Our eight-year-old daughter loves biology, so I go all-out teaching it. One of the coolest things about homeschooling is that you can teach your child at the level where they are realistically functioning, rather than at some arbitrary grade level based on the theoretical average performance of a peer group. Our daughter is using an 8th grade science textbook, for example, along with a lot of other supplementary information, this year. That is something that would never happen in a traditional school. The cumulative effect of these decisions on a young mind is tremendous.
Anyway, I wanted to share how you can get neat stuff to dissect for your home laboratory. (Warning: Stop reading right here if you do not want to see gross pictures.)
My go-to for dissection kits is Carolina Biological Supply, which you can get access to via Amazon, believe it or not. I have ordered the following dissection kits and tools for our daughter, and they are high quality:
Photo Manual & Dissection Guide of the Fetal Pig: With Sheep Heart Brain Eye – The pictures in this book are in black and white, which is a strong downside, but the information is excellent. You can also print off dissection worksheets from various sites on the interwebs, just Google what you are dissecting.
Dissection Kit 22 Pieces – Frog Dissection Kit, Pig Dissection Kit, for All Anatomy and Biology Medical Students by Beyonder Industries LLC (Red) – This is a cheapo dissection tool kit. You can spend more money on tools, but I didn’t want to invest that much in our “dissection festival” (as our daughter calls it). This will get the job done.
Young Scientist’s Animal Dissection Kit – This is a good kit for getting kids started with the fine motor skills involved in dissection, before going on to complex organisms.
Human Anatomy Coloring Book: an Entertaining and Instructive Guide to the Human Body – Bones, Muscles, Blood, Nerves and How They Work (Coloring Books) (Dover Children’s Science Books) – I highly, highly recommend getting this book. It is a genius way of teaching anatomy.
I also highly recommend buying (or checking out from your public library) Seymour Simon’s human biology series. To me, the best thing about Simon’s books are the images of actual cells and tissues under microscopes, which go a long way toward giving kids a mechanical understanding of the body. These are beautiful books!
Here’s Amazon’s Seymour Simon list for books on other, non-biology related science books as well. Everything the chap published is magical.
You can also order children’s latex gloves on Amazon, which are a handy thing to have around for other projects (like messy art projects) too.