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    We are part of a co-op that has chosen to use Apologia for JH and HS science. We use God’s Design for Science or just fun science for grade school. Until this year, I’ve really enjoyed our co-op and the kids doing science there. But with Apologia Biology and General Science for my two oldest, I’m hating it and so are they.

    They have to do a module in two weeks and are expected to do vocabulary, on-your-own questions, study guides, lab reports and tests. It didn’t help that we got COVID right as the co-op was starting and that messed up classes and I didn’t actually knowing what was expected of the kids.

    I’ve talked to their teachers and they are fine with us not making up all the papers/tests we missed, but I still hate Apologia. I plan to make the kids stick with it for this year and then do something different next year. I’m so much more of a Guest Hollow sort of science person. But I do want my kids prepared for college. What do I do?




    It really depends on the kid. Do they want to be a STEM major? Are you thinking local school or pushing for MIT? Are you comfortable teaching upper level science or is it better to outsource?

    I only have 4 children but so far they all needed very different things from a science program.

    I have used Novare which is very thorough on science skills from conversions to complete lab reports with abstracts and citations.

    Conceptual Academy is great for my boy with dyslexia and ADD because the large number of shorter videos to explain concepts.


    Guest Hollow was useful for one child who had little interest in science but I wanted to have basic science literacy.

    Great Courses were used by my oldest to really increase variety of knowledge since Novare was very skills focused.

    One child also did a Potter’s School course and a Wilson Hill Course.

    So there are lots of options but it really depends on the student.


    We really did not care for Apologia either.  My kids do Abeka high school science with our coop.  I really like it and so do they.  They have a lot of questions to answer in writing each day, which they hate of course. But college will be like that anyway.  The reading is much more engaging and more to the point, I think, than Apologia. Abeka is young earth.  Novare is old earth.  If that makes a difference.


    At this point, my kids say they don’t want to go to college, but I feel responsible to at least get them college ready. 🙂

    Young earth does matter to me.  I realize the problem I’m having is that the co-op teachers are dictating what projects are done and I’m uncomfortable giving up my authority over my homeschool.

    Yesterday, I ended up talking to the Biology teacher. She’s agreeing to work more with me on what is expected of my son.

    I know the teachers are trying to be helpful, but they scheduled basically every day of the school year, including some holidays. The work load is so big that if I skip a holiday to do a family event, it’s overwhelming to catch back up.

    Do most co-ops work that way? I’m part of the leadership team at ours and this is the first year I’ve had this much dictated to me.


    Our co-op has some teachers that are pretty “rigorous” and some that are not. They do schedule homework most days, but not on holidays.  They follow our co-op school schedule.  Our teachers are pretty flexible with late work or modified assignments.  Our teachers give grades, but we can use our own grade/criteria instead and just take the teachers input under consideration.  They also will allow us to modify assignments if we are assigning our own grades.  Like oral answers to mom or not completing a particular project.  It’s really hard to work around another teachers schedule for sure.  In 10th grade my son took Bio at our co-op and we were on a 4 week road trip during the year.  The teacher allowed him to do his labs etc at home and turn work in late.  But honestly we never got caught up and just took the lower grade.


    I think to get through Apologia you have to work a lot. It is very wordy. I suppose if you did it on your own you could do it over two years. My eldest DS did Apologia Biology and we really disliked it. I think living books aren’t typically overviews of broad subject material but that is just my personal opinion.

    I have taught in a co-op and honestly it would be really difficult to teach a whole group with people all over the place but I can definitely see skipping projects.

    I assume you are the one who puts the grade on your child’s transcript so I’m not sure how she can force your child to do projects at home, if that is what you are talking about.

    As long as you are covering the needed material at the same time so they are getting something out of the class and making sure you do your part of projects that might be finished in class so as not to mess up the class period, I would think that would be fine.




    The idea is that if you are in a class, you are actually supposed to do the work. We had  an unschooling family in the co-op last year and one of the teachers got onto one of the students for not doing any homework and the parents were angry and the Co-op leadership agreed that the student should be doing the homework. Since I was in on that conversation as part of the leadership, I feel a lot of pressure to have the kids do all the assignments. JH and HS teachers are supposed to assign grades though parents do not have to use those grades. I expected the kids to have to read the texts, but not to be expected to do so much extra work. Experiments are done at school. I wouldn’t be assigning so many extra things like vocabulary pages, study guides, all the book’s questions and lab reports. I’d pick some. I think I’m just going to have the kids do the ones I want done. Last year, I was told that in one class, my kids were the only ones that did all of their assignments, so maybe I shouldn’t feel so pressured. 🙂

    But since I am part of the leadership team, I think I’m going to keep bringing up that no teachers should be assigning homework for days that are holidays. I just think that’s not ok!


    Yes, that makes it hard. I always want my kids to cover the material and respect the work the teacher puts into something but I don’t like a lot of busy work.  Of course, whether it is busy work or not depends on how much material the student already knows or if they pick up things fast from reading.

    I always assign things like, “look up any vocab word you can’t explain.”  I would probably do the same thing and just assign what I wanted.

    My kids are such rule followers that it would drive them nuts to not do what the teacher said but also be annoyed if it were an unreasonable amount.

    I do find unreasonable expectations followed by students simply not doing them and no consequences a homeschooling co-op/group issue. Public schools would be in trouble if they assigned stuff and then failed half the class. Public school teachers actually expect stuff turned in and on time.


    I tried a group discussion time last year. I thought it looked like an unreasonable amount of reading so I decided my son would do the literature but not the history readings so he was only reading half as much. When it was my turn to lead the discussions(parents each signed up to lead different discussions)  I discovered few of the 24? kids had actually finished what was assigned to them. My son was disappointed in the discussion because it is hard to have good discussions with people who haven’t read the material.


    So yes, I have seen this many times over my homeschooling career.


    Apologia texts are very full. There is a lot there. They are great for college prep, IMO, but for my non-science-loving kids, I don’t require all of the things. I use them like what you described above: read the text, do the On Your Own questions, and do some experiments, but especially for junior high, I don’t require any study guides or tests or other extras. That really takes the pressure off and makes the courses much more enjoyable and interesting.

    *If* my kids were going to university for science-related programs, I would certainly have them do it all, but since that isn’t the case here, it works very well to lighten it up.

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