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  1. #1

    Default Visual but serious HS science curriculum

    We have been using Science Fusion since 3rd grade, and my son loves it. Unfortunately, it only goes up through Jr. HS, so next year, will be our final year. We did not use the online part of it -- just the text and the labs.

    Does anyone know if there is something similar for the HS sciences? I don't want anything religious, published by a religious publisher or "neutral." I want something with real, actual, secular science --and public school textbooks are fine. The more visually appealing it is, the better, because my son is autistic and has a definite preference for aesthetically pleasing texts. (I know this is not always a realistic ask -- but that is what we are aiming for.) Whatever we use will probably be supplemented with Crash Course Science.

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  3. #2

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    Some of the best options for high school science are online classes, IMHO.

    Some possibilities for a 9th grader...

    Derek Owens Physics (the course is secular, apparently there's one module where he mentions something about how physics can't answer spiritual questions and vice versa or something along those lines)

    Conceptual Science - you can use the textbooks yourself or you can do the online class with the textbook - you need to buy it new with the code to do the latter - completely secular, includes videos, has options for everything - the number one drawback is that they're all lab-free and for applying to college, you need at least two courses with labs, so you could add a lab or just use it for years you don't want a lab science

    Oak Meadow - they have AP Env Sci and several other options - you can enroll or self study

    Open Tent - several online class options, all secular

    Well Trained Mind Academy - several science options and while the company was founded by Christians, the science classes are secular, though they've separated the lab component this year, so that's a problem for price and workability for a lot of people

    There are a bunch of others - Khan has science modules, ******* has science... there are some other individual classes...

    For textbooks... Saxon has a physics text, Holt has a good bio text, CK-12 has free open-source texts...

    For labs... The Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments and the same one for biology are both supposed to be good, solid options, if not perfect. Home Science Tools also has some good kits - especially for chemistry, where all the labs are there in a box.

    There are more options... but hopefully that gets you started looking. You can also just explore what textbook is used locally and go from there.

    Prepare yourself though. Unless you're going to teach it yourself all the way and not do labs or not do many labs, high school science gets pricy. Just be ready for sticker shock.
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  4. #3

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    Thanks, farrarwilliams, I will check those out. I was planning to teach it the whole way through and do one lab a week, like what I do now.

  5. #4

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    So, if I were you, I'd consider doing Conceptual Science alongside your own lab choices. The Conceptual textbooks are good. If you're planning to DIY them, then you can get them pretty cheap and spend any money on labs.

    If you want to start with biology (Conceptual is all the physical sciences), then you could consider doing Holt or Miller and Levine - I haven't used them, but those are the two textbooks with a good rep. If you want to start with Environmental Sci, then the Holt text is supposed to be good - Oak Meadow uses it for its course, which you could also buy.
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  6. #5

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    I haven't decided what I want to start with, but I am pretty sure I want to do Chem before Bio b/c I think having the organic chem first will make bio make more sense.

    Is the Conceptual Chem strong in the mathematical parts of chem or does it mostly focus literally on the conceptual aspects? I probably should have mentioned that chem is my son's favorite science and we definitely need to make sure that the sciences we do are strong in mathematical applications.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by farrarwilliams View Post
    So, if I were you, I'd consider doing Conceptual Science alongside your own lab choices. The Conceptual textbooks are good. If you're planning to DIY them, then you can get them pretty cheap and spend any money on labs.

    If you want to start with biology (Conceptual is all the physical sciences), then you could consider doing Holt or Miller and Levine - I haven't used them, but those are the two textbooks with a good rep. If you want to start with Environmental Sci, then the Holt text is supposed to be good - Oak Meadow uses it for its course, which you could also buy.
    The Conceptual Physics is a very approachable book. Not very mathematically-based, though, if that's what you're looking for. But it's excellent for getting the concepts across (hence the name!!). Many of the labs you can do with materials you can find or make at home, if you're handy.

    We used Miller & Levine biology. You can find used older copies, usually under $10, at either Abebooks.com or Amazon. You can also find unused but "used' accompanying lab manuals as well.

    Not sure where you've sourced your lab materials so far, but I agree that Home Science Tools has items that are decently priced (I used to teach public school science/physics, so I have a basis for comparison). And you don't have to by 12 of everything that you need as you would in catalogs geared to brick and mortar schools. For non-consumables (motion carts, prepped slides, etc) , you can always sell them locally to another family or online when you're done with them.
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward

    Daughter (21), a University of Iowa senior triple majoring in English with Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies

    Son (20), a Purdue University junior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, and history

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by HobbitinaHobbitHole View Post
    I haven't decided what I want to start with, but I am pretty sure I want to do Chem before Bio b/c I think having the organic chem first will make bio make more sense.

    Is the Conceptual Chem strong in the mathematical parts of chem or does it mostly focus literally on the conceptual aspects? I probably should have mentioned that chem is my son's favorite science and we definitely need to make sure that the sciences we do are strong in mathematical applications.
    Chemsitry by Nivaldo Tro is pretty good as well as being math-based. My kids used it in a college course, but it was strictly for kids who had little chemistry background at all. I liked that it had several worked out examples in every section.
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward

    Daughter (21), a University of Iowa senior triple majoring in English with Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies

    Son (20), a Purdue University junior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, and history

  9. #8

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    I will check those out, too, inmom, thanks! I have been sourcing the labs mostly on an a la carte basis, b/c other than chemistry most of what we have been using for labs are things I could get fairly easily. I am sure that will change for HS, though.

    We have some issues regarding safety that I am not sure we will outgrow for quite some time. Some of the more potentially dangerous experiments will have to be converted to demos (something I was already doing) We are also going to opt out of dissections because my son is not going to do that or want to even watch me doing it.

  10. #9

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    Understand about the safety. That's why I had my kids take chemistry for dual credit. I simply didn't want those in my house! YouTube is great for virtual labs. Somewhere I have a link for virtual dissections, but I can't seem to find it right now. I think I've also seen someone who puts out paper dissection labs (??) where the parts are layered like they would be in real life.
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward

    Daughter (21), a University of Iowa senior triple majoring in English with Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies

    Son (20), a Purdue University junior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, and history

  11. #10

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    I honestly wouldn't start with chemistry if possible - I'd do physics, physical science, Earth science, Env. Sci, or bio first. (Assuming you're not going interest led.)

    But the lack of math is the biggest drawback for the whole Conceptual series. If you do the online course, apparently they have an algebra based supplement lab book now.
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    Children's Books, Homeschooling and Random Musings...

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Visual but serious HS science curriculum