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I often call myself a lazy homeschooler, but only tongue in cheek. We homeschool moms are anything but lazy!
It’s just that all of the other responsibilities on our plates require us to be creatively minimalistic with homeschooling. You know? There just isn’t enough ‘Mom’ to go around!
Sometimes entire subjects fall by the wayside. I’d be lying if I claimed otherwise.
In fact, I’ve misplaced a could of subjects myself. I usually shove them WAY in the back of my messiest closet so I don’t have to see them and feel guilty. But every once in a while one of them rears its ugly head and I have to deal with it.
A couple of years ago, when my oldest was about to head into high school and I was already overwhelmed figuring out the high school aspect of homeschooling (like credit requirements and record keeping and transcripts and how to earn early college credits and three thousand other things) she declared during dinner that she had never learned any science and was a little worried about it.
So I reminded her about the huge human body study we had completed, where I’d traced her body onto butcher paper and we’d created her circulatory system with red yarn (oxygenated blood) and blue yard (blood returning to the lungs for more oxygen) and added in all the systems and incredibly-detailed, moveable models of organs and everything. It was a really great study!
Her response? “Yeah mom, that was in kindergarten and I don’t remember any of it”.
So I tried to think of more recent science projects and drew a blank. In my defense, I’d had seven more babies and a couple of health crises stemming from difficult pregnancies and deliveries. I don’t do well while nursing because not sleeping at night just kills me.
I had purchased Saxon Physics for her that ninth grade year, but with my eighth brand new baby and another autoimmune illness I hadn’t really supported her in it.
I vowed to do better!
The thing is, on a daily basis I can only handle math (plus my kids read a holy ton on their own). Well, I guess I should say that I can only handle requiring (a polite term for dragging children to the table by their hair and nagging them incessantly until it is completed, then checking answers and more nagging about corrections and on and on) one thing daily and math is my priority.
Don’t get me wrong — I seriously love science! I always have! Science is right up there with math, but I just can’t add another daily thing that is completely up to me to make happen. I’m maxed out!
I needed a science program that was so high interest my kids would choose to do it on their own. I also needed it to be something that we could hit really hard for a week and then skip for weeks at a time and then come back to.
I did a ton of research and asked lots of friends, which led me to Delta Science kits. They seemed to be marketed to public school science laboratories, but I bought them in ‘Nutshells’ or smaller units with just enough equipment and materials for 6 participants. Each Nutshell included every single thing for dozens of experiments, centered on a theme. And each Nutshell provided enough learning for about a year.
For example, a Nutshell we completed on electricity included 6 experiments each for Static Electricity, Hydro Electricity and Solar Electricity and at least a dozen for Current Electricity, plus lab books and everything we needed, right down to paper clips all packaged neatly in a large, clear plastic bin.
Hallelujah! The heavens parted! At least that’s how it felt, haha!
My kiddos were so fascinated that they’d beg for science, and when I relented, they’d complete experiment after experiment after experiment and basically complete an entire semester over a few days. Then we’d put it away until the moment was right again.
It was perfect for our family! I’d just buy a new Nutshell or two each year and those things kept us going. They were kind of pricey at around $200-$300, but I would have paid a lot more for such great quality. Anyhow, it was a heck of a lot cheaper than tuition would have been to enroll all of my kids in a similar class.
And then one day I couldn’t find them anywhere (I’d previously purchased them on Amazon)! I had kept our previous Nutshells, and I could just replace chemicals and equipment using the lab manuals as a guide for what was needed. Except that wasn’t very easy. We live too far out of town to drop everything and run to the hobby store, plus the hobby store often didn’t have exactly what we needed. Anyway, interest drops if kids have to wait for mom to round up supplies.
So I started looking again last year. I wanted a science curriculum that was basically the same as the nutshells. No textbooks, no daily assignments, just the super-high-interest lab portion of the science class with all supplies and well-written lab books included. That’s not too much to ask for, right?
I finally found it, you guys!
I actually found it last year. We’ve been using it for a few months and it’s everything I asked for and more. My kids concur. All they want is interesting and exciting, and Mel Science is definitely both of those.
Let me tell you a little bit more about Mel Science, just in case you, too, are looking for a hands-on, high-interest science curriculum for your homeschool.
Mel Science Review
Mel Science’s mission is to make science education the new Rock ‘N Roll. That makes me laugh in a good way!
Our first Mel Science kit was organized into a couple of cardboard boxes packed into a larger one. The largest box contained all of the lab equipment needed for future experiments — things like glass vials and beakers, a phone stand, a specialty lens to use with your phone camera and safety equipment.
Another box contained a cardboard VR set that is collapsible, but has a slot for your phone and works just like the expensive VR sets. There were also two separate, smaller boxes with the chemicals needed for the months experiments. Each vial is labeled with a QR code and each box of supplies contains a card with instructions (and QR codes) and diagrams, pictures and explanations.
You’ll be able to download two apps, one to use with the VR glasses and another to use as you perform experiments. Mel Science will also send you emails with links to virtual, synchronous classes on different topics. We’ve only attended two, but they are seriously fun!
Mel Science VR
I use the VR app as a reward for finishing school work — it is that enjoyable! My 14-year old son is particularly enamored with the VR aspect. You walk into a room that looks and sounds like a rainforest and choose something to learn about, from scientific games to exploring molecular structure up close and personal. The interactive periodic table is probably my favorite thing to do in the VR.
Mel Science App
The other app has lists of reagents you can explore with your VR glasses, lessons to accompany each experiment, and a ‘News’ section that would inspire curiosity in anyone. My kiddos want to try everything suggested in the News section!
Each kit comes with enough supplies to complete several experiments twice, which is kind of nice because my kids always, always, always want to ‘do it again’! Mel Science has chosen particularly great experiments because they are so kinesthetic and appealing.
We used electric current through a solution to grow tin dendrites and tin hedgehogs our first month. The next month we made a sugar snake and fire foam (so fun!). We’ve ignited iron and burned other metals, which is fascinating (especially magnesium). We’re going to make zinc-carbon batteries and homemade plastic and etch with electricity and purify water with an ion-exchange resin. We can’t wait!
Mel Science is the real deal!
Mel Science is real chemistry!
It’s not reading in a book about what will happen when you combine chemicals or how heat produces change. Mel Science is really mixing the chemicals or applying the heat and seeing what happens and needing to know why it happened and being compelled to find answers to your questions.
That’s where real learning happens.
Children naturally want to make sense of their worlds. When you fill their world with fascinating things, they are compelled to find answers. That way of learning is light years ahead of learning from textbooks.
Mel Science is also easy for me as a busy mom and homeschooler. My kids are so excited about each month’s box that wild horses couldn’t keep them from it. Inevitably, the finish their math the next day by 7 am and spend the rest of the morning deeply engrossed in science.
I don’t have to source raw elements or chemicals and I don’t have to remember to pick up supplies. That is my idea of a great curriculum!
I probably wouldn’t let your kids perform these experiments alone if they’re under age ten or so. They’re not using watered down versions of chemicals. I would feel comfortable letting my kiddos, ages 7 – 14, work alone (with a stern warning) because my bigs will watch my littles and they have sufficient experience with chemistry. I don’t though, because these experiments are legit fun for me!
What is Mel Science Lite?
When I was searching for a new homeschool science curriculum, I found two different prices for Mel Science, which confused me. It took me a bit to figure it out, so I just thought I’d answer your question before you even ask it, lol!
The difference between the two, besides the price, is that Mel Science lite only includes 1 experiment per month, while the regular subscription includes 2-3 experiments per month, and it does not include the starter set with the VR headset and chemistry equipment.
I feel like the regular subscription is a much better deal, especially since we received three months free for our prepaid subscription.
Mel Physics & Mel Kids
Mel Science also offers a physics subscription and a subscription designed for kids ages 5 to 10. The physics subscription is designed for kids ages 13 and up. The Mel kids subscription is STEM based and will have your little happily creating simple machines and talking about scientific principles in a simple, relatable way.
Both include exciting VR lessons and free, online lessons taught by professionals. I haven’t used either of them yet, but I plan to!
Mel Science Deals:
- Get THREE months FREE with an annual plan or 1 Month FREE with a 9-month plan. Just click here and subscribe — the deal will apply automatically. You will also receive the starter kit and VR headset FREE with this deal! This fantastic deal is for prepaid subscriptions only.
- Get FREE starter kit and VR headset when you subscribe! Use this link to get the deal.
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