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Jr High/HS science - all tangled up


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OK. For whatever reason, we got a year "ahead" in Apologia. It's been fine. DS did General Science in 6th and he's doing Physical Science this year.

Now I don't know where to go next year. I don't think that he can tackle biology next year. Plus he hasn't done Algebra yet.


There's really nowhere else to go with Apologia, but we were wanting to maybe move away from Apologia anyway.

I'm looking at BJU, but can't figure out where we'd go. Earth Science? Then Bio in 9th, and continue on in a more or less regular progression from there?

What else is out there that is both interesting for the student and sufficiently rigorous for a kid who doesn't really have any career ideas at this point?

And Holy Cow Big Kid Science Is Expensive.

Edited by Sarahtar
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What does your student want to study?!


Do you want something textbooky or more hands-on? Do you need a formal curriculum or are you comfortable with a mom-made or WTM style? Do you have budget limits?



My older did a study of equine science, then moved to history of science, and next year will do life science for 7th. 

My younger (not yet a logic stage student) has studied amphibians (esp. salamanders), marine animals, and the periodic table this year.


We are going interest led til high school. 


Edited by ScoutTN
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He is ambivalent. He chose General in 6th and was enthusiastic about Physical in 7th. He asked to do Botany again, but I don't think it's out of a strong desire to learn about how plants work - rather, that he still remembers a lot of the botany he learned in 5th and thinks it would be easy. (I think that because he gave me his lopsided I'm totally lying to you half grin when saying that he'd love to repeat botany and when denying that it was because he wanted something he already knew, lol.)

That said, he is ready for something a bit easier. This school year has been challenging for him, not in academics so much as in both his ADHD and his TS have gotten amplified, so it's been trying to keep learning while also dealing with an increased difficulty in staying on task, focusing, studying, and particularly reading and following instructions. Combined with a lot of early teen ennui.

The only thing he knows for SURE is that he wants to do block scheduling - not a little in many subject every day.

I would prefer something ready-made, but I'm comfortable making our own, as well. Yeah, I'm going to have a tough time swinging a lot of the ready-made stuff with complicated labs, but I shop used.

Edited by Sarahtar
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There is no math requirement for Biology.   Whether or not your student has had algebra has no bearing.   Biology does, however, have a LOT of memorization and Apologia Biology can be tough.


If you feel that it would be best to wait until 9th for Biology, use 8th grade to study whatever is interesting to your DS.


We are also a year ahead of the typical science sequence.  DS did Apologia Biology in 8th grade because it was offered through a local co-op with a great teacher.   He just finished Apologia Chemistry in 9th, but since he hasn't had Algebra II yet, I really don't want him doing Physics until 11th grade.   So next year for 10th, he is still undecided but will choose from Astronomy, Marine Science, Earth Science, AP Environmental Science, or Anatomy & Physiology, plus he'll do a half credit of Aviation Science in addition.   Then in 11th he'll do algebra-based Physics, then in 12th he'll do an AP science course (most likely AP Physics).

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Ellen McHenry curricula is popular with logic stage people here. She has a Botany unit, some Chem, a study on Cells and one on the Brain. 

I haven't taught it, but BJU looks heavier to me than Apologia, so perhaps not the path for a lighter year? 






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Real Science Odyssey Biology 2 can be beefed up for high school level science or done as is for middle school. The author has a blog post on how to make it high school level. The same author will have a RSO Astronomy 2 out at the end of the summer. My understanding is that she will have details on how to beef it up for high school level if needed a well.


I'm excited about the Astronomy course!

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There is no math requirement for Biology.  




Except that our local coop does require algebra to be completed before taking biology so doing biology next year would mean removing the co-op class from the picture. (which obviously you can't read my mind there, sorry. I'm Interneting While Distracted today.)

Edited by Sarahtar
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Often Algebra and Biology are done concurrently. I often see the requirement of Algebra for Biology, but since there is not a lot of math in Biology, my guess is that it more has to do with brain maturity and ability to handle more difficult topics.


Maybe take this year to explore several 9-week or 12-week units of interest that you might not get to do otherwise, and work towards more formal labs and lab reports to practice for high school, but still use high interest books, spine program, documentaries/education science shows:

- Forensics (Crime Scene Investigators)

- Microscope explorations (Microscope Adventure)

- Kitchen Chemistry (ACS: Food Chemistry4-H: What's On Your Plate)

- Rocketry and/or Flight (4-H: National Association of Rocketry; some areas have a "students learn to fly" program)

- Meteorology (Weather Wizard)

- Horticulture / Gardening or Agriculture / Hydroponics (Georgia Agricultural Education Middle School Curriculum)

- Engineering or Robotics (JAM: Invent Your Own Machines; Engineering EverywhereFIRST Robotics; 4-H Junk Drawer RoboticsBackyard Ballistics)

- focus on an in-depth science fair project

- History/Biography based Science (History of Science)


Or units on specific topics in Chemistry or Physics (or other):

- Supercharged Science

- TOPS -- pendulums; balancing; weighing; light/optics; rocks & minerals; scale of the universe


Or less-frequently covered (in high school) major science areas:

- Botany (Guest Hollow; Botany Adventure)

- Astronomy

- Geology / Earth Science

- Marine Biology

- Oceanography

- Environmental Science

- Ecology



That's terrific that you have a year to explore! Have fun! :) Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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Well.... I've had a blog post from the IEW guy bouncing around in my head for a while about love of learning....  And though I have some trepidation here, we decided that we're going to sit down and together generate a list of science topics, cross out the ones he is not at all interested in, and try to put the others in some sort of order by relative interest. For science next year, he is going to pick a topic, generate a "What I know, What I want to learn" sheet, then spend as much time as he wants learning. He'll need to generate some evidence of learning every week and some sort of end product when he's ready to wrap up the topic. Then he'll go on to the next topic. He will have a set amount of TIME to spend on science weekly, but no set content goals. But the time will need to be focused.


We'll see. He's struggled with being able to be responsible this year. It's part the age, I'm sure, and part the ADHD. So we'll do a lot of supervision but hopefully he'll make progress in more than science.

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