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9th grade Science and Math -- panic and angst! Need suggestions!


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Good afternoon-

I am working on plans for my upcoming 9th grader. I have figured out the majority of his schedule and would like to aim for college prep classes. He does not intend to pursue a career in a field that will require high level science or mathematics at this point but I do intend for him to take higher level classes to the best of his ability. We have always used (and successfully enjoyed) Apologia science and Math U See. However, now that I am looking at high school/college prep classes and looking into some online and outsourcing I am beginning to see recommendations against both of these curricula. Yikes! 😳😩

So...I am in need of some suggestions and advice. I am looking for suggestions for high quality online courses that use good curriculum and transition into AP or advanced courses or if staying with Apologia and Math U see worked for you I'd love to hear about that as well.

if not Apologia--can you tell me what curricula would be best for college prep that would tradition easily into AP courses? I intend on him taking AP biology in the future and would like there to be some consistency to his transcript and the outscourcing of classes or curriculum.

Same situation for math--would I be fine sticking with Math U see if it works for him or is there a better route? I do not plan on any AP courses in the math field but do plan on taking him through calculus. I have not found anything as far as outsourcing that uses Math U See other than their own program which is more of a tutor.

Any suggestions etc? Thanks

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What level math is he in currently? I loved MUS for earlier grades and tried to use it for high school, but it just didn't work for either of my kids. Ds needed more practice  and dd could do all the problems without writing or thinking. I moved both to Lial's and that worked well for us. However, I don't think you'll find many stories of people who did use MUS through high school and regretted it. Most kids who do end up with a solid foundational understanding of math and go on to college math without issues. There is no reason to outsource MUS. There is already video instruction and online support, so there is no need to use it for an outsourced class.

 

As far as Apologia, ds used it for Chemistry and dd used it for Anatomy. I liked Apologia Chemistry(2nd edition) reasonably well. If I were doing it again, I'd use Jay Wile's newer Chemistry program instead of Apologia's 3rd edition for my non-science guy. If you plan to do an AP science later, I don't think it matters too much what you use for the high school level of that science. Any on-level course should have them adequately prepared to take on the AP level. My preference for a bit stronger science was DIVE. Dd who we knew would go into a healthcare related field did DIVE Biology & Chemistry (using M/L and BJU for textbooks). From there she went to dual enrollment Biology before graduating a year early and taking Chemistry her first semester in college. She had no trouble transitioning to college level sciences after DIVE.

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Thanks for your reply.

He is finishing up Alg I with Math U See. Honestly, he hasn't used the manipulative a for a couple of levels now but we still enjoy the program and I guess it is because of the video instruction. So, now that you mention it, I can see why it would not need to be outsourced with the teacher instruction being provided.

 

So you used DIVE as an alone course? I guess I was under the impression it was supplemental and most used it to supplement Apologia in the same year/subject.

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So you used DIVE as an alone course? I guess I was under the impression it was supplemental and most used it to supplement Apologia in the same year/subject.

 

No, DIVE is your main course and the textbook you choose is the supplement. Apologia doesn't contain all of the material necessary for each level of DIVE so you either have to use more than one Apologia book or some extra internet readings. DIVE provides a schedule of readings, video lectures, daily note taking/problem sets to go with the lectures, labs (these are on the videos but they are still pictures with voice over, not actually shown as video), quizzes and tests. I know there is an online option now, but it didn't exist yet when my kids were using DIVE. Before choosing DIVE be sure to watch the sample videos online. Dr. Shoreman is dry, not funny like Steve Demme. My kiddo who loved Steve, hated DIVE and visa versa. The video samples are very representative and if your student hates them, it won't get better lol. 

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If your son is not intending to be a Science/medical major AND he has no need to take SAT Subject tests, Apologia is fine!

 

It's definitely lighter and covers less topics than other curriculum, even other Christian ones. But the slower pace and all the useful helps such as the Notebooks really make the learning stick.

 

I would NOT worry about using Apologia if that's what works for you. It has a lot of support.

 

AP Science is very intense, so if your son has no love of Science then it's better to take other AP courses that interest him such as English, or MacroEconmics or ---whatever interests him.

 

My son is aiming very high and taking 1-2 AP courses very year and yet will only do one Science AP- which would be physics.

 

Whatever Science AP your student does take , it can be very very useful (and some online schools absolutely require) your student to have one year of regular course and then the AP. Just an FYI if you want to go that way.

 

I don't know anything wrong with Math U See. Remember you're comparing yourself and your son to a very highly academic group here. I thought we were really going to suck on the SAT because my son could barely hang with AOPS and was the straggler in his Math Club.

 

Yet he scored pretty high (77th percentile) on the sAT math as a freshman. Go figure. I guess Saxon isn't that bad! He needs to being the score up for his target university so we added a math center --but my point is it's ok to use a more "normal" math program as long as your son really learns well from it and is dedicated to re-learning any concepts he isn't getting.

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Thanks for your reply.  My son is aiming to attend one of the big 6 universities in Texas but does not intend to pursue a science or math based career.  Or at least not at this time.  (Really do they know in 8th grade? :)  I am steering him in the direction of at least one AP science course down the road because he is super bright in the area of science and does pick up easily on all of the material.  I would say he has a much easier time than I ever did - and I did take high level classes as well.  I just don't want him to take the Apologia and then regret it later for things like you mentioned --- the SAT and such.  Although, I have to say, Apologia seems to cover far more than any textbook I ever remember covering and I did perfectly fine on my SAT but that was quite a few years ago.  :)  Anyway - just wondering what everyone chose to do, as I have a tendency to push really hard and I'm trying hard to find a balance. Pushing him to his healthy limit and not overdoing it.  I'd like to make sure I at least give him the right curriculum to be successful down the road.

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I personally would not use MUS for high school math, even for students not wanting to pursue math and science. Plenty of other fields require strong math backgrounds. (My Dd is going to major in international business and she will be taking cal 2. ;) ) If he was struggling with math, yes, but for a student that isn't struggling, there are better math programs out there.

 

Fwiw, I avoid homeschool target curriculum, especially at the high school level. So, I wouldnt use Apologia, either, but plenty of homeschoolers do and have done so without issue.

 

There is no science on the regular SAT. But strong science skills are built on strong math skills, so if he enjoys science and it is at all possible he might want to take more advanced sciences in his future, I would ensure a strong math background.

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We used Saxon math, so I can not speak to that.  But both of my kids used Apologia for Biology and Chemistry.  My oldest did biology in 7th grade and chemistry in 8th grade.  He went on to take AP Chemistry in 9th grade and did very well.  He took AP Biology in 12th, and again did very well.  (He took AP Physics B in 10th, and both AP Physics C in 11th).  My dd did Apologia Chemistry in 9th and is taking AP Chemistry this year and is doing well.

 

I actually think it is wise to take an AP science, especially if this will not be your son's major and he is fairly good in science.  Many schools require a science of some sort in college, and passing an AP exam may allow him to test out of it.  My son is a CS major, and even though he liked science, I think he is glad he tested out of having to take science and can take other classes within in his major.

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FWIW, my daughter used Apologia physics in 9th and Apologia chemistry in 10th, which were supplemented with a weekly lab (based on Apologia material) through the local homeschool group. She took the SAT subject tests for both physics and chemistry, and got 730 and 740 respectively. She is a thriving engineering major at Princeton, received "A"s in both chem and physics last semester, and has an "A" in this semester's physics class. Apologia can be just fine. The key is that your student is learning to find information, study, and think!

 

We also used the much-maligned Teaching Textbooks through Algebra 2, moving on to Derek Owens at that point.

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I wouldn't be quick to dismiss Apologia. The fact that he enjoys it goes a long way in helping a student get all they can out of any program.

 

My dd used the Biology and the Chemistry in 10th and 11th grades. She used Dive ICP with BJU's book. She did an astronomy course that I put together myself. She made a 35 on the science section of the ACT, and she's done very well in the four college sciences classes she has taken which are the science requirements for the nursing program she enters in the fall. She did so well in her microbiology class that her professor asked her to tutor this semester, and she's tutoring 6 students. 

 

 

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Thanks so much for all of your replies. I am very thankful to hear about all of your experiences.

For those of you who had children take AP science using Apologia may I ask what sources you used (online/outsourcing) for these courses? And if you recommend them? I feel much better about Apologia seeing everyone else having success with it.

 

Now for Math--I'm curious about switching from Math U See to Saxon and whether my son would find difficulty in doing this. If not, is there a recommendation as to which online provider I could go with? He is finishing up Alg I this year and my plan was to do a concurrent Geometry and Alg II next year.

 

Thanks again everyone.

Hopefully I can return the help somewhere down the road.

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Adding to that--or not even Saxon--if there is another online provider who is a great option for the upper level Math from Alg2/geometry on up. Thanks

 

I would not go from MUS to Saxon, particularly not if the student learned well with MUS. They are about as opposite in teaching method as you can possibly achieve and I think any student would struggle with the polar shift in methodology. 

 

Jann in TX has math classes using Lial's which is mastery based and easy to transition to from MUS. and Derik Owens classes are also well reviewed and mastery based. Both have excellent reputations and links can be found for both in the math thread pinned at the top of the page. If you're considering an online provider, I'd start my search with those two.

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Thanks for your reply. My son is aiming to attend one of the big 6 universities in Texas but does not intend to pursue a science or math based career. Or at least not at this time. (Really do they know in 8th grade? :) I am steering him in the direction of at least one AP science course down the road because he is super bright in the area of science and does pick up easily on all of the material. I would say he has a much easier time than I ever did - and I did take high level classes as well. I just don't want him to take the Apologia and then regret it later for things like you mentioned --- the SAT and such. Although, I have to say, Apologia seems to cover far more than any textbook I ever remember covering and I did perfectly fine on my SAT but that was quite a few years ago. :) Anyway - just wondering what everyone chose to do, as I have a tendency to push really hard and I'm trying hard to find a balance. Pushing him to his healthy limit and not overdoing it. I'd like to make sure I at least give him the right curriculum to be successful down the road.

Are you planning to use online live classes, distance learning, or just textbooks?

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Calming Tea- I would prefer asynchronous classes primarily bc we don't always have high speed streaming internet out here in the boonies where we live. 😜 We have to kind of pick and choose our internet times.

In reality the one thing I'd like is that paper showing someone else graded his work--for transcript purposes.

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In reality the one thing I'd like is that paper showing someone else graded his work--for transcript purposes.

No one is going to care who graded his work unless he is taking accredited courses.

 

Fwiw, I have never had any issue with my homemade courses and my being the sole evaluator.

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Calming Tea- I would prefer asynchronous classes primarily bc we don't always have high speed streaming internet out here in the boonies where we live. 😜 We have to kind of pick and choose our internet times.

In reality the one thing I'd like is that paper showing someone else graded his work--for transcript purposes.

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Good afternoon-

I am working on plans for my upcoming 9th grader. I have figured out the majority of his schedule and would like to aim for college prep classes. He does not intend to pursue a career in a field that will require high level science or mathematics at this point but I do intend for him to take higher level classes to the best of his ability. We have always used (and successfully enjoyed) Apologia science and Math U See. However, now that I am looking at high school/college prep classes and looking into some online and outsourcing I am beginning to see recommendations against both of these curricula. Yikes! 😳😩

So...I am in need of some suggestions and advice. I am looking for suggestions for high quality online courses that use good curriculum and transition into AP or advanced courses or if staying with Apologia and Math U see worked for you I'd love to hear about that as well.

if not Apologia--can you tell me what curricula would be best for college prep that would tradition easily into AP courses? I intend on him taking AP biology in the future and would like there to be some consistency to his transcript and the outscourcing of classes or curriculum.

Same situation for math--would I be fine sticking with Math U see if it works for him or is there a better route? I do not plan on any AP courses in the math field but do plan on taking him through calculus. I have not found anything as far as outsourcing that uses Math U See other than their own program which is more of a tutor.

Any suggestions etc? Thanks

 

If these are working for you, I'd say don't fix what's not broken! There are always conflicting views out there. Apologia and Math-U-See are both top 102 picks by Cathy Duffy. I think her MUS review addresses honestly the idea that some of the high school levels are on the easy side (Alg 1 and Geometry), and that the honors courses and upper levels even that out a bit. 

 

MUS and Apologia have worked well here. My kids have done MUS through Algebra 2 plus Stewardship, and my youngest has also done Precalculus. Oldest is in college and did well on his ACTs (top 20% score for math) and although it was 2 years between doing Alg 2 and College Statistics, he did well in the class. This is also a student who doesn't typically enjoy math (no matter what the curriculum)--so I've been pleased with the outcome.

 

DD scored similarly on the math ACT and will graduate this spring. She plans to go on in nursing. 

 

DS used Apologia Physical Science and Apologia Biology for high school science (plus a robotics course). He's not a STEM student.

DD used Apologia Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and is doing Advanced Biology (Anatomy and Physiology) this year. I think it will be good prep for her classes in the fall--time will tell!

 

Our family doctor home schools and he says that a lot of the topics in the regular biology class are things he learned in college. I have no regrets about using these. I do feel the biology book is lacking with regard to teaching on macro-evolution though. It does a good job of teaching the difference between micro- and macro-evolution, but if this was a student's only resource, it will probably leave them thinking that macro-evolution has only weak support. I think this does a disservice to students--(and I thought General Science did a better job of presenting "both sides" on this topic). I don't want my students blind-sided by evolution in college and losing their faith. We spent time discussing these issues (Biologos is an interesting site for articles on various Christian beliefs in relation to science.)

 

One of the other posts reminded me that we used the 2nd edition for chemistry. The third edition has so many bugs that Jay Wile wrote up a pages-long listing of issues and then wrote his own chemistry book. That wasn't out in time for us to use, but I'd certainly consider it if I was going to do chem again. 

 

We didn't do AP or CLEP tests here, so I can't speak to that, but I felt my kids got a solid education with what we did. Do what works for you!

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Thanks so much for your encouragement and insight! I was looking at Jay Wiles new Chemistry materials today and wondered if maybe they filled in some of what everyone felt was lacking in the Apologia chemistry.

I think we will just give it a whirl with what we've been using and if I see we are lacking once we look at test prep materials then I'll pull in some supplements.

Thanks again everyone!

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Thanks so much for your encouragement and insight! I was looking at Jay Wiles new Chemistry materials today and wondered if maybe they filled in some of what everyone felt was lacking in the Apologia chemistry.

I think we will just give it a whirl with what we've been using and if I see we are lacking once we look at test prep materials then I'll pull in some supplements.

Thanks again everyone!

 

I'm going to help teach this in our co-op next year. I enjoyed his 2nd edition when I taught it to dd. I'm looking forward to seeing the differences. 

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I'm going to help teach this in our co-op next year. I enjoyed his 2nd edition when I taught it to dd. I'm looking forward to seeing the differences. 

 

Please report back. I haven't seen many comparisons yet. I enjoyed his 2nd edition too, but the topic order was odd and I know he changed that in his new program. I won't be teaching it again, but I'd still like to know so I can share with friends when they ask.

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I've used MUS from K to Pre-Calc and Apologia from elementary to Advanced Chemistry.  I've graduated 2 kids already from our homeschool, one is graduated from college this spring with his Bachelor's in Marketing and another headed to college.  Apologia and MUS are excellent curriculum for high school. We love them and if they are working for you,stick with it.  

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