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Our Family

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Science For High School

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Most traditional homeschool science courses use a textbook to teach their program.  Student read the assigned chapter, answer the questions, and take a quiz to show mastery of the material.  Over the last several weeks, we have had an opportunity to use a science curriculum that is a little different from traditional science courses.  Science for High School offers research based science courses for high school and over the last several weeks we have had an opportunity to use and review High School Physical Science in Your Home.  

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High School Physical Science in Your Home was designed to be used with High School students in grades 9-12.  Instead of a traditional text book, the program contains a parent manual and a Student Manual.  The Student Manual is shrink wrapped and three hole punched to place in a 3 ring binder.  It contains 25 weeks of questions (12 weeks  for the first semester and 13 weeks for the second semester), Lab Manual containing one lab per week, weekly quizzes, and 2 Final Exams (one for each semester.)  The student will need to use different sources to answer the questions such as the internet, the library, or science texts that you may have on hand.  The Teacher's Manual is a spiral bound book containing all of the questions in the student manual along with answer keys to the quizzes and final exams, and all of the labs with examples of what the student should have observed.  The Teacher's Manual also contains a supply list for the labs most of these you probably have around the house already.  There are some items that are needed that are harder to find and these are written in bold in the supply list.  Topics covered include:

First Semester

Scientific Method and Air
Weather and Climate
Astronomy I
Astronomy 2
Motions and Force
Simple Machines

Second Semester

Electricity (Week 1-3)
Atomic Chemistry
Chemistry of Matter
Chemistry: H,C,O,N
Chemistry: P,S,Si, and Groups IA, IIA, and VIIA
Chemical Formulas and Equations
Earth Science

You can see sample pages here (scroll down to bottom of page.)

The suggested schedule is that you assign your student their weekly questions on Monday and tell them which day they need to have them completed by.  The amount of questions varies depending on the topics.  Then the parent goes over the questions and answers with the student on the assigned day.  After going over the material, the lab should be completed.  The author suggest giving the quiz for the previous week before beginning the new week's discussion, helping the student learn to study for a quiz while having other assignments.

High School Physical Science in Your Home can be purchased for $79.99.  Additional student books are available for $24.99.  A lab kit to go with the curriculum can be purchased for $45.  Click here to buy.

I have been using High School Physical Science in Your Home with my 16 year old daughter.  Somehow in her science courses, she never took Physical Science.  We did General Science, Biology, and Chemistry, so I thought Physical Science would be a good option for her.  Weekly questions are assigned on Monday and she has until Thursday to complete them.  After discussion we complete the lab and take the week's quiz. We placed the student pages in a 3 ring binder putting a sheet of notebook paper behind each question page so she has plenty of space to answer and all of her information is kept in one place.

I really liked the idea of using a science curriculum that was a little different from the traditional approach.  I think the idea behind High School Physical Science in Your Home is a good one that will help high schoolers develop research skills that they will need to have in college.  I think that by actively researching the answers it makes the student more invested in the learning process.  This course also teaches students good time management skills.  l  I found the course to be very thorough.  The Teacher's Manual provided me with all of the information that I needed.  The layout is very simple to follow.  Advanced prep is needed only to gather the necessary lab materials and to locate sources for your child to use to answer the necessary questions.  There were no questions that I found that would require evolutionary responses to.  There is a question that asks students to research the different theories for determining the age of the earth but the Teacher's Manual has several responses including the Creationist Theory which I was glad to see.  Because your child is doing their own research, they have the freedom to answer questions in a way that lines up with their belief system.  Chelsea's answers have been very thorough and she has demonstrated an understanding of the material that she has been researching.

The one difficulty for us is that our library is incredibly small and does not have many books that she can use as resources.  So, Chelsea has been using the internet for much of her research.  That has it pros and cons.  Yes all of your information is literally at the tips of your fingers, but there is a lot of dangers to the internet as well and things our children can stumble on accidentally.  Not all internet sources are reliable.  Also, depending on what you are searching, you may come up with answers that go against your belief system.    My goal for the upcoming chapters is to find some creation based non fiction resources that I can purchase for so that Chelsea doesn't have to spend quite as much time using the internet.

I think a great addition for the course would be a list of safe, reliable internet websites and a suggested book list.  I know one of the great things about this course is that there are no required books or resources you must have, but a list of suggestions would be helpful to give parents/students a starting point.

Overall, we have been very pleases with High School Physical Science in Your Home.  Members of The Crew have also reviewed High School Chemistry In Your Home and High School Biology In Your Home.  To see what other Crew Mates had to say, click on the banner below.

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