Make science learning easy, exciting, and empowering for your homeschool kids with a self paced curriculum from the Young Scientist Series published by Heron Books.

Self Paced Introduction to Microscopes from Heron Books

Disclosure: I was compensated for my time reviewing Take a Closer Look from Heron Books, but all opinions are honest – I want to help YOU in your choice of homeschool curriculum!

A Self Paced Science Curriculum For Independent Learners (& Busy Moms!)

I know I’m not alone feeling that science is one of the most exciting subjects to teach our kids.

I thought our homeschooling days would be filled with endless experiments and discoveries as we dive deep into science lessons. Actually, it pretty much was during the early years of homeschooling. But then I had more babies.

As my family grew, so did the demands on this busy momma! How do you dive deep into each subject when you’re homeschooling multiple kids?

One piece of solving that puzzle is to be smart about which subjects you teach one-on-one, which you teach in a group setting with multiple kids, and which you set up as independent studies.

The first thing I loved about the Take A Closer Look curriculum from Heron Books was how incredibly simple it was to dive in and get started – with a Student Learning Guide that allowed for both group study or completely independent study for an independent learner.

Are you a busy mom of multiple kids, or have a self-starter student who wants control over their lessons? If so, let me show you how cool the Young Scientist Series is from Heron Books.

Take a look at the Young Scientist Series from Heron Books :

  • Designed for ages 9-12 (could be expanded to younger and older ages for group study.)
  • Completely Self-Paced and Flexible.
  • No Lesson Planning Needed.
  • Secular Science
  • 30 Day Money Back Guarantee
  • Get 30% off your order with code PK1kids30 (Valid for the entire store, can be used multiple times!)

The Young Scientist Series From Heron Books

One of the first things I ever purchased for my homeschool endeavors was a decent student microscope. My absolute favorite subject in elementary school was science. I remember how crazy fun and exciting it was to look at things under a microscope and discover an entire world hiding in plain sight.

So of course a microscope had to be one of the first must-have items to buy for my homeschool. However, even though I purchased prepared slides and the microscope I bought was easy to use, it turns out that I didn’t remember every detail about how to use it properly.

review of heron books self paced science

the Take a Closer Look science curriculum from Heron Books is the best way to get started with using a microscope.

Take A Closer Look – An Introduction To Microscopes

We had plenty of fun using our microscope, but it wasn’t until we went through the Take A Closer Look homeschool science study from Heron Books that we actually learned what we were doing! (The entire study only takes about 5 hours, so it’s a perfect way to start your homeschool year.)

Also, while we really enjoyed looking at the prepared slides I’d purchased, I couldn’t quite remember how to make slides myself. This meant that my kids were missing out on the excitement of finding their own items to look at under the microscope.

My daughter was thrilled to learn how to prepare her own slide. When she saw her own hair follicle under the microscope she was ecstatic!

Review of Heron Books Take A Closer Look

The entire program includes the Take A Closer Look textbook, Student Learning Guide, Young Scientist Journal, and Teacher Resources Packet.

Components of Take A Closer Look – An Introduction to Microscopes

The main component of this curriculum in the Young Scientists Series is the 51 page full color textbook. This book does stand on its own as an excellent source to get starting using a microscope. It’s concise, colorful, and very effective.

homeschool science lessons that are self paced

Kids can go through the lessons and activities on their own with the Student Learning Guide completely at their own pace.

This main book covers:

  • Tools Scientists Use
  • How Does a Microscope Work?
  • Prepared Slides
  • Find the Parts of a Microscope
  • Set Up a Microscope
  • Look at a Slide
  • Make Your Own Slide
  • Drawing What You See

The Science Journal is the perfect place for your student to record their findings.

self guided lessons for science

Kaiya loved drawing her findings in her science notebook.

The Student Learning Guide eliminates the need for lesson planning and gives the student full control and accountability over their lessons. They simply begin working on each section one activity at a time at their own pace. They check in with you after each section is complete before moving on to the next section. Simple!

Optional Teacher Materials include list of required materials for activities, exam and exam answers, and Certificate of Achievement.

“Having a great student microscope for your homeschool science lessons is an absolute must. Seeing the complexities of the microscopic world unlocks unlimited wonder and fascination in your kids! Give them the best start in science with the Take A Closer Look study from Heron Books.”

self paced science for homeschool

Three main components make this self paced homeschool curriculum very simple and fun to use - the textbook, Student Learning Guide, and science notebook. Add the testing materials if you're into that.

Heron books self paced science curriculum for homeschool

We love the colorful text in this homeschool science curriculum from Heron Books

Science Curriculum for Independent Study

I’m beginning to learn that the super hero homeschool moms out there have one big thing in common: they’re teaching their kids to be independent learners. While I love a group lesson any day, teaching kids to be able to learn and study on their own has endless benefits.

At the very least, it’s difficult to teach all the subjects to our kids and even more so as our family grows. At some point we really need to give our kids the skills they will need to discover things for themselves and take ownership of their own work.

We’ve done a lot of self paced independent programs for various subjects. And with all that experience I have to say that there’s something pretty special about the Student Learning Guide in the Take A Closer Look study.

There’s no lesson planning needed when using the Student Learning Guide. There’s also no written pacing included either. There’s simply a collection of activities that are grouped together in sections. Students are instructed to work through the activities, checking the boxes as they complete them.

When a student completes a section, they check in with the teacher and get the teacher’s sign-off. This serves as a checkpoint and also allows for feedback and a time for answering questions as well.

“The Student Learning Guide worked so well for my 11 year old. She has some days when she’s really distracted so just tackling a few activities was perfect. Other days she was incredibly focused and wanted to complete multiple sections.” -Christy,

To be honest, I really liked the freedom of the Student Learning Guide. It’s very peaceful to allow my kiddo to work at her own pace. I also felt that this allowed her the freedom to spend extra time on the activities that interested her most.

self paced independent lessons for elementary science.

Self-Paced Science

The best part of the Young Scientist series from Heron Books is the Student Learning Guide. This made it so easy for my daughter to go through her lessons at her own pace. She knew exactly what to do and could tackle a few items at a time or zoom through multiple sections when she was having a good day.

microscope science lessons for homeschool

We absolutely loved the Take A Closer Look lesson in the Young Scientist series from Heron Books. It's so helpful to study how to use a microscope before diving into science.

Homeschool Science Curriculum from Heron Books

Heron Books has a major focus of student engagement. You’ll realize this right away when you look into your materials. The activities are very approachable for kids and foster a lot of thought and interaction.

The chapters and writing are just the right length but are also written in a way that helps kids connect with what they’re learning.

The Young Scientist Series started out with the 5 studies and is expanding to 11 total very soon.

They offer some free homeschool downloads plus a free lesson emailed to you weekly if you sign up for their email list.

Use and save this coupon code: PK1kids30 ! You can use it for 30% off everything sold on the Heron Books website (over and over!)

How To Use A Microscope At Home:

  • Invest in a good quality microscope, but no need to break the bank. There are plenty of great homeschool appropriate microscopes out there for less than $100
  • Purchase some prepared slide kits. These kits often have around 30 slides that come already prepared and sealed so your kids can start taking a look at interesting things under their microscope right away.
  • Begin talking with your kids about what things might look like at a microscopic level. Start collecting various items to look at with your new microscope.
  • Purchase blank slides and slide covers and make your own slides out of your collected items. Not sure how to do this? (see the next bullet item!)
  • Make sure you really understand how to use your microscope. It can be frustrating for kids when their excitement to see something is met with confusion. So make sure to go through the Take A Closer Look study from Heron Books when you first get your new microscope!
science for independent homeschool students

Microscopes are one of the most exciting purchases for your homeschool science.

independent self paced science curriculum

My daughter always loved using microscopes, but the Student Learning Guide helped her get the most out of using one. She's now a microscope expert!


  1. Hair follicle
  2. Leaf – all types!
  3. Bugs and bug parts
  4. Salt / sugar
  5. Dryer lint
  6. Dirt
  7. Any of the 8 great ideas from the Take A Closer Look activities

Which microscope is best for homeschool science?

There are many great student microscopes you can buy for your homeschool. Our top pick for both quality and cost is AmScope LED Compound Microscope.

And while you’re sure to find a variety of microscopes that will work very well for your homeschool science, you’ll get the most out of it by going through the Take A Closer Look curriculum from Heron Books.


independent learners love Heron Books

My daughter loved diving into the self paced lessons in the Student Learning Guide.

homeschool science curriculum

Pre-made slides are a great way to explore the use of a microscope in your homeschool science.

science curriculum with self paced lessons

Having prepared slides is a must for this program and it really makes homeschool science very exciting!

homeschool science curriculum from Heron Books

We really liked the textbook. It's colorful, short chapters, and very informative while being relatable.

science curriculum from Heron Books

The Take a Closer Look curriculum also covers making your own slides.

science lessons for microscope use

We loved that our microscope just happened to match the picture in our science homeschool curriculum from Heron Books.

Learn How To Use A Microscope With This Study From Heron Books

Don’t make the mistake I did and assume you’ll remember enough from your biology class to teach your kids how to use a microscope and prepare slides! The Take A Closer Look study is a wonderful and concise way to begin using a microscope in your homeschool.

Discover More Self Paced Science Studies From Heron Books

If you love the flexibility and the idea of a self paced science curriculum, make sure you see all the studies in this series from Heron Books.

Remember to use my 30% off code PK1kids30 on any of these other great lessons in the Young Scientist Series from Heron Books:

  • The Fabulous Human Body
  • Light Bulbs, Switches & Batteries
  • World of Plants
  • Circulation of the Blood
  • Let’s Find It!
  • World of Electricity
  • and more coming soon!

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Microscope Lesson for Homeschool

I hope you enjoyed this review of Heron Books Take A Closer Look.

Go use your coupon code PK1kids30 at Heron Books now!



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