"Why do high school students do biology first? Is there a scientific reason? Is it traditional? Does it have to do with testing?
Colleges WILL accept non-traditional labs (at least most of them.) The also prefer to see at least one TRADITIONAL lab. So what I'm suggesting is the you do biology the non-traditional way, and save the traditional for chemistry or physics. Non-traditional is a great way to learn! If you want to go to a college that is selective, particularly if you want to go into some branch of sciences, then they will also want to see at least one traditional subject in science. There is a LOT of room for branching out in all areas of high school, and ESPECIALLY in science. I hope that helps!
So, will colleges accept non-traditional "Labs?" How about if you dissect something you found somewhere (think roadkill), or do a virtual dissection online? What if you help a veterenarian during surgery? Or even slaughter and process a pig on your own farm? What if you've done something huge like a survey of flora and fauna in a state park, and put in a few hundred hours removing invasive species and re-introducing native plants to boot? Or if you've travelled both to Louisiana and Arizona and you write a killer research paper on the effects of climate on geckos based on firsthand observations and library research? There's just so much more to hands-on biology than the traditional elements, it's hard to imagine colleges rejecting research and work that resembles what grad students do all the time. You'd know better than I, but it just seems to me that one can save a ton of money if one thinks outside the box.
Studying biology in elementary and middle school is very inexpensive, and you really SHOULD write a book called "Biology on a Shoestring!"
High school biology that includes lab work will require a microscope and critters to dissect. Microscopes are very pricey, and critters aren't cheap either. You can find some at the butcher, but even that isn't free, and most butchers don't carry frogs, fish, and worms to dissect :-)
So yup, biology labs are the most expensive high school science labs. You don't have to do the labs in biology, as I said, but if you do, it's pretty expensive.
Oh, yeah, and DVDs from the library are excellent (and free!) too - try Jeff Corwin, Bill Nye, National Geographic, and Nature/David Attenborough. I easily aced college biology because I spent hours and hours exploring our local ecosystems and watched nature shows on PBS.
HUH? I always thought Biology was the cheapest because you don't have to go far to find something to observe and experiment with! Just about anywhere you go, you have dirt, rain, plants, and animals around you, right? There are public parks just about everywhere, right? Some of us are blessed to have easy access to a huge variety of ecosystems within one day's drive. You can create your own labs even if all you have is a little patch of dirt and the occasional bird or bug! Visitor centers at state and national parks are fantastic for learning about biology - and sometimes they even give you free goodies if you tell them you homeschool. Ha, maybe I should write a book - "Biology on a Shoestring."
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