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I posted yesterday about Oak Meadow Biology. I emailed Oak Meadow and they got right back to me with a materials list! I'm conflicted; now that I've had a chance to see the OM labs list, I agree with the posters who said the OM labs are not super impressive. (I think the labs are completely adequate! But I know my daughter will be much more excited about biology if she'll get to dissect several things and use a microscope, etc.) That said, I do love the general user-friendliness and layout of Oak Meadow curriculum, and I like that the course is based on the Holt Biology textbook, which seems to be a solid biology resource. (I like that the OM curriculum will do the work of selecting the readings, etc. for me, making the huge Holt text much more navigable.)

Long story short, what I'm thinking of doing is using Oak Meadow Biology for book work, and the QSL Biology Kit for labs. (I love that the QSL kit comes with a lab manual so I don't have to design any of the labs myself! From the look of it, it's pretty open-and-go.) If I took this approach, I would NOT buy the OM lab kit, and I would not plan to do any of the OM labs. As I said, I would do the Oak Meadow book work each week, pairing it with a QSL lab that relates to the topic being studied. 

My questions:

  1. Is this a terrible idea? Is there a reason you can think of that this wouldn't work?
  2. The QSL kit contains 37 labs. We probably won't manage to do them all, but we'd aim to do most. In your mind, how many labs is considered "enough"?
  3. Buying a used copy of the Holt textbook from Amazon (or similar) is legit, right? The Oak Meadow price is $160.00, which seems insane to me, especially if we have to budget for a student microscope.... 

Thank you for any feedback/advice! (And a general thank you to this amazing board! Planning for high school for the first time makes me feel like I'm relearning how to ride a bike or something. I've been a confident homeschooler thus far, but the leap to high school is tripping me up big time. I've been asking lots of tedious questions here lately, and everyone is always so gracious and helpful in their responses. I'm grateful.) 

 

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I think it's a great plan and I think getting the used copy is also a good idea.  I would check the ISBN to make sure you have the right book, but otherwise I would absolutely go with used to save money.  

I have no idea how many labs would be considered enough, though.  Sorry!  We definitely didn't do enough since we planned on using Landry Intensive and that fell through at the last minute.  We did do some (most) of the OM labs and we ended up using Late Nite Labs for virtual labs out of desperation after Landry didn't work out.  Big fail on biology labs in our homeschool!  My dd hates science and labs, so she was not disappointed at all.  

Good luck - I really like your plan and hope your dd loves it!  🙂

 

 

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I think that sounds like a great plan!  We are doing something very similar next year. We are also doing OM Biology and adding in more interesting hands-on labs. We are vegetarian and so are going to avoid animal dissection, but want to do some plant and microbial based labs. 

Even though we are having to plan the labs ourselves I think it will be worth it because the OM materials are so well organized and ask thought provoking questions. 

I did buy the Holt textbook used on amazon for a huge savings!

Keep us updated on what you decide!

 

 

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Thank you both for chiming in! This is encouraging! (I've been researching approximately 10,000 biology options over the past couple of days and I'm starting to lose my mind, lol.) It's nice to have someone else look at your plan, to point out issues you might not have considered.

And thanks for the feedback about used texts; I think I will definitely go for used. (Another shock of starting high school is the jump in price for many curricula, so I'm trying to trim expenses where we can!) 

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16 minutes ago, freesia said:

About your lab amount question. I remember researching it before my oldest hit high school. It seems 15-18 labs are the minimum to shoot for. 

Thank you!! (We're certainly planning to do all the labs, but I figure it's probably realistic to assume we might not get to every last one. Your ballpark number is helpful!) 

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31 minutes ago, Farrar said:

Yes. Another vote for great plan. Do it. The QSL kits are super thorough. I haven't done the biology one, but the physics and chem ones were really detailed.

Thank you! And thank you for this feedback about the QSL kits!

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On 3/4/2021 at 4:38 PM, EKT said:

I posted yesterday about Oak Meadow Biology. I emailed Oak Meadow and they got right back to me with a materials list! I'm conflicted; now that I've had a chance to see the OM labs list, I agree with the posters who said the OM labs are not super impressive. (I think the labs are completely adequate! But I know my daughter will be much more excited about biology if she'll get to dissect several things and use a microscope, etc.) That said, I do love the general user-friendliness and layout of Oak Meadow curriculum, and I like that the course is based on the Holt Biology textbook, which seems to be a solid biology resource. (I like that the OM curriculum will do the work of selecting the readings, etc. for me, making the huge Holt text much more navigable.)

Long story short, what I'm thinking of doing is using Oak Meadow Biology for book work, and the QSL Biology Kit for labs. (I love that the QSL kit comes with a lab manual so I don't have to design any of the labs myself! From the look of it, it's pretty open-and-go.) If I took this approach, I would NOT buy the OM lab kit, and I would not plan to do any of the OM labs. As I said, I would do the Oak Meadow book work each week, pairing it with a QSL lab that relates to the topic being studied. 

My questions:

  1. Is this a terrible idea? Is there a reason you can think of that this wouldn't work?
  2. The QSL kit contains 37 labs. We probably won't manage to do them all, but we'd aim to do most. In your mind, how many labs is considered "enough"?
  3. Buying a used copy of the Holt textbook from Amazon (or similar) is legit, right? The Oak Meadow price is $160.00, which seems insane to me, especially if we have to budget for a student microscope.... 

Thank you for any feedback/advice! (And a general thank you to this amazing board! Planning for high school for the first time makes me feel like I'm relearning how to ride a bike or something. I've been a confident homeschooler thus far, but the leap to high school is tripping me up big time. I've been asking lots of tedious questions here lately, and everyone is always so gracious and helpful in their responses. I'm grateful.) 

 

I buy used textbooks all the time. Keep an eye on the condition. "Good" might have a lot of highlighting. Sometimes searching for the isbn can help you find used copies listed with incomplete or atypical titles. 

It might also be worth comparing tables of contents if you aren't getting the same edition. We used the Miller Levine Biology books. When a new edition came out in that line, it was a significant change in content. Sections on taxonomy were dropped or abbreviated and other sections were added. I would not have been able to use an old course plan with the new book or vice versa. 

You should also be aware that there are state editions of high school texts. Sometimes the changes are minor, but this could also have an effect. 

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We haven't done the bio, but we have used the OM Anatomy and Physiology course which uses the same book. I bought a cheap edition that I wasn't 100% sure would be exactly right, but it was completely fine. Every page number was right. Basically, this is not a book that's fussy to get used in terms of the "right" edition.

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