My daughter has been asking for her own microscope for over a year now but I always seem to have a long list of home-education goodies that I need so I kept saying maybe next month. Eventually she asked if it could be her birthday present this year (her birthday is still in a few months time but she started asking early). I agreed, then Learning Resources heard about her wanting a Microscope for her birthday and very generously sent her one. She was thrilled, she loves it and so does the rest of the family. It turns out having a microscope in the house is actually a lot of fun and looking at slides together on a rainy day is actually a brilliant family activity.
We received the microscope a little over a month ago and we have been using it a fair bit. So far everything is lasting really well (kids aged 6 and 8). The Microscope (MicroPro) came in a 48-piece set which included 3 prepared slides and 8 blank slides as well as all the extra goodies you would need to make your own slides. I did order a few extra prepared slides online to use with the set.
The first time we used it my husband did set it all up and show the kids how it worked (we do still have to help my youngest with the focusing when he uses it but my 8-year-old seems to manage this okay most of the time).
We have also tried to make our own slides, although this is still a bit of trial and error on our side but we are really enjoying the process. The biggest tip is to make sure that the sample you include on the slide is small (both kids battle with this and have a tendency to want to include much larger bits). So this is where we have found having adult supervision comes in very handy. At the moment we have stuck to very simple slide content like bits of fabric but I am sure with time we will try more (apparently my daughter wants to grow some spores).
My son is also totally fascinated by how the microscope works. He wants to know what the light does and how the lenses amplify everything.
As a home-educating parent I love this set. It has only been a month and already I can see the advantages of having a microscope in the house, just the questions and the curiosity that it encourages has been amazing. The only down-side is you have to be prepared to say – “I don’t know the answer to that but let’s try to find out” – which to be honest actually leads to very excited kids who get to help mom find the answers.
I do think the MicroPro Microscope is going to be something that we will be using with both kids for a very long time.