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Apologia Chemistry, MicroChem kit, Khan Academy- enough for honors/AP?

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#1 going42


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Posted 31 August 2010 - 05:50 AM

Hi all,

This is my first post. I have read a ton of chemistry posts and just can't decide what to do. My son is going into 10th this year. He took Biology Honors last year at the local high school, and while it looked good on paper, the class was sort of a joke for him. He wants to attend a college with an aviation team since he's heavily into flying. He's not too keen on the sciences overall, mainly aviation, and doesn't care for the religious tone of the Apologia text, but I just don't know what other inexpensive alternative there is. I'm really short on funds this year, and I'm concerned that I may not be able to provide the lab part of this course very well for him. I'd like to be able to provide him with AP or Honors level work. I already own MicroChem kit (I bought it three years ago, I hope the stuff doesn't go bad!), and can buy a used copy of Apologia Chemistry 2nd edition for a reasonable amount. If I supplement these with the Khan Academy videos, would this be enough to award Honors or AP status to this class? He's a very sharp kid, good study habits, and I feel he can handle a true Honors level class with no problem.

If I go this route, I understand he will he have to take an AP exam to 'earn' the AP credit, correct? How would I be able to prove 'honors' level if we don't go the AP route?

Any ideas or recommendations are greatly appreciated. These boards are a veritable fount of knowledge and I'm so grateful you ladies take the time to share your thoughts and experiences. :001_smile: He's my first kiddo going into the high school realm, and I really feel out of my depth!


#2 creekland


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Posted 31 August 2010 - 05:59 AM

If you want Apologia as prep for an AP test, you'll need both the regular Chem and the Advanced Chem. They can both be done in one year, but usually it's spread over two. You won't find Advanced Chem used in the new edition as it's just out this year (we have it).

I'm not up on Khan Academy for Chem to know if it would fill in as Advanced Chem. I suspect it's better as "more info" joined with a book (as it is for math).

I understand thoroughly your comment on the ps course. It's the same way here. My younguns often tutor their ps counterparts in math and science - esp Chem.

Otherwise, people often use Zumdahl's (sp?) if they want a secular Chem AP type prep. Since we started with Apologia and it's been working well for my boys, I opted not to change.

The best way to know if they are prepared for the AP is to get practice tests and let them try them. Do this well before the test so they can find areas they might not be as knowledgeable about and catch up (or dust off stored info!).

#3 freerange


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Posted 31 August 2010 - 06:35 AM

There's a realm of resources at chemguide.co.uk. It's by the author of an IGCSE chemistry book which we've found excellent, but I can't say if it would be suitable for what you need.

#4 lisabees


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Posted 31 August 2010 - 09:29 AM

Ds is coming out of ps for the first time. He is a junior. It's nice to meet someone in a similar position. Welcome to the board. :001_smile:

Because I am new at this, I don't have much to offer. I planned on ds taking science at the cc, but the classes were full. We then signed him up for Honors Chemistry through ChemAdvantage. He is using Raymond Chang's Chemistry book. I think we found it for $8 used.

You may know this, but unless your class is approved by the College Board, you cannot call it AP. That does not mean he cannot take the AP test; you just can't call the course AP. There is info at the College Board site for AP Chemistry. Here it is. This might help in your preparation. One more thing. Usually, students take regular Chemistry for one year before they take the AP course. Of course, many don't. I just want to throw that out there. Instead of AP (if you feel he is not prepared), have him take the SAT Subject Test in Chemistry. Info on that is also on the College Board site.

DS would not be pleased either with religious references. I am not familiar at all with Apologia. Another Christian text is Spectrum. Anyone know if this has less Christian references? I do hear good things about Zumdahl for AP prep. Buy an older edition used and find AP course outlines for this book online.

You can also try Thinkwell. Homeschool Buyers Co-op (free to sign up) has it for sale only until today, I think. I hear great things about this, if your son likes video lectures.

MIT's Open Courseware has this. I enjoyed watching the first few lectures. We love Salman Khan around here too!

Also, you may want to join this group. It's for homeschoolers trying to prepare their high schoolers for college.

Also, here is a thread I started recently, that may have some fun ideas.

About Honors. I am not sure what is considered Honors - I think it is the time involved and the materials used. Do a search on this board. Some colleges want a list of textbooks and materials used for each course, so be aware of that.

Well, be sure to take my info with a grain of salt. I have only done this for one day!!!! I'm no expert like some of these wonderful ladies. :lol:

#5 hoosiermom


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Posted 31 August 2010 - 12:25 PM

My 9th grade dd just started chemistry after doing Apologia Biology last year (and not liking its religious tone). We're using Prentice Hall Chemistry which is very inexpensive if you buy used--I got mine on Amazon. I'm also using the syllabus and tests from Kolbe Academy--this includes a regular track and honors track. I'm supplementing w/ the Teaching Co. chemistry DVD's and the chem Labpaq. Those last 2 items are pretty expensive, but they're not completely necessary to the class. Hope this helps.

#6 going42


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Posted 01 September 2010 - 05:45 PM

Thanks for the links and the input, ladies.

Lisa, welcome to the world of homeschooling. We've actually homeschooled since my ds was in 2nd, so that would be 8 years, but last year he wanted to try high school, so we did. He was unimpressed. ;)

ChemAdvantage looks just what I would like to do, and they're already AP certified, but the cost is beyond us at the moment. Thanks for the College Board site; I'll have to read through that website more thoroughly! SO much to learn...and yes, I find it interesting how many AP classes now say that you have to have had a previous year of a said subject in order to qualify. Both my dh and I took all AP classes back in high school (eons ago), without having to take prerequisites. We were 'approved' by our previous teachers and jumped right in. So I guess that's what I have in mind for ds. I'm also hoping that if he watches the Khan academy videos concurrently with his text studies, he'll have a clear grasp of the concepts and then can do really well on an AP or SAT Chem exam.

After more research, I'm inclined to get Zumdahl's text, the only question is which one? There is an Introductory Chem text which is much cheaper than the other Chemistry texts available. Is there a resident chemistry expert on these boards that could answer this question, much like Jann in TX is for math? And if I get the Chemistry text, which edition?

Hoosiermom, can the syllabus from Kolbe be used with pretty much any textbook? I've never heard of Kolbe.

If I go with Zumdahl's, then we have the option of going for Chem 2 if he finds he likes it. I can also accelerate the pace if needed, and combined with Khan videos and the MicroChem kit, he can take the SAT and I think we should be fine.

My hope is to show a strong track in the sciences throughout his high school career since the AFA and other schools like it tend to like solid science classes on a transcript. Of course, they like to see a strong transcript overall, but if I think about it too long I get overwhelmed, so I try to focus on one thing at a time. :lol::svengo:

Thanks ladies!

#7 hoosiermom


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Posted 01 September 2010 - 07:29 PM

I learned about Kolbe Academy from this forum when I posted about my indecision regarding a chemistry curriculum. You can see samples on their web-site. And no, it could not be used with any other chem textbook--it is written specifically for the PH book.