Looking for high school curriculum

(Diana Dove) #1

@Homeschool_Forum Good morning y’all !
I’m in the process of planning my “8th” graders’ high school science curriculum. He is planning on becoming a vet, so will have an undergrad in pre-vet science. After looking at the program requirements at the university he would like to attend, the biology is strongly evolution based. Our current homeschool program uses Apologia, which looks to cover all other areas he will need to be successful in college except evolution biology. Our son is very strong in science and I would like to provide him with an program that will meet “honors” standards.
What recommendations do you have for his high school science experience? We love experiments so a strong experiment based program would be well received. Thank you in advance for any and all of your insight as we move forward in this homeschooling adventure.

(Christy Hemphill) #2

My oldest is in sixth grade, so I haven’t used these yet. But what I am looking at personally for high school biology is Wilson Hill Academy online courses or Kolbe Academy. (Kolbe you can buy the plans and teach at home or use their online courses.)

Both programs use the Miller-Levine textbook for biology. (Wilson Hill uses Campbell for AP Bio, which is pretty much the standard AP text.). Kolbe is a Catholic program, but several non-Catholic friends I know have used it and been quite pleased. Wilson Hill is Christian Classical.

Wilson Hill does “physics first” so the recommended order of the classes is different than the traditional Bio-Chem-Physics-AP. They do Physics-Chem-Bio-AP. So that is also something to take into consideration. The idea is that so much of biology is biochemistry now, so you need chemistry first. But to excel in chemistry, you need a solid foundation in physical science. After biology, students choose an AP science or physics 2.

(Phil) #3

Your post prompted me to goggle the pre-vet requirements, just to see if there were any major differences from when I was pre-med back with Hippocrates. I am sure every major university is going to be strongly evolution based, because that is what the evidence supports. Genetics and comparative anatomy are pretty much evolution. I was still a bit fluid in belief when I went through some of those courses, which made it a bit difficult to study and regurgitate the information, when I did not totally buy into the concepts, so you are right to broaden your son’s horizons to help with future classes.
I do not know the situation where he plans to go, but vet school is possibly more competitive than med school in some places, and where you do your undergrad work determines your chance of admission in Texas, where it is tough to gain admission to the one vet school at A&M unless you do pre-vet at A&M, so something to research and think about.

(Diana Dove) #4

Thanks for the input. We’re in MO so he’s looking primary at MU for in-state tuition. If he earns scholarship money, then probably out of state schools will be looked at more seriously. We have heard vet school is very competitive in general and our vet has offered to help navigate the admission process and prepare for interviews when the time comes.


Yes, admission to vet school is extremely competitive, even more than medical school. (There are not as many veterinary schools so space is very limited.) And sadly, the veterinary profession has a high rate of suicide. So with a demanding and stressful course of study and profession in the future, the last thing in the world your son needs is the stress of an anti-science church or curriculum!

Your son should at some point start volunteering at shelters, wildlife rehab facilities, community spay/neuter clinics and the like if at all possible. He should learn all he can about cats, dogs, large animals, exotics (small furry pets, birds, snakes, etc.). He should visit zoos and aquaria. I’m sure he will have a great time in his chosen path, as he sounds really smart.

There are really good free or cheap science courses on http://www.coursera.org and www.edx.org. (Consider working through a course together since he is still young.)

Best of all is http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive with hundreds of free science resources.

Best of luck!

btw, Consider following the veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker on Facebook–I’m pretty sure he’s a Christian.

(Diana Dove) #6

Great info! I bookmarked the sites you recommended. We have discussed volunteering at local shelters and he would love to get a part-time job at a vets office. He will be job shadowing our vet this summer and is very excited for this opportunity. He is also constantly researching animals and I often hear, "Mom, fun fact…"
Side note: We LOVE beagles too! We have 1 beagle and 2 beagle/hound mixes.


I’m glad I could help. I will post more resources later. You both must be very excited!

Veterinary medicine is exciting these days, with many specialties. My terrier has a heart murmur and has her own veterinary cardiologist! (She doesn’t yet need medication or exercise restrictions, thankfully.) Often a practice will combine specialty medicine and emergency medicine, so the facilities can be in use 24/7.


Hi again, @DiDove.

Here is a fascinating online course coming up later this month (I think):
Paleontology: Theropod Dinosaurs and the Origin of Birds. I loved it!

It’s offered by U. of Alberta via coursera. You might like to take it together with your kid. It starts with a lecture on bird anatomy, so you’ll be getting a jump on A&P.

(Lisa) #9

@Christy, back to the Wilson Hill and Kolbe Academy possibilities…I know they both use Miller-Levine. Wilson Hill specifically mentions in their bio course descriptions that they were taught from a “Christian worldview”, do you know any more details on that? I’m assuming that since they use Novare for other science courses that it’s not just a euphemism for YEC, but do you know for sure?

(Diana Dove) #10

I know what you mean by “Christian Worldview” being a euphemism for YEC. We live it in our neck of the woods! If I remember correctly, they both broadly and thoroughly cover evolution while honoring God as Creator. It didn’t sound like either one of them “taught” evolution while bashing it the whole time, as Apologia does. As of this writing, we are going to go with the flow and use Apologia Physical Science and lab along with his Classical Conversations community and make the switch the remaining years of high school for Bio, Chem and Physics. We’ll follow the same sequence and do labs with the class but he will have a different textbook and assignments and probably a little extra lab work. We’re leaning toward Thinkwell, which is more affordable. However, have not ruled out Kolbe Acedemy. Our son also wants to do some other course, such as the ones you’ve suggested to further his science background. We were also about ready to start raising chickens and possibly a dwarf goat for more animal experiences. Well, mother nature had other plans… We live in SW MO where all of the flooding has been happening and our basement waterproofing and drainage system failed. So, we get to put all new flooring in the basement and redo the drainage system. Insurance is already positioning themselves to not cover it. There went the time and money for animals. We’ll just have to hangout at friends and family’s homes that already have them. lol
I appreciate all of your suggestions. It’s really helping us see all of the possibilities to give our son an outstanding high school experience. Chance was saying he needs more time in the day to all the stuff he’s interested in.

(Diana Dove) #11

Have you heard of Thinkwell? They have AP Bio, AP Chem and AP Physics. Not sure we will actually be able to take the AP test because our school district counselor that coordinates it has been refusing to work with a friend and her son. They had to travel to NC to take the test this past week. Ridiculous!
I also had the opportunity to visit with a Chem. Prof at MO S & T, where our older son will be attending next fall, regarding the homeschoolers coming in with only using Apologia or AIG. I was encouraged by his response. He shared that he (and another professor concurred) they have not had any homeschool students have trouble transitioning from a background of filtered information to their classes. They only problem is if they are choose to not learn the material because they feel it will corrupt them but even the Apologia and AIG is giving them enough of a foundation to be successful. They also added that being “homesick” is more of an issue and for the general population, video gaming is causing huge problems for college students. Interesting and good to know considering our son is a huge gamer.

(Christy Hemphill) #12

At one point I e-mailed Wilson Hill and specifically asked what “Christian perspective” meant and if the teacher would argue against descent with modification. The biology instructor contacted me and asked to set up a Skype time to talk about it. I sent a bunch of possible times, but then she never got back to me, and I had a lot of other things going on, so I just dropped it. Maybe you could try and report back to us your sleuthing. The woman who contacted me was Marie Owens. (mowens@wilsonhillacademy.com)

(Lisa) #13

I dug a little further and found this discussion on the Well Trained Mind forums:

And this mention from Wilson Hill’s Head of School:

Sounds like they don’t have a strict view, though I think now I’m leaning toward just teaching it myself if we’re still doing CC because we probably won’t have time for online classes (the kind that meet at specific times…if I could find some videos of lectures from Miller-Levine I would use that).

(Bruce Holt) #14

A friend of mine from church, who does not home-school but with whom I’ve talked a good bit about higher education, recently let me know about Modern States. They describe themselves as “a non-profit dedicated to making a high quality college education free of cost and accessible to any person who seeks one.” I just browsed the web-site briefly, and it looks like they are geared to college-aged students who don’t have the money for a traditional four-year program. But I don’t see any reason why the courses wouldn’t be available to home-schooled students. This could be a promising option for those who want to keep their kids in a program like CC but want a better option for high school level science. The course list includes biology, chemistry, environmental science, and physics.