My 14yo son has been working through Apologia Biology this year and looking forward to a 2-day Landry Academy intensive to cover all of his lab work. Since the program has suddenly closed I would appreciate suggestions as to what to do now. He is 14, the oldest of 6 kids, so things are challenging enough without adding dissection to the schedule. Please help! Oh–and he is not super into it/planning to go into medicine or anything, just need to satisfy the requirement and possibly enjoy it in the process. Thanks.
I’ll be honest, kids change their minds, so I would do the labs. I have 9 kids and oldest just finished labs this fall. A lot of the biology labs are actually looking at slides through a microscope, has he been doing that through the year? But yes, there are those pesky dissections to do. If you absolutely don’t want to do the dissections you can find dissections online to watch. But you can’t really give a lab credit if you don’t do the labs. It would stink to find out in his 12th grade year that wherever he wants to go to school is looking for lab sciences, not just reading for science.
<p style=”text-align: left;”>Thank you, Tristan! I appreciate your thoughts here. No, he has not done anything beyond the book and watching some of the recorded classes for the modules he found difficult. Since I heard that the intensive would cover everything hands-on I was relieved not to need to buy a bunch of stuff but if it’s worth it to do it, we will. I don’t mind having him doing dissecting, etc., at home; I just thought it would be convenient to send him elsewhere and probably more fun to be under the guidance of someone with a passion for it. Did your oldest find them hard to do? Did you have to help her a lot? He has to do a lot of self-educating with science as it is hard for me to keep on top of everything. I could see the other kids wanting to get in on the action, though–especially the 12yo who recently skinned a squirrel.</p>
P.S. I am noticing that the SCM sample schedule for 9th grade only has science down for 3 times/week. Did your child do science that infrequently or every day?
Makayla did science daily usually. Her goal was to finish a module every 2 weeks. It didn’t always happen, but that was the plan.
The intensive would have been great!
We got our dissection kit from Home Science Tools. All the dissections are well detailed with pictures in the biology textbook except the frog (which they suggest the kids do on their own as an exploration). Our kit from HST came with a frog dissection guide and she used it.
The siblings LOVED watching. And were not allowed to help, but were told they could do biology when they reach high school. Younger ones got seatbelted in booster seats at the table if they wanted to watch so they couldn’t get underfoot.
Thank you so much for this great advice. I am very pleased to hear that it may be something we can tackle at home. 🙂
I respectfully disagree that if you watch labs vs. perform them that it doesn’t count as labs. We used a program with video labs and my son followed along and filled out a lab report. In small Christian schools years ago, students watched the teacher do labs because it was too expensive, and they did not have a place to put a full laboratory.
That said, we are doing science labs with one other family. It is working well.
Forgot to add that with my current highschooler (other son) we are doing labs. Hope this makes more sense.SueParticipant
Here in NE Ohio, we have a couple of homeschool co-ops that offer either dissection classes or full-on labs with microscope work and anything else needed. (One is offered through a homeschool fine arts school….they look upon science as a work of Creation, hence, it is a creative art.)
You might want to ask around to see if there is one near you that would work. Some of these classes near us don’t require you to “join” the co-op and some do. Or, perhaps there is a private school or public school near you that would allow you to enroll him only in the lab classes.
I also knew a homeschooling parent in years past who loved doing dissections, and she offered to let us send our girls over to her house once a week to do a couple of labs at a time. She already had the microscope and other supplies, so we would have only needed to pay for the specimins and any other consumables. I would ask around, even outside of homeschool circles. Perhaps you will find a science tutor who would do labs with your son at a reasonable price.
retrofam – It’s ok with me if you disagree. However, just because a public school had kids watch the teacher do labs doesn’t mean it’s an effective way for the students to truly learn. Can we learn from watching? Sure. But we have no actual experience (hands on, sensory input, soaked into our body and brain).
I do not believe it is honest to say a child did biology with a lab if they don’t actually do the lab work. In college if you are taking a science course with a lab then some days you do book work and other days you go to the lab to do the hands on learning of lab work. So when you tell a college your child did a science course with a lab that is what they understand lab work to be – actual, hands on experience doing the work of being a scientist. If they don’t actually do the hands on lab work then I would not call their work ‘biology with lab’, but just biology. If you don’t want to do the lab work that is okay, it’s you’re child and you are the teacher – but be honest about what work your child has done when representing that class to a college or other place asking about the work they did in high school.
Maybe I’m way off? And really, it only matters for my own family. For other families they can and should do what they feel is right.
In the past I used a Christian curriculum that said that watching the labs and doing the lab reports counted as labs. I didn’t knowingly lie to a university. My son did not go to a university. If he goes to college later, it will be a community college, where he can fill any holes I unintentionally left.
I must address the notion that my son is a non science, poorly educated man due to my inferior curriculum choice. He is the one that people come to when they need answers, be it science or otherwise. A high school science lab is not the best or only way to learn. It is only the best if your child is training to be a lab scientist or science teacher. My son was not. I know that you weren’t saying that my son is stupid, you were trying to make a strong case for lab science and college prep science for all.
I am not anti-lab. My other children will do hands on labs.
I heard about using fresh fish as specimens for biology lab and cooking them for dinner. Does anyone have the link? It was a science teacher who switched to this instead of the waste of animals sold in kits.
I also wanted to challenge us all to think about the many ways that students gets a supplement to lab science as homeschoolers. My daughter makes essential oil mixes (chemistry), as well as lots of chemistry in cooking. My son who didn’t do labs can skin a squirrel and identify the parts. He has had many other experiences working with farm animals and hunting. My point is that real life science is beneficial too.Karen SmithModerator
If you don’t mind taking a bit longer to finish the biology book, schedule the labs for their own day. You can usually finish a module in about 2 1/2 weeks by doing this. I always had my children read the portion I assigned them. If there was a lab(s) in that reading, they would do the lab(s) the next day. The following day they would continue reading. You could also have your son read some of the text each day, Monday through Thursday, then do any labs from that week’s reading on Friday. If there are no labs that week he would simply continue reading.
Giving the lab its own day helps to keep the day from getting too long from all the prep work, actual experiment/dissection time, and cleanup.
As far as the sample schedule you found is concerned, that is one way that you could schedule science. I recommend that if you follow that schedule that your child spends more time on science for those three days. If you want to spread out the readings a bit and shorten the amount of time spent on science each day, then have your student do science five days each week.Melanie32Participant
I’ve read lots of threads about highschool science labs on the Well Trained Mind forums. The consensus seems to be that they are not nearly as important as people make them out to be. There are also websites linked that offer alternative biology labs that don’t include microscope work or dissections. I encourage you to do a search there and see what you think.
A good microscope is very expensive and I would argue that labs done with an inferior instrument aren’t doing our students any favors. I would much rather have my daughter study pictures that have been taken of images from high quality microscopes.
We are doing Apologia Biology this year and we aren’t doing microscope work or dissections. We are doing the other types of experiments along with other biology labs found online and virtual labs.
I will have no problem whatsoever giving my daughter lab credit for this year.
Many, many public schools are not able to provide quality science labs due to lack of funds. They offer lab credit for something as simple as 2 or 3 experiments and their students are still able to go on to college.
That said, I did do dissections with my son when he went through the same course. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. If you think dissections are important, just set aside a day and do them. The specimens have had all body fluids removed so it’s not nearly as gross as you think it might be. The formaldehyde is strong so I recommend doing them outdoors. We ordered an inexpensive kit from Home Science Tools. They include everything you need for the dissections, including instructions for each specimen.
Thanks, Melanie! I will look for links.
I don’t think they use formaldehyde anymore. They finally figured out that it’s toxic.Karen SmithModerator
The way they preserve dissection specimens today is much better than when I was in high school and college. Back then, you had to “fish” your specimen out of a bucket of formaldehyde. ? Now they come sealed in a plastic bag.
As for science classes in high school and college, at the public high school I attended labs were done on days without a lecture/discussion, other than instructions for the lab. In college, labs were scheduled basically as another class, separate from classroom lectures. The actual science class would meet three to five times per week with a lab class once or twice per week, depending on the science course being studied. Both classes were required to complete the course.
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