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Are you looking for the best choice for teaching science to your children this year? At Home Science Tools you can find a variety of popular homeschool science courses. Use this article to help you find the one that best fits your family's needs! Please click on the links below to find out more about specific curriculum.
For many of the top homeschool science curriculums, Home Science Tools provides course lab materials order forms and science kits for completing the labs or hands-on activities. We recommend asking the following questions when evaluating a science curriculum. The answers you find will help you decide on a curriculum that is appropriate for your abilities and your student's needs.
Late elementary/Junior high/High school
We highly recommend all of the Apologia courses. Aimed at providing a good science education for homeschooled students from elementary age through high school, this curriculum is the best choice for most families. Dr. Jay Wile, the primary author of this curriculum, writes in a clear, conversational manner that makes science concepts much easier to understand than most other science courses do. The high school courses are designed to prepare a student for college-level classes. Students should be able to work independently for the most part, usually with only minor parental preparation time. To complete a course in 32 weeks, plan on 3-4 hours of study per week.
Labs use primarily household items or other inexpensive items, although a microscope is needed for Biology, The Human Body, and Marine Biology.
Although Apologia courses are easily adaptable to other grade levels, the planned scope and sequence is as follows: Astronomy, Botany, Human Anatomy, Zoology 1, Zoology 2, or Zoology 3 in any of grades 2-6; General Science for grade 7, Physical Science for grade 8, Biology for Grade 9, Chemistry for grade 10, Physics for grade 11, and any of the advanced courses for grade 12 (which include Marine Biology and three "advanced placement" (AP) courses: The Human Body, Advanced Chemistry, and Advanced Physics).
In addition to the textbook and a tests & solutions manual for each course, a full-course CD-ROM and a companion CD are available for several grades. An audio CD is also available for some courses, which is a great option for auditory learners or for getting your science lesson on the go.
Dr. Wile provides support by e-mail, telephone, regular mail, or www.apologia.com.
Learn more in our video overview:
Real Science 4 Kids Level 1 (for grades 4-6) focuses on fundamental concepts and key terms, making it a great choice for families who want just one science course in elementary school. This series covers chemistry, biology, and physics, giving your children a familiarity with the concepts they'll build on later. (Theories of origins are not covered.) Each topic is covered in an individual book; the three together (Chemistry, Biology, and Physics) provide a full year of science doing one chapter per week. The hands-on experiments are designed around the scientific method and emphasize investigation.
Real Science 4 Kids Chemistry, Biology, and Physics courses are also available for Pre-Level 1 (grades K-3).
R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey (RSO) provides a wonderful scientific foundation for the elementary ages! Kids are encouraged to read, explore, absorb, and learn science through engaging text and activities. Each lesson is presented in a short story-like format followed by multiple home-friendly labs that reinforce and expand the concepts.
RSO is a hands-on curriculum that is designed for a home setting. It introduces the scientific method and a rich scientific vocabulary, all while teaching observation and analytical skills. Each book contains all the student pages, instructor sheets, and lab sheets, as well as extra resources like book and website lists, materials lists, and assignment planning guides. Each course provides a full year of science, doing 2-3 lessons per week.
Note: Can't decide whether RSO or Real Science 4 Kids sounds better? Use this quick curriculum comparison chart for an overview of the differences.
The Alpha Omega LifePac Gold is a complete, affordable, time-saving, easy-to-use curriculum. Subject matter for each curriculum is divided into ten LifePac workbooks for self-paced learning. These workbooks include text, workbook activities, lab activities, review questions, and written tests. A two-volume Teacher's Guide is included, containing management material, teacher notes, alternate tests, and all answer keys. This curriculum is a good choice if your child enjoys self-paced study or if your teaching time is limited.
Order this curriculum from Alpha Omega to save:
Switched-on Schoolhouse is a CD-ROM curriculum that provides an interactive, multimedia learning environment and is based on Alpha Omega's LifePac Gold curriculum. Switched-on Schoolhouse saves time by taking care of your grading, score computation, record keeping, and lesson planning, so you can spend more one-on-one time with your children. You'll also have the benefit of full multimedia movie and audio clips, slide shows, internet links, and 3D interactive projects. Available for grades 3-12 only.
Order this curriculum from Alpha Omega to save:
This is a very comprehensive, systematic, quality curriculum with an excellent scope and sequence. Materials are developed with increasing depth at each grade. All major science topics are introduced in grades 1-6 and then developed in detail in grades 7-12. Each course includes a variety of hands-on, science skill-building labs. Materials for grades 1-6 include student text, teacher edition, teacher packet, student notebook, tests, and answer key. Materials for grades 7-12 include student text, teacher text, student lab book, teacher lab book, tests, and answer keys. We highly recommend Bob Jones for grades 1-6 in order to lay a solid foundation for the higher grades. For grades 7-12, we recommend this course for parents with a strong science background and children who excel at science and are interested in pursuing a scientific area of study in college.
Weaknesses are high amount of teacher preparation time, excessive content in the upper level courses, and high lab costs. This curriculum was designed for teaching in school classrooms, making the lessons and labs more challenging to do in a homeschool setting.
A Beka is similar to Bob Jones in that it is comprehensive and is excellent quality, and follows a similar scope and sequence. For grades 1-6, the required work is mostly reading and discussion with significantly fewer hands-on activities. Grades 7-12 are just as rigorous as Bob Jones. We don't sell A Beka curriculum, but both the curriculum price and the lab costs are similar to Bob Jones. This curriculum was designed for teaching in school classrooms, making the lessons and labs more challenging to do in a homeschool setting.Return to Top of Page
Calvert is an accredited homeschooling program for all subjects. For science, they use McGraw-Hill textbooks in grades 1-6 and Prentice Hall textbooks in grades 7-8. The McGraw-Hill books each cover a mixture of earth, life, and physical science topics. The Prentice Hall books cover physical science in 7th grade and earth science in 8th grade. Labs are low-cost, using primarily household items.
TOPS offers dozens of unit study books that encourage science investigation using common, household items. Lab costs are low. As with any unit study approach, it is important to plan your own scope and sequence to ensure covering all the necessary topics. Plan for a good amount of parental involvement with younger children.
OdysseyWare is a multimedia CD-ROM curriculum for grades 3-12. It saves teacher preparation time with its advanced lesson planning and automatic grading. Your student can watch science experiments on their computer.
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