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High School Biology Question?


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I have a question(s)... My oldest is beginning 7th grade so I'm popping over here as we look toward the future, to make sure I'm on the right track.  

 

From what I gather, middle school years can be years of exposure to scientific method, following rabbit trails, but in the end introducing and getting them excited for what's next (esp for those of us moms who are science-challenged). 

 

So we are doing RSO Science Odyssey Chemistry with my 6th grade DS (and younger sibs). It's meant for younger, but I think it's a perfect fit. He's learning a lot.

 

Now we're thinking 7th grade.... I had thought perhaps RSO Science Odyssey Biology 2. But in looking at the samples online, it seems incredibly challenging - and I don't remember anything quite so thorough as young as 7th. Here is the sample for those of you unfamiliar:

http://www.pandiapress.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/RSOBio2SGTBYB.pdf

 

Is RSO Bio 2 as advanced as what we'd be looking at in high school biology? 

 

Or is it perfectly age-appropriate and necessary for 7th grade? Or would 8th grade be better?

 

 

Thanks for your insight!!

 

 

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We did a portion of it for 7th, the only reason we quit was the cost of printing.  I liked it, my DS was okay with everything but the writing portions (he's dyslexic) I did read some of it out loud for him too.  I think once you get into the swing of it, it becomes easier.  I remember my 7th and 8th grade Science classes were just as complete, maybe more reading. It most definitely is not H.S. level.  If you want to save it for 8th grade that should be fine though. 

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From what I gather, middle school years can be years of exposure to scientific method, following rabbit trails, but in the end introducing and getting them excited for what's next (esp for those of us moms who are science-challenged). 

 

Yes. I  remember reading either on here or on the SL board years ago about a public high school teacher saying the best prep for high school science was not to destroy the student's interest and curiosity in science before they get to high school. I've always kept that in mind and tried to do what interested my kids. I had one who never was all that interested in science who actually did more "text-book" oriented things in junior high that on the surface, looked more complicated than what my science-loving daughter did in junior high. (He did Apologia General science over 1.5 years, and then Apologia Physical science. She did Supercharged Science, the Tiner books, some Sonlight selections, lots of experiments and notebooking, and longer experiments with reports and presentations for our regional science fair.

 

I combined them both in Apologia Biology this year--her 9th grade year, his 11th. Both will end up with A's--younger had more of a learning curve with learning how to take tests (not her strong suit) and how to study from a text book. He tends to memorize information well and gets better scores on the tests, but she is digging for understanding and thinks more about what she reads, and overall is more scientifically minded.

 

All that to say--going mainly for interest in junior high grades is a good way to go.

 

 

Now we're thinking 7th grade.... I had thought perhaps RSO Science Odyssey Biology 2. But in looking at the samples online, it seems incredibly challenging - and I don't remember anything quite so thorough as young as 7th. Here is the sample for those of you unfamiliar:

http://www.pandiapress.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/RSOBio2SGTBYB.pdf

 

Is RSO Bio 2 as advanced as what we'd be looking at in high school biology? 

 

 
No. The information does not seem as in depth, nor the vocabulary as involved, as a high school biology class. (Biology is very vocabulary-intensive--there are TONS of words to learn, which can make it seem intimidating. I had to send my youngest back a few times to just go memorize the words). This program seems like a good introduction (and the genetics section looks very interesting! I don't think that would be too difficult for 7th or 8th grade kids to grasp, and it seems to cover more varieties of traits than most programs do, which will make it fun for kids.)
 
What part seems challenging to you--is it the lab reports? If so, I would just use those for practice. Fill them out together just to show your child the process and what it looks like--don't view these as something to "grade" or as a "test" in some way--view them as process-oriented, as learning procedure. Lab reports are not always necessary for younger kids, so you wouldn't have to do all of them just because they are there--but It would be helpful before high school to at least have exposure to them, so I think it's good experience. I wouldn't use them to the point of sucking the joy out of learning though. Do things like the math together too if needed. Think of it as class discussion and teach how to do things like this as you go.
 
 

 

Or is it perfectly age-appropriate and necessary for 7th grade? Or would 8th grade be better?

 

 

Thanks for your insight!!

 
I do think this looks age appropriate for 7th or 8th grade--either one. As for necessary--I'd go for interest first. If you have a student who is interested in using a microscope and learning about genetic traits, learning about classification of plants and animals, interested in learning how living things work--this seems like a good course. 
 
My son at this age didn't care--tell him what to do, he'd do it, let's not overthink this! My daughter was interested in things in units--she was almost completely self-led in her studies in 5th-8th grades. She chose what to study and when and how in depth to go. She might have felt restricted by a year-long biology class at that age--she did units of biology and physics and chemistry and astronomy etc... over time.  I actually wasn't sure how she'd transition to studying one field for the whole year, and discussed that with her to help her mentally prepare ahead of time. It turned out fine, she was ready. I'm just not sure she would have been ready sooner.
 
OTOH, I didn't really feel my son was ready for biology before this year either.  We did robotics in 10th grade as a way of trying to recapture an interest in science, which did to some extent (at least more than other science topics!). I felt he needed a break before the rigors of high school biology. 
 
Some of the topics in the book you linked came up in both of my kids' studies in 6th-8th grades, even though they did very different curricula, so that's interesting. (It's hard to discuss much of life without discussing things like genetics and cells though! So these types of topics aren't uncommon. And it's hard to discuss those topics without learning some vocabulary.)
 
You know your child best, so let that in part be your guide as to whether this is a good fit for next year. 
 
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Thanks for the insight. I guess it's just I'm personally science-challenged. I did fine with it in high school, took a few AP science classes, but it was not my favorite.

 

And that is showing in homeschool - as I sloughed off Science entirely over 2 years time, doing nothing, as it was just too overwhelming to even contemplate. I gave up.

 

Now that we've been digging into RSO Chemistry, I see my 6th grader (and youngers too) taking off with it, spouting off facts they've picked up and am stunned. I want to continue exposing them to science. But in our case, if I don't have a solid curriculum set up (that's pretty easy to implement), I'll just skip Science entirely. There won't be following rabbit trails, unfortunately. So with that in mind, if I choose not to do this Biology, then we won't touch Biology whatsoever until high school. I'm not one to create unit studies. I know and accept my limitations schooling. Science is one of them... But would that be OK? Or do we really need a bit of introduction ahead of high school?

 

And if not RSO Bio, I'm not sure what. Earth Science bores me, so I'd rather not do it. And frankly, Physical Science seems a bit on the boring/dry side too. My youngers will do RS Life but that may not be meaty enough for a 7th grader. I thought RS Life & RS Bio may go well hand in hand together.

 

Thanks for all your help & letting me ramble!

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Is RSO Bio 2 as advanced as what we'd be looking at in high school biology? 

 

Or is it perfectly age-appropriate and necessary for 7th grade? Or would 8th grade be better?

 

I haven't used RSO, but I took a quick look through. 

 

My answers after a quick eval: No, it isn't high school level. Yes, it is perfectly age appropriate for 7th grade.

 

However, there isn't anything that is required or necessary for 7th grade. If it is too much, slow it down, or do something else. Don't make her hate Biology. On the other hand, it is giving you the opportunity to ramp up. She will learn all that and much more in high school Biology. Having taken a first bite in 7th grade can make that jump easier.

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My physician wife is the biology/life sciences expert in our house, however, I would say the content level looks very grade 4/5/6 appropriate. I haven't looked through the book completely but what I have seen is similar to some of the science our fourth grader is working on with her 4-H club.

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My physician wife is the biology/life sciences expert in our house, however, I would say the content level looks very grade 4/5/6 appropriate. I haven't looked through the book completely but what I have seen is similar to some of the science our fourth grader is working on with her 4-H club.

 

This probably depends on your child.  My 5th grade daughter tried to use it this year and it was just too much.  If you use the whole thing, there is a fair amount of reading and even some researching.  Then there are lab reports.  I guess it was just a big jump between the RSO elementary level to this.  I think it would be appropriate to 7th and 8th grade.

 

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This probably depends on your child.  My 5th grade daughter tried to use it this year and it was just too much.  If you use the whole thing, there is a fair amount of reading and even some researching.  Then there are lab reports.  I guess it was just a big jump between the RSO elementary level to this.  I think it would be appropriate to 7th and 8th grade.

 

Will you use it in late middle school then?

 

What will you do between early elementary RSO and this then?

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Thanks for the insight. I guess it's just I'm personally science-challenged. I did fine with it in high school, took a few AP science classes, but it was not my favorite.

 

And that is showing in homeschool - as I sloughed off Science entirely over 2 years time, doing nothing, as it was just too overwhelming to even contemplate. I gave up.

 

Now that we've been digging into RSO Chemistry, I see my 6th grader (and youngers too) taking off with it, spouting off facts they've picked up and am stunned. I want to continue exposing them to science. But in our case, if I don't have a solid curriculum set up (that's pretty easy to implement), I'll just skip Science entirely. There won't be following rabbit trails, unfortunately. So with that in mind, if I choose not to do this Biology, then we won't touch Biology whatsoever until high school. I'm not one to create unit studies. I know and accept my limitations schooling. Science is one of them... But would that be OK? Or do we really need a bit of introduction ahead of high school?

 

And if not RSO Bio, I'm not sure what. Earth Science bores me, so I'd rather not do it. And frankly, Physical Science seems a bit on the boring/dry side too. My youngers will do RS Life but that may not be meaty enough for a 7th grader. I thought RS Life & RS Bio may go well hand in hand together.

 

Thanks for all your help & letting me ramble!

 

Personally, I'd ask your 12 yo what he'd like to study. Show him a couple of options if you like, or ask his ideas. I think junior high is a great time to let kids study what they are interested in. Unless your state specifically requires something, there's nothing that says you *have* to cover certain topics. Use junior high science as a time for your child to develop study skills and learn how to do experiments and write up lab reports etc... 

 

Science is not my strong field either. I haven't "taught" science in years. In fact, I have my kids, especially my daughter, teach me. It's her strong suit--she was totally self-directed. The units were not things I set up or pursued--I only set up the guideline that she had to work on science for 30-45 minutes per day (in upper elem, and 45 min. to an hour in 8th grade, prepping for high school), she had to tell us ahead of time if she needed supplies for an experiment, she could read, write, draw etc... in her notebook (and was to notebook something weekly for me to see), and so on. I met with her and had her tell me what she learned. I asked questions, not so much as a teacher, but more as a student. However, it did help me evaluate how well she knew the topic she read about or studied--and it helped her ask questions and go digging too. I handled my son, who wanted a text-book approach (that did have tests) much the same--tell me what you learned, I'll ask questions etc... If they couldn't answer, they dug for more info.

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