High School Science is one of those things I remember fondly but have not looked forward to teaching with my own children. This is when things really start to matter. What if I don’t know enough? What if I have not prepared my children and they fail? What if it is too hard and they fail? What if I have completely messed them up by thinking I could do this? Well, my fears are thus far unfounded. With good curriculum, I do not have to know it all. With me to guide them, I can help when I can and find better help when I cannot. Because I am the teacher, if a child really is not ready, we can set it aside and work on getting ready. I am starting to see we really can do this homeschool high school thing. We have been using science curricula from Apologia Educational Ministries for years, so it seems obvious to continue with them into high school. My daughter with veterinarian aspirations is working through the Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set, plus the audio CD So far, it is going really well.
She has been utilizing not only the main text book and Solutions and Tests but the audio CDs and student notebook as well. The student notebook is not technically required. With the “On Your Own” questions all in one place (they are in the text, sprinkled throughout the module), an optional summary to help reinforce what is covered, and plenty of space for taking notes for each module, we have found it essential. There are pages with information for parents, grading information and charts as well as a schedule to help keep your learner on track. These portions are together in the front by module. The last third of the student notebook is a Lab Notebook. This too is arranged by module. We really appreciate not needing to keep track of too many pages had we created our own notebooks for each area.
There are 16 modules spread over 33 weeks. This allows for a little flexibility, though the aim is to complete a module every two weeks. The schedule is for a five day week, assuming around an hour spent each day. We don’t typically “do” school five days of the week, so this will take some adjustment. We also are used to doing science as one of our “together” subjects, but things change when you reach high school. There is more independent work and the lessons take longer than those for younger students. Thus far, my daughter is handling everything really well. The curriculum is set up well to guide the student in independent learning – I love that!
One of the ways in which my daughter has been moving through the textbook is to listen to the audio book on her iPod while reading along in the text. She doesn’t get hung up on the larger words and their pronunciations, relying on the audio. She can also playback a section she has already read for further reinforcement. Nothing like washing dishes while listening to a section on cells.
The text book has visual cues that point to important information. New words or phrases are defined and shown on their own line in blue, standing out from the text. As mentioned, the “On Your Own” questions are sprinkled throughout the module, in a light green box. Also in green, “dive in”, “think about this”, and “creation connection”. For my daughter that is smart, but sometimes struggles to really learn things, this multi-sensory approach has been a great fit.
And, going along with multi-sensory, the hands-on component, the labs, are essential to any high school science curriculum. The labs fall into three types. There are some involving prepared microscope slides. There are others that are dissections. These sets both can be purchased directly from Apologia or your favorite homeschool science resource provider. The third type are the easiest, those involving household goods. She has been doing these as she comes to them. We will be purchasing the slides and dissection kits, but I wanted to be sure she was interested in continuing this beyond our review period.
One aspect of this course that has been new to my daughter is doing tests. Throughout the younger years, our learning is done mostly all together and to mastery. Tests have not been needed to evaluate what has been learned or how well the topic is known. That all changes when your learner reaches high school and is working independently. The solutions and tests set is two books, one that is the tests for each module, plus quarterly and semester tests. The solutions book has solutions for the questions throughout the modules as well as the study guide and tests. I grade these things and her labwork, but otherwise, she is doing this all on her own. We both couldn’t be happier. We are so thankful to Apologia for making this daunting task so much easier!
To read more reviews, simply click the image below to check out other Crew reviewers’ experiences.