Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Afraid of High School Science?

For years, one of the biggest concerns about homeschooling high school I’ve heard is, “But how will you teach science without a lab?” The assumption seems to be that a homeschool just cannot compete with a traditional school in this area and that homeschool students will miss out. Honestly, that has NEVER concerned me. Sure, it would cost hundreds of dollars to replicate a high school lab. However, the homeschooler can create a great lab experience with household items and a few purchased specialty items.

Last year, when Emily studied biology,  I taught a lab group once a week using Apologia Exploring Creation with Biology. We did dissection, hands-on activities to learn about cells, extracted DNA from peas, and much more. We also added a 2 month long fruit fly genetics project, which allowed the students to cross different types of fruit flies, make predictions about the offspring, and compare the results to their predictions. The yearly cost was $40 per student for supplies.

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This year, we’ll be tackling chemistry. I’m choosing to use The Spectrum Chemistry from Beginnings Publishing, specifically because of their intensive lab content. It will be more expensive, about $80 a student (sharing the cost between 2-3 students), because I’m purchasing the ready to use lab kit that includes absolutely everything we need. It contains 5 times as many labs as most high school chemistry courses!  I’m looking forward to a really fun and easy-to-plan chemistry course!

Are you a mom who doesn’t want the trouble or mess of a lab in your own home? You still have options. You might be able to find another mom who’s willing to teach a lab group or maybe you belong to a homeschool co-op that has science courses. Landry Academy offers 2-day lab intensives in cities all over the US for physical science, biology, and chemistry. These look like a great experience and I plan to have Emily take a biology lab and a chemistry lab next spring even though we do so much hands-on science already. Many online schools (including Landry) offer science courses that include both virtual labs and labs you will do under online guidance in your home.

There are plenty of science courses designed for homeschoolers that don’t require the parent to teach the course. Apologia texts are written to the student and are easy to use. Fascinating Education science courses offer an online, graphic-heavy format. Supercharged Science is very hands-on and fun. Those are just some of the courses we’ve used; there are many more. Science is not something a homeschool parent should worry about teaching!

Read more about teaching science, math, and history on these blogs:

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