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Is Your Science Curriculum Working?

If you have decided on science for this year, and it's just not working out, what should you do?

It's always hard to decide when to stick with a subject and when to stop and try something else.  Jay Wile of Apologia says that since biology, chemistry, and physics are such different sciences, it's possible for a kid to like one and hate the other two.  Dr. Wile said that it's our job as parents to make sure they hate all three.  (smile!)  Biology has a lot of memorization, but little math, and it's very hands on.  Chemistry has a lot of math in it, and it's a very mathematical, logical science.  Physics is even more mathematical. Unless your student has enough math, it could really be frustrating.  Because they are so different, it is common for children to like one and hate the other two.

If you are mid year, have already decided on switching to another science, the look for alternatives that appeal to your child.  I encourage you to ask your child what would be fun to study for science.  Give your child the Apologia Catalog, www.highschoolscience.com or the HomeScienceTools catalog, www.hometrainingtools.com, and have them look over the options and decide on a science.  If nothing looks exciting, you can look at the Lego curriculum products or a Teaching Company course, www.teach12.com .

Teaching Company lectures are available at the library.  You can often identify and science interest, and then do the actual research of the topic at the library as well.   But in our home, for things like this, we ended up giving the desired subject to our kids for Christmas.  For example, if he wants to do Lego science, give him a kit for Christmas.  If your child wants to do astronomy, give a telescope for Christmas - that sort of thing.  That's actually the subject of my December newsletter!

When you know a child can't complete a curriculum, it's a good idea to drop something that isn't working.  Our job is to make sure our children succeed in learning, and sometimes that can mean waiting.  When you get stuck like this, look for clues in your child, to see what they want to do.  I know some teens who have done some wonderfully unusual sciences:  ornithology, mycology, geology.

Colleges like to see three years of science, and one year at least as a lab science.  You've already got a year of lab science with your previous Apologia Biology.  It's a good time to branch out a bit, until he is comfortable with chemistry.

I hope that helps!

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Comments 2

Guest - Becky on Tuesday, 02 December 2008 05:47

Hi-
I agree...my son has been frustrated with our "group science"..he wants chemistry and is in 6th grade...sooo he is getting a chemistry set for Christmas....

I give each of my kids a book geared to them...ds13 is getting one on survival skills, ds 11 is getting one on chemistry, dd 9 is getting the new Martha Stewart lean to cook book, and twin dd9 who loves to write and wants to be an author is getting Learn To Write the Novel Way...hope they like them..

Becky

Hi- I agree...my son has been frustrated with our "group science"..he wants chemistry and is in 6th grade...sooo he is getting a chemistry set for Christmas.... I give each of my kids a book geared to them...ds13 is getting one on survival skills, ds 11 is getting one on chemistry, dd 9 is getting the new Martha Stewart lean to cook book, and twin dd9 who loves to write and wants to be an author is getting Learn To Write the Novel Way...hope they like them.. Becky
Guest - J W on Monday, 01 December 2008 18:51

Note: I don't recommend the following as the SOLE source of science instruction, but it's something to keep in mind. This is only my personal experience, and results may vary.

I easily aced both high school and college biology without even trying. Why? Because ever since I was about 4 years old, I was GLUED to the TV watching animal specials on PBS. As a teen, I spent countless hours exploring the intertidal zone on the local beaches and researching my observations to learn more. I was exposed to numerous ecosystems as I hiked around western Washington State. I read *every* *single* *sign* at zoos, museums, and aquariums (talk about annoyance factor for my poor parents, LOL). My children don't have quite the same "bent" for biology, but they do enjoy it. They like zoos, aquariums, and museums, and they love spending hours poking around tide pools. They enjoy the occasional PBS animal special, and hey, they have Bill Nye and Jeff Corwin - all I had was Marlin Perkins. Between all that extracurricular exposure and their classroom work, they've learned a ton. In fact, my 11-year-old recently listened in on a high school oceanography lecture at the beach, and came away grumbling that the instructor didn't say anything she didn't already know. She was expecting that the big kids would be learning more advanced concepts than what she's been exposed to, and was sorely disappointed to not learn anything new!

Note: I don't recommend the following as the SOLE source of science instruction, but it's something to keep in mind. This is only my personal experience, and results may vary. I easily aced both high school and college biology without even trying. Why? Because ever since I was about 4 years old, I was GLUED to the TV watching animal specials on PBS. As a teen, I spent countless hours exploring the intertidal zone on the local beaches and researching my observations to learn more. I was exposed to numerous ecosystems as I hiked around western Washington State. I read *every* *single* *sign* at zoos, museums, and aquariums (talk about annoyance factor for my poor parents, LOL). My children don't have quite the same "bent" for biology, but they do enjoy it. They like zoos, aquariums, and museums, and they love spending hours poking around tide pools. They enjoy the occasional PBS animal special, and hey, they have Bill Nye and Jeff Corwin - all I had was Marlin Perkins. Between all that extracurricular exposure and their classroom work, they've learned a ton. In fact, my 11-year-old recently listened in on a high school oceanography lecture at the beach, and came away grumbling that the instructor didn't say anything she didn't already know. She was expecting that the big kids would be learning more advanced concepts than what she's been exposed to, and was sorely disappointed to not learn anything new!
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