Several years before I chose a homeschool high school science curriculum, I was feeling anything but calm. Fast forward 20 years and I’ve learned there are many options to teaching high school science right.
And it’s hard to go too wrong when narrowing down the options for homeschool high school science.
However, before you can choose the right homeschool science curriculum for your teen you need to determine the answers to these 7 questions.
- Will your high school teen pursue a science career and want to dive deep or are you wanting to give him a broad overview?
- What is your teen’s current attitude toward science? More on that in a minute.
- How will your goals or expectations affect your teen? For example, will hands-on activities be priority over completing the science text or will a completed text be the only way to count a grade?
And here are the next four questions.
- Determining the lab component is important. So, will you devote time to understanding how to count labs. By the way, I have you covered. Grab some tips here at my post How to Easily Meet the Lab Component of Homeschool High School Science.
- Also, because homeschool high school science curriculum has exploded, do you want a Christian-based, secular or even faith-neutral science curriculum?
- In addition, while not being totally fixated on grades, determine how you will grade? Will you grade only daily work and tests or will participation in discussions with you and hands-on activities be a big part of the grade? And finally,
- what goals does your teen have? Ask him or her what they want to learn or get from the course.
It won’t take long to think about those seven questions and don’t forget some of this will change depending on the age of your teen.
If your teen is just entering high school, he may change his goals from ninth grade to twelfth grade. Stay flexible and don’t forget to have fun. The high school years were some of the best years of my journey.
What are the Branches of Science
First begin with understanding course descriptions.
For those of us who are not science majors sorting out the branches of science can be confusing.
All I knew was that in high school, I chose topics I loved for all four years. Even if the topics are considered subtopics of the main branches of science, it’s still considered a study of science for high school.
I love these simple definitions from Study.Com where it says, “Physical science is the study of non-living things and the laws that describe them. The life sciences, which can also be called biology, have many subsets. The most common ones include botany, zoology, genetics, human biology, nutrition, and medicine. Earth sciences include geology, paleontology, meteorology, oceanography, and ecology.”
Homeschool High School Science Curriculum Sequence
Next, what is important to consider is the sequence. As I mentioned before whether your teen is pursuing a college track or career track is a deciding factor for the sequence of courses.
For instance, if your teen is pursuing a college track, it’s important that you check first with the college to determine the science sequence and credits needed.
If your child is not pursuing a science career, then probably two or three years of science with a lab is enough. Look below at a couple of sequences for high school science courses.
- 3 years and 1 lab
- physical science
- biology and
- 4 years and 1 lab
- earth science
- physics or an elective
And when I started homeschooling 20+ years ago, below were some of the sequences. I think they’re still wonderful for our current day.
This one comes from Home Learning Year by Year by Rebecca Rupp. It still stands solid.
And this sequence comes from College-Prep Homeschooling by David and Chandra Bryers.
- Grade 9 Earth/Space Science
- Grade 10 Biology
- Grade 11 Chemistry
- Grade 12 Physics
- Grade 9 Physical Science
- Grade 10 Biology Lab 1/2 credit
- Grade 11 Chemistry Lab 1/2 credit
- Grade 12 Physics
Next, something else to not forget is to think about your child’s mathematical abilities.
When you choose courses like biology or earth science first your teen has time to strengthen his math foundation.
My opinion is the sequence depends on your child’s math abilities. I don’t think there is a right or wrong. If your child needs more time to strengthen his algebra skills, do earth science or biology first.
However, if your teen’s algebra skills are solid by 9th grade, then jump into physics right away.
As you can see there are many paths to cover the 3 main branches of science physical sciences, life sciences, and earth sciences.
Furthermore, look through these high school science curriculum to see the wonderful choices.
And a few pointers will help you in choosing a high school curriculum which meets your needs.
High School Homeschool Curriculum
In addition, if you prefer more of a secular or faith-neutral approach, look at R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey.
Equally important is to compare prices and prep time.
For instance, if you choose a course online, would your teen feel pressured to keep up or enjoy being with other teens?
Again, you and your teen’s goals matter. So, don’t let a scope and sequence of any course be the only guide.
Further, some curriculum are worktexts for students who may not want labs. PAC Works or Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum below are straight worktexts.
Furthermore, rabbit trails or subtopics under the main branches of science can be so fascinating. Whether your teen wants to study marine biology or take a year studying the night sky it’s still science.
For example, anatomy, zoology, botany, and geology are more fascinating subtopics.
As I mentioned at the outset, you can see why your teen’s interest matter. More important to me is the experience and hands-on activity. And nurturing my teen’s love for any branch of science.
Sure, we must record keep and maintain credits, but don’t choose completing a textbook over the experience.
I still don’t view myself as a science mom, but I am a science lover and all three homeschooled grads still love science.
What do you think, can you find an option for your teen here?
In conclusion, you’ll love my other high school tips: