This course is designed to be the student's first high school science course and is a college-prep biology course that provides a detailed introduction to the methods and concepts of general biology. Heavily emphasizing the vocabulary of biology, it provides the student with a strong background in the scientific method, the five-kingdom classification scheme, microscopy, biochemistry, cellular biology, molecular and Mendelian genetics, evolution, dissection, and ecosystems. It also provides a complete survey of the five kingdoms in Creation. Students who take and understand this course will be very well-prepared for a tough university biology course.
Teaching a high school biology course at home can be challenging. What if I'm not knowledgeable about biology? What if I don't like dissecting things? What if I can't afford a microscope and slides? What if I can't find a course written from a Christian perspective?
Valid questions. One answer is Exploring Creation With Biology. This course can be used if you have any (or all) of the concerns mentioned. First of all, the book assumes that God is the creator of all life, not that life just happened or that one kind of animal evolved into a different kind of animal. While the creationist view is evident throughout the book, Chapter 9 is a 30+ page discussion of the theory of evolution compared to the theory of creation. Also, if you tire of hearing radical environmentalists whine about man destroying the earth, appropriate scientific facts are sprinkled throughout the book refuting many of their claims.
The book is written specifically for use in a homeschool. The authors assume no prior knowledge of the subject, and the course is written in an easy-to-understand, conversational style. Nonetheless, it is a serious biology text - one of the co-authors was formerly a university science professor. The book contains 16 chapters, or modules, discussing every topic you would expect in a high school biology course. The book contains a variety of drawings and photographs, both color and black-and-white.
Lab work can be more challenging in a homeschool environment, and the authors have made allowances for this fact in their course. Three types of lab exercises are included. First, household labs use only household equipment and should be done by all students. Second, microscope labs require the use of a 400x microscope and prepared slide set. Third, dissection labs require a dissection kit of instruments and specimens. The authors do not require the microscope and dissection labs to be done, although they believe that these are certainly beneficial. To make these labs more "do-able", they have developed a slide set and a dissection kit to be used with this course. We offer these below.
The course comes with two components. The student text includes all student reading, experiments, "On Your Own" exercises (with answers and discussion later in the chapter), and 15 to 25 "Study Guide" questions at the end of each chapter. The second book, Solutions and Tests, as you might expect, contains 10 to 20 test questions for each chapter, answers to the test questions, and solutions to the "Study Guide" questions. This guide also includes the perforated tests listed below.
How do students feel about this course? One student wrote, "I am one of the [homeschooling students] that has the privilege of testing out your remarkably interesting and informative biology course... I would like to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to you for taking the time to put together and write this curriculum."
Written specifically for use in a homeschool environment, these biblically-centered courses take a lot of pressure off the parent teaching the course. Each course consists of a high-quality hardcover student text and a paperback solution manual. The student text includes all the student reading, instructions for labs, "On Your Own" exercises, and fifteen to twenty "Study Guide" questions at the end of each chapter. Unlike many upper-level science texts, we have found these to be extremely readable! The text has a conversational tone, and concepts are explained in an easy-to-understand way. Plenty of helpful diagrams and pictures are included which add interest and break up the text. Answers to the "On Your Own" exercises are also included with discussion at the end of each chapter. The labs are designed to be done easily, and most require only household items to complete; unlike high school courses, like Bob Jones which require investing in some lab equipment and chemicals to complete the labs. Where a microscope or dissecting materials are required, a reasonably-priced complete kit of materials is available, for ease in collecting the items.
The Solution Manual contains test questions for each chapter, answers to the test questions and solutions to the "Study Guide" questions. For some courses, a separate Perforated Tests booklet is available; please note that this is only necessary if you want an extra copy of the test questions.
The recently-published Student Notebooks are a user-friendly companion that provides space for answering the On Your Own and Study Guide questions as well as for developing Lab Reports. Study helps include graphic organizers and a Module Summary for each module (fill-in-the-blank). Digging Deeper sections provide opportunity for practical applications and writing activities. For the teacher there are grading rubrics for lab reports and suggested answers for some of the graphic organizers. The History of Science module includes a nicely done timeline. Grading rubrics for the lab reports are provided in the Appendix.
Most of the courses are available on Complete Course CD-ROMs. These 2-disc sets include all of the information found in the print version of the course along with additional multimedia animations, videos, narrations, and pronunciation guides. Tests can be viewed on-screen and printed out, but are not interactive. The teacher has access to password-protected answers which they can use for manual grading. Although the program does not require access to the internet, Internet Explorer is used as the interface.
Companion CD-ROMs are also available for each Apologia textbook. Not to be confused with the CD-ROM Complete Course, these CD-ROMs offer only the multimedia features that cannot be included in a print textbook. Features include videos of experiments, close-ups of a variety of organisms, identification of different components on 3-D models, and pronunciations of words with which students are probably unfamiliar. This one would be our preference, as our family finds it easier to read a book than to read for an extended period on the computer monitor. System requirements for all CD-ROMS: Windows 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7, 8, and 10 (not supported for Mac operating systems).
MP3 Audio CDs are also available for most courses. The audio files are in MP3 format, and will require an MP3-compatible CD player to use (these can also be run on most computers). Tests, study guides, and answers are not included - this is simply an audio version of the text.
Apologia now offers updated Video Instruction DVDs for Biology, Chemistry, and Advanced Biology. Sherri Seligson, an author and scientist, is your host and takes you to interesting locations, incorporating animated diagrams (over 20 hours of instruction) to help students better understand the concepts being taught. The content is more of a summary of the textual information found in each section of the modules than a narration of the text. Students will either see Sherri Seligson on location or in a lab during the speaking portions or they will see animated illustrations and examples. Sherri takes students through each lab and talks about what needs to be done and the results of the experiments. There are no pdf files with this newer edition of the DVDs just video lessons and tutorials for the experiments in 4-disc sets.
To use these DVDs, you must have a DVD drive on your computer (PC or MAC) capable of playing mp4 files; these are not compatible with a DVD player.
Apologia Science courses are written from a Biblical worldview with the homeschool in mind. At the elementary level, courses follow a Charlotte Mason-inspired methodology, with lessons organized around narration, notebooking exercises and hands-on activities or projects. Children at different ages can use these together, learning at their own level. Each course is designed to be teacher-student interactive, so teacher involvement is fairly high at this level. At the junior high and high school levels, science courses are more traditional in nature, with the textbook written to the student. Teacher involvement time at this level is much less than at the elementary level. Textbooks contain student reading, lab instructions, "On Your Own" questions and Study Guide questions. A Solutions Manual provides the answers to these and the test questions. Lab kits are available separately for both the elementary and upper-level science courses which include most of the harder to find items you will need.
Items listed in this section tend to be complete science programs with a teacher and student component, requiring few supplements besides science supplies.
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