Homeschooling High School: Sciences

by GfG on June 18, 2013 · 4 comments

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“What about high school?!!” One of the top questions asked when we started homeschooling and to this day.  Teaching high school is daunting, but it is completely do-able, even by those of us lacking in the higher math and sciences brain area.

Today’s post is first in a series on addressing concerns about homeschooling high school.  See the intro post here.

Alrighty, raise your hand if you are a rocket scientist?  nuclear physicist?  I don’t see any hands.

Raise your hand if you are in a science heavy field of business or profession?   I see a few hands.

Raise your hand if you simply did the basic sciences to graduate high school college ready and then graduate college?  Yup, there are the hands.

There are many different reasons for teaching higher sciences in high school, but most people want to simply have their child ready for college, so I’ll focus on that.

I do want to say that teaching our children the beauty of God’s creation and order in science is a goal of ours.   We also desire to challenge their minds and intellect.  Lastly, it is our desire that our children build their giftings and strengths.  This involves higher sciences, but only to a degree so far.

HB is not science minded, so we did not do heavy sciences with her.  Noah remains to be seen.

Ok… so how to teach higher sciences to high school students if you are not gifted in the area of science OR you are not confident in it?  

Honestly, this is a terrific day and age in which to live for learning just about anything.  Technology, and specifically the internet, is your friend in this area.

Here are the basic routes and a few company suggestions* in each area:

Book Curriculum.  This is the old stand by method of learning: read it.  Basically, buy a textbook of the subject and have your student read.  Write out the discussion/study questions.  Discussion topics with them as needed.  We use Apologia for all of our sciences, including high school.  It meets our worldview and academic rigor.  There are also the traditional textbook companies such as ABekaBob Jones, and Holt.


DVD Courses.  Watching a lecture on DVD is an easy way to have your student take a class.  Not only are there lectures, but the labs are provided to watch also.  Usually, there is a book to go along with the class.  Many companies that offer book courses now offer this too.   Apologia, Accelerated Christian Education, The Teaching Company, and more offer these as their curriculum or as a part of it, but there are also companies that offer just this, such as Westfield Studios and DIVE.

Internet courses.  There are more than a few online options for subjects now.   These can be taken through online schools that cater to homeschoolers or through companies that teach a la carte subjects.  We have used The Potter’s School for some subjects, but not science.  Landry Academy is another option. Of course there are online schools such as K-12 and Texas Tech.  A terrific new find is ThinkWell.  They are an a la carte option and offer many subjects. 

Internet supplementation.  The advent of KHAN Academy changed everything, really.  A free tutor online is a homeschooling mom’s dream.  With thousands of subjects and sub-subjects to choose from, these video lessons are a terrific way to supplement book study or any other curriculum.

Create a Supplementation Class Yourself.  Perhaps you have a great curriculum, but would like to supplement for reinforcement and/or comprehension checks.  A fabulous way to do this is to meet occasionally with others who are studying the same subject and are on the same plan.

This year, we will utilize this method by meeting with a group every two weeks to do quizzes/tests and comprehension questions for biology (Noah).  You could also do this with just the labs.  Study the materials yourself, but meet on a set schedule for labs together.  

Picture 427

Homeschool C0-ops.  Co-ops meet many needs for homeschoolers.  High school co-ops are a great way to meet science class needs.  Google for local listings of homeschool groups and co-ops.  You’ll probably find many.

This is what we did for two years of HB’s sciences (if you are reading this, thank you again, Amy!).  A mom gifted in teaching sciences wanted to provide a class setting for her daughter and blessed many others by teaching the labs. We did the book work at home.

the Hannahs lab WEB

Attending a Local Brick & Mortar School.  Many public and private schools allow homeschooling students to attend part or half time.  I will admit that I’m not a fan of this option, but would be remiss if I didn’t mention it.   🙂

Hiring/Bartering with a Tutor.  Believe it or not, there are many kind people in the world who love teaching higher sciences to homeschoolers.  Check out local homeschool groups for references or even local colleges/universities.  You can even offer to barter with the teacher.  For example, you could offer to teach a subject to their student in exchange OR you could provide some kind of service.

You could also just do this with a friend.  Say, for example, you had a friend that was teaching and doing the labs with her child, you could ask about your child joining them.  Offering payment or some kind of service.

Pay for the Labs.  Not until this year did I learn about paying for my child to attend two days of intense labs for a subject.  It was a perfect fit for us.  There are companies that offer these nationwide.  We did ours through Landry Academy and plan to do it again this year.

Create a Class Yourself.  Maybe you can’t teach the whole class, but forming a small personal c0-op with some friends would be a good option.  You could all take turns teaching the class and labs.  We have friends who did this recently and said it was a huge blessing to their family.

So… as you can see, there are many ways to tackle the high school science beast.  Do not be daunted and don’t let anyone tell you that it can’t be done!

What most appeals to you?  Have other suggest, share in the comments!

*I am not endorsing each of these suggestions. Please use discernment and study to decide what matches your worldview and goals.  Also, company suggestions are not exhaustive and I will try to update occasionally, but please note the date of the post’s publication.  Thanks!  Feel free to suggest companies in the comments!


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