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I'm interested in using Oak Meadow's Biology: The Study of Life course for my 9th grader next year. (I'd be teaching it at home, not taking the class through their online school.) My question:

What materials do I need to complete this course beyond the following? 

  • Biology: The Study of Life Coursebook
  • Biology: The Study of Life Teacher Manual
  • Holt Biology
  • Lab Kit - Biology: The Study of Life

I ask because the lab kit appears to contain necessary tools, but it does NOT appear to contain other essential materials I would expect, such as preserved frogs, samples, etc. What would I need to purchase besides the items listed above to successfully complete this course? (The description for Biology: The Study of Life Coursebook says that there is "a full list of materials in the coursebook appendix," but I can't see the list anywhere online and it is not included in the curriculum sample. Basically, I'm just trying to get a sense of how much this course will cost overall. Is it just a few dollars' worth of additional materials, or will I be spending tons of money at various vendors like Carolina Biological Supply?) Thanks in advance for any help!

 

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Email them and they'll send you the list of supplies. They did for me with Anatomy and I decided not to buy the kit. I actually do think everything you need for this course is in that kit except for things like, I dunno, tap water or paper or things like that. The kit really did seem to have everything for the A&P experiments. It's possible it just doesn't include the experiments that you're expecting.

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2 minutes ago, Farrar said:

Email them and they'll send you the list of supplies. They did for me with Anatomy and I decided not to buy the kit. I actually do think everything you need for this course is in that kit except for things like, I dunno, tap water or paper or things like that. The kit really did seem to have everything for the A&P experiments. It's possible it just doesn't include the experiments that you're expecting.

Oh, that's great to hear (that they got back to you with the list.) Awesome, will do! Thank you for responding!

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It's been a while since we used Oak Meadow biology, but IIRC most of the labs weren't very good and there was no dissection.  Most of the labs just used household products or things you could buy at the grocery store.  But we had planned on outsourcing with a Landry intensive (that was the year he canceled everything, unfortunately) so we skipped some of the OM labs thinking we were going to use Landry.  

ETA - yes, they are responsive if you ask them questions!  And the labs may have changed since we used them.

Edited by Kassia
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Yeah, I would not choose this if you want a lab serious biology course. I do think it's a good course from what I've seen. I like OM's high school courses, honestly. I think more people should consider them. It will be a good, solid biology class. But the labs will be mostly quick and simple - which, by the way, will be mostly in keeping with how it's done in schools, save for one dissection or so. If you want to add more, I'd consider doing the QSL kit or just doing the OM kit but adding the dissection kit from Home Science Tools.

Edited by Farrar
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11 minutes ago, Farrar said:

Yeah, I would not choose this if you want a lab serious biology course. I do think it's a good course from what I've seen. I like OM's high school courses, honestly. I think more people should consider them. It will be a good, solid biology class. But the labs will be mostly quick and simple - which, by the way, will be mostly in keeping with how it's done in schools, save for one dissection or so. If you want to add more, I'd consider doing the QSL kit or just doing the OM kit but adding the dissection kit from Home Science Tools.

The course itself was very thorough (it was a lot of work, too!), but the labs were definitely lacking.  Good point about comparing to labs done in schools.  

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Thanks for the feedback, everyone! Oak Meadow was listed in the Biology Motherlode post as an honors level Biology course, so that's why I started my search there. (We definitely need secular science in our homeschool, which limits our curriculum choices a bit.) I'm currently using the Oak Meadow Civics course with my 8th grader and I've been really happy with it! I find it's a very user-friendly curriculum, but still very challenging and thorough and well-written. Very easy to adapt, too. All that to say, I've been happy with what I know of Oak Meadow so far, so I'm inclined to continue using them for additional subjects. 

We did biology a couple of years ago (middle school cycle) and we did a series of dissections using kits from Carolina Biological Supply (we dissected a worm, crayfish, frog, and grasshopper). So, maybe I'll do the Oak Meadow course and bring in some additional dissections using independent kits from Carolina? (Performing the labs at a high school level, obviously.) I will also check out Home Science Tools, as you recommend. Thanks for that lead. 

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If you want to do a LOT of labs, or have a lot of ideas for them, you could look at Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture — and you can download it for free (legally) and order an associated lab kit at https://thehomescientist.com  . (The direct link to the downloads is here, under “manuals.”) They are also available in print.

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One more thing. Definitely check the contents of a lab before buying a kit. I was looking at Oak Meadow’s lab kits recently, and they seemed QUITE expensive for very mundane items. I went to a science supply store a couple years ago and have a bunch of beakers and stirring rods, but still....Don’t overpay for funnels, tweezers, and alcohol wipes in some kit.

Another tip. Oak Meadow just ended their Feb 20% off sale. Get on their mailing list and they will email you when it is on again. I think they run a sale in May.

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7 hours ago, stripe said:

 

Another tip. Oak Meadow just ended their Feb 20% off sale. Get on their mailing list and they will email you when it is on again. I think they run a sale in May.

Yes, when we used them we always bought in May when they had their sale.  I also bought some curriculum used on ebay.  

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