Thursday, October 11, 2018

Homeschooling a High School Student: Biology with

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Even though I used to be a high school history teacher, I was apprehensive about homeschooling our teen. This year we are homeschooling our high school-aged son for the first time. While I felt confident in my ability to share knowledge of history, literature, and some areas of science, I was concerned about meeting the needs of an entire rigorous high school curriculum.

Fortunately, our family has access to over 400 courses through our membership to So I am relying mostly upon to help me teach our teen. I was able to find more than enough courses for our teen to take during his first year of homeschooling, including General Biology by Core Academy.

About the Course 

General Biology by Core Academy is a general high school biology course designed for tenth grade. Divided into two semesters, it covers an introduction to science, human biology, ecology, zoology, botany, microbiology, cell biology, genetics, and origins. The course is taught from a Christian worldview.

The course is designed for four days a week over 32 weeks which is a perfect fit for our homeschool. While we aren't strictly following a four-day-a-week schedule, I like the ability to vary our teen's assignments so he is not working on all his subjects each and every day.

In general, each lesson or session has a video lesson with an outline to fill out and supplementary vocabulary for the lessons and units. Most sections contain a quiz and some reading assignments. Parents can choose from a variety of Christian textbooks as well as a free biology textbook that can be downloaded that is not from a Christian creationist worldview. I have also chosen to supplement the free textbook with a copy of a traditional public school textbook to provide an offline way for our teen to study biology.

The video sessions available for part of Unit 2.

So far our teen has worked through Unit 1 (An Introduction to Science) and several lessons in Unit 2 about the skeleton, muscles, and skin. He has taken several quizzes and one test. The course is very easy to organize because it comes with plans that organize the lessons by topic and session for the two semesters. I use this when creating our weekly lesson plan and assigning him work and scheduling the quizzes and tests.

What I Added to the Course

To supplement the unit on human biology and anatomy, I am also including diagrams for our teen to study and label. These were not included with the course since it is a general biology course and not solely on anatomy. By incorporating these different exercises I hope to provide our teen with additional ways to be successful with the subject matter.

We will also be adding additional activities that he can do with our two younger children that would be considered just fun things for him to do. This could be activities such as cutting out and correctly arranging a skeleton or labeling the parts of the body using a puzzle.

What Our Teen Likes About General Biology

One of our teen's favorite parts of the course is Dr. Todd C. Wood, the lesson designer. Dr. Wood is the president of Core Academy and professor of biochemistry. He is "funny at times and he makes things easy to understand," according to our 16-year-old.

Our teen spends about 20 to 30 minutes each day working on biology independently. Depending on whether or not he is taking one of the quizzes, tests, or completing a reading assignment he may spend an additional 20 to 30 minutes as needed.

So far the only thing our teen has found difficult is the formatting of the some of the outlines. He finds that the actual video presentation sometimes skips around and he had to "flip back to answer something else." However, when I asked him if he had any recommendations, he only commented that a better microphone would make it easier to understand.

fill-in notes for biology course at
I print out the fill-in outlines for our son to use during the videos.

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