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Beefing Up Guest Hollow's Sciences?


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Has anyone tried to use Guest Hollow's lighter, friendlier, style but beef it up with supplemental stuff? I'm specifically thinking of the Physics and wondering if it would be possible to add in more rigorous calculations from an outside source, but also perhaps making Chemistry and Botany more challenging too. I've never used them for anything past 4th grade and looking at the previews it's hard to tell if it would work out ok or if it would be too much tweaking and I'd be better off just going with something else. I like using lots of resources and out of the box books to get perspectives from many sources and viewpoints, and it seems it would be more teacher friendly for someone without a strong background in the subjects, but I worry that the sciences would be way too easy for a math oriented kid. 

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I think GH is a great choice for a non-science/non-biology kid and I am using the botany curriculum for my son because he detests biology and will never go into any field that remotely needs biology.  But if you have a kid who is sciency, or who may specifically need biology as a college student, I would just get a more rigorous program and use the GH resources as a supplement.  It's not worth the effort, IMO, to re-tool it to be a rigorous college-prep biology program. 

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12 hours ago, Paige said:

Has anyone tried to use Guest Hollow's lighter, friendlier, style but beef it up with supplemental stuff? I'm specifically thinking of the Physics and wondering if it would be possible to add in more rigorous calculations from an outside source, but also perhaps making Chemistry and Botany more challenging too. I've never used them for anything past 4th grade and looking at the previews it's hard to tell if it would work out ok or if it would be too much tweaking and I'd be better off just going with something else. I like using lots of resources and out of the box books to get perspectives from many sources and viewpoints, and it seems it would be more teacher friendly for someone without a strong background in the subjects, but I worry that the sciences would be way too easy for a math oriented kid. 

 

I would look at something else. I tried to supplement GH Physics for my daughter in her senior year of high school. She is now entering her sophomore year of college as an English major, and while she enjoys science, she is/was not a math/science oriented kid. I have an engineering degree, so I felt that I had the background to try to supplement. However, it didn't work for us. We ended up switching to a calculus based physics book ~6 weeks into the year. She still read and enjoyed some of the GH books (the titles were what drew me to the program initially). But if I were to do it again, I would start with a more rigorous program and add GH resources as extras.

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11 hours ago, Shelly in VA said:

 

I would look at something else. I tried to supplement GH Physics for my daughter in her senior year of high school. She is now entering her sophomore year of college as an English major, and while she enjoys science, she is/was not a math/science oriented kid. I have an engineering degree, so I felt that I had the background to try to supplement. However, it didn't work for us. We ended up switching to a calculus based physics book ~6 weeks into the year. She still read and enjoyed some of the GH books (the titles were what drew me to the program initially). But if I were to do it again, I would start with a more rigorous program and add GH resources as extras.

I agree with this.  But I have to emphasize, for a kid who isn't interested in biology, I absolutely love GH - interesting and engaging material that broadly educates in the field of biology.  I haven't seen a non-sciency biology curriculum as good as GH anywhere in the homeschool market.  

Edited by Reefgazer
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18 minutes ago, Reefgazer said:

I agree with this.  But I have to emphasize, for a kid who isn't interested in biology, I absolutely love GH - interesting and engaging material that broadly educates in the field of biology.  I haven't seen a non-sciency biology curriculum as good as GH anywhere in the homeschool market.  

 

Yes! My daughter read some of the titles from the GH biology class just for fun just because she had enjoyed the physics titles. The scope of the GH biology class is excellent!

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You all are right! I already had botany that I intended for a middle school student but had thought maybe I could stretch for HS. I hadn’t actually looked through it and seen all the books yet. 
 

It’s not going to work. Even for middle school it seems more like the history of humans with plants than it does the science of plants. But my kids are all excited for botany now and I’m going to have to pull something together that’s middle and high school friendly. 
 

I think I’ll do the Great Courses series on botany, get an intro textbook, and a bunch of labs and experiments. Any ideas? Maybe the Great Course guide has some ideas.  I want it to be fun instead of dry, which is why I had gotten it. Middle school kid needs some fun; but I don’t want it insulting. 

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Ellen McHenry's Botany in 8 lessons might be a good starting place. The Botany Coloring Book has a surprising amount of info in it. My middle schooler loved Wicked Plants. I know we had. "Meatier" botany textbook but I cant remember which one it was... 

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Ellen McHenry's book was popular, and doesn't include her YE views, so I can second that.

I have liked the book Botany in a Day, by Thomas Elpel. The name is clever, although it took me a day just to understand how the book worked, aside from learning about any actual plants! 😂 We also have his playing cards, but not the story book. It is a very practical guide for field identification. YouTube has a few videos you can watch. His calm, friendly voice reminds me of Bob Ross.

We had the best luck starting with some plants we already knew and understanding how to interpret those, before we moved on to unknowns.

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On 7/28/2020 at 11:10 AM, Reefgazer said:

I think GH is a great choice for a non-science/non-biology kid and I am using the botany curriculum for my son because he detests biology and will never go into any field that remotely needs biology.  But if you have a kid who is sciency, or who may specifically need biology as a college student, I would just get a more rigorous program and use the GH resources as a supplement.  It's not worth the effort, IMO, to re-tool it to be a rigorous college-prep biology program. 

I agree!  My 17yo musician/never-gonna-be-a-science-major-or-take-any-science-classes-not-required student is using GH Chemistry this year.  My 15yo future engineer is also doing chem.  I thought about beefing it up for him, but decided against it.  If he wants to read some of the books his sibling is reading I’ll be happy to lighten his load elsewhere so he can, but tweaking the whole GH Chem is just not likely to give me the strong course I want for a sciencey student. 

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I got Botany in a Day but the samples from Ellen McHenry's looked too young. I also got an intro college textbook, a lab book to go with it for ideas, a few other more HS appropriate books, and I've been looking at some intro syllabi from colleges and high schools to help plan a scope. Add in the Great Courses class, and I'm going to have to cut stuff out! I think we'll have fun. Since I have an 8th grader too and I'm not going to try to have her earn HS credit, I'm including some Guest Hollow stuff for her so it's not a total loss. 

For those also doing botany this year, I didn't see this in Guest Hollow, but it looks like a huge part of every intro courses' grades that I've seen have been gathering and maintaining a collection of leaves or other plants. You're supposed to learn to identify and preserve the samples over the year. I can't guarantee we'll identify them correctly, but we'll try. I don't know why she left this out because it seems like a big deal everywhere else. 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 8/3/2020 at 12:09 PM, theelfqueen said:

Ellen McHenry's Botany in 8 lessons might be a good starting place. The Botany Coloring Book has a surprising amount of info in it. My middle schooler loved Wicked Plants. I know we had. "Meatier" botany textbook but I cant remember which one it was... 

Ellen McHenry's Botany is actually pretty heavy-duty science.  There's a crap-ton of detail in there.

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On 8/2/2020 at 6:22 AM, Paige said:

...I think I’ll do the Great Courses series on botany, get an intro textbook, and a bunch of labs and experiments. Any ideas? Maybe the Great Course guide has some ideas.  I want it to be fun instead of dry, which is why I had gotten it. Middle school kid needs some fun; but I don’t want it insulting...

Kym Wright's Botany Adventure might add hands-on for your middle schooler -- some of the experiments could work for a high schooler as well.
See here for table of contents.
And here is the Cathy Duffy review.

Edited by Lori D.
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I've been looking through the old (first publication 1950) college lab manual tonight. It's actually really great. We can do most of the labs at home and so far I haven't seen anything that is just so out of date that it's wrong. It doesn't go with the textbook I got but it parallels well enough. I think this will be our most fun class.

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