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Is Biology Strictly Necessary?

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If you think he would be more interested in other aspects of Life Sciences, I think there are definitely ways of making sure he understands fundamentals of cellular function and genetics, then dwells on how it applies to something like Botany or Zoology.


I have looked at a number of the books in the Guest Hollow Botany course, and even though many are published as kids' books, they contain a lot of good info.  The Botany for Dummies book (despite its title) starts out with cells and chemistry (we had to set it aside a year ago, because it was over my then 6th grader's head).  http://www.guesthollow.com/homeschool/science/botany/botany_curriculum.html  (She also has a Biology study, but I haven't looked that one over.  The supplemental reading books are here.  http://www.guesthollow.com/homeschool/science/biology/biology_books.html)  


If you did a Biology year that did some textbook reading on fundamental processes and concepts, then moved out to non-textbook options, you might find more books that were available on audio.  For example, Flu by Gina Kolata has an audio version.  I've also heard some amazing radio pieces that relate to biology.  Try Radio Lab  archives for ideas.  Science Friday may also have good related pieces.  


In other words, you could be didactic about the initial systems, then move the rest of the topics into resources that don't demand as much fine detail reading.  


Best of luck coming up with a good solution.


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I would be more concerned with the lab component. Many of the "conceptual" classes do not do labs which qualify. That is going to be a much larger disqualifier than biology.



I have not come accross any college that required four years of lab science. Most wanted one or two years; this can easily be achieved without a biology lab.


Biology labs don't have to be complex and they can be fascinating. It wouldn't be that difficult to meet a lab requirement.

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This is the text my dd will be using this year. There is so much info in it that I am sure I could cull out the things my ds is not interested in and still have a decent scope for a course. I'll also buy him a lab kit, as he does enjoy doing hands-on stuff.


I've also looked at other texts and programs that are geared more toward kids with learning issues or are more multi-media based. We'll have to see when it gets closer to the time for him to take it. 


I know someone mentioned problems with the conceptual texts and labs; I plan to fix that by just buying lab kits and working on them. QSL, Home Scientist, and eScience have some interesting kits. I actually took a semester of geology in high school that counted as a lab science!


Sometimes the way we teach standard high school science classes can leave the disinterested student feeling like science exits in a vacuum.


For ds's senior year, I put together an earth science/marine biology course that utilized college texts and a whole lot of hands-on experience.  Ds loves to backpack, sail, and scuba dive.  All of his foundational coursework in physics, chemistry, and biology came together this year. It's like learning how to do plumbing one year, electrical work another, carpentry yet another, and then becoming a first time homeowner of a vintage fixer upper.


I'd pick a standard bio text as discussed previously and look for ways to tie the topics into current events or things your son is interested in to help him see the relevance.


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I hate to throw this argument out there (I often try to come up with some lame answer when my kid asks me what something is good for), but let's get real.  How many people actually remember most of what they did in their 9th grade bio class?  I sure the heck don't.  This is not to say I don't think there are lots of good things to know within the field of biology, but gee there are lots of good things to know in general....lot's and lot's.....  I think someone could get the bare bone basics without a full blown study if they have no plans to go that route in the future.  Colleges usually require some sort of science even for non science majors, but they usually have lots of choices.


I try to give my kid as much choice as possible.  Some stuff we have to cover because that's the regulation requirement (like US History even though he'd rather study just about any other history).  Sounds to me like the OPs kid is going to get plenty of science. 


I actually remember everything I was taught in 10th grade biology, and that is not an exaggeration.  But I get that that is not the typical experience.


As for why to study biology over some other science, I would say because knowing some biology--especially molecular and cell biology (I assume that kids will get the stuff about how the organs work in health, but if not, that's important too)--is important when dealing with medical issues.  In fact, this is the primary reason I give my kids, aside from my standard "Because it is something an educated person must know."  

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