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Biology – High School Students

This year I’ve had the pleasure of guiding a group of High School Homeschoolers through Apologia’s Biology Curriculum. The scholars are 15 to 18 years old. The material itself is not hard. Because of that we are able to focus on writing useable reading notes and taking detailed lab journals. I like that this curriculum explains Biology in-depth enough that the scholars are leaning about creation AND it talks about different worldviews. I take my time with the scholars very seriously and do a decent amount of outside research. I do the reading assignments along with them and take notes. I often show off my notes because they are looking really cool. By keeping up with the curriculum and brief research about the different topics, my research about the different parts of Evolutions produced the following joke that I did share with the scholars.

If the hypothesis of Macroevolution is true, I hope that within 20 or so years the human race radically changes into a new organism. Specifically I hope I change into a new organism. My dream is to be able to put sugar, flour, and shortening into my mouth and I poop out donuts! It’d be an awesome evolutionary change for human kind to create food within their own bodies. I hope for donuts.

Jokes are excellent introductions to new topics. My joke not only grabbed the group’s attention, but it stuck in the group’s minds. I’m still hearing jokes about what we could possible poop one day and by what biological process this could someday happen. In the specific talk about Evolution, I got to say how brilliant Darwin was and we discussed the circumstances around his research. We concluded that Christians don’t hold all knowledge to everything, and that there is a vase amount of useful research out there. We also discussed how an authors worldview should be known prior to reading. This way we can choose to respect their research with proper regard. We can also see if their conclusions/research align with truth or if it’s a bunch of really interesting ideas.

I love the time on the research and time with the scholars so much, that I hope to continue pouring this love into guiding homeschoolers. Specifically High School Scholars. There excuses can be called out and they are responsible for their work. It’s no longer “mom’s” fault. They either did the assignments/readings or they did not.

Before the Fall Semester started, I spent time researching information on how other people studied and taught this curriculum. This helped me to figure out and organize how we would go through it at home with my daughter and how I would guide the scholars in our Challenge 2 Group. Home Schoolers Resources website was detailed well and I used it heavily during the beginning of Semester 1. I have my own flow now and don’t use it often, but if I have a question of how another group ‘did’ something I will reference this web site first.

I do physically or mentally do each lab/experiment prior to our time together. I make sure we have ALL the materials prior to class. Actually I go through the science labs before the beginning of the semester and gather materials for each experiment then. Believe it or not, I’ve experienced labs where it was the guides first time through the experiment. This did cause some issues. Someone in the room should know what is going on and what should happen. Specifically if it’s a bunch of high school students using a set curriculum. Experiments can be a waste of time and resources if everyone is scratching their heads for an hour.

For the reading notebooks:

1. Use the $1 Composition Books that have the pages sown in. The spiral note books always seem to fall apart to easily and at the end of a whole school year, the first few pages usually rip out on my. The sown binding holds well to the abuse that I put on a notebook. If there are any mistakes, I just cross through them and move on. There are no reasons to rip pages from the notebook. They are not a presentation but a colleague of thoughts. Some times thoughts are messy.

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For note taking structures:

1. The beginning of a new module/chapter needs to include the date started, module/chapter number, and module/chapter name

2. The bolded or underlined Headings of the module should be tracked with Roman Numerals.

3. Important details or vocab should be labeled with indented A, B, C…. until notes are done from that section. Each new section starts A,B,C… over.

4. If more details are needed for the A,B,C… notes indent and use 1), 2), 3)….

5. Figures, Charts, & Graphs can be copied and pasted into the notes or sketched. I save time by copy/printing all the figures before hand and pre-cutting. So I can simply paste where they go in my notes.

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For taking Lab/Experiment Notes:

1. I use the $1 stitched seem composition notebooks.

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 2. Each lab needs to include date, team member names (if any), purpose, procedures, data & observations, and conclusions. If time/experiment permits, work the Scientific Method into notes. Make sure diagrams get labeled. We often don’t have time to take full notes during labs, so during our time together we focus on data & observations. The scholars are expected to fill in the rest of the notes before the next session together. I suggest that they fill out the notes on their way home in the car or before they go to bed that night so that experiment information will still be fresh in their minds.

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