Here are a few resources we have come across that we wanted to share with homeschool families! Eighteen months ago we published our Earth Party curriculum, which teaches students in grades 1-6 about the kingdoms of living things: Monera (bacteria), Protists (algae), Fungi (mushrooms), Plants, and Animals. We taught our own students this as we began our homeschool journey eight years ago; we felt we should share our approach — publish it and offer it for other families. New this year: We also teach online classes based on this same material. Read on to explore these fun sites that will open up a study of biology for young students.
California Plant and Animal Field Trips
The Homeschool Front homeschool blog features a new Youtube channel, largely dedicated to natural places, gardens, and museums within California. Blogger Xuan Klevecka also writes for an awesome blog, jam-packed with helpful homeschool resources.
Some of my favorite recent Youtube episodes:
- Ganna Walka Lotusland (above): This video highlights many awesome plant species; we can’t think of a better place to go to explore the plant kingdom.
- Leo Carrillo Beach video: Features a video showing rich tidepool life, a cave, and the surrounding coastal seashore. The the animal kingdom and protists can be observed all over in this video!
- Santa Barbara Sea Center video: Features awesome invertebrates and vertebrates – great animal kingdom viewing!
Join the Junior Giraffe Club!
This resource came about from a movie we recommend, The Woman Who Loves Giraffes (site link). One of the last things we saw in the theater before the Covid lockdowns, this movie paints an engaging story about an early female giraffologist, Dr. Anne Innis Dagg. She entered the field during the time of Louis Leakey, Dian Fossey, and Jane Goodall. Though she completed much research, she was never given the same chance as a female biologist to be tenured in the same way that male counterparts were getting promoted. Part of her story describes ways she advocated for herself and made the academic community aware of how women were denied opportunities. It looks like the movie is available on Amazon. If you have girls interested in science, this is an extra good documentary choice!
Recently we explored her website and found that she began a Junior Giraffe Club. Here is a link to that page. If you have students ages 7-17 who want to learn more about the animal kingdom, and mammals in particular, we would recommend it!
In our Earth Party classes, one of the best resources we have come across to explore single-celled life in Kingdom Monera, is the Bacteria Explorer. It’s an interactive website that helps young students visualize the size and shapes of bacteria, and common types.
Monterey Bay Aquarium Tank Cams
This stunning California aquarium features many live cams showing life in their aquatic exhibits, such as jellyfish, the deep sea tank, Monterey Bay, penguins, and sea otters. Here is a link to the menu page where students can choose their camera. These cams provide excellent windows into both the plant, protist, and animal kingdoms!
Awesome Science Book Resource
We sell this Smithsonian Natural History Book in our store. Though the text is higher level, the photos cannot be beat! If you have kids that enjoy fungi, plants, and animals, we recommend this book. (Here is a link the book in our store.) We sell this book paired with another beautiful book, Ernst Haeckel’s Art Forms in Nature. These books together are inspirational: Thus, we have named the set the Inspiration Pack. These books are recommended for use with our Earth Party curriculum!