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Homeschool Science - Choosing Curriculum

Not everyone loves Apologia.  I always encourage parents to use what works for their student, because not all children learn the same way.  It's more important that a curriculum WORKS than if it is popular, inexpensive, or highly rated.

#Homeschool Science – Choosing Curriculum



I'm hoping you can help me.......this is my first year to homeschool a high school student. My daughter is now in "9th grade" and I am completely lost with regards to science. I am not into science, don't really understand it, and don't have time to learn it, LOL, but need a good curriculum for her. And we don't have a lot of money to buy something with lots of bells and whistles. And she HATES Apologia, which is what most everyone uses or suggests. I was hoping since you were the expert of all experts, you might be able to point me in the right direction.

Thanking you in advance,
Debbie in OR

The expert of all experts?  LOL!  No way, Debbie!  YOU are the expert on YOUR child!  But I'll be glad to give you some pointers, and ideas to get you started.

You don't have to buy something expensive.  You can piece together a science class using used curriculum.  For science, you don't have to teach a lab portion every year, and biology tends to be the most expensive lab science. If you can't afford to buy everything, skip the microscope and focus on the biology field experiments or dissections.   You might enjoy my blog post on choosing  curriculum that is "Latest and Greatest" vs. "Tried and True" as a method to save money.

But if you know that science is your own weak area, then you can take certain steps to make sure you are successful with science.  Put that subject FIRST all the time.  Make sure you put your money first into science.  Make sure you put your time first with science.  Every homeschool parent has a subject that they don’t understand, tolerate, like, or remember to teach.  When you identify your weak area, then you can do something about it!  Once you have identified your weak subject, remember to put that subject FIRST.  It’s the first thing your student does in the morning.  It’s the one thing you make sure is done every single day.  Even when a fabulous opportunity arrives, and all the other homeschool things get put on the shelf, this is  the one thing you are sure gets done.  It’s the first curriculum that you buy each year, and the thing you are willing to spend the most money on.  It’s the only thing you will be SURE to reinvest in if necessary.  In other words, if you choose a curriculum and it doesn’t work, this is the area that you will make a second purchase – even within the first couple of months of school.

When you are looking for a high school science course, and Apologia doesn't fit, look first at HomeTrainingTools. If you can't bear to even peruse their online catalog, then call and speak to their customer service department at 1-800-860-6272. Make sure to get lots of feedback from your daughter.  She may be interested in a science that is slightly off the beaten track.  Perhaps she would prefer astronomy, geology, ecology, robotics or equine science.   You can choose a different textbook provider, like Bob Jones or Abeka.  You can change to an experiment-based model, like TOPS or Rainbow Science.  You can join with another homeschool family, and do  your science together with that family. You don't have to have children exactly the same age, and that can be especially helpful for children who enjoy socializing.

Whatever you choose to do together, make sure you plan to do it first thing every day.



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Comments 4

Guest - Lee (website) on Tuesday, 05 October 2010 06:06

Hi Ann!

I wrote a blog post about putting weak areas first, as you suggested, and I even used science as an example. I wonder if that article will help even more?
http://www.thehomescholar.com/blog/first-things-first/3379/

Talk to you later!
Blessings,
Lee

Hi Ann! I wrote a blog post about putting weak areas first, as you suggested, and I even used science as an example. I wonder if that article will help even more? http://www.thehomescholar.com/blog/first-things-first/3379/ Talk to you later! Blessings, Lee
Guest - Ann on Monday, 04 October 2010 18:52

hi Lee!
I was just telling my husband--I SO appreciate your advice--it is so down-to-earth, practical, and wise!
My youngest and I are struggling with Rainbow Science already. I have been letting him read on his own, with me supposedly correcting his comprehension questions and labs. Part of our problem is that I have been so busy with appointments, activities, etc. outside the home--I KNOW I need to be home more to work more closely with him!
But something you said in this article rang true to me: I need to DO science with my youngest (even though I have absolutely no desire!), and put it first or it won't get done. I KNOW that will be a help in my struggling learner being able to understand the material better.
I have used the technique of putting "elective" activities at the beginning of the day (as I knew we would be apt to just forget about it later on as the day drew to a close), and that approach was always so effective in allowing us to accomplish the fun learning activities that we loved on a daily or regular basis (we are more apt to make sure the required subjects are finished at the end of the day than that fun subjects added on then).
Anyways, thank you once again for a great piece of advice that I will begin implementing immediately. I don't want to give up on the curriculum; and though I don't really want to do it with my son, I will if it helps (as I'm sure it will). And we will be SO MUCH surer to really do it if we put it first! =)

hi Lee! I was just telling my husband--I SO appreciate your advice--it is so down-to-earth, practical, and wise! My youngest and I are struggling with Rainbow Science already. I have been letting him read on his own, with me supposedly correcting his comprehension questions and labs. Part of our problem is that I have been so busy with appointments, activities, etc. outside the home--I KNOW I need to be home more to work more closely with him! But something you said in this article rang true to me: I need to DO science with my youngest (even though I have absolutely no desire!), and put it first or it won't get done. I KNOW that will be a help in my struggling learner being able to understand the material better. I have used the technique of putting "elective" activities at the beginning of the day (as I knew we would be apt to just forget about it later on as the day drew to a close), and that approach was always so effective in allowing us to accomplish the fun learning activities that we loved on a daily or regular basis (we are more apt to make sure the required subjects are finished at the end of the day than that fun subjects added on then). Anyways, thank you once again for a great piece of advice that I will begin implementing immediately. I don't want to give up on the curriculum; and though I don't really want to do it with my son, I will if it helps (as I'm sure it will). And we will be SO MUCH surer to really do it if we put it first! =)
Guest - Margaret on Friday, 01 October 2010 22:18

Answers in Genesis has some great science curriculum. We are doing Geology this year, and adding in some extra stuff to make it a full year course. My son loves it. I appreciate what Lee has to say, that you don't need to stick to the traditional science courses that they always do in public school. You can branch out into different areas of science that your child may be more interested in.

Answers in Genesis has some great science curriculum. We are doing Geology this year, and adding in some extra stuff to make it a full year course. My son loves it. I appreciate what Lee has to say, that you don't need to stick to the traditional science courses that they always do in public school. You can branch out into different areas of science that your child may be more interested in.
Guest - Kriss Trent (website) on Friday, 01 October 2010 10:43

There is a science cirriculum that includes everything you need to complete the experiments in the cirriculum down to the paper clips. The creator, Andy Stratton, is a 20+ year veteran physics teacher and math teacher here in WA state. He and his wife Briana started this service to make science more accessible to busy, money conscience homeschool families. Their theory is that parents could spend a fortune in time and money trying to gather everything required to do the labs for most homeschool science cirriculums. They then tend to do only the book work and fail to do the labs. Well, science is fun and Mr. Stratton wants every kid to get the chance to have a chance to fall it love with it. I've given their web site and you should check it out.
Kriss Trent

There is a science cirriculum that includes everything you need to complete the experiments in the cirriculum down to the paper clips. The creator, Andy Stratton, is a 20+ year veteran physics teacher and math teacher here in WA state. He and his wife Briana started this service to make science more accessible to busy, money conscience homeschool families. Their theory is that parents could spend a fortune in time and money trying to gather everything required to do the labs for most homeschool science cirriculums. They then tend to do only the book work and fail to do the labs. Well, science is fun and Mr. Stratton wants every kid to get the chance to have a chance to fall it love with it. I've given their web site and you should check it out. Kriss Trent
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