Microbiology for Little Ones

We started off our school year with an in depth look at the world of cells, bacteria and viruses.  Our science study this year has gone very well.

I split my kids up for science this year after a couple years of trying to combine them.  They are only 2 years apart, but their interest in science is far more than 2 years apart.

I choose books with lots of information for my son who lives and breathes science.  I choose shorter and more illustrated books with my son who hasn’t shown a great interest in science in general.  We are using lots of hands-on experiments and activities as well as videos.  So while they are studying the same topic, doing the same activities, and watching the same DVDs their instruction time is individualized to their interest level.  You can see our study here.

I’ve heard my son who hasn’t loved science tell me that he has been enjoying science this year.  During one of the DVDs we watched I stopped and asked my young son what a nucleus was.  It had mentioned a nucleus briefly on the DVD and I wanted to know if he remembered it from our cell model.  He explained it and them proceeded to tell me that he remembered about the Golgi bodies too.  I want my children to enjoy school and remember what they have learned.  I find instances like these to be positive indicators that things are going well.

Cultivating bacteria in petri dishes has been fun and a great way to learn.  As the days passed we watched the bacteria grow into different shapes and colors.  We used 6 petri dishes and explored bacteria from: washed hands, unwashed hands, the bathroom doorknob, the computer keyboard, a mouth, and the diaper pail.  Imagine the surprise when the bacteria for the hands far exceeded the bacteria found in the diaper pail.  It was nice to see my son come to his own conclusion that he needs to wash his hands better.

Our next stop in our science study will be a study of the skin, hair, and nails.  I know my boys are looking forward to making our Rice Krispie treat and candy skin model.  I must admit I am too.


  1. Thanks!!!!! Glad to have this to think about. V.

  2. I haven’t seen or used LEM Phonics or Phonic Pathways, but I have used Explode the Code with both of my boys. I’ve done books 1-3 with each of them and I’m having my younger son do the Explode the Code online program until he finishes all 8 books. It is a sequential program, but involves a lot of writing. The online program adjusts to what your child knows and uses clicking and some typing. I like Explode the Code. I tried out MCP Phonics and came back to Explode the Code.

    I like Sequential Spelling. I’ve used All About Spelling too and think it is a great program. It just didn’t work well with my son’s learning style. However, my son didn’t like using Sequential Spelling as it was intended. I’ve changed things up a little this year and I’m testing the waters with pre and post tests to see if our new method will work. I’m putting the Sequential Spelling lists on SpellingCity and he plays games with the words. I haven’t made it to the first post-test yet, but I think he will do fine using it that way.

  3. Yes. As much as I like the idea of RS4K, and it all sounds so neat and easy for ME, I also think of what I could achieve if I use that money creatively on other science resources. I may be able to minimise the cost if a few local home schoolers wanted to share a set. Ahhh, it’s always about the possibilities, but can I translate it into reality?

    P.S. Not meaning to be a copy-cat, but I’ve analysed many options for maths and have decided to try Singapore Maths (combined with my favourite parts of a few other approaches).

    For spelling I might move on from LEM Phonics to try something more streamlined … do you have experience with, or an opinion about, Explode the Code or Phonic Pathways? I do also like the look of Sequential Spelling which you wrote about, if we need a supplement. I’d appreciate any comments you have about the options.

  4. We have done Real Science 4 Kids. I did the pre-level Chemistry with my boys a couple years ago and it was a hit. It was a great program, but I think my boys would have to be in different levels and RS4K doesn’t come cheap. Still, I prefer the living books and experimental approach. Putting together our science plan was time-consuming, but so worth it.

  5. This is fantastic, especially the link to your detailed plans. DS6 has an avid interest in science, and laps up high-school level TV shows about biology and chemistry. DD5 is more typical for her age in science and the gap is widening, as you’ve also experienced. I’m trying to decide which science resources to use next year. I like the approach of Real Science 4 Kids, and find the free online ‘Lesson Pathways’ useful for making sure we don’t leave gaps in basic concepts. As always we’re spoilt for choice.

    Until now we’ve just explored various topics without a plan … interest-led, literature based and experimental, but without much order or depth! Seeing your program gives me the confidence that, if nothing fits well, I CAN come up with a plan. Thanks for helping me organise my thoughts!

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