High school science recommendation - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 02-01-2014, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DD is 11 and is in 6th grade at the neighborhood public school, taking 7th grade science, and has proven she has no need of the 8th grade science content.

According to the middle school, DD is ready for high school biology, but the high school teachers (who've never met her) won't allow it because "kids who skip 9th grade physical science have gaps." It's looking like they might place her as her current teachers advocate if she does the physical science independently. They will likely cover the cost. I will insist they identify which gaps need to be plugged before doing this, but I suspect it will be rather vague. The physical science here is supposedly quantitative (though the stuff I can find indicates it's minimally quantitative).

The idiocy if this situation aside, if we do this, I'd prefer something that is quantitative (algebra based) and works on higher order scientific thinking. She's in algebra now. She's highly motivated, but to date her independent science learning has been highly non-linear. A little reading through the 9th grade science standards ended in her reading up on quarks.

Any recommendations for a quantitative physical science course that puts a lot of focus on scientific thinking? Book or online. Self paced is a must. Nothing religious.

Thanks!
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#2 of 5 Old 02-02-2014, 09:36 AM
 
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I'm not sure I'll have anything to suggest, as I'm not in the US nor am I familiar with your grade-by-grade science standards, but if you could clarify some stuff for me and I'll see if anything we've used here in Canada might fit the bill. It's 9th grade physics material that she is wanting to cover? Or 8th grade? When you say she's ready for high school biology, does that mean 9th grade, or 10th? And at what grade level is science split into various subjects (biology, physics, chem)? The whole notion of grade levels is a little alien to a lot of homeschoolers.

 

Also, I'm not clear what the distinction is between qualitative and quantitative physics. Some physics will always involve a lot of math; some won't. I think if you try to teach a comprehensive physics course too early you'll need to avoid some of the math stuff, since some students won't have encountered the necessary skills in their math courses yet. So do you mean that you don't want something where it's assumed students have mastered a first Algebra course?

 

Like you I really find the idea of science "grade levels" pretty bogus up to about 10th grade. There's nothing at the early to mid high school level that a curious motivated student couldn't jump in and learn with absolutely no previous systematic curriculum-based science learning. I know because my kids have done exactly that. That's the level at which science becomes interesting, and sadly for most kids who are keen on science-related learning, it's mostly just a question of biding one's time until one is allowed access to the interesting stuff. Hopefully that's sooner rather than later for your girl. 

 

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#3 of 5 Old 02-02-2014, 02:03 PM
 
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Would it be possible for her to borrow the textbook your school system uses? She could work through it on her own, and perhaps take whatever tests are included in the curriculum. 

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#4 of 5 Old 02-02-2014, 03:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by onatightrope View Post
 

Would it be possible for her to borrow the textbook your school system uses? She could work through it on her own, and perhaps take whatever tests are included in the curriculum. 

 

Yes, that's what we did last year when youngest dd was trying to make a case for entering the school system's math class well ahead of her age-grade: we borrowed the school text for the grade level before the one she wanted to enter at, and had her write the final exam for that level. She scored 99%, which made it impossible for them to claim she had significant gaps. She'd done their course, and proved mastery on their terms. Case closed.

 

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#5 of 5 Old 02-03-2014, 07:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
 

I'm not sure I'll have anything to suggest, as I'm not in the US nor am I familiar with your grade-by-grade science standards, but if you could clarify some stuff for me and I'll see if anything we've used here in Canada might fit the bill. It's 9th grade physics material that she is wanting to cover? Or 8th grade? When you say she's ready for high school biology, does that mean 9th grade, or 10th? And at what grade level is science split into various subjects (biology, physics, chem)? The whole notion of grade levels is a little alien to a lot of homeschoolers.

 

Also, I'm not clear what the distinction is between qualitative and quantitative physics. Some physics will always involve a lot of math; some won't. I think if you try to teach a comprehensive physics course too early you'll need to avoid some of the math stuff, since some students won't have encountered the necessary skills in their math courses yet. So do you mean that you don't want something where it's assumed students have mastered a first Algebra course?

 

Like you I really find the idea of science "grade levels" pretty bogus up to about 10th grade. There's nothing at the early to mid high school level that a curious motivated student couldn't jump in and learn with absolutely no previous systematic curriculum-based science learning. I know because my kids have done exactly that. That's the level at which science becomes interesting, and sadly for most kids who are keen on science-related learning, it's mostly just a question of biding one's time until one is allowed access to the interesting stuff. Hopefully that's sooner rather than later for your girl. 

 

Miranda

 

Miranda, you're preaching to the choir, here. ;)  Physical science is basic kinematics & energy, with a dash of earth science/astronomy.  Note my user name.  I feel competent to assess my child's knowledge and to patch anything I'd need to patch, but the school is likely to not trust the judgement of someone with a PhD in geophysics and a BS in physics.  'Cuz, you know, I'm not a real teacher.  (Just a university prof).  Yeah, I'm feeling pretty dejected about things at the moment...

 

I've now read the grade-level standards very closely.  9th grade physical science is pretty redundant with middle school science, except in the quantitative bits.  e.g., 8th grade requires students to "describe velocity and acceleration," while 9th grade requires "calculate the average velocity and acceleration using the formula <highly simplified, linear average formula>"  Qualitative science here appears to be very low Bloom, mostly "define this."  Quantitative here is plug and chug.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by onatightrope View Post
 

Would it be possible for her to borrow the textbook your school system uses? She could work through it on her own, and perhaps take whatever tests are included in the curriculum. 


Part of the issue we're up against is that the HS science teachers say they add so much more to the curriculum than is in the text.  Because we don't have the support of the HS teachers in this, only the MS teachers, it's been difficult to get access to those teaching materials.

 

I dunno.  From looking at the standards, she doesn't need either course, as her MS teacher suggests.  I'm getting the sense that challenging the final exams won't satisfy the HS teachers, only going through an equally "rigorous" (rigormortis?) course will satisfy. 

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