (NIV)

More Science Resources:
> "Is Science in Your Homeschool Heading for a Meltdown?" by Jane
Hoffman, author of the Backyard Scientist series

> "Making Your Home a Science Manipulative" by Jason Makansi
(article--Practical Homeschooling)

> "Fun Holiday Gifts the Scientific Way" by Melissa Pinkley
> "Create Your Own Science Unit" by Pam Maxey (article--Practical
> Backyard Scientist series by Jane Hoffman (Many of these are now out
of print but are worth looking up in used curriculum markets.)
> Janice Van Cleave's science books --Check out the Every Kid
series (Biology for Every Kid, Astronomy for Every Kid, etc.) for
elementary and middle school, and supplement for the preschoolers and
primaries with her Let's Play and Find Out science series; often
available at your public library.

> Answers in Genesis science materials

> Homeschool Science Experiment & Activity Guide (free) from
Supercharged Science

> Apologia science-- Exploring Creation series for elementary and
junior high
> Timberdoodle science resources

> Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock

> Simple Schooling's Journey Through the Solar System--A complete
one-semester course for students in grades 5-8 for only $4.99. Ten
unit studies; 290 pages.
> Simple Schooling's Let's Learn About Bugs--Unit studies for grades
K-8 for 99 cents per weekly unit set. (Purchase each week separately)
> Science in the Creation Week by David Unfred--Seven units correspond
to Creation events: senses; light, energy and matter; water and the
atmosphere; land and plants; sun, moon and stars; birds and sealife;
land animals and humans (introductory physics, chemistry, astronomy,
biology, and botany) This is not just a book of experiments, but a
complete curriculum with text and activities. Designed to be used with
children of varying ages (approximately grades 2-5), lessons and
activities are categorized by ability, divided into three levels:
Explorer, Investigator, Researcher. Adaptable for unit studies;
written for one year of study, but could be developed into several

> Home Science Adventure Kits

> Christopher Columbus Awards program--A national, community-based
science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program for middle
school students. The program challenges the students to work in teams
of three to four, with an adult coach, to identify a problem in their
community and apply the scientific method to create an innovative
solution to that problem.

> Curriculum Resources listing at HSLDA's Homeschooling Toddlers thru

HSLDA Essay Contest

HSLDA is excited to announce our 10th annual essay contest! This
contest is designed to give students the opportunity to develop their
writing skills and showcase their talents at the same time. Cash
prizes are awarded to the top five entries in each category, and the
top essays are posted online. For complete contest details please
visit our contest page at:
-> How many news articles did you read this morning over your

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take quick, decisive action. Please consider becoming a part of
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