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Copyright 2006 Julie Shepherd Knapp
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Copyright 2006 Julie Shepherd Knapp.  All rights reserved.
about the book
The Homeschool Diner's Guide to
Science Resources

High School Biology for Homeschool:
Curriculum, Courses, Labs, and Other Resources

by Julie Shepherd Knapp, copyright 2006, 2007

Options for both secular and Christian approaches to high school
biology-- homeschool curriculum, free online courses, online distance
learning courses, text books, or "living book" options...

A good curriculum makes it easy to teach high school biology at
 Choose the option that best meets your student's needs and goals.  

If you just aren't comfortable teaching lab science classes yourself,
many homeschool organizations get together and hire a teacher to give
homeschool classes in biology (as well as chemistry, and physics).  
Contact your local and state homeschool organizations to hook up with a
nearby learning co-op.

In some states, homeschoolers enroll as
part-time public school students
to take their lab sciences.  In states where that isn't possible, students might
opt to enroll part time in a
private school, or take lab classes at a nearby
community college.  

Others choose to enroll in
online distance learning courses which include
virtual labs or use multi-media to guide students in doing labs at home.

But, teaching biology at home isn't as hard as it might sound --
homeschool curriculum usually includes enough info and lists of resources
that the typical parent can manage just fine.  

Take a look at the "tried and true" high school biology program and lab
options listed below to see what meets your needs.  If you don't see what
you're looking for, google "homeschool biology" and see what come up --
there are new products coming out every year!  

High School Biology Programs

Thinkwell Biology and Thinkwell AP Level Biology-- students learn from
an entertaining video series instead of a textbook, includes practice tests
and chapter tests.  This is the course used by the
Johns Hopkins
University CTY program for gifted students. You can take the course thru
JHU (at a much greater cost) or purchase it independently from Thinkwell.

High School Biology in Your Home -- an independent research
approach to high school biology, no textbook provided, students do
research on websites, in old textbooks, and using primary "living" resources.
Guides students through a process of research, discovery, dissection, and  
experimentation. Includes resources for lots of dissections. Could be
considered an
Honors level Biology course.  Designed by a homeschool
mom who is also a biochemist.

Apologia -- Christian-focused high school science program (also offers
several creationist texts for all ages), conversational style text appeals to
those without much science background/interest, choice of books or CD-
Rom text, no tests.

PA Homeschoolers AP Biology -- an online distance learning course for
homeschoolers, an
authorized AP course through the College Board Audit
process includes virtual and multimedia assisted home labs, courses run
each fall during the school year (register spring and summer before)

CyberEd Biology -- CD-Rom narrated worktext includes options for Basic,
Honors, and AP Biology.   Currently, CyberEd is only available to
homeschoolers thru pre-arranged group buys from the
Buyer's Co-op (a free buying club).  This is the program used for JHU-
CTY Honors level Biology (see demo there).  The software includes
virtual labs, but I would suggest combining it with a separate lab program
from the resources listed below.

College Board AP Biology Suggested Course Description -- includes
book recommendations, suggested course outline

Biology 1 (AP) -- free online tutorials from the National Repository of
Online Classes-- a self-study
AP level prep course in biology, (Biology 2
(AP) also offered.)

Biology I and Biology 1 Honors - online distance learning course offered
thru the Florida Virtual School, uses guided in-home labs

Kendall-Hunt Publishers -- offers three standards-alligned biology
textbooks suitable for college prep--
BSCS Biology: A Human Approach,
BSCS Biology: An Ecological Approach, and Insights in Biology (which
says it can be used for general or
Honors biology)

Online Biology Book -- free from Michael J. Farabee, Ph.D of Estrella
Mountain Community College -- full color illustrations and text for college
biology.  Combine this text with a lab resource from the list below and
construct your own basic or Honors Biology course.

Kimball's Biology Pages -- a free online college-level Biology text, most
recently published in 1994, this text is continually updated by the author
(latest revisions 2009).  Combine this text with a lab resource from the list
below to create your own Basic or
Honors level Biology course.

Spectrum Science -- this is Christian-focused high school science biology  
curriculum (chemistry offered, too), incorporates intelligent design
arguments (mostly discussed in the book's intro and conclusions), often
used as part of The Well-Trained Mind approach (following the use of
Rainbow Science)  

Life: The Science of Biology -- a college-level biology book that can be
used as a high school
AP level Biology text, the 8th Edition is offered in
hardback, a 3-volume set of paperbacks, and as an ebook/CD-Rom (and is
quite expensive) -- check for
used copies on Amazon. (the older 7th
Edition -- still an excellent book -- can be purchased used on Amazon for
under $5)

Alpha Omega LIFEPAC Science --  Bible-based biology curriculum, offers
work text units and videos of actual science experiments. AO also offers
Switched on Schoolhouse (SOS) Biology with OnDemand video and
interactive multiedia

University of Missouri Center for Distance and Independent Study --
Biology (in two units), students can enroll at any time, and have nine
months to complete a course from the enrollment date (offers other high
school sciences, too)

Bob Jones Biology-- an intensive, Christian-focused curriculum teaches
"...scientific content and method and the biblical principles necessary to
interpret and apply this knowledge in a God-honoring way...", online or DVD
courses may be taken thru BJU, or
buy the book and materials and work

Abeka's Biology: God’s Living Creation -- Christian-focused high school
biology text that is "...built upon the firm foundation of Scriptural truth...",
Teacher's Edition, Lab Manual, and lab kits available (you must register to
see a catalog), used by many private Christian Schools

University of California Open Access College Prep -- free online
Biology and
AP level Biology courses, including tutorials and simulated
labs, use as courses or as prep for taking AP tests

HippoCampus -- free online AP level Biology 1 and 2 courses, and a
"Non-Majors Biology" that focuses more on Life Science, provided by the
Monterey Institute for Technology and Education (MITE)

UMASS Boston Biology 1 and 2 --  Open CourseWare from UMASS--
free online audio lectures, lecture notes, lab manual and exams, buy the
textbook used, and you almost have a complete college level Biology
course!  Use as supplement to basic high school biology to create an
Honors level course

UC Berkley General Biology 1A -- Webcast Courses -- free online video
or audio lectures for their current semester's General Biology Lecture and
Lab Courses, (previous semesters with different professors also available!)  
Use as a supplement for independent research to turn a basic Biology
course into an
Honors level course!

MIT's Introduction to Biology -- Open CourseWare from MIT -- free
online video lectures from three different college level Biology 1 classes--
7.012, 7.013, and 7.014.  Each class has a different focus (see
descriptions).  Using these lectures as supplements to spur further
independent research could turn a basic Biology course into an
level course. Many other biology lecture topics available.

Living Books for Biology -- check out the amazing AP BIOLOGY book list
prepared by a homeschool mom (scroll about half way down her Web
page).  The list includes non-fiction, biography, essays, and fiction.

Separate Biology Lab Resources

Online AP Lab Simulations -- free online videos and cool high-tech
simulated lab experiences for all 12 AP Labs, from the University of
California College Prep Open Access website

Lab Bench Activities -- free online videos of simulated AP labs from
Pearson Learning (not as high tech as the labs listed above)

Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments: All Lab, No
Lecture by Robert Thompson. Includes AP Chemistry Labs.  [Chemistry:
The Central Science, Ninth Edition by Theodore L. Brown is a good AP
Chemistry companion text]

Carolina Labs AP Biology Lab Manual -- prep and instructions for the 12
AP labs, designed for use with their
AP Biology Lab Kits -- **note: the
materials in several of the more exciting lab kits include live bacteria, etc, so
the kits can't be sold to individuals.  You might be able to form a small group
or students, and arrange for a licensed teacher to order these materials
and conduct these labs for you...

Castle Heights Press -- high school biology lab manual and student data
book, typical college prep experiments, including dissection, microscopes  

AP Lab Manual -- the official manual published by the College Board, a
Teacher's Edition is also available

Biology Labs Online -- a series of 12-month subscriptions to online labs --
"...interactive, inquiry-based biology simulations and exercises designed to
supplement college and AP high school biology courses.", from California
State University system

Home Science Tools -- everything you might need for homeschool science
eScience Labs Biology Kits -- kits for high school, AP, or middle school
biology labs, a combination of manipulatives and experiments
Carolina Biological Supply Co. -- offers specimens and kits for dissection,
virtual dissection software, and experiment kits for AP Biology
Science Labs in a Box -- lab manuals and complete boxes of equipment
needed to do Biology labs, correlates with Bob Jones Biology, and most
other formal Biology programs
Science Kits and Boreal Laboratories -- equipment, kits, and supplies,
including the AP Lab Manual (f

Froguts -- virtual frog dissection, cow eyes, owl pellets, etc., offers a low
monthly subscription fee for homeschoolers
Digital Frog -- top of the line in virtual frog dissection software, offers home
license to homeschoolers, uses full-motion video, narration, and detailed
Dissection Alternatives -- a great list of virtual dissection resources from
UC Davis (scroll down their page to see links)

How to buy the right microscope -- a friendly tutorial on all the parts,
bells and whistles available

GreatScopes Microscopes -- offers several options/ price ranges for
homeschool use (the company is owned by homeschool parents :-)  
Recommended favorite are
The Paragon for close looks at live creatures,
minerals, fabrics, coins, etc, and
The Observer for thin slices, blood cells,
slime mold, bacteria, etc. Also check out their
Microscope Adventures
section for some activity ideas!

Other Free Online Biology Resources (for grades 9-12)

Rader's Biology4Kids -- nice colorful online tutorials on many biology
topics, topics start simple but increase in level as you proceed

MathBench Biology Modules -- introduce students to "...the
mathematical underpinnings of what they learn in introductory biology
courses [but] unlike a textbook, the modules are not full of equations and
proofs. Instead, we try to bring math to life using intuitive approaches,
everyday situations, and even humor....", includes activities and games  

Young Epidemiology Students -- (9-12) free down-loadable teaching
units on epidemiology and other biology topics, also an annual  student

Merlin Science -- offers a Genetics course on CD-Rom, high level
science materials presented in fun way.  Samples available to view.

Mendel's Pea Experiment -- free activity yo learn about pea genetics
Dolan DNA Learning Center -- free online tutorials on DNA and genes

NIH Curriculum Supplement Series --  2-week modules with lesson plans
and activities on interesting supplemental topics in biology (cancer,
infectious diseases, sleep, etc), free to download or free by mail

Virtual Text -- (9 - 12) biology web modules and online texts, some free
some subscription

CoAST -- free modules for studying marine and coastal environments
Math/Science Nucleus -- free science tutorials includes high school level
Biological Science and Human Biology  (not all units finished, yet)
The Lesson Plans Page -- thousands of free lesson plans on all subjects,
including science and computers
Teachnology -- over 25,000 free lesson plans on all subjects, including
science and computers

Food and Nutrition -- an extensive website that discusses all aspects of
food, nutrition, food processing, the food industry, food additives, and
agriculture, from the University of Saskatchewan

Connexions by Rice University  --  offers free modules on AP
Environmental Science, Biochemistry, and many other
biology topics.  Information is organized in small modules that stand alone
or can easily be connected into larger courses.   All content is free.
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science options