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  1. #1

    Default Thinking about next year...questions about AP science.

    My DS is 13 (going on 30), and we are finishing up our fifth (!) year of homeschooling.He's quite strong in the math and science area--science more so than math, but we are working on it.

    We have struggled the entire time with finding science curricula that is interesting and challenging for him (and his younger brother). They read science in their free time, and really enjoy the subject.

    Thinkwell is on sale right now, and I am leaning towards getting the AP Biology for him. His view is that if he is going to take the biology class, he might as well try the AP class and take the exam. He certainly sees no point in taking regular biology then later on AP.

    He would like to graduate early, and wants to dual enroll as well, although that has to wait a few years. He wants to major in computer science.

    Has anyone tried the AP biology from thinkwell? Can he take the AP exam at his age?
    Thanks!

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  3. #2

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    I'm curious about this as well. I would also like to know what an AP exam counts towards. I am assuming that colleges accept them for 100 level classes but do not accept them for 200 level. Is that true?

    Science is a broad topic. What areas in science do they like to read about?

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by freerangedad View Post
    I'm curious about this as well. I would also like to know what an AP exam counts towards. I am assuming that colleges accept them for 100 level classes but do not accept them for 200 level. Is that true?
    Individual colleges and universities all set their own policies about AP exams. Some will take a 3 and higher, some a 4. Some will take them all, some have a limit. Some will count them as specific courses, others only as general credits. Some don't let them count toward your major. Some will take some of the exams and not others or have different required scores for them. My limited understanding is that if you want to take AP's, you should check the policies of the universities the student is likely to apply to.

    No experience with Thinkwell as we're not to that level yet. But I've only heard good things...
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  5. #4

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    We're going to be using Thinkwell for AP Bio next year, on the strength of a friend's recommendation. She used the site for Trig, and her son was quite happy with it.
    "She's not crazy; she's just educated. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference." -- Katherine Mosby

    Rearing a weapon of cultural subversion since 1998.

  6. #5

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    No experience with Thinkwell here either. However, ds is taking an online AP Computer Science Course this year and will take his AP test in early May. Be prepared to call around to find a spot for your child to take the test (only given in early May). It's not like registering for the SAT or ACT where you can select your test site. Some schools only offer AP tests in certain subjects (typically those they teach). We ended up at a private school about 20 miles away. You can either call schools or try to call the College Board to find who offers what.

    Regarding age, I have two comments. First, my son is taking his test as a sophomore. Typical AP students are seniors, once in a while juniors. So I know they allow younger than "normal" students to take the exam. Second, if you know where your child(ren) may go to college, call the admissions office to see how far back they'll accept AP scores. (I know, you'd think it would be fine if the kid scores well, especially so young, but they can be weird.) If you don't know a particular school, maybe call a few local or a few big public universities to see what their policy is.
    Carol

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


    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University senior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by inmom View Post
    No experience with Thinkwell here either. However, ds is taking an online AP Computer Science Course this year and will take his AP test in early May. Be prepared to call around to find a spot for your child to take the test (only given in early May). It's not like registering for the SAT or ACT where you can select your test site. Some schools only offer AP tests in certain subjects (typically those they teach). We ended up at a private school about 20 miles away. You can either call schools or try to call the College Board to find who offers what.

    Regarding age, I have two comments. First, my son is taking his test as a sophomore. Typical AP students are seniors, once in a while juniors. So I know they allow younger than "normal" students to take the exam. Second, if you know where your child(ren) may go to college, call the admissions office to see how far back they'll accept AP scores. (I know, you'd think it would be fine if the kid scores well, especially so young, but they can be weird.) If you don't know a particular school, maybe call a few local or a few big public universities to see what their policy is.
    Thanks--I hadn't even thought about how far back a college might accept a score! He is definitely interested in AP Comp Sci as well. I know you mentioned it in another thread, but do you mind telling me who your son is taking that from again?

    We are in a large PS district, as well as a large (mostly religious) HS community, so I can probably find a place for him to take an exam fairly easily. Seems like I have some more research to do.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by freerangedad View Post
    Science is a broad topic. What areas in science do they like to read about?
    He prefers chemistry and physics, but his math skills are not ready for that as yet. Environmental science is also an interest. It's not that he doesn't find biology interesting, but it's not necessarily the first type of book he'll pick up and read.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by groovymom2000 View Post
    Thanks--I hadn't even thought about how far back a college might accept a score! He is definitely interested in AP Comp Sci as well. I know you mentioned it in another thread, but do you mind telling me who your son is taking that from again?
    He's taking the course online here: https://users-mooc.amplify.com/ The course does have assignments, quizzes, and tests with deadlines, so that provides some focus. It is a year long course; they finish up new material this week. Then they spend about 3 weeks on prepping for the AP test specifically. DS has managed to keep a low 90's average, which is pretty decent since he's not a fan of Java. He's fairly proficient as a programmer, but we thought having outside validation besides a "mommy grade" would be a good thing if he wants to major in this in college or prove ability to an employer.
    Carol

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


    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University senior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

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    My son graduated in 2007. His high school really pushed AP courses and the tests. He ended up taking like 8 or 9 of them. It didn't matter the score, the University of Texas would only count them as electives. So, basically, he went into college not being able to take any electives because he took them all in high school.
    The ones I remember him taking were Biology, Calculus, French, English....there were others though.
    Teri
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  11. #10

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    Check out NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) bookstore, they have some pretty interesting science books/curriculum which are a bit different. I just bought Gourmet science which does a lot of experiments in the kitchen and Forensic Chemistry where they describe a crime scene and then you have different labs to do to figure out who done it. We're going to try them over the summer. I have their Earth Science Success book and liked it.

    NSTA Science Store: Product Detail

    Another option is TOPS, they have some pretty challenging activities and more interesting in my mind than the typical science labs.
    TOPS Science: Teach Science With Simple Things

    My son will be "9th" grade next year and even though we won't be doing official AP courses I plan on having him take AP exams. I know other HS families that have down this to show that they can make the grade and actually covered the material we put on the transcripts.

    If he's really interested in Physics here's some textbooks that I liked when I taught intro physics:

    Conceptual Physics - very little math here but its a high school/ college physics books, my 14 year old is reading it. There's a conceptual chemistry as well.

    The Physics of Everyday Phenomena: A conceptual Intro to Physics by Griffith - some math but not too bad.

    How Things Work: The Physics of Everyday Life by Bloomfield - this is a more rigorous book, but Bloomfield has a website to go along with it and you might just set your kid loose on that.

    and of course The Cartoon Guide to Physics by Gonnick
    Stay at home physicist - Mom to C (18 & off to college)) and J (15)
    https://homeschoolsciencegeek.wordpress.com

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Thinking about next year...questions about AP science.