Finding Chemicals and Experiments for High School Science Curriculum
Chemistry lessons in high school present a unique opportunity for homeschoolers to research chemical properties and gather laboratory supplies online and locally.
One real issue that plagues many homeschooling families, especially in the high school grades, is that of finding laboratory supplies for science lessons. Homeschool chemistry can get quite expensive, and finding homeschool science tools for chemistry lessons can make the homeschool material budget balloon when students begin advanced science lessons.
Save Money on Homeschool Chemistry Lessons
One way to save money on a chemistry curriculum, and learn more in the process, is by using free downloadable vintage chemistry textbooks and lab guides. Modern chemistry curriculum is influenced by liability insurance regulations and bans on chemicals that were once readily available. In the 1950s, for example, chemistry sets offered children the opportunity to make small explosives and other dangerous things, while modern chemistry sets allow children to make play dough or green slime. Homeschooled kids generally do these activities already, and the “dumbing down” of science kits and chemistry sets may be one reason the US schools have trouble with science.
Homeschool Chemistry Lab Supplies
When a chemistry laboratory activity calls for specific chemicals or supplies, begin by researching the practical modern uses for each chemical. Sites like Wikipedia may be a starting point for research, but since they’re edited by the public, don’t let the information found here be a final source of facts. University science websites and sites with a .gov or .edu extension are more reliable sources of information.
Brush up on Research Skills for Science Lab Supplies
Discovering, for example, that sodium hydroxide is a common grease-cutting ingredient found in drain cleaner should lead the investigator to find sources of sodium hydroxide based drain cleaners. Don’t settle for products that simply “contain” the chemical needed, because other chemicals can interfere with the experiment. Continue searching and discover that sodium hydroxide is also called “Lye” and soap-making crafters recommend the Red Devil brand, which is available in most US grocery stores and drug stores. Finding practical uses for chemicals may help in tracking them down. Chemicals may be found at the swimming pool store, the garden supply store, the home improvement warehouse, the photo laboratory or other places one might not think to look.
Shopping for Science Supplies Online
In the US, the Department of Transportation regulates which chemicals may be shipped. Caustic, flammable, or dangerous chemicals used in the production of meth or to make bombs are difficult to distribute. Shippers must follow strict rules regarding how to package, label, and record sales of these substances. When ordering potentially dangerous items online, be sure to read the instructions carefully. Consumers may be required to purchase additional items, order specific quantities, or pay extra fees for the transporting of dangerous chemicals.
Homeschool Science Laboratory Safety
As with any other supplies for homeschool lessons, be sure to order early in the year to avoid last-minute scrounging around for supplies. Store all chemicals safely, generally in a cool, dry place. Be sure that all laboratory supplies are cleaned up at the end of the activity, and kept away from younger siblings.
High school chemistry doesn’t have to be boring or break the bank. To make lessons more exciting, try integrating lab activities from vintage science texts, before dumbing-down became commonplace, especially for hands-on learners. Be resourceful in finding difficult laboratory supplies. Begin by finding modern uses for chemicals and then executing an exhaustive search for pure chemicals used in the industry. Involving teens in the pursuit of chemicals for lab supplies is a lesson in research and creativity, as well as high school science.