For any family looking for a robust biology course, hands-on lab assignments are a must—and this may involve purchasing some supplies.

There are a number of ways parents can try to keep the cost of these supplies down.


Quite a few of the labs require the use of a microscope.

If you don’t own a microscope, try to borrow one. Some local libraries allow you to check out a microscope to use at home. Check with other homeschool families or local co-ops to see if they have one you could borrow.

If a microscope isn’t available to borrow, and you can’t fit one into your budget, a distant second-best option is to use the images provided in the Experience Biology lab videos and images. For most labs that require a microscope, we will provide you images of what your student would be looking at under a microscope if they had one.

Check out our Home Science Microscope Buying Guide


There’s no replacing the value that comes from a student actually dissecting a specimen and exploring biological structures on their own. However, if the specimens are completely out of budget, students may carefully watch the lab videos provided and glean information from those.

Special Supplies

Below is a list of supplies you’ll need to purchase from a lab supply company.

We are currently in contact with a number of lab supply companies to find one or two that will provide you with a bulk discount on a kit. Watch for more details soon!

  • Compound microscope
  • Glass slides
  • Glass coverslips
  • Methylene blue
  • Iodine
  • Bromothymol blue
  • Sprig of elodea
  • Safety goggles
  • 5 test tubes
  • Test tube rack
  • Wax pencil
  • 5 Petri dishes with nutrient agar
  • 5 Cotton swabs
  • Amoeba proteus prepared slide
  • Paramecium prepared slide
  • Euglena prepared slide
  • Rhizopus nigricans prepared slide
  • Penicillum prepared slide
  • Monocot leaf c.s. prepared slide
  • Dicot leaf c.s. prepared slide
  • Monocot stem c.s. prepared slide
  • Dicot stem c.s. prepared slide
  • Onion root tip l.s. prepared slide
  • Onion root tip c.s. Prepared slide
  • Human skin c.s. prepared slide
  • Preserved worm
  • Preserved sea star
  • Preserved clam
  • Preserved crayfish
  • Preserved dogfish shark, injected
  • Preserved fetal pig, injected
  • Dissection tools
  • Dissection pan
  • T-pins

Household Supplies

Below is a list of items need for labs that you will either have around your house or that can easily be acquired from a local store.

  • Typed lowercase e’s (cut out of newspaper, magazine, or printed off of a computer)
  • Small pieces of fabric: cotton, wool, polyester
  • Scissors
  • Toothpicks
  • Mature, healthy plant (english ivy, geranium, or something similar would work well)
  • Black construction paper
  • White paper
  • Paper clips
  • Stove with small pan
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • 6 popsicle sticks
  • Markers (red, blue, yellow, green)
  • Masking tape
  • Mushroom (the edible kind you can by at the grocery store)
  • Iceberg lettuce or leek leaf
  • 2-3 different flowers (gladiola, lily, tulip, or daffodil would all work well)
  • String or twine
  • Ruler
  • Stopwatch
  • Straws
  • Latex or nitrile gloves
  • 50 mL flasks or 2 drinking glasses