Topic | High School Science

This topic contains 45 replies, has 20 voices, and was last updated by  smartypants 5 years, 4 months ago.

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  • nelsonmom

    I have looked at the SCM suggestions for high school Biology and Chemistry. My daughter is not very interested in science and doesn’t like the Apologia materials.

    We are considering Westfield Studios Biology 101 and Chemistry 101 along with the study guide. The study guide looks like it follow the Charlotte Mason method.

    I would appreciate your comments


    Queen Homeschool has some science curriculums that are CM. I have not used them, but they look good.



    Is your daughter planning on going to college?


    She is planning to go to cosmetology school to learn hairstyling.

    The science requirement for the course is 11th grade Science.


    If they expect a lab science course (typically most high schoolers complete two lab science courses, three if headed to college) then you’ll want a lab component. 

    That is exactly the plan we have for our daughter who is going to be 8th grade next year. For high school, we will be doing the 101 series. Until then and beyond if we don’t finish them, we are going through the rest of the God’s Design series from AiG and then the Explore Series….World of….etc.

    That’s our plan as we’re not big fans of Apologia for high school. Our oldest used Apologia and it is thorough but a little drier for our taste. We like the learning style of the l01 series because it seems a little more fun and more likely to “stick”, if that makes sense.

    Anyway, just had to chime in to let you know our plan was for the same! 🙂



    Thanks, Tammy. We have used Apologia Science for our older daughters, too. They were suitable for their courses of study, their personalities, and their future plans.

    I also like the “101 Series” method of presenting the material and agree that it might be more fun and easier to remember.

    Thanks everyone for your helpful comments. More are welcome.

    Karen Smith

    I recently watched the Biology 101 videos and took the time to read through the study guide and accreditation booklet to see how they compared to a typical high school biology course.

    A typical high school biology course will cover such topics as cell biology, cell division, very basic genetics, single-celled organisms, invertebrates, vertebrates, and plants. Lessons on invertebrates and vertebrates will include information on the different systems of the body and the general habits of organisms in each group. Usually a few specific organisms will be used to represent the group. For instance, earthworms are usually used to relate information about one type of invertebrate. Lessons on plants will include photosynthesis, absorption and transportation of water, growth, and reproduction.

    Biology 101 touched on many of the same topics but did not go into any detail. For instance, a typical biology course will cover fungi by relating information on how they reproduce, how they grow, and what they do. Biology 101 mentions fungi by naming some different types of fungi. There is no information on how they grow or reproduce. Though other topics contain a bit more detail than fungi in Biology 101, most information given is only surface information and is not in-depth enough to be considered high school level.

    When compared to the scope of topics covered in a couple other popular homeschool biology courses, Biology 101 covered only a fraction of the contents.

    Biology 101 comes with a study guide and an accreditation booklet. The study guide does provide some additional information that is not given on the videos, but still doesn’t give the in-depth information that is needed to make this a high school level course. The accreditation booklet gives ideas for activities to do and tells you how much time to count towards a high school credit. It does not tell you which other books to read or what other videos to watch.

    A few of the activities were good, but many were quite a stretch for the number of hours you would record for credit. Some examples:

    • Go fishing, catch a fish, and identify its external parts. The whole three hours for fishing is counted for credit.
    • Go out to lunch or dinner and classify the items on the restaurant table. The whole two hours for the meal is counted for credit.
    • Identify 10 plants in your yard. This is considered two hours of lab work.

    There was also some unintentional misinformation given in the videos. Some people might consider these minor, but details like these are important because they could be misunderstood. A few examples:

    • Skunks, raccoons, and bears are labeled as carnivores, but they are omnivores.
    • When covering metamorphosis, a picture of a monarch caterpillar is shown, then a picture of a monarch chrysalis, but the butterfly shown is not a monarch. They are never labeled as monarch, but the sequence somewhat implies it.
    • When covering birds, the host mentions American goldfinches but shows a picture of a bird that is not an American goldfinch.

    In summary, I found the videos suitable for the whole family to watch, or as supplements to other material, but they were a bit lacking in detail to be considered high school material.

    I hope this is helpful as you decide what to use for science.

    By the way, I have not yet examined the Chemistry 101 materials but hope to soon.


    I will be using the Biology 101 dvds for my dd in the fall for her high school Biology course. The dvd’s are only about 4.5 hours total and include a guidebook and quizzes after each section, I think 7 quizzes total. I am using the dvds not as the entire biology course itself but as an outline to build a course and a full credit as the dvds suggest. I will be adding living books, excerpts from textbooks, videos, online resources, easy home labs and some virtual labs. My dd had done Apologia General and Physical Science for jr. high and was bored out of her mind. She did well in the courses but she needed some time away from the textbooks. The Biology dvd’s are wonderful, very well done, imo, a visual textbook so to speak. I think they make a great framework for a Biology course and believe most people use them as such going into more depth on topics of their own choosing.  Biology 101 may not be a full course in itself or an open and go type curriculum but I believe it is a great option for those who want a gentler biology, a way out of texbooks, or siimply prefer to build their own curriculum with materials of their own choosing.


    Ok so the topic was high school science and I am hearing a lot of Jr High ideas – 7th-general and 8th-physical.

    Then I am hearing you need two labs for science and correct me if I am wrong 2 credits for most high schools.

    That said what are you doing then in the 9-12th grade for your 2 labbed sciences? I am guessing biology is one, what is the others?

    Thanks.. I am also wondering about other thoughts on science than Aplogia.. that’s what we are using and we are doing fine with it. My kids don’t complain and seem ok with it. I really should just not ask because then I will start to question my long term thoughts but what else are you suggesting other than 101bio?



    I mentioned General and Physical science as courses my dd completed in jr. high. She will be doing Biology and Chemistry in high school. I have not decided on what we will be using for her chemistry course the following year, but she will be doing what I posted above as a high school Biology course, full credit, using high school level material and a lab. I believe the Queen’s materials suggested are also considered high school level.  I don’t know if that answered any of your questions?

    If your doing fine with Apologia then I see no reason why you should not continue using it. However, there are LOTS of options out there. I believe SCM also has Sheperd’s Biology listed? I believe Real Science-4-kids is also offering high school level courses now, or if not, will be soon? I mention Real Science because it is not a textbook science course and I have considered them. Living books are used with the curriculum.


    eta: Looks like the high school level courses from Real Science-4-kids are not available yet.


    I am sorry, It is Noeo science that includes the living books in their curriculum, not Real Science-4-kids. And, Noeo does not offer high school level courses. I have looked at a lot of science programs for my kids over the years and they are all beginning to run together.


    Thank you, Karen for the review of Biology 101.  Very Helpful.

    blue j

    We have just finished our year with Bio 101.  I did make it into a lab science by including experiments, in-depth study of various plants & animals.  I have Apologia Bio here from the other 3 who used it, but referred to it for the experiments or as a guide to finding experiments for our specific needs as I searched the internet for what I was after, if that makes sense.  I had my child do diagramming and labeling of various systems, make a collection with scientific labels of the various life forms covered in the program, and dissection of various things including a cows heart – I included virtual dissection for some things as well. 

    One of L’s favorite activities was when I had her and her sister do a soap carving to show the various layers and parts of the skin.  They turned out awesome, and L then narrated using the soap, explaining what each part was and what it’s function was as she pointed them out on her soap carving.  Even younger sister did well with that. 🙂

    In regard to Karen’s review – the places where they made a mistake on the video, they did correct it in the accompanying Study Guide – though I think there may have been one thing that the girls discovered for themselves in the work we did… but I can’t remember what it was.  I know the omnivores was corrected in the guide… it may have been that one of the girls pointed out the issue with the Monarch part, but I honestly don’t remember.

    At any rate, my dd who is a “show me” kind of girl really like the Bio 101 approach.  As long as you are willing to add what you need to make this a lab-type course, you can use it to fulfill a high school credit – or you can use it to supplement what you are already using.  Either way, I highly recommend it.



    We have been doing the chem 101 this year as a family with extensions for the older 2 who dont plan on science degrees. It will count as a lab science for them as we are doing other experiments along with those in the guide and reading living books on various scientists, the periodic table, etc. We have lots of science reference books due my husband’s biology/chemistry degree.

    I do think we will beef the biology 101 course up more with some of the highschool/college level coloring books. Our family butchers (with detailed commentary and demonstration by DH as to organs, tissues, etc.), gardens, and studies insects, wildflowers, and animals in such detail that I feel they already have the lab requirement fulfilled for biology. 🙂

    You might also check for various experiments on YouTube and other Internet sources to watch and take notes. Years ago, BJU had a video of several experiments that would help in this situation.



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