My points were not aimed at any one person or program, but just to reiterate to parents not to assume that just because something is marketed as high school, that does not mean it necessarily covers what a student may need to know in the future; to not be afraid of the “hard parts” of science, even if your student thinks he may not need it; and to DOCUMENT what you do so that when you do meet that adcom that wants to know how you pulled off a high school level lab science course with no texts, you can smile and hand over a nice portfolio showcasing your student’s work and say “Here!”.
So, Bookworm, do you have recommendations for high school science. This is the one subject that I just can’t decide on.
Well, I have to admit that we have used the Dreaded Apologia. Science in the upper levels is just fact-dense. It’s just the way it is. You can try to add in living books and materials, but I just really don’t see any living books that I’ve ever seen that can teach you how to calculate how many moles of something are in your beaker at the end of your experiment. Kids may not like it, but I really don’t see a way around having something like a textbook involved for true high school level work. You can use supplements and try to make the material interesting and dress it up and entice and use lots of hands-on, but the very bottom line is that there is just a way of thinking, a very specific and large set of vocabulary, and how to use math to find things out, and that is JUST THE WAY IT IS. I have not found Apologia to be so horrible, actually. I can’t say any of us read it for bedtime stories, but that’s because it’s a specific tool to get somewhere we need to go. I totally prefer living books. We use them almost exclusively up to the teen years. But students aren’t always going to get all their information all their lives in living books. I think you are verging on doing a student a serious disservice if you use ONLY living materials, only “easier” materials, go to great lengths to keep your child from being frustrated–and then send them to college where ALL the science books are textbooks and they can’t cope because they’ve never used a text and never learned how to get what you need to know from a fact-dense text. Or suddenly need to read and write tons of sales reports. The world hasn’t gone Charlotte Mason and I think high school is a perfect time to “practice” with texts, even though we may not love them, in preparation for life. Reading and getting info from texts is a life skill, and a valuable one. We don’t want to give lots of dry texts to a six year old to crush his love of learning, but at some point, we have to learn how to read and use “boring.” Just the facts.
And for the person asking about Connect the Thoughts. I have a couple of modules that we’ve used for various things. They are interesting and well done. I have no hesitation recommending them for middle school. But they have very little math!!!!!!!! They say this is for a reason. But physics without math, chemistry without math, is just stories. You aren’t going to get very far!!! I wouldn’t use them for a sole curriculum but the information and experiments and activities might make a good supplement to a text with math. They (rather flippantly) say they leave math to the math curriculum, but college won’t! They are going to expect your kid to be able to USE math to figure out the velocity of that cannon ball, or the amount of a chemical left after a titration, and IMO this is just not intuitive enough for most people to say “Oh, yes, I’ll just use my algebra and trigonometry and calculus to do this.”
Bookworm- I really appreciate your words. It is food for thought. My oldest is in 4th grade, so I’m not there yet, but I am listening to all of this conversation, and thinking. One of my biggest goals as a homeschool teacher is that my children will not be held back from following their dreams because we didn’t do enough for school. Looking back at my own life, I didn’t know enough about myself or about real life during my high school years to make the right choice for a career. I think High School should be a time of preparation- pushing them as much as you can to learn all they can about all subjects so that when they are 20 years old or so, and have experienced a little more of life, and are beginning to fine their niche, the whole world and all of its opportunities will be available for them! I am a big believer in working hard when you are young. Intense study is the “job” of students. The harder they work when they are young, the greater the payoff will be!
I think one of the most valuable tools that a CM education has to offer is the whole idea of narration and the habit of attention. I think living books are wonderful, and very important, but learning to pay attention and tell back the details after one reading or hearing…THAT is invaluable!! I want my children to be so trained in narration and attention, that they will be able to sit in a boring college lecture and remember details at the end!!!
I dread Chemisty and Physics….because I really don’t like hard work. I’m not inferring that those who don’t do Apologia High School Science courses are shying away from hard work…I really don’t know what I am talking about because I haven’t experienced any of the mentioned courses personally. I’m just thinking about this whole conversation and myself and my tendencies. AND it is all making me think very much!! Thank you all for challenging me!!
I am thankful for all the encouragement to be careful and document science studies well during highschool. It makes so much sense to do so and I think it helps our children see just how much they’ve accomplished through even untraditional ways. This allows others to see that it can be done as well.
One thing I forgot to mention that I think really helps in the long run is to have your children study Latin and Greek roots during the elementary and junior high time frame. I like the English from the Roots Up flash cards for this type study. The Critical Thinking Company has a series called Word Roots that is also very helpful. Though workbook in fashion, we found these materials to be very helpful in developing vocabulary skills that can help further understanding in science and other subjects.
I hope all the suggestions that we share back and forth help each family find ways for their children to thrive.
I also read these threads with great interest because I did not take Chemistry or Physics in Hs – I took other college prep classes like biology 1 & 2, etc. (and yes, I still went to college and have a science leaning degree lol) but I am intimidated by my lack of knowledge, not so much the hard work. 😉
I know that I can and will be learning alongside my child which is exciting, but trying to pick the right curriculum when I don’t know enough to “KNOW” what we need is kind of scary. I am trying not to limit any of my dc, but I also don’t want them to be completetly turned off on higher science because of me, either.
Are there any other curriculums out there on par with Apologia that are doable with enough meat for college-bound kids? That perhaps come with videos? I think that if I have a visual teacher helping us we can do it and will be fine. Does Apologia have that? Also, in HS how much money is typically spent for your curriculum and labs?
The only other one I’ve tried is I do have a Saxon physics book.
A lot of the parents I know on other forums and lists use actual publisher texts, like those used in public high schools or colleges. I’ve never tried it, as getting one with an instructor’s manual can be beyond my means. And I didn’t want to tackle it without one.
I know of a LOT of online-type classes for sciences. You can always do those. They are not cheap, though. A typical year long class is probably going to run you $500. Again, I couldn’t afford that.
Apologia DOES have some help. There are video sets for Chemistry and Physics. They are $140 new.
Apologia Academy provides online classes for their courses. Also I think Potter’s School and some others use the Apologia texts.
Another option for physics is Kinetic Books. I’ve looked into and downloaded the samples but we haven’t tried it yet, since my boys like to have a physical book and that’s extra there. But the online lab looks really interesting! I’ve thought of just doing that. It might be good for a very visual learner–there are lots of animations and graphics.
Thinkwell is highly regarded though I’ve never tried it; they have AP Biology and AP Chemistry courses offered. They must be pretty thorough if they meet College Board AP requirements. They DO have a Physics but it is calculus-based, so your child would need to have completed college-level calculus to take it.
The most sensible course for us has been Apologia as a text–it is actually MUCH better written and much more accessible than comparable public-school texts. I KNOW it’s not as exciting as Treasure Island but it’s just the way it is. 🙂 Then we add more rigorous labs for college prep for Biology and Chemistry (through Quality Labs). Then we add in living books and biographies. Put it all together, shake, and I have a kid heading off to study physics in the fall on scholarship. 🙂
Sheraz– I hear you!! LOL!! I am definitely intimidated by my own lack of knowledge. 🙂 I know I will never be able to teach High School science without a lot of help!! I’m glad I’m not ready for High School yet! I’m still trying to figure out CM for elementary kids. I appreciate so much hearing and learning from those who have already worked through all of this. 🙂
Sheraz – Apologia has DVD’s for some of their high school science classes and they are coming out with additional ones. You would need to check with them to see what they have. We have used the ones produced by Red Wagon Tutorials for Physical Science and Biology and we have purchased them through Rainbow Resource. The one for biology is called “Honors Biology.”
If you are familiar with the DIVE math instructor, you might enjoy some of his resources for science, too.
Oh, I have friends who’ve used Khan Academy (free online). We haven’t used it as we only have Internet through the iPhone which isn’t conducive to course instruction. http://www.khanacademy.org/
We have used DIVE Physcial Science and DIVE Biology with the BJU textbooks. Dd16 is currently using Science Shepherd Biology.
The DIVE courses are challenging but doable. Dd is not far enough into the SS Biology to comment.
I am very appreciative of those of you who have been there, done that and will share your experiences with the rest of us. My oldest children went to REAL school for high school, so I haven’t taught the high school level science classes yet. I feel pretty confident about my ability to teach other things, but science is my weak area and I have a difficult time discerning what a quality, college-prep, science class looks like.
Thanks for your replies,
This Khan Academy looks really good. Good supplement for those of us going the 101 route or complete course maybe??
Those of you doing virtual labs and finding your own labs and matls for adding to the 101 series…where are you finding good material? Here’s one I found…but not sure how it stacks up, and I haven’t been very successful otherwise. http://www.lessonplansinc.com/biology_lesson_plans.php
If any of you have a plan in place that’s sharable or would like to work together to create one…I’m interested!
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