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Need help deciding between a rigorous physical science course and regular biology class for ninth grade


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My son is entering ninth grade this fall and he most likely will be a premed student in college.  He didn't do much physical science in eighth grade due to depression.  So I need feedback on what class he should take.

 

I am outsourcing this.  There is a home school coop that is offering a normal biology course that uses an Apologia textbook.

Also there is a private school that is offering a fairly rigorous physical science class that is based on an A Beka textbook.  They are not offering biology this year.

 

So since he has had almost no physical science, will he be adequately prepared for physics later on?  And if he does need it, then he could read a lightweight biology book at home in addition to the physical science class at school,  and then he can take chemistry next year instead of biology, physics the following year, and college biology after that.

 

Or if he doesn't need physical science to prepare for physics, then he can just take biology with the coop and maybe read a lightweight physical science book on the side.

 

What do you think?

 

 

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I was pre-med for my undergrad and I took human anatomy & physiology, biology, chemistry, and AP chem, in that order in high school.  I took physics in college and I survived it.  I would go for the rigor and take the physical science.  Biology is something that you can do on your own, I have a Ph.D. in Chemistry so I might be biased.  I don't think he needs physcial science in order to take physics but if he is going to be pre-med, then he needs to take rigorous science classes.  Having taught pre-med undergrads lab when I was a grad. student and having been a pre-med major, I have to say that pre-meds are very cut-throat when it comes to their grades so he will need to be able to handle the rigor and get A's.

 

On another topic, has he ever shadowed a Dr.?  I shadowed one in college and that was one of the factors that made me decide against becoming a Dr., the other was doing a summer research at a large research university.  If he can, this would be a very valuable experience. 

 

I don't know where you are, but if he can get summer research experience as a high schooler after he has taken an AP science course, this will be something that will definitely stand out in his curriculum vitae.

 

 

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 I don't think he needs physcial science in order to take physics but if he is going to be pre-med, then he needs to take rigorous science classes.  Having taught pre-med undergrads lab when I was a grad. student and having been a pre-med major

 

I agree with this.

 

Physical Science isn't necessary, but I wouldn't choose Apologia Biology for a future Pre-Med, not that there aren't any doctors out there that have used Apologia - I'm sure there are. But when there is a choice, take the most rigorous science option for him. Right now, that is Physical Science. He can do Apologia Biology at home at the same time if he wants to. 

 

Dd who is interested in a science career took 2 sciences (some were applied sciences) every year. This year she'll be taking Physics and Anatomy and Physiology.

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I would want him to take rigorous science classes (honors level, whether they are labeled that way or not) but I would not have a STEM oriented kid take a class called "physical science" in high school.  Is there a way you could do an honors level biology course at home?

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How about finding a physics course or a solid biology course, if he's academically ready for one of those? Has he had algebra 1? Derek Owens and many other providers offer algebra-based physics. There are also online options for honors biology or "pre-AP" biology that would give him a much stronger foundation than it sounds like the co-op biology would give him.

 

For a student who is hoping to be premed, I'd skip both Physical Science AND the lightweight biology.  Why bother w/ either of those? 

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For a student who is hoping to be premed, I'd skip both Physical Science AND the lightweight biology.  Why bother w/ either of those? 

 

Becasuse the OP's son did not do any science in 8th. Beginner bio or physical science might be a good way to ease back into taking science.

 

My advice: I think that your son should take the best class that he can handle, and not worry that a choice made in 9th grade will hurt his chances of getting into medical school. You DO NOT have to be a biology or biochem major in college to be pre-med. You must take foundation classes in those subjects, but you can major in anything you like. If you have to start from the beginning on the pre-med requirements in college, with no AP credits, etc, it's OK. You can still do it.

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FYI...Apologia Biology does not cover any human anatomy which is a big minus in my book. I say this as someone who does use Apologia texts to teach at my own co-op. So, if you go this route, you need to be prepared to cover this separately by doing human anatomy/physiology somehow.

 

 

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 I think that your son should take the best class that he can handle

 

:iagree:   I got the impression from the op that either class would be relatively easy for him and was suggesting that the op might be able to broaden the options for him. I know I've gone with a course, before high school, that turned out to be essentially treading water for a year & it still bugs me that I didn't have more confidence in my boys' abilities.  Now that they're in high school, time is more limited because they "have" to take some specific courses. So, if they're going to spend time on a course, I want it to be the best use of their time.

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Neither of my ds are going into a STEM career.  Physical science looked so dull, so  I skipped it and let them choose 2 semester sciences of their choice before moving on to Bio, Chem, Physics.  One chose astronomy and horticulture, the other geology and marine biology.  I agree that your son should probably stick with sciences related to his field, but I don't think skipping physical science will be an issue.  It did not hinder my two non-sciency kids in the least.

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You are really helping me to think this through.  Here's some more information on my son's scientific background.  He loves science but the problem is that since his father died suddenly of a heart attack two years ago, he lost interest in almost everything academic.  He is recovering slowly and is more able to focus on details for longer periods of time.  But he missed out on most of the standard middle school science so I am uncertain as to where to go from here.  Will he really be prepared for chemistry and physics with almost no knowledge of the middle school physical science?  If he can, then  I am leaning toward the biology class this year as the private school offers a college level biology class to the juniors and seniors for college credit, and I think he will need to prepare for it by taking the biology class first.  Supplementing the biology class with Human Anatomy is a good idea.  And yes, I am going to make sure that he does well in Algebra this year.  But if he needs the physical science, then he can take it this year and worry about physics later on.  He can either take it in addition to another science class in high school or wait until college.

 

Here are two possible science tracks that I am trying to decide on:

 

 

Physical Science

Biology

Chemistry

College Biology

Physics either in high school or college

 

or

 

Biology

Chemistry

Physics

College Biology

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.  Will he really be prepared for chemistry and physics with almost no knowledge of the middle school physical science?

 

Yes. It's all taught from scratch - even at college level - without assuming prior knowledge. Math is what he needs to be prepared, for either.

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I would choose the later...Biology, Chemistry, Physics, College Biology.  They wouldn't necessarily have to be in that order. I think you are over-rating middle school physical science. My daugher took it and my son did not. Neither seemed to be impacted either way it in their highschool science courses.

 

The Apologia books provide a solid high school biology program though much depends on the instructor. The first year does not cover Anatomy and Physiology though because Apologia focuses on that in their second year biology program. You may want to check out the prerequisites for the college Biology class to give yourself peice of mind that your student will be prepared. Quite often first year college courses don't depend on having a background in the subject so the highschool students choose to take either the college level or the regular highschool level as their first course depending on their goals and how hard they want to work.

 

IMO, I wouldn't worry too much now about a potential college major quite yet.  A lot changes between now and then, so the best thing you can do is to give your child a solid foundation across many subjects.

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Take whatever is best for him for high school. You want good quality classes that will educate him and drive his passions.

 

Don't worry about high school classes affecting medical school. They are necessary to get into college, but from there it's only the college classes that matter for the medical school.

 

I have an engineering degree and then went to medical school. I accidentally overlooked one school's requirement of 3 more hours of biology classes than the others. I got a letter just before I graduated saying I was 3 hours deficient in biology. I wrote the medical school and made the argument that I had already proven that I was "teachable" and taking one more random biology class wouldn't make any difference in med school. They waived the requirement without any further argument.

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I finally arrived at my decision to go with biology.  Since my son is more interested in this than in physical science and also since it is the easier class, he will have more time and energy to devote to Algebra this year to prepare for physics later on.   This way, he can take chemistry and college biology and still have time for physics.   Thanks so much for your help!

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