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9th grade science for the struggling learner?

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What science curriculum choices do I have for a 14yo girl that has always struggled with science & really any subjects which require memorizing technical information? She is not really special needs, but it took all of 7th & 8th grade to get through Apologia General Science and I am now dreading high school science as much as she is! She is doing Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra in 9th grade so math is a struggle as well. (Her language arts & artistic skills are her stronger points.)


Would Alpha Omega Science Lifepacs work? Does Walch have something easier than traditional science texts? Is there some curriculum that just covers the absolute basics? What do public/private schools do with these kids when they just can't handle the traditional regimen of physical science, biology & chemistry? I'm not a unit study or science person and cannot pull together my own science program. I've searched the internet and am coming up with nothing.


Any ideas?



Dawn (a mom with 3 older sons who did just fine with science)

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I just ordered some Walch books for my 14 yo dd yesterday. I was going to try to work through Miller & Levine biology with her this year, but I had last minute doubts and decided to hold off on that until next year. She has nonverbal learning disability, and while her verbal skills are very good, she struggles with math and science.


Here is the Rainbow Resource description:


This second edition of the useful Power Basics series is stronger and more user-friendly. Targeting a student audience that is typically daunted by the length and complexity of traditional textbooks, this series provides the essentials of a junior or senior high curriculum (on-level content) with below-level readability (4th grade). Learners build literacy and critical-thinking skills as they interpret, evaluate, analyze, and synthesize scientific information. They likewise apply these skills in their daily lives. The step-by-step lessons are manageable with clearly defined examples. Workbook activities provide frequent practice and review while supporting different learning styles.


In addition to the the student text, I purchased the teacher guide, tests, and workbook, which includes reviews, experiments/labs, and critical thinking questions. If necessary, we will do additional labs from a Janice Van Cleave book, and we will aim to write at least 10 lab reports. We are also going to watch and practice note-taking skills with the Teaching Company's Nature of Earth course.


Good luck to you!

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You might want to look at Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum. The courses are rich in information, but not overwhelming, and they can be used independently. Perfect for struggling learners or strong learners who need an easier course. The courses are aligned with state standards, so you can use them on a high school transcript.


Our daughter is working her way through the U.S. History and loves it. She often talks about her history lessons, and I know that she has the foundation for in-depth U.S. history later in high school. PAC even has a one semester American documents course.


As regards science for a 9th grader, you might consider the Integrated Chemistry/Physics. This is a high school course, but the material is accessible. In addition, PAC courses are designed to improve reading skills; i.e. comprehension, sequencing, cause/effect, etc. I've written many posts asking for advice for a less-mature 9th grader, and I might consider with PAC until dd's math and writing skills are stronger. That way she's earning high school credits, but we have the time to focus getting her up to grade level in math, etc.





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I suggest looking at Galore Park's So You Really Want to Learn Science.


It is really painless. It covers all the major branches of science and focuses on the important stuff, IMHO. A nice overview. It might be a real confidence builder and prepare your child for something more challenging next year. . .


It isn't as challenging as what I would want for a core highschool level course, but the public schools around here teach "general science" for both 9th & 10th grades (good grief) and so I think it could certainly be acceptable for a "basic" level high school course.


Level 2 builds on Level 1, but you *could* skip Level 1 and go straight to Level 2 w/o any problem, IMHO. (I wanted to do that for my 8th grader, so I had her just read through level one in a week or two this summer. . .)


It is very user friendly. It does not include any labs, but you could easily add labs from other books. (That's what we are doing.)



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I have found that on the website currclick.com, Their units are pretty good. I hit a sale and got a bunch for .99. What I think is good about it is that many of them cover national standards as far as learning content, have quizzes and writing projects to go along with it, and you can take your time and add other resources in from the library and such. I have taken the Earth Science, Our Dynamic World parts 1-4, and the Solar System ones and put it together for a challenging Earth Science class for 9th grade this year.

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When I hear that someone struggled with an Apologia science, I always wonder whether it was the presentation or the concepts that caused the problem. Most of the folks I know who have struggled with Apologia have had trouble with the presentation. I would suggest that you look for a more hands-on, life-style relative curriculum. Some suggestions would be Conceptual Physics (often used in 9th grade), Spectrum Chemistry, Singapore sciences (I really love these). Apologia is heavy on memorization but doesn't seem to relate to real life well. Those I suggested deal with concepts - the student learns concepts rather than focusing on memorization.

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I almost posted this morning, but didn't. I don't want to start a debate on being rigorous (or not). But looking at the forums again I've decided to post anyway.


I don't think you have to make her memorize anything if she struggles with that. In fact, for science, most of our tests have been open book. Vocab is closed book but I use a word bank for my spelling challenged ones. :)


Part of the joy of homeschooling is tailoring the testing to the strengths and weaknesses of the student.


All my chidren (four) have loved the style of the Apologia books. My youngest is now in General Science and I love to see him ENJOY his science book! My goal with Apologia is to awaken and feed curiosity and excitement of science. One of my best friends has a goal using Apologia of teaching the study skills of memorizing, taking notes, and studying for and taking a test. Another friend concentrates on the labs and writing up the labs.


Perhaps you could choose a different subject for memorizing for a test. One that she doesn't struggle quite so much with.


We do not HAVE to test after every single chapter we read in every single subject. :)


If she enjoys reading the Apologia, then perhaps reading and discussing and doing labs is enough. I know you need something to "grade"... maybe grade the study guide as the test. :)

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