I’ve had my eye on this chemistry kit that caters to homeschoolers for a while now. I featured it in my column back in 2011 here and wrote:
If you’ve ever tried to put together your own chemistry kit for homeschooling, you know what an overwhelming (and expensive) task it can be. A new chemistry kit is now available to make it easier and more affordable for homeschoolers.
The CK01 Chemistry Kit contains everything needed (other than a few basic supplies like table salt) for a one year chemistry course, along with lecture notes.
The kit contains over 40 chemicals (such as Phosphoric acid, Thymol blue indicator solution and Copper), 25 types of equipment (with multiples of many of these, such as pipettes, beakers and alligator clips) and other related consumables such as cotton balls, cotton swabs, a lab notebook and pH test strips…
I have not tried the kit and have no affiliation with the company, but it sounds like an easy and affordable way to assemble a pretty thorough year of chemistry.
The kit now costs $184, with shipping available at an additional cost to countries such as Canada, Great Britain and Australia.
The manufacturer says:
Because chemistry is widely considered to be the most difficult lab course to do well—particularly on a tight budget—we offer the CK01A Standard/Honors Home School Chemistry Laboratory Kit. It provides a comprehensive, rigorous laboratory component for a first-year high school chemistry course, and does so affordably. With the exception of standard household items (such as table salt, sugar, vinegar, aluminum foil, foam cups, and so on) and other minor items that are readily available locally, the kit contains all of the special equipment and chemicals you’ll need for a complete chemistry lab course…
It’s a serious science curriculum, too, which can be modified to make a lighter version:
For a student who will go on to major in college in chemistry or another science, the kit provides a rigorous, comprehensive first-year chemistry lab experience. For non-science majors, you can, at your option, reduce the rigor and scope of the chemistry lab experience simply by doing only selected core lab sessions, while still providing an essential introduction to chemistry lab concepts and procedures.
I still have not tried the kit myself, but I have tried the book that it was created to accompany, Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture (DIY Science) (affiliate link), and I love the book!
This is truly a book for kids who want to do real science with real materials. I loved reading about how the author discovered science as a child and how he worked to create a chemistry kit like those of his youth, before they were so “dumbed down.” The book makes for a very thorough chemistry course/lab, and it is perfect for kids who love science or for kids who want to love science.
The book is not necessary to use the kit. It comes with a complete PDF manual. I do recommend the book in addition, just because it’s such a fantastic, thorough resource.
The CK01A kit provides 39 hands-on chemistry experiments in 14 topic areas:
Topic I. Separating Mixtures
Session I-2: Chromatography
Session I-3: Solvent Extraction
Session I-4: Salting Out
Topic II. Solubility and Solutions
Session II-2: Conductance of Ionic and Molecular Solutes
Session II-3: Colligative Properties of Solutions: Boiling Point Elevation and Freezing Point Depression
Topic III. Chemical Reactions and Stoichiometry
Session III-2: Observe a Decomposition Reaction
Session III-3: Observe a Single Replacement Reaction
Session III-4: Observe Double Replacement Reactions
Session III-5: Stoichiometry of Double Displacement Reactions
Topic IV. Reduction-Oxidation (Redox) Reactions
Topic V. Acid-Base Chemistry
Session V-2: Determine the Molarity of Vinegar by Titration
Topic VI. Chemical Kinetics
Session VI-2: Determining the Effect of a Catalyst on Reaction Rate
Session VI-3: Determining a Reaction Order
Topic VII. Chemical Equilibrium
Session VII-2: Determine a Solubility Product Constant
Session VII-3: Observe the Characteristics of a Buffer Solution
Topic VIII. Gas Chemistry
Session VIII-2: Observe the Volume-Temperature Relationship of Gases (Charles’ Law)
Session VIII-3: Determine Gas Mass Ratios by Effusion (Graham’s Law)
Topic IX. Thermochemistry
Session IX-2: Determine Heat of Fusion of Ice
Session IX-3: Determine the Specific Heat of a Metal
Session IX-4: Determine the Enthalpy Change of a Reaction
Topic X. Electrochemistry
Session X-2: Observe the Electrochemical Oxidation of Iron
Session X-3: Measure Electrode Potentials
Session X-4: Build a Voltaic Cell
Topic XI. Photochemistry
Topic XII. Colloids and Suspensions
Topic XIII. Analytical Chemistry
Session XIII-2. Determine Salicylate Concentration in Urine
Session XIII-3. Determine Vitamin C Concentration in Urine
Session XIII-4: Detect Lead in Household Materials
Topic XIV. Synthetic Chemistry
If anybody out there has used this kit, I’d love to hear your experiences with it!