7/16/13

{Crew Review} Science for High School: Chemistry

I was not a science person when I was in high school. I avoided science and math. I was planning on marrying a rock star or something and wasn’t going to go to college so I took classes like French, German, Psychology, and Choir. As a home schooling parent, I’ve been concerned about my ability (or lack thereof) to teach high school level science. Products like Science for High School help alleviate my fears about teaching. Turtlegirl and I have been blessed to use the High School Chemistry in Your Home program for the last several weeks.

 Science for High School Review Collage

 

Describing High School Chemistry in your Home:

This program is research based. What does that mean? It means the student uses the student manual as a guide to research the topics to learn chemistry. The manual is divided into semesters and broken down into weeks. Each week the student should answer the questions from the student manual using the library, internet, or textbooks. Teacher/parent should meet with the student weekly to discuss the questions and the student should do the accompanying lab.

We received the manual set which includes the Student Manual which comes shrink wrapped and ready for your three-ring binder and the softcover, spiral bound manual for the parent/teacher.

Included in the Student Manual:

  • Weekly Questions divided by semester
  • Lab Manual divided by semester
  • Quizzes and Exams divided by semester

Included in the Teacher Manual:

  • Introduction
  • FAQ
  • Syllabus
  • First Semester Supply List
  • Second Semester Supply List
  • Weekly Questions divided by semester including answers
  • Lab Manual divided by semester including notes on what student should observe and possible responses
  • Quizzes and Exams (including answer keys) divided by semester

Lab equipment and chemicals necessary for this subject can be purchased directly from Science for High School. You can see the kit options here.

Each student must have their own student manual, however, this course can be done with more than one student.  Students could come together to discuss the research findings and complete lab exercises. Science for High School Discussions

Using High School Chemistry in your Home

There is a section in the FAQ in the teacher manual that suggests a weekly type of schedule. The assignments are divided up by weeks, but I like to think of those as lessons.  Some of the research requires more time and effort than other questions and we’ve found that we prefer to focus on science for about an hour a day several days a week. The lessons do average out to about 1 per week.  I like the idea of giving Turtlegirl 3 to 4 days to work through the questions for the week and then take a day where we discuss the questions, then she can take a quiz.  I like giving the labs their own day and we’re trying to match up lab days with dad’s days off.

I appreciate that as a parent, I can use this guide even though I never took chemistry in high school nor college. The information that I need is right there in the manual. I’ve come to really enjoy the discussion time with Turtlegirl. This chemistry course allows me to be more of a mentor or coach without the pressure of trying to teach these concepts.  When her answer doesn’t appear to match the manual, we research together to reconcile the two answers.

We have found it very helpful to have a science encyclopedia and a science dictionary in addition to a textbook on hand for researching the questions. The internet has also been a good source for information.  Ms. Ardoin also recommends making use of your local library.

My Thoughts:

Though this is working great for Turtlegirl, I do not think it would be such a great fit for Tailorbear. I do recommend this program but with this caveat: students need to be self-motivated and able to work without the structure of formal lessons or lectures. With this program students are not spoon fed the knowledge but rather must research from other sources to find the answers. Science for High School Indpendent Study

  Thoughts from Turtlegirl:

I am enjoying using this program. I like that I have to look up the answers for myself; I think it helps solidify the information in my brain. The questions are easy to understand. Sometimes the answers are hard to find. I like the format of the questions for the week. First are the ‘lecture’ questions, and then I have a few lab questions to answer before doing the lab. I like how there are a variety of question types. One of the things I like about the labs is that the instructions tell you exactly what you need and what to do. I also like how there are questions at the end of the lab for you to answer. One of the things that I suppose is a good thing although it frustrates me is that the answers in the teacher book are often longer and more complicated than what I can find. Overall, I am learning a great deal with this program. I think it is better for me because I can look up the answers and not have to go over a lecture in my head trying to remember if it did indeed say something about such-and-such a property. I can make sure I actually have the answers I need. I also love the weekly discussions I am getting to have with my Mom. This way, if I’m getting stuck, I can bring that up and she can help me. I am very much enjoying this program.

Science for High School Cover images

The Details:

  • Product: High School Chemistry in your Home
  • Vendor: Science for High School
  • Author: Bridget Ardoin
  • Sample Pages and Syllabus
  • Recommended Ages: according to the FAQ Chemistry should be taught in the junior or senior year because it is abstract and involves “lots of math and a grasp of some algebraic principles is needed.”  Ms. Ardoin does acknowledge that this is home school and if your student is grasping these concepts then “go ahead with chemistry!”
  • Price: $79.99 for the set of one parent guide and one student manual.  Extra student manuals are available for $24.99.

Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog to read what others have to say about Science for High School.

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