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Science "light"?

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I must have been super tired last night because I thought I hit "Post" but cannot find the post now. Second attempt...


I need Chemistry "light" for next year. I've narrowed the options down to Spectrum or GPBS w/Chemistry 101 DVD. What I do not need, however, is to pull things from here, there and everywhere, piecing together as I go. I did that with Biology and while it was a fun year it was also a lot of work! Chemistry will be a "get it done and move on" subject for us.


For those who used Spectrum, did you find it to be too light or just right?


For those who used GPBS, did you find it was worth being free (if that makes sense)? Did you still purchase a lab set?


For those who use the Zumdahl texts, what did you feel it was as far as intensity? Average? Honors?


Thank you to all who posted on the many Chemistry threads as it helped me narrow down the options to these 3!

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When I see "chemistry light," I think "read a high school text, work a few problems, watch virtual labs."


Check with 8Fillthe Heart's content on the chemistry threads. She writes about using Spectrum and I believe she has at least one who has gone on to do advanced work in chemistry, so it's probably not "too light." Also, she said that while it was lab intensive, the work itself wasn't intense. My impression from everything I have read about Spectrum and know from using Rainbow is that it is a nice, solid program with good labs. If you want light - you might think about the amount of work in doing as many labs as Spectrum does. Julie in MN also provided an extensive review of Spectrum.


I thought the Zumdahl texts were discussed as well. The title that is just "Chemistry" is college/AP and the two with "Introductory" can be regular or honors. I believe the "foundation" one has two extra chapters, but someone would need to confirm that.

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While Spectrum is lighter than some, it is non-trivial. As the topics got more complex, I ended up spending more planning time searching for tutorials on YouTube and digging up extra practice problems when the girls didn't do so well on the homework.


The labs are both light and heavy. They require some planning to schedule to schedule. There is no explicit time estimate in the lab manual, you need to read the steps and figure out for yourself how much time you think you'll need. Sometimes you will need to reserve a Saturday for a lab that runs over multiple hours.


I liked the lab workbook idea for a lighter chemistry class, because then the kids don't write lab reports from scratch. But, in general, the lab workbook write ups are light compared to what a true lab report would be. Doing all those labs is not light at all (there are so many compared to what a high school class would do), just the write up required afterwards. My non-STEM kid wants something with fewer labs next year.


The support is excellent -- All my emails were answered and in one case where a replacement vial was needed, it was shipped quickly.



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I think, from looking at online samples, that Spectrum is probably in the normal/reasonable category. Honestly, even though I'm planning on using the GA PBS chem and have printed everything off for it, I haven't looked at it a lot. I think it's probably in the normal/light category. To me the biggest, most obvious difference is presentation. With Spectrum your student is going to read text and learn from it. With the GA PBS they're going to watch someone explain it. That's a choice about where you put your time, how your student learns well, and whether one of those is highly important to you. I'm not debating whether it's important at SOME POINT for students to read texts. I'm merely pointing out that with Spectrum that's what they'll be doing, and with GA PBS they won't.


Labs, well the GA PBS walks them through some basic stuff. I didn't look at it much. I have some other lab books on hand (BJU, Illustrated Guide, etc.), so that's easily taken care of. I guess sort through whether you want a box to come and have it all done and have it all tied to the lessons tidily, or whether you want to take care of that yourself.


If I were just *guessing*, I think what you want is Spectrum. You buy it, everything is there, it gets done. The only reason to go another direction is price or needing to move from reading the science to watching the science.

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