Whether your student has his sights set on college or not, high school graduation still requires a couple of science classes. At least two full credits (more for college bound kids) need to be included from Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry, or Physics. And these need to include labs….ACK! There goes the kitchen!
Actually, there are many, many great resources available for safely homeschooling these subjects. Some are so good you don’t need to be familiar with the subject material at all. They are designed to be complete and will allow your student to complete the work independently. Because science is easily quantified, grading is pretty straight forward as well.
The most commonly followed high school science track is Physical Science in 9th grade, Biology in 10th, Chemistry in 11th, and Physics in 12th. However, there is no hard and fast rule on this. My kids start this track in 8th grade – receiving high school credit because it is high school level work. If your student only needs two sciences, pick the two they are most interested in and enjoy. If you have a more scientifically minded student you can do more. There are even some resources for doing AP level science courses at home.
Here’s a quick list of some of my favorite science resources.
Apologia Educational Ministries is the current gold standard for homeschool science curriculum. It is taught from a Christian, creation perspective. They have courses in General Science, Physical Science, Biology, Marine Biology, Advanced (AP) Biology, Chemistry, Advanced (AP Chemistry), Physics, and Advanced (AP) Physics. They also offer necessary lab supplies.
Digital Video Interactive Education
CD-ROMS that provide college preparatory, interactive video lectures and labs that teach physical science, biology, chemistry, and physics. Can stand-alone or be used in conjunction with Apologia Science.
A two-year General Science and Biology curriculum. Approach is conversational and engaging and experiments reasonable. All necessary supplies are included in the lab kits you purchase. They have separated their lab kits into durable and consumable categories. The durable kit only needs to be purchased once – as the items are re-useable for multiple students. The consumable kits are just that… the stuff you consume during the course of the labs and will have to replace for the next student.
The Spectrum Chemistry
High School Chemistry in the same engaging style.
I have not actually used this curriculum, but have heard good things about it. It is written by homeschoolers for homeschoolers. It is possible to purchase a DVD that includes step-by-step video presentation of all 19 labs and expected results. You can choose to do the experiments along with the DVD, or just use the DVD alone for the lab portion of the class. They have courses in Life Science and Biology.
High School Level-Chemistry, 2nd Edition
DVD Lecture Course taught by Frank Cardulla
Available from The Teaching Company
OUTSTANDING basic Chemistry course. We used the first edition to supplement Apologia Chemistry. Many of the concepts that were confusing in the textbooks were made crystal clear through this course. The new edition has 36 – half hour lectures, and a workbook with over 400 questions (solutions included).
By William Gurstelle
A little paperback book of 13 awesome ballistic devices that can be built in your garage or basement workshop using inexpensive household or hardware store materials. Clear instructions and illustrations. GREAT physics supplement.
And now, in an effort to save your kitchen, here are a couple of alternatives to the standard Biology and Chemistry lab kits.
Froguts– Virtual Dissection Labs
For $30/year you can virtually dissect 8 different specimens. Complete lessons with quizzes. FANTASTIC resource! All the benefit of dissection without the ‘gross’ factor.
Virtlab – A Virtual Laboratory
“Virtlab is a virtual laboratory that provides:
A visual aid for your lectures.
Student homework that is fun, motivating, and insight building.
A supplement to laboratory exercises.
Opportunities for independent exploration for your highly motivated students.
Opportunities for thoughtful visualization for your struggling students”
As with all high school level work, you need to keep a record of what your student is doing. Stay organized and keep all completed and graded work together in one place. And my personal favorite - try taking pictures or video of experiments. It is additional proof of the work, provides great feedback to the student on more complex experiments and projects, and can turn out to be funny and memorable to boot.
Hey! Maybe we should have a science experiment video contest…what do you think?
You can leave your thoughts, comments or suggestions here on my feedback page. Thanks!