Anyone Use BJU High School Science

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  • CrystalN

    I have my first 9th grader this year and I am having some problems finalizing curriculum (even though we started school last week). Gratefully, I start 2 weeks ahead of official start time around here so I am able to flesh everything out before my paperwork is officially due.  In any case, I originally selected Masterbooks Biblical Geology for him because it had videos and shorter reading.  Long worksheets, but they are fill in the blank and kinda lame so I figured it would be an easy science credit for my very non-academic, hates to read son. However, he hates it. He does not enjoy the host of the video and thinks the questions are dumb. So, of course I can just tell him to “suck it up, buttercup”. Or I can switch him to BJU Physical Science which I happen to have a very old copy of (2000), when it was called The Physical World. It is more reading, but maybe it would feel more grown up to him. Has anyone used it? Is it awful? I read a few pages and I thought it was interesting. A little dry, but I suspect any science textbook will be dry. There are only 79 ” divisions” in the book, so I think he could science just 2 days a week. He does history 3 days a week which is his other “heavy” subject. Regrettably I have been a little easy on him over the years so the jump to high school is a challenge.  I know he can handle it, but I am trying to ease him in as much as possible. My main goal for this year for him is independence. So now that I have rattled on endlessly, anyone have any input, suggestions, evaluations of BJU.




    Paula Spicer

    We started out using BJU physical science last year, and we had to get the DIVE videos, which in the end didn’t help us either.  I think for one, physical science was a tough subject for us, I remember hating in high school myself.  I started using BJU because it was one of the tougher high school courses in science, I guess I wanted to prove my daughter was brilliant.  I can honestly say, I don’t think I’ll use it again, and will never put that stress on her again.  One of my many homeschool mistakes! Physical science is one of those subjects that really needs to be taught, and I wasn’t able to teach it.  Now if you understand all those molecules and physics formulas, you would be fine.  But I wasn’t.  You could come up with your own tests, the BJU test were pretty tough, or do open book test.

    I will say this, we are doing Jacob’s Geometry right now.  Well, it wasn’t go so well with the first two chapters.  I’m not a deep thinker, and those chapter required philosophical type thinking (again not me, I’m very simple minded, but sooo glad I am!! 😉  Someone on this board recommended Derek Owens to teach geometry.  We’re fixing to go to chapter 2, but I really like him and his way of teaching.  It’s online.  $59 a month, which is high for us, but we need it.  All of that to say, he also has a physical science class online.  He has lots of sample videos that you can look at.  I wish I had known about him for physical science, we would have used him.  And if all goes well with geometry, I will use him for Algebra II, precalc, and physics.  It might be worth looking at.





    Oh dear, what have I done. I cannot teach physical science, or any science for that matter. I totally rely on the text/teacher book to teach. And we cannot afford a class, even though $59/month is affordable compared to other online classes. I am panicking.  I was not planning to have him take tests, or even do all the labs. Mainly his grade would come from “completing assignments”, which would be reading and answering the chapter questions, either orally or in writing, or just narrating. I did not consider there would be “formulas” to work out, eeeek. I will not make him do that either. I only chose the BJU because it was given to me, I am not looking for tough, advanced, or rigorous.  We are looking at a local JC after high school, I just want him to be familiar with the same things other high school students know.  Freaking out now. I appreciate your honesty Paula. Do you think a basically average, unmotivated student could handle it if we did it bare bones. Honestly I don’t even really care if we get through the whole book, I just want the exposure and experience with a textbook.

    Paula Spicer

    Don’t worry!!  You can do this, I didn’t mean to scare you 🙂

    I think yes, if you’re doing a brief overview and mainly discussing the topics, it is doable.  The labs can be found on youtube also.  Not saying youtube is better, just saying it can be another tool to help.

    From what I remember, the formulas are easy to figure out, and I think I did let my daughter use her formulas on any tests that she took.  Also check out Khans.  We used it a couple times to explain things more thoroughly and it’s free.

    And saying all that in my other post, I should have explained my child.  She does not care about anything other than literature readings.  She has an “I don’t care” attitude with math and science.  So for us, it was difficult.  Others breeze right through it.  I also spoiled my kids by holding their hands when young, so now they expect me to help them with everything and I’m trying to cut the cord, a little anyways.

    And to be completely honest, I didn’t remember anything from physical science while in college, and completed chemistry and physics with no problems.

    Just take the chapters slow and you’ll be fine



    You can totally do this!

    A Delectable Education podcast might be a good place to start. Charlotte Mason had very different methods that don’t involve worksheets, which would probably appeal to your son (and you!)! I highly recommend 🙂


    Just a note in case you need to stick with BJU this year for financial reasons. You can still utilize narration, oral and written, to help solidify concepts in a paragraph by paragraph way. It may not be the ideal CM resource, but it can be a way to learn how to deal with a textbook for future reference. It can be used to learn note taking and study skills as the focus versus the more CM style living books situation, which can at times be draining as far as sourcing books etc. you’ve already got the text and can find additional  video helps on YouTube/Kahn Academy (or, library books on confusing topics if necessary).  Texts don’t have to be ditched. You can always choose a more CM style way to learn the next year’s science.

    Our eldest son used a BJU text only to study biology years ago. I got it from Laurie Bluedorn (Teaching the Trivium) who had used it with all of her children to teach them outlining skills while studying the subject. She’s always been a supporter of CM methods, but found it important to introduce textbook awareness, study skills and outlining at this age. Worked well for our son. Yes, tough, but worth the effort. It’s good to do hard things from time to time. Just find a way to tweak it from a different angle than the originally intended textbook approach (read; answer questions).

    Oral narration and the written outline/narration will build the  understanding over time. It may be a little less interesting than a living book, but it’s a challenge that can still prove narration as an exceptional way to “test” for comprehension.



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