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My oldest child will be starting ninth grade in a few weeks. She will be our first high school homeschooler! It is exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. When selecting curriculum for this adventure, I went with Apologia Biology because of the good reviews, and a friend gave us a used copy of the second edition for free.
I used the second edition to review the curriculum, but decided to stick with this edition instead of ordering the third edition mainly for financial reasons. The textbook and answer keys were free, I only had to order the test packet. I also ordered the animal dissection set, dissection tray, dissection tools kit, and Apologia slide set from Rainbow Resource. The student notebook is no longer available for this edition, however I found a correlating student lab notebook that contained all of the “On Your Own” questions, study guides, module summaries, and lab pages on TeachersPayTeacher.com by Knowledge Box Central.
Initially when planning, I made a year long lesson plan that is available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store here. I planned each unit to be 8 days long, including one testing day, so that it could be completed in two weeks at four days per week. I included all of the labs, “On Your Own” questions, module summaries and vocabulary words. I printed out the Knowledge Box Central student lab notebook and organized it into two 1″ poly binders with 8 dividers each from Dollar Tree, one for each semester.
I also found a great YouTube station called Amoeba Sisters with animated videos for almost every topic covered in the Apologia Biology book. They also have handouts to go with the videos! I also ordered the Biology Coloring Book for additional visual enforcement and notes. After adding the correlating videos and a few of the handouts that I wanted to use to my original lesson plan, I decided to adjust the number of days spent on a few of the units. For example, for Module 5 The Chemistry of Life, I added a few days to make the unit 11 days long, and added days to Module 6 The Cell to make it 12 days long.
Since our microscope was meant for younger learners, I upgraded our student microscope to this AmScope M150. I like that we can use it with the included outlet plug or use batteries to make it portable. It also fits our existing cell phone holder that my kids love to use to take pictures and videos of what they are viewing.
I have a few activities from my classroom days as a biology teacher that I am dusting off as well, such as building a DNA molecules with beads and pipe cleaners, enzyme comic strips and edible cell models. Amazon also has a few biology games that I am considering. I do have a planning problem where I get so bogged down with doing ALL the fun things that I tend to over plan, so I am trying really really hard to be realistic about our time. As a bonus, my daughter who is one year younger has a huge interest in Biology and chose to take Biology as an eighth grader with her older sister, so I made binders for her, too. It will be nice for them to be able to do the labs together and quiz each other before tests.
Wish us luck on homeschooling our first high school science course!