Monday, May 19, 2008

High School Science

Did you ever wonder how high school homeschool students got their labs done? If you're a homeschooler, you probably already know! In the kitchen, of course!

We started Biology in January, and invited a couple other families to join us once a week for the experiments. The first chapter in the book called for collecting pond water and cultivating who-knows-what to observe under the microscope. Back in January, we didn't exactly have access to pond water, so we skipped ahead to the dissection part of the book. We have dissected an earthworm, a crayfish (which we all persisted in calling a "crawdad"), a perch (see picture below), and this week we'll finish with the frog. It has been fascinating! The kids were hesitant at first. Just not too sure about cutting into dead animals. But as we've progressed they have found themselves interested in actually seeing what's inside each creature, and have been willing to take turns doing the hands-on parts of the experiments.
We plan to flip back to the beginning of the book and do the pond experiments next, now that the weather is warming up. That might turn out to be grosser than the dissections! At least the dissection specimens were preserved, and pretty rubbery.

Oh, and here's a tip about high school sciences. My daughter is not strong in math, so I was not sure what other high school sciences she could do. Both Chemistry and Physics have a prerequisite of Algebra I. My daughter will be doing good to get through Pre-Algebra and Consumer Math by the time she graduates. I knew she would be okay with Biology, but I wasn't sure where to go from there. I had an opportunity to talk to Dr. Jay Wile about it at a homeschool convention last summer. (The Apologia booth was just across the aisle from my Sonlight booth!) Obviously, colleges will be looking for the Chemistry and/or Physics credits, but if that is not a concern, he recommended Astronomy and Advanced Biology, and then maybe even Marine Biology if we have time. I was surprised about Advanced Biology. I figured Chemistry would be a prerequisite for that, but he said no, the only prerequisite was Biology I. So we did one semester of Astronomy in the fall, and then started Biology. We'll finish Biology this fall, and maybe do another semester of Astronomy in the spring of 2009, and then see where we stand.

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Dori said...

that sounds like a blast! I LOVE biology and hate math! We disected a cat though! and the inside of a cow's eyeball is REALLY pretty if you get a chance to look at that. It is efferdescent blue and green. Microbiology is even more fun but that's college level. She may love it though...she IS related to me! LOL

BarbaraLee said...

I have found that Saxon Math has dvd to go w/it called the Dive. It is great.
We are doing MOH & it has a science cir that you could use w/it.
I'll be lucky if I can get dd to touch a raw meat for making meals. What is a mother to do?

A Romantic Porch said...

Oh yummy to read as I sit here eating vanilla icecream topped with fresh strawberries! Jay Wile lives here locally (if I understand correctly) and (wrote/co-wrote with the lady who has given me a lot of homeschool advise since last August)wrote the Physics book that Jonathan studied from last semester. He loved it and A+++++ed the class! So neat you met him.

Toots said...

We too have met Jay Wile, and we LOVE LOVE LOVE his science courses! Science came ALIVE for my girls when we switched to Apologia in 7th grade.
Neither of my girls love math, but they seem to understand it and do well. We did A Beka through 7th, and then went to Videotext Algebra. It's wonderful for explaining "the why" and for helping you really understand the concepts. I highly recommend it!
The homeschooling journey truly is an exciting adventure! Glad we're in it "together"!

Kelli said...

What a great idea to get together with other families for biology! I'll bet everyone had lots of fun!

Shari Ellen said...

That was neat to hear about what your kids are doing for Biology. My son is going to do it next year. It wasn't a good subject for me in high school. So I hope that it comes easy for him. I haven't figured out what Biology curriculum I am going to use. I've heard that Alpha Omega is easy to follow along in.

Mrs. C said...

Oh... I'm not sure I could do this... I don't think I could eat in my kitchen for a week afterwards.

Farrah said...

Yuck! I had to disect a pig in high school, and the smell tramatized my nose. I thought I was smelling that odor off and on for months maybe years. Each time it would make me think of those dead baby pigs. I would be scared of letting Kylen disect anything here for fear I would have that problem again!

Becki said...


I'd very much like to hear what Astronomy course you did. My highschooler sounds a bit like your daughter.