As a homeschool mom of eight, there's one thing I've learned about outsourcing subjects - especially in the high school years: it isn't as easy as it sounds!
Yes, cost is always a consideration, but even if money were no object, there's always a trade off. Enrolling our kids in outside classes can remove some of the workload from us, but it also means we need to commit to someone else's schedule and someone else's requirements and expectations and maybe even spent time on transportation.
Don't laugh, but my response to this dilemma was always that whatever needed teaching, I could just teach it myself, because, after all, isn't learning right alongside my kids is one of the great benefits of homeschooling??
But last year we really hit a wall. Sure, theoretically I could have learned, and then taught all the material. But there is only one me and only 24 hours in a day, and some of those hours have to be used for sleeping and eating!
I was the bottleneck, and the kids kept falling behind because I wasn't ready to do the next thing.
I received this material for review and was compensated for my time.
As usual, all opinions expressed here are my own honest assessment.
High School Chemistry in the Homeschool
We found the perfect solution in the Apologia "Exploring Creation" series. The textbooks are engaging and full of helpful diagrams, but we also love the included boxes with extra information like mini biographies of famous scientists, or an in-depth look at a specific real-world application.
However, what really makes this series a winner for us are all of the available resources to accompany the text. My oldest son is a science-lover, and also dyslexic. The MP3 audio recordings allow him to devote all of his energies to absorbing and considering the science content without needing to work to decode the text.
Video Instruction and Chemistry Labs
Another great benefit of Apologia's "Exploring Creation with Chemistry" and other books in this series is the availability of video lessons on thumb drive or streaming video to teach each section of each module in the book!
I assign my high schoolers sections to read or listen to from the textbook and then we watch the videos together. The videos give them a great audio-visual demonstration of the material in the module, and they give me a chance to grab enough insight on the topics to help them (or point them to the relevant section) if they need more help with their assignments.
Apologia encourages families to complete the hands-on labs at home. I mean, that's the idea behind lab work, right? Hands-on experience with the concepts learned through reading profoundly increases comprehension and retention.
However, we've all had those experiments that didn't quite go as planned and didn't even demonstrate the concept. Or maybe mom couldn't find that odd ingredient at the grocery store? Well, thankfully, all of the experiments from each module are also performed on the video!
Assessing Understanding with Practice and Tests
It is true that if I outsourced high school chemistry to a co-op teacher or tutor, someone else would do the grading work for me. But here again, I'd lose some flexibility.
My high school daughter loves to take notes in gel pen and master assignments and tests. My son loves to talk about science, but writing extensively enough to show what he's learned is laborious.
I love that I'm able to hand him an assignment or test while I hold the answer key and just chat with him about the answer to each question. Yes, it takes a little more time, but it means that we can make the best possible use of his time and energy and spend science time focused on science!
Many Combinations to Fit Your Needs
Apologia offers all of the components that you'll need to prepare for a successful year of high school Chemistry in a variety of formats and bundles. You can purchase ...
- The text "Exploring Creation with Chemistry" as a paperback book, eBook, MP3 download, or even on iTunes or Audible! (You'll need to have a visual copy of the text in addition to an audio companion so that students can see all diagrams, practice questions, etc.)
- Video Instruction via thumb drive or streaming access.
- The Student Notebook large, spiral bound color-printed pages with questions and practice problems to accompany each module.
- Solutions and Test (with optional additional tests booklet) so that you can easily asses student understanding and know where they may need extra learning.