Science is often a favorite subject for elementary-aged kids. Then, they get to middle school and high school. Math and complicated scientific notations, along with more formal textbooks, start nosing their way into science and sucking all the fun out of it. At least, that’s what has happened at my house.
I’m currently trying to figure out how to keep the fun (because, unfortunately, what used to be my kids’ favorite subject is now their least favorite) while still making sure that the kids are prepared for high school science, so that they can graduate college ready.
We’re currently using Apologia General Science. It’s thorough and has lots of experiments, but it’s pretty dry…and I know how rigorous the high school level books get.
I’ve considered both Real Science for Kids and Real Science Odyssey. We’ve used Real Science Odyssey at the elementary level and really enjoyed it. Brianna has used the Real Science for Kids chemistry book and enjoyed it. The only thing that holds me back on both is that neither currently has a high school level. I don’t want to find something we love for now and be back in the same boat for high school (next year for Josh and two years for Megan).
So, if you have any suggestions for high school science, I’d love to hear them! In the meantime, I wanted to share with you some resources that I’m holding on to for high school – and will possibly be trying to work in now to make science fun again (which also may mean going back to the science in Trail Guide to Learning, since the next level is astronomy, which fascinates all of us, and choosing not to think about high school level science until we have to).
Barb, from Handbook of Nature Study, has a fantastic Squidoo lens on some modifications for making Apologia Biology more Charlotte Mason friendly. The page includes suggestions for including living books and incorporating nature study and art. (Okay, to me, a detailed coloring book for all things biology is art. You’re welcome to disagree.)
I’ve also got this nifty Apologia Biology flashcard app bookmarked. No, flashcards aren’t especially fun, but everything is more fun on the iPad.
Just last week, I saw this great chemical reactions app mentioned on Free Technology for Teachers. I’ve already purchased it. Now, before all the homeschool haters start coming out of the woodwork telling me I can’t possibly base a high school level chemistry class on an iPad app, chill out. I’m not saying it should be the sum total of a chemistry class. I’m just agreeing with the guy who posted it (for classroom teachers) that:
“goREACT could be a great app to use in a science classroom in which you cannot access (for good reasons in some cases) some of the materials needed to make chemical reactions.” – Richard Byrne, Free Technology for Teachers
And, should you need to memorize the elements, this catchy little song should help:
You can even purchase it at iTunes for your iPod.
I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating – it’s very helpful to purchase quality science equipment when you can. I know it can get expensive, but there are some ways to reduce the sticker shock a little. First, we take very good care of our microscope. We discuss how to use it before it is used and it is covered and put in a safe location when it isn’t being used. My plan is to keep it in exceptional condition and sell it when we’re finished.
You could also split the cost with another family or group of families and do science labs together. I’d want to know the families really well if I did that, but it is an idea. This could also be a good time to ask the grandparents to keep school equipment in mind as a family Christmas gift.
We purchase other supplies – like beakers and test tubes – from Homeschool Science Tools. We’ve always been really pleased with them. They even have science kits for homeschool science based on several popular curriculum publishers.
Those are just some of the resources I’ve started accumulating for High School, Round 2. I’d love it if you’d share some of your favorite resources or your science curriculum recommendations. I know I have a lot of secular readers, so it’s worth mentioning that I’m not married to the idea of Christian curriculum, so I’d like to hear your suggestions, as well.