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View Full Version : Science: Anyone have some suggestions for a good, fun course?



dragonfly
07-11-2012, 06:04 PM
I feel like I spend most of the school year researching science for the next year! :_s: I'm getting burnt out and overwhelmed. I'd love to hear any suggestions for a science course for a 15 year old boy.

I really want it to be fun and engaging. Last year we did Biology (Oak Meadow), with Keystone Labs. It was good, but I think it got to be a little bit of a grind. Lots of reading and daily exercises, lots of mediocre labs, some good ones, a very few great ones.

My son much prefers the life sciences. The one thing I'm seriously considering so far is a Botany unit study (http://learn-and-do.com/botany.htm). The price is right, anyway! And, he did express an interest in Botany (and perhaps Zoology).

At this point, I'm willing to consider ANYthing though. My son likes science, and I really want a course this year that he looks forward to every day. Whether it's online, textbook only, workbooks, unit study, etc. I don't care, as long as it's fun and reasonably comprehensive.

He does like to have a textbook to read, but that's negotiable. I'd prefer not to spend too much, of course, but if it's a great program, I'll shell out the bucks (within reason, say 300 or so max).

I'd like something that he can follow easily on his own, but that I'd be able to grade/evaluate in some way as we go, for our portfolio (required by state).

Any thoughts or suggestions appreciated!

I guess I've blathered on enough--thanks if you've read this far!

(Oh, and I don't have to mention no YE, creationist, etc. BS, right?)

dbmamaz
07-11-2012, 08:04 PM
for 'fun' you might check out the jason project (http://www.jason.org/public/whatis/start.aspx). mostly earth science tho. could he volunteer at a zoo? or a vet? sorry, tho, i dont grade so i dont really know what to think of that. you can also look at ck12 flexbooks (free online textbooks) and singaporemath.com science, but i think that one is pretty dry. there is also this (http://www.scienceforhighschool.com/art.shtml) which is a very different approach - iir, the kids have to use the library or a textbook to look up information, on the theory that if they have to work for it, they retain it better - but she is xtian enough that I'm pretty sure she does not include evolution in her lifescience. oh, and i guess its high school level, oops

dragonfly
07-11-2012, 08:27 PM
for 'fun' you might check out the jason project (http://www.jason.org/public/whatis/start.aspx). mostly earth science tho. could he volunteer at a zoo? or a vet? sorry, tho, i dont grade so i dont really know what to think of that. you can also look at ck12 flexbooks (free online textbooks) and singaporemath.com science, but i think that one is pretty dry. there is also this (http://www.scienceforhighschool.com/art.shtml) which is a very different approach - iir, the kids have to use the library or a textbook to look up information, on the theory that if they have to work for it, they retain it better - but she is xtian enough that I'm pretty sure she does not include evolution in her lifescience. oh, and i guess its high school level, oops

Thanks, I'll check them out! High school level is what I want--he'll be in 10th grade level this fall.

Stella M
07-11-2012, 08:43 PM
We've liked using The Physics Classroom (http://www.physicsclassroom.com/)- free, online, high school. I guess you would call it conceptual physics ?

EmmaNadine
07-11-2012, 09:31 PM
https://sites.google.com/site/macleodbiology/home

It's AP biology.

PrairiePoppins
07-21-2012, 02:18 PM
I'm struggling with this same question. This year we did the Manitoba Gr 9 science by correspondence. We thought, "Hey, good to know what the school kids are learning, good to get a mark from someone other than Mama."

But it was a startling combination of superficial, random, and dry.

She loves science and wants to go into science. I'm looking for something that will really help her develop a scientific fluency. And be secular. I can't believe how difficult this is.

dbmamaz
07-21-2012, 02:38 PM
can you access the ck12 flexbooks? they are supposed to be pretty good. also, the Joy Hakim Story of Science is a fun romp through the history of math/astronomy/physics which goes suprisingly in depth with concepts (but its just reading, no workbook). I actually had my son read that one the year before last and we'll probably do physics here (http://www.kineticbooks.com/index.html) (awful website, hard to navigate) not this coming year but next. We did biology from a high school ap/ college non-major text i got used on amazon, plus a local dissection lab. we'll try chemistry from singaporemath.com this coming year.

also check out the science guy or whatever his name is, who posted in the 'other' section about being kicked out of the other site . . . for offering a free copy of his curriculum . . .

Sionnon
07-25-2012, 10:26 AM
We have been enjoying Plato Middle School Science. It does not have labs, but the lessons and activities online are engaging for my son and he has been learning more than I ever did at his age for science.

dragonfly
07-26-2012, 02:46 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions! I think we decided on http://www.scienceforhighschool.com/products.asp?cat=11. I like that I can get a supply kit, and I think the research approach might be a good experience.

I may use Plato and/or some of the other suggestions for physical science resources as a supplement to this course. I also plan to pick up a textbook for help with research, once I decide which publisher to use.

Aandwsmom
07-26-2012, 03:53 PM
Despite that it is only thru 8th grade, for $10 right now(thru Homeschool Buyer's Co-op)....I signed the boys up for Happy Scientist. He has gotten great reviews and I figured for $10, we can't go wrong to add it to whatever we find. Mine will be 9th and 10th grade this Fall.....

dbmamaz
07-26-2012, 03:59 PM
I think the happy scientist is more of a supplement than a curriculum

Mom2AandE
08-05-2012, 12:16 AM
We have been enjoying Plato Middle School Science. It does not have labs, but the lessons and activities online are engaging for my son and he has been learning more than I ever did at his age for science.

Can you tell me more about this company. I went to their website and it is so hard to get info. Like pricing, how to access, what is covered? It seemed so cryptic. My dd11 will be in 6th grade and this is our first year homeschooling and I am looking for a Science curriculum.

dragonfly
08-05-2012, 03:01 AM
Can you tell me more about this company. I went to their website and it is so hard to get info. Like pricing, how to access, what is covered? It seemed so cryptic. My dd11 will be in 6th grade and this is our first year homeschooling and I am looking for a Science curriculum.

I suggest looking at Homeschool Buyer's Co-op: for information, pricing, and a discount. Here's the link for their Plato Middle School Science (https://www.homeschoolbuyersco-op.org/plato-middle-science/?c=1).

lynne
08-05-2012, 11:07 AM
Can you tell me more about this company. I went to their website and it is so hard to get info. Like pricing, how to access, what is covered? It seemed so cryptic. My dd11 will be in 6th grade and this is our first year homeschooling and I am looking for a Science curriculum.

I'm going to try Elemental Science, the Biology unit for my 6th grade son. It looks well organized and others here seem to like ES, but we won't really know until we start working with it.
http://www.elementalscience.com/

ScienceGeek
08-06-2012, 02:29 AM
I used Kym Wright's Botany Unit Study 2 years ago because my kid is a real plant nut. He's a member of the Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Society and we volunteer at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show each year - telling kids about Carnivorous plants. I really liked her Microscope and Botany unit study but then I got the birds one and it was pretty lame so I think it was one of her first ones. Microscope stuff is a lot of fun if you haven't done it yet, invest in a microscope and do her unit study and then botany - lots of microscope work.

http://www.learn-and-do.com

I think there was some scripture or something in the bird unit study that put me off but I dont' think there was any in the microscope or botany. I hate it when they do that in a 'science' curriculum. Its fine if you want to do bible studies but not as part of your science studies.

Mom2AandE
08-06-2012, 12:29 PM
I am now on Buyers Co-op and see they have a deal for Saxon's Science Fusion. Anyone use that? Good, bad, otherwise? My daughter likes their math so we just bought the math package for her.

lynne
08-06-2012, 12:39 PM
I am now on Buyers Co-op and see they have a deal for Saxon's Science Fusion. Anyone use that? Good, bad, otherwise? My daughter likes their math so we just bought the math package for her.

We hated it so much that we are scrapping it and trying something else. It was very simplistic and seemed to be geared toward younger kids. I bought module E, grade 6-8. The workbook was really poor. It wasn't for us.

Mom2AandE
08-06-2012, 01:18 PM
Thanks for your quick reply. Guess I will continue looking.

lynne
08-06-2012, 01:31 PM
Thanks for your quick reply. Guess I will continue looking.

Take a look at Elemental Science. I ordered that for my 6th grade son. It looks pretty good but we won't know until we start working with it. Science has been the toughest subject for me, as far as finding a good fit for my kids.

Mom2AandE
08-29-2012, 10:30 PM
I thought I would come back and let you all know that I have chosen the Joy Hakim books, Story of Science, for our science curriculum. I bought the workbook and teachers manual that goes along with book 1 and we will start there. I am half way through reading book 2 and they are really informative and interesting. I am learning a lot too.

dbmamaz
08-29-2012, 10:52 PM
Oh, wow, i never mentioned those? we read through 2 and a half of them (no guides or anything though) and really liked it. Not sure Orion retained much, but i figure it will make it easier when he has to study those topics later

49cats
09-10-2012, 04:55 PM
Looks like this is kind of an old thread, but we have loved www.adaptivecurriculum.com (http://www.adaptivecurriculum.com). It sounds like it might be something like Plato, but I don't know Plato. We got the Middle School and High School Science package. My middle schoolers (science lovers) have gone through a huge percentage of all the activites, particularly one son who really loves it. I don't make them do the worksheets, as I've done it just as a supplement, but they have them available. No experiments, but very realistic virtual labs, repeating many of the most famous experiments in history. We are more Physical Science people, but the A/C Biology took the kids from almost no expertise to understanding tons---with little to no work from me.