Homeschool Middle School Science

Review of Apologia’s Online General Science Class for Middle School

Review of Apologia’s Online General Science Class for Middle School

Our son began his 8th grade year as a homeschooler this past fall. He has been homeschooled from the start, and we’ve always chosen his curriculum using an eclectic approach, mostly with the intent of catering to his strengths while moving his weaknesses forward at an individualized pace that only homeschoolers can truly implement.

NOTE: For a chance to win a print set of Apologia science curriculum, keep reading until you reach the giveaway near the bottom of this article! 

student doing science experiment

As I was planning the end of his middle school years, I finally forced myself to acknowledge the fact that we only have five years left with him at home and decided it would be wise to consider what he will need for his high school transcript before making the curriculum selections.

Considering he wants to major in zoology in college, there are very specific math and science courses he needs to take in high school, which means there was some very specific prep work we needed to do THIS year.

student doing science experiment

We’ve always done a full school schedule that included math, science, history, language arts, writing, Bible, as well as some additional electives. And, for the most part, I’ve felt more than capable of instructing him. Until now. With the weighted importance of high school looming just one year away, I decided that it was time to outsource a couple of the more important subjects that were beyond my personal skill set as a teacher.

student reading science textbook

This realization lead me to enroll him in Apologia’s online general science class designed for middle schoolers. This was a live, online class that met weekly for 90 minutes with substantial work on the other four weekdays. The entire experience consisted of loads of reading, hands-on experiments, timed tests, note-taking and live lectures.

student writing science lab notes

This particular class was designed “to be a student’s first systematic introduction to the sciences” for middle school kids with 14 modules that include broad topics such as the scientific method, designing experiments, simple machines, geology, archaeology, biology, astronomy, meteorology, oceanography, geology, paleontology, and environmental science.

student doing science experiment

I won’t pretend that every lesson was fun for us or that our 12-year-old son jumped with glee every time he needed to sit down to
attend the live, online class (in the middle of what was already the busiest day of the week for him). But, I will say that he has learned a tremendous amount. Tremendous. Way more than I could’ve successfully taught him using just Apologia’s books, my ability to skim chapters and my penciled-out schedule.

 

Whether you have a student who desires to major in a science or not, I strongly recommend not only using the amazing curricula that has won Apologia multiple awards but also taking advantage of their highly organized online courses taught by gifted instructors. And here’s
why…

Content

The content is simply unparalleled. I can attest to this with the veracity that only a homeschool mom who has used no fewer than five other science curricula before now can have (which, sadly, is nothing compared to how many math curriculums we have tried). The books are not only well-thought out, they are well-laid out, which is imperative if your goals include teaching your middle schooler to work with increased
independence.

But, more important than how the books are laid out is what the books contain. The content is simply phenomenal. Written by a published scientist and homeschool veteran, the content is thorough but concise and rigorous but age-appropriate. But, most importantly, the content is presented from a Biblical worldview. Since our son wants to major and work in a scientific field, this characteristic is invaluable for us. We need him to be armed with the strongest of Biblical perspectives on science before he reaches college. The content of Apologia’s curriculum does that beautifully. But, what the instructor added to the curriculum was beyond compare.

It’s one thing to READ how to apply a Biblical perspective to a scientific topic, but HEARING how to actually present that is something else entirely. His instructor did an amazing job at equipping our son with actual words to defend his Biblical beliefs as he is
discussing science with anybody.

Accountability

Having another adult hold our son accountable for his work was an enormous relief this year. Not only did he need to do his daily reading and weekly experiments in order to be prepped for class, but he also had to take notes along the way and then take online timed tests. We live in a state where homeschoolers have no state requirements, which is a lovely perk but also means I’ve never been mandated to grade
his work or record his successes/failures. I had always intended on keeping track of actual grades when he reached high school, and taking this online class was the perfect segue into that record-keeping realm.

And the sheer fact that he was attending class on a weekly basis, meant he had to keep up with the work. The concept that homeschoolers
can “go with the flow of life” and finish work at a pace that works best for them is both a pro but also a con of educating at home. And the closer you get to applying for college, the more of a con it becomes. Having Apologia’s online class hold him accountable to sticking to the work of this one subject was an immense relief for us. We can end this school year with total confidence that he completed a rigorous science curriculum.

Life Lessons

This was a surprise perk! In addition to learning about the history of science, how to form a hypothesis and how the scientific process both succeeds and fails, he also learned some very valuable life lessons. Lessons that he needed to learn. Lessons that would’ve been very difficult to teach him on our own. Lessons that we didn’t know he needed. But, thankfully, lessons that this General Science class managed to sneak in.

  • The first time he was asked to check a box that said, “Yes, I performed Experiment 2.3 and completed the lab report,” he learned to respect the honor system. He asked me how his instructor would know if that was true or not and I explained, “She won’t, but you will.”
  • He also learned how to manage his time. Only once did he need to do science on Saturday because he was behind on his work….so he learned that lesson quickly!
  • He also learned how to take a timed, online test, how to take criticism from another adult and how to communicate clearly in a digital format.
  • And, of course he also learned a year’s worth of General Science, enjoyed making new online friends and prepped for High School along the way!

What he accomplished by taking Apologia’s live, online General Science class is beyond anything we could have provided for him at home on our own. And, now as I sit down to figure out how to write a transcript and plan his high school classes, I am once again overwhelmed at the curricula choices for the varied required subjects, let alone electives. But, I know without any doubt what he’ll be doing for science: Biology with Apologia Online Academy!

To enter for a chance to win a print set of Apologia curriculum, enter our giveaway!

Apologia Review and Giveaway

Katie Wolfe is a homeschool mom to an only child, chronic list-maker, reluctant vegetarian, horrible interrupter and wife to an absent-minded professor. She has been homeschooling her son for ten years and is trying not to freak out about tackling high school in 2020. Her blog,  The WOLFePack, provides support, opinions and reviews for all types of homeschool moms.

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