Science Tools for Science-Minded Homeschoolers

Are  STEM (science/technology/engineering/math) subjects are a favorite in your homeschool?  Do your children truly enjoy nature study? Is a child showing an interest in deeper STEM study?     If so, then you are likely looking for science tools and resources that go beyond the cheap plastic chemistry sets and play bug nets available at most toy stores.

Every homeschool family that wants to expand or extend any branch of STEM study should be on the mailing list  for the following science resource catalogs listed below.

Nasco Science

Home Science Tools

Nature’s Workshop Plus!

Carolina Biological

We love to get all four of these catalogs in the mail! My children love to mark the pages with kits or equipment that looks exciting to them.   I’ll readily admit that I’ve marked up these science catalogs as well, with all the science curriculum kits, materialsscience 3 and supplements that I’d like to use. I have ordered curriculum materials, lab equipment, microscope slides, dissections sets, etc. from these companies  and have been nothing but satisfied.

The links take you to the catalog request portion of each site, but these companies also have online catalogs as well for immediate browsing.

Both Nasco and Carolina also offer specialty catalogs for specific subject areas such as chemistry, agriculture or early learning.

Do you know of another science resource catalog that would benefit homeschool families?  Please tell us about it in the comments below.

Playing With Numbers on a Hundreds Chart

A hundreds chart is an excellent math tool for children.  It provides a tangible framework for a child to begin to understand the structure of our number system.   Working with a hundreds chart introduces a child to basic concepts such as counting to 10 and more complex ideas like relationships between numbers in a base 10 system.


An online interactive hundreds chart can make ‘math play’ fun.  You can add color to a chart, erase numbers to better see patterns, adjust the numbers shown and more.   Here’s a great online interactive hundreds chart that will do just that.  You can add color, use the built-in calculator,  block out numbers and more on this HUNDREDS GRID


One of the best ways to learn with a hundreds chart is to just fiddle around with it.   A child can learn so much from simply taking time to interact with the numbers in columns, rows and even diagonally.  Look for patterns while adding or subtracting, practice skip-counting, look for groupings of numbers, etc.

A visual  math learner will enjoy seeing the numbers and patterns made by using the colors and adjustment features on the math chart.  A reluctant math learner may find enjoyment in the play aspect of the interactive chart.  Give it a try!

Free Online Math Manipulative Apps

Manipulatives make math more accessible for children, especially for hands-on and visual learners.   Often an abstract concept becomes more concrete for a child when they have the opportunity to build their number sense with tangible items.


These free math manipulative apps from The Math Learning Center are handy tools for a variety of math applications.  Ten different apps are available, from pattern shapes, to an interactive number line , ten frames and more. The apps are not only available for Apple/Windows and Chrome, they are also available as web apps for those not using a tablet or smartphone.  You can find the manipulatives HERE.

Using Literature to Support Mathematical Learning

Children think about and understand math concepts in a variety of ways.  Many children can process abstract mathematical ideas in their heads easily, while others need a different type of support.   For example, kinesthetic children benefit from the hands-on use of math manipulatives.   Visual learners often appreciate seeing a problem being worked out step-by-step on a whiteboard or computer screen.   What about that linguistic (language-strong) student who may be a bit mathphobic?  Or perhaps you have special needs student who needs exposure to math in a new way.

math symbols

Have you ever considered using literature to help your student comprehend math concepts?  Math-themed picture books can be useful tools for introducing a math concept or reinforcing a math skill.   Most of the books are easy to find in your local library, or even as read-aloud videos online.

If you have never thought of combining math and literature , Scholastic teacher blogger Alycia Zimmerman has written two extremely helpful articles on using picture books to teach math skills.   Her first article describes the three tiers of math picture books  as well as provides helpful ways to use picture books to teach math.  Her second article expands on the idea into biographies and independent reading books that math-minded children would enjoy.   Click over  on the links below to get an idea of how to use literature with math.  She has shares quite a few book suggestions as well.  Well worth the time to bookmark and read later.

Teaching Math With Picture Books – Part 1 

Teaching Math With Picture Books – Part 2

Math in Literature resources on our Facebook page this week – book lists, activity ideas and more.  Scroll down to the bottom of this blog page to find the link to the AHE FB page.


Working With Math Cubes


Math cubes are such fun to play with, but how can you integrate learning with the play?  Here are a few ideas:

Simply Kinder a nice printable to help your child practice forming numbers with the cubes. There’s a cute number poem to go along with the activity as well!

The Univ. of Cambridge has a page with 40 ideas for using math cubes that fit a variety of levels.

T. G. I. F. offers a free printable that practices addition with math cubes.

Frugal Fun for Boys has a great math cube game idea – Race to fill the cup!

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