I’ve been busy researching biology curriculum options for my 9th grader for the upcoming school year. I have already had one child go through high school biology, but I wasn’t crazy about the course he took – while I don’t think it was necessarily the curriculum that was the issue, but rather the co-op class he took just wasn’t a good fit.
It was nice having high school biology taken off my plate with my older son, but since the class wasn’t a good fit at our co-op, I’ve been on the hunt for another option that will still require little prep and involvement on my part (don’t get me wrong, I love science, and biology is probably my favorite as I used to be a registered nurse, but with a total of 8 kids to homeschool, I need resources and curriculum that don’t require too much on my part).
There are lots of different science courses that kids can take in high school – astronomy, earth science, forensic science, environmental science, with biology, chemistry, and physics being the most popular, and often required courses for graduation and/or college admission.
Which science courses and the order they complete them in will be determined by the homeschool laws in your state, graduation requirements in your state (most states don’t even have graduation requirements for homeschoolers), your child’s post-graduation plans including which college (if any) they plan to attend; not all colleges have the same admission requirements, so you’ll want to check the required courses for admission at the colleges they are interested in attending. If they aren’t sure what their future plans are, it’s a pretty safe bet to take biology and chemistry in high school. Most students will take anywhere from 2-4 science courses in high school depending on their career path. At least one of their high school science courses should include a lab component, but again, you’ll want to check your state and colleges of interest for lab requirements.
Most high schoolers will take biology in either 9th or 10 grade. Biology is a good course to take in the early high school years because it doesn’t require any high level math like chemistry or physics do that the student hasn’t learned in math class yet.
In a high school biology course, students will typically learn about cellular biology, organisms, classification, ecology, genetics, human growth and development, and much more.
When choosing the biology course for my son for next year, I wanted something online or something that included instructional videos that he could do mostly on his own. Below is a list of curriculum that I researched and was considering using. with our final decision for next year being listed first.
Experience Biology from Journey Homeschool Academy provides a high-quality, hands-on, engaging biology experience. The online course includes engaging video lessons, comprehensive quizzes, lab & reading assignments (including lab videos), research questions, and lesson outlines. There is a basic program option that doesn’t include labs, and an advanced mastery option that includes labs and earns high school credit.
Check out this sneak peek inside Experience Biology:
Exploring Creation with Biology is an award-winning, creation-based science curriculum from Apologia. This college-prep course provides a heavy emphasis on the vocabulary of biology, a strong background in the scientific method, and labs that cover experimentation, field studies, microscopy, and dissection. Enhance the course with a notebooking journal that includes a day-to-day schedule. While a solutions and test manual can be added for an additional cost, a teacher’s manual is not required (or even available). An audio CD of the text and an instructional DVD with over 20 hours of instruction and a demonstration of all experiments is also available.
BJU Press Homeschool offers high school biology in video format where the teaching is done for your or in textbook format where you are the teacher (or your student could work independently depending on their personality and skill level).
Through webquests, real-world case studies, labs, and more, students will study the field of biology, as well as learn critical thinking skills that will prepare them for their future, all while applying a Christian worldview.
Devotional Biology is a video curriculum taught by one of the top creation scientists in the world. The course includes video lectures, lab instructional videos, lab manual, textbook, and teacher’s guide (the last 3 listed are available in print or PDF versions). This class earns one full credit for a high school lab science.
Science Shepherd Biology is a complete homeschool biology curriculum for high school. It includes over 40 hours of video instruction, step-by-step videos of 19 labs, textbook with study questions, lab manual, test booklet, and answer key. Video lessons are available online or on DVD. Written by a physician and homeschool dad, this course is designed for independent study.
Friendly Biology uses a textbook with supplemental videos and hands-on lab activities to create a multi sensory experience for your high school biology student. A student workbook and tests & answer keys book accompany the course. An audio version of the textbook is also available. Choose between a Christian Worldview or Secular version.
DIVE Biology is a full, one year college-prep digital video course that teaches from a Biblical Worldview.
This course includes video lectures and labs, a printable workbook and lab manual, video solutions to all workbook and lab activities, a weekly assignment chart, and a free email Q&A email service with the author/course creator. Also now available as a self-paced eLearning course.
I also looked into full, online Live and Self-Paced courses where there is a teacher that does all or most of the work for you (which is what I need during this season of life 🙂 ). Many of the online options actually use some of the courses that I listed above as their main resource. Here is a list of online class options that I found and the curriculum that they use.
- Apologia Online Academy – uses Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Biology; Live and Self-paced options
- The Potters School – uses Science Shepard Biology; only Live option available
- Science on Demand – uses Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Biology; only self-paced option available
- Schole Academy – uses Novare General Biology; only Live option available
- Excelsior Classes – uses Science Shepherd Biology; only Live option available
- Veritas Press – uses Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Biology; only Live option available
- Virtual Homeschool Group – uses Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Biology; Live and Self-paced options (note – these classes are FREE).
As I mentioned, the first one on the list, Experience Biology, is the one we are going to use this fall. Upon reading the information on their site and previewing a couple of lessons, I feel that Experience Biology is a well laid out, complete, and easy to use course that my 9th grader should be able to do mostly on his own. I like that it incorporates videos, reading assignments, labs, and written work. I especially like that it includes lab videos as well. We have used their Experience Astronomy in the past and were very happy with it, plus the price is very affordable compared to similar courses.