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Homeschooling Thru High School
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Join us at our upcoming speaking engagements:

January 13, 2018: Family Homeschool Connections (Richmond, VA)—Diane Kummer

January 13, 2018: CHEC High School and Beyond (Castle Rock, CO)—Carol Becker

January 27, 2018: Forsyth Home Educators (Winston-Salem, NC)—Carol Becker

April 12-14, 2018: MACHE (Rochester, MN)—Diane Kummer

April 19-21, 2018: CAPE (Albuquerque, NM)—Diane Kummer

April 27-28, 2018: NCHEA (NE)—Carol Becker

Don’t miss our informative new e-books, now available from the HSLDA Store!

Develop a Plan for High School is the first in a three-book series by Carol Becker and Diane Kummer, HSLDA High School Consultants. This e-book covers how to choose courses, assign high school credits, evaluate coursework, and improve time management for you and your high school student.

Simplify Your Recordkeeping and Transcript is the second in a three-book series by Carol Becker and Diane Kummer, HSLDA High School Consultants. This e-book covers in-depth details on both recordkeeping and transcripts.

Recorded events

Not able to attend one of Carol or Diane’s high school events? HSLDA’s recorded event High School at Home: Turning Possibility into Reality features sessions on developing a high school plan, creating transcripts, charting a course for post-high school plans, and more—with lots of encouragement! Purchase it at the HSLDA Store.

HSLDA student art contest now accepting entries

Create a Custom Science Plan for Your Teen

Dear Friends, May 4, 2017

Science studies the natural world order that God has created. Scientific thought is the foundation for many things we take for granted today, including medical treatments, manufacturing methods, computer technology, electronic communications, energy creation, and food production. High school is a prime time for teens to study how modern life depends on scientific knowledge and techniques.

If science is in your background, teaching the subject in high school can bring a sense of anticipation and eagerness to dissect the next pig! For others, science may remind you of boring lectures, failing lab reports, and catching your hair on fire.

As a homeschooling parent, no matter what your background, you want your teen’s high school plan to include science courses that will help meet their educational and career goals. Let’s begin by constructing a science plan, tailoring courses to correlate with the plan, evaluating course options, and offering resources to explore.

1. Begin with a plan

We suggest that you first determine a four-year high school plan for your teen. This important step often removes much of the anxiety about what courses your student needs to complete during high school. Our new EBook, Develop a High School Plan, explains this process in more detail. HSLDA members can contact us directly to help customize a four-year plan for their teens. (Not yet a member? Join here).

Because most 9th and 10th grade teens are still exploring career options, we recommend that you use some career guidance tools to help your student narrow down the list of post-graduation possibilities. This will guide you as to the type and number of science courses your teen needs.

2. Tailor courses to the plan

The General High School Plan positions graduates to enter the workforce, military service, apprenticeship training, trade school (vocational or technology), or small business startup. Under this plan, we recommend students take two or three years of science courses such as:

  • general science
  • physical science (earth science or integrated physics & chemistry)
  • biology
  • marine biology
  • health sciences (nutrition, health, etc.)
  • astronomy
  • paleontology
  • archeology
  • chemistry

A general high school plan gives families the most flexibility to determine what types of science courses to offer teens.

For College prep or community college students, knowing where your teen wants to attend is an important factor in choosing science courses for high school. Teens headed to four-year colleges or universities should identify the schools to which they plan to apply as early as the second semester of the 10th grade or early in the 11th grade. This helps ensure that your high school plan satisfies each college’s minimum course requirements in every subject area (including science). Two-year community colleges do not have minimum course requirements.

The Average College Prep Plan prepares teens who plan to apply to colleges with less rigorous admission standards. These teens need a solid science foundation consisting of:

  • physical science (earth science or integrated physics and chemistry)
  • biology
  • chemistry

Science options could include courses like:

  • marine biology
  • paleontology
  • astronomy

The Strong College Prep Plan prepares teens who plan to apply to colleges that require more advanced high school courses for admission. This plan also helps teens competing for scholarships. These teens need four solid years of science, and two or three courses should have a significant lab component. Select from the following science courses:

  • physical science (earth science or integrated physics and chemistry)
  • biology
  • anatomy & physiology
  • chemistry
  • physics

Adding selected Advanced Placement (AP), or dual-enrollment science courses can help students to be viewed as strong candidates for admission.

The Rigorous College Prep Plan prepares teens to apply to highly selective colleges and universities. We recommend these students consider taking more than four years of science with three or more of the following lab courses:

  • physical science (earth science or integrated physics and chemistry)
  • biology
  • anatomy & physiology
  • chemistry
  • physics
  • environmental science

Consider taking advantage of a good number of online Advanced Placement (AP) courses, AP exams, and dual enrollment courses.

Many colleges want prospective students to gain skills in laboratory work. When a college stipulates a lab science course requirement, this means that the class offers a minimum of 30 hours of required lab work as part of the course (i.e., Biology with Lab). Students on a Strong College Prep or Rigorous College Prep track and prospective STEM majors need laboratory experience to gain skill in the scientific method, develop keen observational skills, practice following lab procedures, connect observations with relevant conclusions, display (calculate, chart, graph) data, and write lab reports. Therefore, we recommend that students complete hands-on rather than virtual labs for at least some of their science courses.

3. Evaluate course options

You can coordinate your teens’ science courses to the appropriate level or challenge suitable for their future. Parent-taught, co-op, and online courses come in various levels of academic rigor. Students interested in healthcare, biology, botany, animal sciences (pre-vet), zoology, chemistry, pharmacology, medical research, physical therapy, nursing, pre-med, or bioengineering will need more challenging courses in biology, anatomy & physiology, and chemistry. Students interested in physics, astronomy, meteorology, geology, engineering, computer science, and mathematics will benefit from more challenging courses in physical science, chemistry, and physics.

Parent-taught courses: This options allows parents to customize science to the appropriate academic level for each teen. Investigate curriculum options when you visit the vendor’s hall at a local homeschool conference, browse curricula offered by complete curriculum providers, view specialty curriculum providers, and investigate online reviews from trusted sites such as Cathy Duffy’s reviews.

If a friend highly recommends a certain curriculum, ask more questions to determine why she likes the curriculum. For parents offering a lab science, physical science and biology are the most practical to do at home. Consider forming a small lab co-op that meets once a week.

Outside courses: These give you the option to match your teen’s interests with adults trained in various sciences. Check out both online course providers and local co-op groups to find science classes for which your teen has met the prerequisites. HSLDA Online Academy offers biology with lab and chemistry with lab. HSLDA members receive a discount on each HSLDA Online Academy course. Dual enrollment courses offer another opportunity for teens to take lab sciences outside of the home. For teens up the challenge, consider Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

4. Explore available resources

The internet provides many websites offering science help for students. Online resources include demonstrations, virtual labs, tutorials, real-world scenarios, and even simulations. We’ve collected an assortment of free science resources on our website  under the following science disciplines: physical science, biology, anatomy & physiology, chemistry, physics, and other. These will help your teen learn challenging concepts and hone vocabulary.

Quality lab science materials are available from the following websites:

Do you have a teen who is interested in pursuing a scientific career? Twice a year, astrophysicist Dr. Hugh Ross hosts “The Lab”, a three-day conference designed to equip Christian students (ages 16-22) interested in scientific careers.

We trust the ideas and resources we’ve shared have helped you understand how science can prepare your teen to successfully follow his or her interests after graduation. As you consider possibilities and discuss a likely career path with your teen, you’ll gain confidence to choose science courses and course delivery options that best suit your teen’s future!

Please join us next month when we address how to prepare teens to enter the workforce!

Carol Becker and Diane Kummer
HSLDA High School Consultants