Wednesday, May 2, 2018

I Bought a Camera for My Microscope

We homeschool in Indiana, which offers an "accredited" high school diploma to its public school students. Practically, this means that one cannot easily switch from a homeschool to a public school in the middle of the high school years--if you did so, you simply wouldn't have enough "credits" to graduate on time.

Leaving aside all other debates about homeschool vs. public school, this means that in Indiana, if you choose to homeschool for the ninth grade year, you are essentially choosing to homeschool through high school. You can get around that by taking online classes that offer the types of credits that Indiana accepts, but that's not how we like to homeschool. If Will wants to homeschool in high school, then we're foregoing altogether the idea of an Indiana accredited diploma for her.

And Will wants to homeschool in high school!

The lack of an Indiana accredited diploma sounds dire, but it's really not. Our personal homeschool standards are higher than public school standards, so Will's diploma doesn't need to be accredited by the state of Indiana to have value--her transcript and syllabi and book lists and portfolio will tell the tale, and all will be well.

Having this conversation with Will at the beginning of her eighth grade year, and therefore knowing that we were homeschooling her through high school, I researched and bought a high quality microscope to use in our science studies. We LOVE our Brock Magiscope, and it's still the world's best field microscope, but it wasn't going to cut it for honors biology, alas.

We've been using this particular Levenhuk microscope for biology all year, and so far we love it and it works well for us. We haven't used the oil immersion lens yet, but otherwise we've done just about everything with it that you can do. The kids have gradually become comfortable using it, and it's a tool well worth the budget expenditure.

Except that in our family of near-sighted girls, squinting through the lens means constant adjustments for each person. It also gives me headaches, which isn't great. And I've been wanting the ability to take photos of what we see, because can you really say that you've seen something if you haven't made a poster of it?!?

So I bought the camera that goes with the microscope!

AND I made Will set it up for us and install the software as part of her schoolwork one day, because yep, I am just that lazy.

I'm glad that I didn't go ahead and buy the camera when I first bought the microscope, as I'd been debating doing. I don't think we'd have spent as much time learning to look through the lens ourselves, if I had, and the learning curve is just that much more for the camera than it is for the microscope alone, and that process was already pretty intimidating for the kids. But now that we're comfortable with the microscope, learning to use it with the camera wasn't such a big deal, and I LOVE what the camera adds to our abilities with the microscope. Look at all the pretty pictures we've taken so far!

ascaria eggs 
fish scale

hair follicle

mosquito

pine pollen
So awesome, right?!? The camera also takes video, and the image sizes are quite large, so we should be able to enlarge them as necessary. We'll still take the Brock Magiscope out into the field, but this Levenhuk microscope should see the kids through whatever sciences they want to take through high school and into college.

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