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

What about high school science requirements for

Do they need Biology, Chemistry, and Physics?

by Julie Shepherd Knapp, copyright 2006, 2007

Homeschool graduation requirements vary by state.
 Read your
state's homeschool regulations to see if there are any particular science
courses that your teen needs to have taken to legally graduate from
homeschool high school.  Be sure to speak with other homeschoolers in
your area, too-- to be sure you have understood the state requirements,
and to find out about any opportunities to take science classes as a group.

To help students be well-rounded and knowledgeable citizens,
most US  
states require public school students to take 1- 2 full-year science
classes in high school.
 In states where homeschoolers do not need to
follow public school guidelines, the choice of how much science to take will
be up to you and your student, based on his or her educational goals.

Students who plan to go on to college will need to take 2 - 4 years of
science, including biology and chemistry, with labs.  
Be sure to check
with your local community college and each 4-year college or university that
your child might apply to-- every school has their own admissions
requirements!  Some college-bound students may want to take more
Honors or Advance Placement  science courses.

Students not planning to go on to college or trade school might
choose to take high school-level general science and life science courses,
instead of Biology, Chemistry and/or Physics -- especially if they are not
planning to take Algebra 1 (many high school science courses assume a
knowledge of basic algebra).  But, teens are famous for changing their
minds!  If your student *does* decide to apply to a community college
sometime down the road... having a biology and/or chemistry class on their
homeschool transcript will be helpful to them.  (And it will save them money,
because they won't have to pay to take these courses at the community

Many students actually find Biology to be interesting and very
relevant to their everyday lives.
 Typical high school Biology courses
assume that students have a working knowledge of Algebra 1 concepts.  
Advanced Placement Biology courses assume students have already
taken high school Biology and Chemistry (and Algebra 2 may be helpful).
See the Diner section on
High School Biology for resources.

Chemistry is a challenging science, but many students find the labs
to be very interesting.
 High school Chemistry courses require a
knowledge of Algebra 1.  
Advanced Placement Chemistry courses
assume students have taken regular high school Chemistry and Algebra 2.

Students who have mechanical ability and interests find Physics
interesting and relevant
.  For students who will not be taking any
advanced math in high school, look for a conceptual (non-mathematical)
physics curriculum, such as this textbook --
Conceptual Physics by
Benjamin Crowell -- available free online or by free download.  Typical high
school Physics courses assume a working knowledge of Algebra 1.  
Advance Placement Physics courses come in two levels --
AP Physics-B
AP Physics-C.  Level B requires knowledge of Algebra 2 and
Trigonometry.  Level C requires a knowledge of Calculus.

What if parents aren't comfortable teaching lab science classes?  
There are some options available to homeschoolers.

Many homeschool organizations get parents together and
hire a teacher
to give group homeschool classes in biology, chemistry, and physics.  

Some homeschoolers
enroll as part-time public school students to take
their lab sciences.  Others
enroll part-time in private schools to take
their science courses.

Some homeschoolers take advantage of state-funded  
dual enrollment
programs that allow high school juniors and seniors to take courses at a
nearby community college--
earning credit for high school and college
at the same time.  
(Google your state's name and "dual enrollment" to find
more info.)
 Where dual enrollment is not available, some homeschoolers
just take a few courses at community colleges or local universities.   

Other homeschoolers 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, really -- teaching high school science at home isn't as hard as it
might sound.
Take a look at a few of the available homeschool curriculum
options.  Curriculum usually includes enough leson information, lists of
resources, and support forums that the typical homeschool parent can
manage just fine.  

Look thru the Homeschooling by Subject Science section of the
Homeschool Diner to find many options for homeschooling high
school level science.
(back to)
science options