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#1 Sweet Home Alabama

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 01:34 PM

We are 2 years from high school, and I'm trying to understand what to do for science.

I understand the reasoning behind the physics first movement (physics, chemistry, biology), yet I am not completely comfortable with this. "Conceptual" sounds great because it helps a student understand, but I just can't ignore the importance of being able to do the math behind the science.

That said, I do like the idea of doing chemistry in 9th to prepare for biology since biology has a chemistry base. BUT.... I really don't know what chemistry would be good for a 9th grader. (DD will have Alg. I in 8th grade. Math is getting done, but doesn't come easily.)

Spectrum Chemistry and Prentice Hall Chemistry seem to be the most popular as I read the science threads. I also know of Apologia, but is there anything else to choose from?

Spectrum sounds very home school friendly, yet Spectrum and Apologia sound like they suffer from the same problem: They are only complete IF they are followed by an advanced class.

I realize that chemistry "usually" is taken in 10th, yet I want to find a "complete" 9th grade chemistry that covers enough chemistry to prepare for biology and to prepare for PSAT and ACT testing. I would also like it to be home school friendly. See, I want it ALL! :D Does this exist?

9th chemistry
10th biology
11th physics
12th advanced science based on career choice

If you were going to study science in this order, what would you choose for chemistry? (Just as an aside, I'm trying to determine the same for biology, and have found Shepherd Science looks interesting..... still a long way off from choosing.)

Any help would be so greatly appreciated!!!

#2 Teachin'Mine

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 02:29 PM

I don't know about Spectrum, but Prentice Hall and Apologia are complete chemistry texts. When people say the Advanced Chemistry is needed, they mean it's needed in order to prepare for the AP test. The regular chemistry text is enough on its own for a regular high school chemistry course.

The PSAT, or the SAT for that matter, won't require any chemistry or other science. The ACT does have a science section, but it's less about having learned a particular science than about interpreting scientific information, graphs, etc.. You may want to get an ACT prep book out from your library and check it out for science content.

Apologia is extremely homeschool friendly. Can you tell we like Apologia? :D There are lots of good texts to choose from. :)

#3 Sweet Home Alabama

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 02:37 PM

I don't know about Spectrum, but Prentice Hall and Apologia are complete chemistry texts. When people say the Advanced Chemistry is needed, they mean it's needed in order to prepare for the AP test. The regular chemistry text is enough on its own for a regular high school chemistry course.

The PSAT, or the SAT for that matter, won't require any chemistry or other science. The ACT does have a science section, but it's less about having learned a particular science than about interpreting scientific information, graphs, etc.. You may want to get an ACT prep book out from your library and check it out for science content.

Apologia is extremely homeschool friendly. Can you tell we like Apologia? :D There are lots of good texts to choose from. :)



Thank you for responding, Teachin'Mine! I have but one question, and it is based on but one person I've actually spoken to.

A friend of mine who has science/chemistry college degree homeshcooled her son and used Apologia. Now that her son is in college, his testimony is that Apologia chemistry got him through content in the first semester college chemistry but that he wished they had done the advanced Apologia chemistry to cover the full year of college chemistry.

This is why I am looking for a *complete* chemistry for 9th grade, but I have my doubts that such a curriculua exists.

#4 FaithManor

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 02:43 PM

Will your 9th grader have completed algebra 1? This is necessary as a minimum math ability for most chemistry courses and many advanced chem (which would be the second semester of college chem) require some algebra 2 or at least having completed geometry since it teaches so much logical thinking.

That's the hard thing about taking chemistry and physics early in high school. They are math related disciplines and the prerequisite maths may not have been completed. If you use a text that does not require the math, then it isn't complete. College chem requires both algebra 1 and algebra 2 in order to complete that first full year. Some physics courses for high school must be taken concurrent with trigonometry so that certain math concepts have been mastered before the second semester of the physics.

Faith

Edited by FaithManor, 31 October 2010 - 02:47 PM.
spelling


#5 Teachin'Mine

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 02:43 PM

What she said is right. Apologia is a high school text, not a college one. I think you'll find that most will be the same, unless they're specifically for AP prep.

We've found, with physics anyway, that it's easy enough to cover one chapter in Apologia each week. With this schedule, the student is able to complete both the basic science text, and the advanced one as well within one school year. Doing it this way should prepare the student to get to Chemistry I in college and have already covered most, if not all, of the content. If they take the AP, and the college accepts their score, then they may be able to skip Chemistry I.

Another way to do what you're looking to do is to use a college text. But I would think that would be challenging for the student if they haven't done high school chemistry, and it might also be more challenging to teach as most college texts assume a teacher is teaching - iykwim.

HTH :)

#6 Teachin'Mine

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 02:47 PM

Faith we posted at the same time. :) What you said about the math needed is right. OP says that her daughter will have taken Algebra I in 8th, so she'd be okay for the regular Apologia Chemistry text, but I believe you're right that you need Algebra II for the Advanced Chemistry text. She may be okay with having done half a year, or maybe she'll be doing geometry instead.

ETA: Here's an article from a site which sells Apologia:

Math Prerequisites for Apologia Science Courses

27 Mar, 2010 Apologia Science, Curriculum Reviews, Product Reviews, Science Reviews

This article explains the math prerequisites for successful completion of each level of Apologia science courses. Not all science courses require math skills, but many do.
Knowing which science courses to offer your student at the secondary level and when to offer them can seem difficult. In reality, course sequencing for junior high and high school isn’t that hard when you know one important fact: A student’s mathematics level is the key factor for his or her success or failure in the high school sciences. If you make sure that your child is well prepared mathematically for the science course he or she will take, you will have gone a long way toward assuring your student’s academic success.

Here is the recommended timeline for math prerequisites:

7th grade Apologia General Science – no math prerequisite
8th grade Apologia Physical Science – 7th grade math
9th grade Apologia Biology – no math prerequisite
10th grade Apologia Chemistry – Algebra 1
11th grade Apologia Physics – Algebra 1, Geometry; basic Trigonometry functions

12th grade Apologia Advanced Biology – no math prerequisite
12th grade Apologia Advanced Chemistry – Algebra 2
12th grade Apologia Advanced Physics – Pre-Calculus
12th grade Apologia Marine Biology – no math prerequisite

Following these guidelines will help assure success with all levels of Apologia Science. Please note that your student’s math level should drive this time line, especially if the student is science-oriented. When the student begins Algebra I, that’s when Apologia Biology should begin.

For the years leading up to junior high school, we recommend that your science curriculum be flexible, such as the Young Explorer Series that we publish.
Even if your student is not science-oriented, he or she will benefit from exposure to Apologia Biology, Chemistry, AND Physics. You never know when a lifelong interest may be sparked!

About: Learningthings.com:
This article was written by Learning Things staff and other contributing writers. Learning Things offers thousands of educational books, software, science kits, toys, games, hobby items and other resources.

Edited by Teachin'Mine, 31 October 2010 - 02:53 PM.


#7 Sweet Home Alabama

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 03:15 PM

Faith and Teachin'Mine,

Thank you so much. I think it makes sense to study chemistry and then biology, but now I'm beginning to see that this ONLY works in conjunction with the right math.

We will be doing Alg. I in 8th grade, but I was thinking about studying geometry in 10th. From reading other posts, it sounded like geometry would benefit chemistry as well. No wonder chemistry is written as a 10th grade class- that way a student would have a better grasp on a wider range of math.

I might have to re-think the order of science or at the least wait until we get there and see how math is when we get closer to 9th grade.

Ok. Now, I'd just like to know chemistry favorites. Maybe I'll start a poll and ask that.

I would still LOVE to hear from any of you who have done chemistry before biology.

Thanks, everyone!

#8 Guest_Cheryl in SoCal_*

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 03:33 PM

My children will be doing Chemistry before Advanced Biology (a prerequisite) but I see no problem with taking Chemistry before Biology as long as the math prerequisites are met. There is nothing in Apologia's Chemistry that you need Biology to understand. However, you do need Chemistry before Advanced Biology. If their math is up to it I might do Chemistry, Biology, Advanced Biology, Physics with my younger crew so the Biologies can be done back to back.

ETA that for a child who loves science Biology and Chemistry could be taken at the same time if math allows, just like Geometry can be take at the same time as Algebra 1 or Algebra 2.

#9 HollyDay

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 03:39 PM

I've struggled with chemistry all year. We are finally settling into biology after switching curriculum this month. Now, I'm trying to select a curriculum for chemistry.

Have you looked at BJU? That is a well respected chemistry program. But, from what I hear, it is not as easy to use as the other chemistry courses you mentioned.

I do know a few IRL folks who are using Abeka "across the board". They speak well of that chemistry course - but I've never seen it.

I also know some families who have chosen AOP's chemistry (SOS). Again, I think they are using a complete package. I've not heard what they think of it yet.

Let us know what you chose!!!

#10 Sweet Home Alabama

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 03:55 PM

I've struggled with chemistry all year. We are finally settling into biology after switching curriculum this month. Now, I'm trying to select a curriculum for chemistry.

Have you looked at BJU? That is a well respected chemistry program. But, from what I hear, it is not as easy to use as the other chemistry courses you mentioned.

I do know a few IRL folks who are using Abeka "across the board". They speak well of that chemistry course - but I've never seen it.

I also know some families who have chosen AOP's chemistry (SOS). Again, I think they are using a complete package. I've not heard what they think of it yet.

Let us know what you chose!!!



Thanks, Holly!
:lol: I'm laughing at your request because high school chemistry is soooo far into the future. I know the time will just fly by, though, and that's why I'm "worrying" myself about it now.

From what I read, Spectrum and Prentice Hall are neck-n-neck. Then there is Apologia which has a love/hate relationship among homeschoolers. Abeka and BJU are also reputable companies.

We are actually using BJU 7th grade Life Science. It is tough since it's our first "real" textbook class. I'm looking at it for more than science: It's good for us in learning how to study and test too. I think I've gotten my $400 out of it! It has been awesome! My dd isn't as excited about it, however. She might be burned out by the end of the year.

I've read that BJU science can be overwhelming, but since I've been so thrilled with Life Science, I'd be willing to keep it on the list.

I go in circles with choosing a high school science since it's so closely dependent on math. You really have to plan them together.

#11 Julie in MN

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 04:03 PM

Apologia is a high school text, not a college one.


:iagree:
One year of high school is supposed to be equivalent to a semester of college, so it looks right on the mark.

Thank you so much. I think it makes sense to study chemistry and then biology, but now I'm beginning to see that this ONLY works in conjunction with the right math.


Spectrum Chemistry offers "Bridge Math" for those taking chem before they are math-ready. Mr. Dobbins likes doing Chemistry first, which he does in Rainbow Science, although he says that high school sciences can be done in any order.

I think you could use Bridge Math with any chem program. It's only like six weeks of math prep.

Julie

#12 Sweet Home Alabama

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 04:45 PM

:iagree:
One year of high school is supposed to be equivalent to a semester of college, so it looks right on the mark.



Spectrum Chemistry offers "Bridge Math" for those taking chem before they are math-ready. Mr. Dobbins likes doing Chemistry first, which he does in Rainbow Science, although he says that high school sciences can be done in any order.

I think you could use Bridge Math with any chem program. It's only like six weeks of math prep.


Julie



Julie, is there a distinction between Spectrum and high school science? Or, is Spectrum considered high school science? The remarks I've read about Spectrum have been great EXCEPT that it sounds like it's not enough. IOW, it only gets part of chemistry done. Some combine this with The Teaching Company's DVD's, but then that sounds very expensive.

I like what I hear about Spectrum, but I'm concerned that it is not complete.

#13 EKS

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 05:41 PM

We did Conceptual Chemistry in 8th grade. I added the Teaching Company chemistry lectures to make up for the lack of quantitative instruction in the text. If I had it to do over again I would do Prentice Hall Chemistry instead.

#14 Brenda in MA

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 07:37 PM

My dd isn't as excited about it, however. She might be burned out by the end of the year.


Picking high school science can be tricky, I think. If you really want a complete (as in covers every topic on the SAT2 Chem exam), then you will need to choose a standard book (Prentice Hall or similar) and do the entire text. Most first-year high school courses do not cover the entire textbook. Apologia's first Chem book alone won't cut it, neither will Spectrum. These are the 2 courses I'm familiar with.

However, I think you need to consider what your goals are for science for your student. If you have an extremely capable science student who is really enthusiastic for the topic, doing a very through study in the 9th grade could work, if he/she has the math needed (at least finished Algebra 1, with some knowlege of logarithms).

In my experience, most students aren't ready for this level of rigor in the 9th grade. Neither of my sons were, and both really like science, and my oldest is now in college studying engineering. For students like my sons, the best approach is an introductory high school Chemistry class. One with an emphasis on conceptual understanding is preferred. I used Apologia with the first son, and didn't care for it, so I'm using Spectrum with my younger son.

The older one went on to take Chemistry at the local CC a couple of years later and did very well. He was more than ready for the rigors of a college-level course at age 17. My younger guy is using Spectrum at age 14. He loves it, and the conceptual teaching is there. He will take a second chem course, either AP or at the local CC in a couple of years, and I'm confident that he will be prepared for the more rigorous level of study by using Spectrum now. More importantly, at least for us at this point, is that he isn't working so hard now that he hates Chemistry. He's developing a wonderful conceptual understanding (with the use of some math, too), and the large number of experiments is holding his interest and piquing his curiosity.

I pushed my older son into a high level AP/very thorough Physics class too soon, and it's really hurt his general understanding. he had to work really hard to understand how the math fit in with the physics that his conceptual understanding suffered. He really would have benefited from a more conceptual course at first and then moving on to one more focused on applying math in solving physics problems. I resolved not to make that same mistake again with his brother.

JM2Cents,
Brenda

#15 KarenAnne

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 07:56 PM

Brenda, thank you for writing this. There is such pressure to go early into "rigor" and AP-oriented classes. I, too, opted for a conceptual chemistry book for my dd, 9th grade; she did Conceptual Physics in 8th and will repeat either or both classes at a higher level later in high school. This year we are using Living By Chemistry, a textbook put out by the same people who do the GEMS science for younger kids (which we used all the way through junior high and loved). The textbook emphasizes conceptual understanding over enormous amounts of memorization and problem-solving. My husband, who is a chemist, is doing labs for dd and another homeschooler, covering the quantitative aspect of things. The textbook pacing is such that the kids have time to dwell on issues or aspects of chemistry that attract their interest, read outside material (we're using The Disappearing Spoon and a book on the history of poison use in murders and forensics to start with), re-read chapters if necessary, take field trips (dh's lab, a dog food factory, water treatment plant), and in general take our time and enjoy what we're doing.

Living By Chemistry is still a relatively new program/textbook, but so far the results show that kids are really well prepared for AP or college level chemistry classes, understanding what they're doing so that -- as you say, Brenda -- they can focus on the higher level math later on without struggling to grasp the concepts or information at the same time. Dd is fairly advanced in math (has had some algebra II and geometry) and could no doubt have gone straight into an AP-type class; but my main goal this year was for her to enjoy what she did, have her interest piqued by chemistry, be able to follow up her individual interests, and have plenty of opportunity to see chemistry at work in real world contexts. I'm really glad there's someone else out there taking the same approach!

#16 Kathy in Richmond

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 07:59 PM

My younger guy is using Spectrum at age 14. He loves it, and the conceptual teaching is there. He will take a second chem course, either AP or at the local CC in a couple of years, and I'm confident that he will be prepared for the more rigorous level of study by using Spectrum now. More importantly, at least for us at this point, is that he isn't working so hard now that he hates Chemistry. He's developing a wonderful conceptual understanding (with the use of some math, too), and the large number of experiments is holding his interest and piquing his curiosity.


:iagree: Brenda put my thoughts into writing so well here :)

My goals in 9th grade chemistry are also for the kids to gain conceptual understanding and to retain a desire to learn more someday. Spectrum excels at this, and its labs are absolutely outstanding. Both of my kids liked this course very much in 9th grade, and both wanted to go on to advanced chem later in high school (both my science-lover and my science-indifferent child).

I know that Spectrum looks very slim, but you have to keep in mind that your student will be doing every bit of the book & every exercise. You don't have to pick and choose. The lab supplies are all there, except for the distilled water. Even better, the labs really work.

SAT subject tests are taken mostly by kids applying to competitive colleges, and only in their best subjects. So many of the kids these days who opt for a subject test in a science are taking it after a year of advanced placement level science, skewing the curve upwards. A year of high school level science (like Spectrum or Apologia) will not be optimum if your student's goal is to score really well on those exams.

~Kathy

#17 HollyDay

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 09:42 PM

I'm learning much from this thread - thanks to the OP who started it and the other folks who have contributed!!

#18 Sweet Home Alabama

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 10:45 PM

If we use Spectrum or Apologia, do you all think that is adequate for an average student? My dd LOVES horses, and she is science oriented. I think she will choose a science-related field, so I want to pick courses that will support her interests. She has not decided what she wants to be. I want to choose wisely. I would feel so irresponsible if I "wasted" any high school year by choosing a class that didn't fully prepare her. This is what I find to be tricky.

If we went with PH, how do you use it? How do you know what to do and what to leave out?

I still do not feel like I understand which curriiculum has the edge. Spectrum has great experiments and is to-the-point. I think you could say that it wins the prize for depth. PH has more coverage. It might win the prize for breadth. Apologia? So many complain that it's not enough and is chatty. I don't know.

I am very thankful to be able to discuss this with all of you.

Edited by Sweet Home Alabama, 31 October 2010 - 10:57 PM.
punctuation to clarify


#19 Sweet Home Alabama

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 11:30 PM

From KarenAnne:

I, too, opted for a conceptual chemistry book for my dd, 9th grade; she did Conceptual Physics in 8th and will repeat either or both classes at a higher level later in high school. This year we are using Living By Chemistry, a textbook put out by the same people who do the GEMS science for younger kids (which we used all the way through junior high and loved). The textbook emphasizes conceptual understanding over enormous amounts of memorization and problem-solving.


From SweetHomeAlabama:

KarenAnne, Living by Chemistry is a beautiful book! Thank you for sharing it.

Your remark has me wondering something:

7th Life Science (we are currently using BJU 7th grade Life Science)
8th conceptual physics (unsure what curriculua) (while taking Alg. I)
9th conceptual chemistry (unsure what curriculua) (Alg. II or geometry???)
10th biology
11th chemistry
12th physics

I'm really "talking" outloud to see if this makes any sense. The first three would be more introductory. The last three would have to be "regular". I'm not sure if our math would be adequate. This may also not allow for advanced classes, but would is it a good idea as far as really understanding the subjects? I've read a lot about physics first, but I haven't made up my mind.

#20 Kareni

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 11:46 PM

May I ask someone to post the ISBN for the Spectrum Chemistry textbook, please. If there is a lab book with its own ISBN, I'd appreciate that too.

Regards,
Kareni

#21 Julie in MN

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 11:51 PM

Julie, is there a distinction between Spectrum and high school science? Or, is Spectrum considered high school science? The remarks I've read about Spectrum have been great EXCEPT that it sounds like it's not enough. IOW, it only gets part of chemistry done. Some combine this with The Teaching Company's DVD's, but then that sounds very expensive.

I like what I hear about Spectrum, but I'm concerned that it is not complete.


I think others may have answered you, but I wanted to make sure.

Basically, what I've heard is that Spectrum is plenty for high school if you use it well, but probably not enough for AP exams and such. My oldest had science in a pretty lame high school and he didn't even take science in 12th grade, and yet he's a working engineer. He was strong in math. I'm not sure what majors really "require" AP level science in high school -- his didn't.

Julie

#22 Kathy in Richmond

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 09:12 AM

May I ask someone to post the ISBN for the Spectrum Chemistry textbook, please. If there is a lab book with its own ISBN, I'd appreciate that too.

Regards,
Kareni


here you go:

Spectrum textbook ISBN 0-9666578-6-1
Teacher's Helper 2nd edition 0-9666578-8-8
Lab book 0-9666578-7-X

~Kathy

#23 Kareni

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 10:06 AM

Kathy,

Many thanks for that ISBN information.

Regards,
Kareni

#24 KarenAnne

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 11:25 AM


7th Life Science (we are currently using BJU 7th grade Life Science)
8th conceptual physics (unsure what curriculua) (while taking Alg. I)
9th conceptual chemistry (unsure what curriculua) (Alg. II or geometry???)
10th biology
11th chemistry
12th physics

I'm really "talking" outloud to see if this makes any sense. The first three would be more introductory. The last three would have to be "regular". I'm not sure if our math would be adequate. This may also not allow for advanced classes, but would is it a good idea as far as really understanding the subjects? I've read a lot about physics first, but I haven't made up my mind.


This is what my plan looks like at this point. Dd loves physics, her father is a chemist, and she hasn't taken to biology in the same way so far; so to repeat these two sciences in a more intense way and in more depth makes sense for us. According to the people at Living By Chemistry, kids who have gone through the book do well in AP classes, so it would seem to provide a perfectly good background or beginning level of coverage. And reading it with my dd, I'm impressed -- nothing is too flashy or wordy; it's a very clean text, and in general very clearly written, and I'm learning more about chemistry than I did in high school or in my own general ed college class. The end-of-chapter questions make you think and use your knowledge rather than repeat what the book says (by the way, I don't have an instructor's manual because dh is a chemist; but I'd get one if I were doing this on my own).

#25 Sweet Home Alabama

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 11:33 AM

This is what my plan looks like at this point. Dd loves physics, her father is a chemist, and she hasn't taken to biology in the same way so far; so to repeat these two sciences in a more intense way and in more depth makes sense for us. According to the people at Living By Chemistry, kids who have gone through the book do well in AP classes, so it would seem to provide a perfectly good background or beginning level of coverage. And reading it with my dd, I'm impressed -- nothing is too flashy or wordy; it's a very clean text, and in general very clearly written, and I'm learning more about chemistry than I did in high school or in my own general ed college class. The end-of-chapter questions make you think and use your knowledge rather than repeat what the book says (by the way, I don't have an instructor's manual because dh is a chemist; but I'd get one if I were doing this on my own).


Thank you, KarenAnne!!! I plan to take my time and look at this book carefully! :001_smile:



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