Would you enroll a child in an Apologia Biology class if . .

The teacher had an excellent reputation? And it was your best option for having in-person labs, and opportunities to learn with friends?

This is our situation. I know of options we could use for a home-based study of biology. We have a microscope and other equipment for labs. But my daughter is thinking she would prefer an in-person class, especially for guidance with labs.

We know of several students who have taken this Biology course with the Apologia text and have loved the class. Some have gone on to major in biology in college.

We believe in theistic evolution. My kids took a good secular Earth Science online course this year; it gave them a solid understanding of how old our world is and how it came to be.

Would taking an Apologia-based course be setting us up for frustration and missed information? What would you do?

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On their website I see that for $5 it has some of the practice tests or something similar. If it was me , and I don’t know anything about this organization or how transparent they are on accepting science but I would probably get the practice tests at the very least since it’s not expensive and i could look through it and see what it says. If it’s a lot of creationist/ ID questions then I would know it’s probably a waste of time.

However, depending on how active you are with your kids, and I imagine it’s very active, and how well you can talk with them about a the issues of creationism versus science , they could still possibly learn and be in fellowship with other Christians. I also believe that at some point, usually in high school , it’s good for teens to start having to deal with counter arguments and realizing that there are different opinions and being able to truly defend your position in the face of peer pressure and authority. But someone who has been involved with this particular set of courses may know just how much they push it. I went through a course at liberty once, and it was just so stupid. They literally framed questions around young earth creationism.

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Pros and cons. From what I’ve heard, Apologia is big on anatomy and physiology and making kids learn vocabulary but is not a very good text for independent study (per Jay Wile, who used to write for the company: https://blog.drwile.com/my-review-of-exploring-creation-with-biology-3rd-edition/). It might work with an experienced teacher who was just using the text as a resource for the course but provided additional guidance and structure. You might want to cover evolution more thoroughly at home. I would just wonder how dogmatic the teacher might be about communicating anti-evolution views and whether this might make your daughter uncomfortable if she has feels like she has to hide her own understanding. Certainly not all co-op teachers using Apologia would be militant like that and some might not even have a choice in picking the text.

One other option to consider is an online school that offers in-person classes that replicate a classroom experience to some degree. My daughter took biology this year at Wilson Hill Academy (they used Miller-Levine as a text) and there were hour and half long classes twice a week where she had interactions with classmates and the teacher. We purchased a lab kit and the students do the labs at home, but with guidance from the teacher and the opportunity to discuss with classmates doing the same lab. Evolution was covered and different Christian views on it were discussed, including EC. The teacher encouraged respect for Christians with different views and my daughter felt she could share her opinions (they were a minority view) without censure. Of course, I can understand how getting together with real life friends at a co-op might be more of a draw and that kind of thing is important and I don’t think there is anything wrong with making it a big factor for consideration.

The Well Trained Mind Academy has a similar “in-person” online course set-up for some classes.

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This is all helpful. Thanks! It’s good to know of another good online option. If we do decide to pursue the Apologia course, I agree that I’ll need to discuss with the teacher to find out more about her disposition and background.

The Apologia textbooks that I have seen have a number of standard bad young-earth arguments. The 2000 middle school physical science text also had bad pro-business “science” such as anti-global warming and denying health effects from secondhand smoke, plus some odd random errors of no obvious relevance to anyone’s agenda (e.g., how the speed of light in a substance relates to the speed of other things, omitting metamorphic rocks as a category). Of course, a good teacher could do well despite that, but I wouldn’t put much confidence in the curriculum.

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