There are some projects that seem to go hand-in-hand with home education, and it's no coincidence that so many homeschoolers are discovering the educational value of raising their own backyard chickens.
Chickens are simple creatures that do quite well with the basics: food, water, and sunshine. They are goofy to watch, and they produce something actually useful. They are fun for kids and an education in responsibility.
The next natural step in raising backyard chickens is hatching them yourself. The first time we hatched a dozen eggs in our home incubator, the kids all got involved in the hatching process, asking all sorts of questions about chicken development. And when the first chick broke through, we all stood around and watched the struggle and then experienced the triumph as the wet little guy emerged.
I wish at the time we had known about Nathaniel Smisor's excellent booklet entitled Simple Techniques to Successful Hatching. Nathaniel has done a thorough job of covering the topic of hatching without overwhelming the beginner with unnecessary technical jargon. There are color photographs on every page and clear explanations of each step of chick development and the hatching process.
Nathaniel has also included lists of suppliers, a chapter on the responsibilities involved in hatching, a thorough day-by-day explanation of the 21 days of incubation, and a complete overview of the care of newly-hatched chicks.
In addition, there are pre-made charts so that a child or beginning hatcher can keep careful records of turning the eggs and the incubator's temperature and humidity levels.
Simple Techniques to Successful Hatching could easily serve as an excellent unit study. The author's inclusions of definitions, a diagram for labeling the parts of an egg, as well as suggested projects (such as graphing various bird species and the size of the eggs they lay) all speak to the fact that he understands what home educators are looking for in materials to utilize in their homeschools.
Simple Techniques to Successful Hatching is available as either a comb-bound booklet with over 60 color photographs or an ebook that can be instantly downloaded.