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5 Reasons to Teach High School Science

5 Reasons to Teach High School Science

5 Reasons to Teach High School Science

Parents sometimes look to me to reassure them it’s OK not to teach science in high school. The bad news for them is, it really is important! The good news is, you can make it as painless and enjoyable as possible. There are five strong reasons to face the situation head-on, and teach science in high school.

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BRAND NEW book, Simple Science for Homeschooling High School

BRAND NEW book, Simple Science for Homeschooling High School

BRAND NEW book, Simple Science for Homeschooling High School

"Houston, we have a problem!" Homeschool parents often approach teaching high school science as if being asked to build the space shuttle. But teaching your kids science doesn't require a PhD. All it requires is a willing heart, an organized approach, and some simple facilitation skills. There is no reason for science to be scary.

You don't have to work at NASA to teach your teens effectively! And teaching High School Science isn't Rocket Science!  Just keep in mind the first principle of homeschooling high school: "You don't have to learn it. Your kids have to learn it."
Learn what to teach, why to teach it, and how to teach it with my NEW book!  And, the best part?  My Kindle version is FREE through 12/5/2015!

You will discover science curriculum options, and learn how to choose the one that will be best for your family (and save you money)! You will learn how to keep great science records to demonstrate your kids' learning effectively. Learn essential strategies to motivate your kids to succeed in science!

Understanding science is a requirement for every homeschool graduate. It isn't just essential for college, but for functioning in the world. The good news is, there have never been such great tools available to help you impart this critical knowledge to your teens. "Simple Science for Homeschooling High School" will reveal these tools and provide you the insights you need to put them to work in your family.

“Simple Science for Homeschooling High School” is part of The HomeScholar's Coffee Break Book series. Designed especially for parents who don’t want to spend hours and hours reading a 400-page book on homeschooling high school, each book combines Lee's practical and friendly approach with detailed, but easy-to-digest information, perfect to read over a cup of coffee at your favorite coffee shop!

Never overwhelming, always accessible and manageable, each book in the series will give parents the tools they need to tackle the tasks of homeschooling high school, one warm sip at a time.

Don't forget - you can get your copy for FREE this week!

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Science Options Outside the Box

Science Options Outside the Box

This post contains affiliate links. If you click and buy I make a few pennies, but not enough for a latte.

Your child has already taken biology and chemistry classes in your homeschool. What kind of science options outside the box can you come up with next? Unless your child has excelled in math, physics may not be a good option. High school physics is very math-based, and unless your child has completed pre-calculus, I don't recommend physics for science.

That leaves the rest of us. You know, the mere mortals who don't dream in algebraic notation. There are some fun science options that are true high school credits without all the math. Biology, chemistry and physics aren't all there is to a high school science experience! There is so much more to science than just the typical high school science classes. Consider these options:

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Homeschool Curriculum Ideas for Marine Biology

Homeschool Curriculum Ideas for Marine Biology

Science classes don't have to be restricted to biology, chemistry, and physics. Does your child have a fascination with the creatures of the sea? Why not let them study Marine Biology in your homeschool?

This post contains affiliate links. If you click and buy I may make a few pennies, but not enough for a latte.

Science is definitely important in high school. Let me teach you the 9 other critical courses to study before graduation in my free ebook. Click to download: The 10 Essentials for Homeschooling High School

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Recent Comments
Hi Cynthia, I would have suggested what Lee posted here, in addition to perhaps Easy Peasy. I'll send you an email too. I hope th... Read More
Thursday, 07 March 2019 23:10
Lee Binz
The reviews are very strong on that kit so I would think it is complete. It is always best to ask the publisher if you have any qu... Read More
Thursday, 23 May 2019 19:48
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The Road to Independent Learning: Homeschool Science

The Road to Independent Learning: Homeschool Science

The Road to Independent Learning: Homeschool Science

Independent learning is a process, and being able to work independently on biology usually comes along early in that process. I've seen children successfully learn biology on their own, my own two sons included. I am happy to share how we did it - just remember that every child and family is unique.

We used Apologia Biology. I had a list of assignments that told my children what pages to read or what lab or test to complete, that I prepared in advance during the summer months. It was in checklist format, so I could easily see if tasks were completed and checked off each day.

Our morning meeting included biology, as I described in, Homeschool Accountability – Try a “Morning Meeting. During that meeting, I went over their vocabulary words, and would sometimes ask them questions found in the textbook (not very often - I didn't have it all together every morning). I think going over the vocabulary in advance helped the most. That's a tip I read once about college success; if you know the vocabulary words you can pass most college tests. Then they were responsible for reading each chapter on their own.

The labs were a little different. I'm a nurse, and I love biology. I loved every dissection and every microscopy lab. Sometimes I had trouble giving the microscope to my children to use, but I don't believe I taught them anything. I was merely present in the room when they did their experiments. With biology labs, kids are either working with expensive microscope equipment or are wielding sharp dissection tools; not wanting them to get hurt, I was always in the room. They read the labs on their own and followed the directions, and I watched - usually while getting some laundry folded.

Once the experiment was complete, I would leave them alone to complete a lab write-up. I asked them for a paragraph explaining what they did and learned, as well as a drawing, graph or chart explaining the lab. At the end of the day I would look at their lab report to make sure they truly had written a paragraph (not just a sentence) and had included some sort of chart or drawing. If those were present and I understood from their lab report the purpose of the experiment and the result, then I gave them 100%.

When it was time for a test, I simply handed them the test, confiscated the solution manual, and walked away. I corrected the tests while they began working on their next subject. I gave them a grade, wrote it on a piece of notebook paper I kept in their binder, and then had them correct any wrong answers.

My children were beginning independent learning. They did all the reading and I didn't lecture (except about how expensive the microscope was). They did the experiments with an adult standing by. Perhaps I did try to teach them how fun and exciting biology is, because I remember I did a lot of squealing, but it didn't work.  Of all the sciences, they liked biology the least.

I know other successful homeschool mothers who take a much more hands-on approach. Dealing with learning challenges, they read the entire chapter, or carefully assist their children in following directions for labs. It's important to remember to do what works for YOUR family. Some parents may want to judge others and call this "spoon-feeding." I think it's important to remember that some students will learn and thrive with one-on-one tutoring because of challenges that others don't understand, so do what works for your student, regardless of what others say or think.

Over the four years of high school, I became less involved each year. I found that chemistry didn't require as much help, so we didn't include it in our morning meeting. The labs were rarely dangerous, so many times I would just peek in. With physics I felt completely overwhelmed and I didn't understand any of it.  They worked completely independently on physics! Learning to become independent is a process that has to start somewhere and then build. You will know what your own child is capable of!

Does your child work independently on science? Do you find a certain science easier for them to work independently on? Please share!

Please note: This post was originally published in July 2010 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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Is Physics a Required Subject?

Is Physics a Required Subject?
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

Is Physics a Required Subject?

All children do NOT need to take physics! I didn't take physics in high school, and I'm a registered nurse and had to take physics in college. NO, you don't have to take physics. Advanced Chemistry instead would be a great choice.

Unless kids are going into the science or engineering fields, you don't need to cover biology, chemistry, and physics in your homeschool. Colleges DO expect three years of science, but there are a wide variety of sciences to choose from. If she liked chemistry the first time, then advanced chemistry is a good choice. If she hated chemistry, then astronomy, geology, or botany might be a better choice.

It's always a good idea to check with your child's favorite colleges. Colleges can have some truly bizarre preferences, so do make sure you check with them. In general, physics is a fairly unusual science class to take in high school, and it's often recommended only for children who intend to major in the sciences in college. Pre-Law students often major in the humanities before going to law school. Political science, history, English, and other majors don't require physics.

Law school is difficult, but it's also a long way away. You can't begin law school until after you have completed a 4 year bachelor's degree. High school science shouldn't have much of an impact. So feel free to enjoy sciences your child takes delight in!

Which sciences are you teaching or planning to teach in high school? Please share!

Please note: This post was originally published in September 2010 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Click here to read more about why teaching your high schooler is highly overrated.
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Homeschool Introduction to Engineering Class

Homeschool Introduction to Engineering Class
Homeschool parents of budding engineers, listen up! Engineering is a LOT of fun, but a future in engineering requires some math and science.

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

Introduction to Engineering Class

My son took a class much like that, an Introduction to Engineering class. He took it in COLLEGE. I would call your homeschool class "Introduction to Engineering." Use all of the experiences within the league as one single class to make it a big, beefy credit. At the end, estimate how many hours he spent on it. 120-180 hours is one high school credit. All the papers and speaking will be part of his science credit.

One word of warning: when kids like engineering, they do need to cover the basics of biology, chemistry, and physics while they are in high school. Engineering is more of an elective-science, and he will also need the core sciences in order to do well in college engineering. Science, engineering, and technology degrees also require a lot of math. Make sure you are working consistently on math every day during the school year, so a lack of math doesn't become an impediment later on.

Is your child a budding engineer? What does that look like in your homeschool? Please share!

Please note: This post was originally published in August 2010 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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Homeschool High School Lab Science

Homeschool High School Lab Science
Why would anyone skip Biology Lab? What could possibly be more fun than dissecting critters and peeping through a microscope, and what is a lab science anyway?

Biology lab can be a lot of fun, but it's also fairly expensive, which is something I discuss in my Special Report, 7 Secrets to Homeschooling Though a Financial Storm. Holly read the report and had a follow up question.
Dear Lee,
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

I'm a trained nurse, so it is surprising to see me suggest that dropping biology lab is an option! I loved biology and especially the biology labs! I think it's important to remember how financially desperate people can be in this economy. It's better to drop a biology lab than not do biology at all or worse, to stop homeschooling entirely because of concerns about science costs.

Public universities sometimes have very different requirements than colleges as a whole. Because I have to gear my message to "general" college preparation, I urge parents to check requirements at the colleges their child is planning to attend.  Some colleges requires lab sciences be taught in a classroom with a certified teacher, for example.

Surprisingly, there is also no national definition for what a lab science is. The US House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology formed the Subcommittee on Research and Science Education issued a report about lab science, and it is remarkably clear in their conclusion. National Research Council's America's Lab Report: Investigations in High School Science states:
"The NRC report committee concluded that there exists no commonly agreed upon definition of laboratories in high schools amongst researchers and educators."

Most colleges do not require documented lab sciences. Some colleges do. Usually a college that has specific science requirements will also provide a specific method to achieve it. Perhaps they will allow the ACT science portion to meet the requirement, or they will accept an SAT Subject Test or AP exam in an area of science.

There are many colleges that don't require excessive math or science. Perhaps their emphasis is on music, art, or a specific trade, and general sciences will meet their admission requirements. In general, when I look over college preparation sites, they don't mention taking a lab science every year as a requirement.

It's a good idea to make parents aware if the public university in your area has a greater emphasis on lab sciences. I think it's also important to remember that colleges are rarely specific about WHICH sciences, and it's OK for parents to include some delight directed science courses along with the more ordinary biology-chemistry-physics choices. For more information, check out my article, You CAN Teach High School Science Labs!

Which lab science are you choosing to cover in your homeschool high school? Please share in the comments!


Please note: This post was originally published in November 2009 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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Apologia Science is Great College Preparation

Apologia Science is Great College Preparation

Apologia Science is Great College Preparation

This post contains affiliate links. If you click and buy I may make a few pennies, but not enough for a latte.

img class="aligncenter wp-image-14863" alt="Apologia Science" src="" width="553" height="414"

Apologia Science is a very rigorous college preparation series. I don't usually recommend specific curriculum because I know it's more about how it fits your child than the textbook or curriculum itself. When it comes to science, though, we had such great success with this curriculum that I do recommend it. Even though it has a Christian worldview, I still recommend it to homeschoolers who are not Christian because it is such a thorough curriculum.

I know for a fact that Apologia science programs make for great college preparation because my son Kevin was an electrical engineering major in college. He even referred to his Apologia Physics book while he was in college and used his Apologia Chemistry book to review for a college class! Apologia science was one of my "best buys" because my children used them for 5 years. Kevin earned a fabulous GPA in engineering at least in part because he was so well prepared through Apologia Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.




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How to Teach a Homeschool Geek

How to Teach a Homeschool Geek

Strategies for teaching your geeky homeschool student.

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Honors Science

Honors Science

What is honors?  When do you put honors on a title?  Is Apologia Science an honors curriculum?
Is Apologia Science courses, plus labs considered honors on a high school transcript. (Biology, Chemistry, etc.) - Sally

Dear Sally,

If the authors/publishers of your curriculum, Apologia Science, say it is a honors course, then you can call it honors.
If your child passes a honors level test after taking taking the course, then you might call it honors. (AP or CLEP exam from

If your child does more than the expected work, beyond high school level, then you might call it honors. (Adding a college textbook or college level supplement.)

There is no country-wide definition of "honors."  It just generally means "more than usual or expected."

I hope that helps,

Whether it is questions about honors, CLEP, or the ACT, I am here to help.  My Parent Training A la Carte courses can help you become fully prepared for your next step in homeschooling.
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13 Commandments of Homeschool Science

13 Commandments of Homeschool Science
Homeschoolers tend to think that there are actually 13 commandments, and that biology, chemistry, and physics are the extra three.  It’s not true! You can branch out when you teach science!  There is astronomy, geology, botany, robotics, astronomy, ornithology… you name it!  Now probably colleges would like to see at least one of the standard sciences.

If your child wants to go into a scientific profession then biology, chemistry, and physics might be important.  But for some kids, branching out is a better idea.  That way you can teach them to LOVE science, and encourage the love of learning.  You have a wide range of science choices, and it does not have to be biology first, then chemistry, and then physics.

Biology, chemistry and physics are all SO different that it's possibly to hate two and LOVE just one.   Your child may hate biology, that does not mean the same child hate chemistry.  Chemistry has a lot to do with math because balancing chemical equations is similar to algebra.  A child that likes or tolerates math may do very well with chemistry - and even enjoy it.  Don't shy away from biology just because your child couldn't stand general science.  Don't avoid chemistry because biology was a horrible experience.  Look at each science as a unique subject that's completely different.

If you are stuck, look through the HomeTrainingTools website together.

That free month on the Silver Training Club that you get with the purchase of my Total Transcript Solution can can be your time to get some great homeschool high school parent training!  You even get 20 minutes of free phone consultation each week for the first month.  It is a great deal for parents who want to homeschool high school with excellence!
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Homeschool High School Video Tips & More on Our Fan Page!

Homeschool High School Video Tips & More on Our Fan Page!

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Homeschool Science - High School Curriculum Choices

Homeschool Science - High School Curriculum Choices
A simple comment from a well-meaning friend can make you question your own judgment.  With science curriculum, as with all curriculum, it's more about what fits your child that what others are using or recommend.

Mary wrote on Facebook:
"I am struggling with choosing a high school science curriculum.  My problem is that I hear things from just a few people that make me doubt my choices. Is there some source that homeschoolers can check out that compares science curriculum and how well the kids do in college science?  What did you choose for your boys?"

Mary, I chose the books by Jay Wile. I'm a huge fan, my son did great through electrical engineering school and graduated cum laude with his electrical engineering degree. Directly out of high school he got straight A's in physics in college, and frequently referred to his high school physics and chemistry books during his first year. I'm a HUGE fan of those books, even for my non-Christian clients (they can skip one chapter and be just fine.)

To learn more about the “Exploring Creation With” series of science textbooks by Apologia read this blog post.

The HomeScholar’s Total Transcript Solution will take the fear out of homeschool transcripts!
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Summer Fun with Camp

Summer Fun with Camp
I saw an article in the newspaper about a spectacular summer camp for computer-loving techie kids.

Summer camps have long been part of the American experience for children and teenagers, and for the last 30 years or so, computers and technology have added to the equation. "What we're trying to do is to take a child's hobby and show how to turn it into a potential career," Safran said. "This summer, Karen Katzenberger, 13, of Fall City, plans to take her love of drawing to a new level at DigiPen ProjectFUN with a 3-D animation workshop."

Read the Seattle Times Article

Learning 3-D animation?  Getting experience at DigiPen?  What an amazing opportunity!

Most summer camps can fill up early, so now is the best time to start looking for something if your child is interested.  It would be impossible for me to list summer camps here, because families have different criteria, and children have different interested. I could point you to some great summer camps for chess in the Seattle Area ( but I don't think that will be a good fit for every student!  Instead, a quick google search will help  you find the information you need!  Now is the time to seek a summer camp if you are interested.

I've recently been connecting with homeschooling businesses on LinkedIn.  I invite you to send me an invitation if you want to connect with my business.
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