I got a question on Facebook about science writing the other day and I wanted to share it with you in case you have the same question.
Lee, I've been getting mixed answers and am hoping you can join in. Should high school science papers be written in active or passive voice? Thanks!
Here's the short answer - high school science papers aren't necessary! Having said that, "lab reports" are helpful and useful! The goal for a lab report is for your child to write one paragraph about what they did. A graph, chart, or drawing demonstrating the experiment can be included with the paragraph. Because, as you may know, if they can draw it, they can explain it! The bottom line is that voice in science writing can be either active or passive.
For our science lab notebook, we used a cheap spiral-bound notebook from back-to-school sales. You could also use printer paper or regular notebook paper, because the lab notebook doesn't have to be a notebook at all. The science lab notebook is for kids to record what they did and what they learned during the science lab.
After reading the instructions from the Apologia textbook, I had my children draw a picture or graph with a paragraph description of what they did. The picture had to be in color, and it had to be a paragraph, not a sentence. After heavy negotiations, I finally told them a paragraph meant more than three sentences. I gave them a grade for the lab report based on how pleased or annoyed I felt when I saw it! After taking biology, chemistry, and physics at home using this lab write-up philosophy, my children were well prepared for college science labs.
I hope this helps put you at ease about writing for science. There is plenty to stress out over in your homeschool, but this isn't one of those areas!
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Do the kids have to have Physics or could they take Advanced Chemistry instead? My daughter doesn't have any desire at all to take Physics and would rather take Advanced Chemistry instead. She is planning on going to college for Pre-Law so I didn't see any problem with that, but wasn't sure what colleges expect. Should I call her top 4 choices for school before getting her book to get her going on it?
~ Anita in IN
My 14 year old will be participating in the First Lego League in which he will 1) Build and program a small robot to accomplish challenges and 2) investigate a research topic then prepare a presentation. Both activities culminate in a competition with other teams at a regional tournament. This is to build science, engineering and technology skills.
My question is what exact subjects do I categorize this into: obviously science, but which science exactly and since he will be researching and speaking, would it be considered English or Social Studies as well? And how will this look on his transcript?
Thank you for your help.
~Esther in Washington
I am worried about math for my 10th grade son. He has struggled in math for years. Due to some research about dyslexia in my younger son, I stumbled upon something called dyscalculia. I am wondering if my 10th grader has this and how it will affect his chances at getting into a college. My question is, do they really need algebra and geometry to graduate?
Thank you for your help,
~ Michelle in Oregon
Thank you very much for sharing so much with the rest of us homeschoolers! I have a question regarding carelessness. Using math as an example, my 12 yr. old son is working out of Saxon Algebra 1 currently and is understanding everything very well but gets a few wrong (2-4 on average, occasionally up to 6) due almost always to carelessness. He will work the incorrect ones over again and get them correct and truly understands what he did wrong. However, I have decided to cut him back to working only half a lesson in the hopes that he will take his time and strive for 100 percent and if he does not score a 90 percent or higher then he has to re-do the half-lesson over again until he achieves this. What are your thoughts on this?? He is definitely heading in the direction of engineering and I know how important it is for him to be careful.
Thank you for your thoughts,
We recently watched your Preparing to Homeschool High School videos in our homeschool group. They were great! I have a question about Saxon Math. My 10th grader is taking Advanced Math and has already completed Algebra 1 and 2. Do you have an opinion about Saxon and the way geometry is included? Would you suggest another route? My eighth grader has completed Algebra 1 and now in 2. I have 4 others coming along after these two so I'm wondering if this is the best route.
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I just read your special report and think it was very well done. Lots of great tips for saving money and giving parents confidence to strike out on their own a bit more. I was surprised to see that you suggested skipping Biology or doing it with media applications (online or video) instead of hands-on. In Arizona, the state universities are very particular about the high school sciences being first-hand LAB courses. This is something that I have stressed with my contacts and in my workshops--not just Biology, but any high school science needs to be documented actual lab work. Tell me what you have encountered that puts a lighter emphasis on the labs. Is this more a state-by-state emphasis or is there more of a trend toward "softer" science coursework? Keep up the good work. You are doing many of the things that I dream of doing and can't make happen all by myself.
~Holly in Arizona
"The NRC report committee concluded that there exists no commonly agreed upon definition of laboratories in high schools amongst researchers and educators."
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