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Homeschool Chemistry - High School Plans


High School Chemistry - Looking for More Than Apologia Chemistry

Planning a high school level chemistry course in your homeschool takes some effort but with the right links and resources you can soon have an exciting and rigorous course outlined.

Our family approached chemistry with some trepidation. Our family loves science but planning high school chemistry for some reason seemed to be a little intimidating with all the choices we had put before us. We couldn't find a text that we liked so we pulled together quite a few resources to make a taylor fit high school chemistry course.

There is a little of everything in the modules below and I hope you find something that will either make your chemistry program better or give you some ideas for components of a great high school chemistry program.

Whether you want to stick to a textbook approach, use real lab equipment and experiments, research the periodic table or do a combination of all the above, you will find wonderful links to get you started here on this page. Planning is the first step to a great high school chemistry experience.

Planning Chemistry

We are balancing our time between:

*Reading a text and responding in some way.

*Completing meaningful and information labs and demonstrations.

*Reading supplementary books to add interest.

*Learning more about the periodic table of elements.

*Applying what we learn to everyday life.

*Keeping good records and lab books.

Planning Chemistry

Each time I offer a grade to one of my children, I try to customize it a little to fit their skill level, interests, and personality and chemistry is no different. I tried to take into consideration the strengths and learning styles of each of my boys as well as the financial aspects of chemistry.

We have no opportunity for an outside course in chemistry so I have tried to make this as meaningful a course as I can on my own.

We use a mix of approaches to chemistry.

1. Teaching Company High School Chemistry DVD series.

2. The Joy of Chemistry for easy to pull together labs.

3. The Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry - more complicated labs every few weeks.

4. The Elements-Visual Guide to the Periodic Table - reading, researching, and recording information on each element.

5. The Disappearing Spoon - free reading.

6. Apologia Chemistry text - supplement the DVD series with a few modules.

7. The Story of Science: Einstein Adds a New Dimension- read and keep notes.

Pre-made notebooking pages help gather your notes and labs together.

Chemistry high school lab equipment

Chemistry high school lab equipment

Our Chemistry Schedule

One day = Video from the Great Courses - one lesson.

Scroll to Continue

One day = Lab work with write-ups from either of the lab books listed.

One day = One or two chapters from the Story of Science and 3 or 4 elements from the Periodic Table of Elements (both include writing up summaries and/or notebook pages)

One day = Extra research, reading in the Apologia text, or another lab.

Home Chemistry Experiments - "All Lab, No Lecture"

Remember back when there were real chemistry sets and you could perform real experiments on your kitchen table? Those days are gone but this book revives the art of the chemistry set with all the bells and whistles.

We are going to have a hard time to fit in even a fraction of these labs but my boys are in heaven when this book gets pulled out for their chemistry time. It has loads of safety information, lists of sources for chemicals you will need, and complete step by step instructions.

Sources for Chemistry Lab Equipment and Materials - You can purchase all the great stuff you need easily online!

  • Home Science Tools
    This is aimed at homeschoolers so you will find many of the science lab materials you will need for high school chemistry. I have found the prices to be very competitive and the lab equipment is a good quality. They also have small amounts of chemica
  • Carolina Biological Supply
    This is another great source for your labs, both equipment and chemicals. They also have videos.
  • Science Kit
    Another very good source for your chemistry needs. We ordered from this company when we were part of a co-op.

The Elements - Our Favorite Book of the Year!

The Joy of Chemistry - Another Great Choice for Labs

High School Chemistry - Teaching Company DVD Course

Periodic Table Videos For Each Element

My boys love these short Mythbusters Style videos for each of the elements of the periodic table. They are entertaining, creative, and memorable!

Here is a sample featuring the element Hydrogen.

You can see the link to the website below.

Perfect Companion for The Study of Chemistry - Make chemistry come alive with the stories of great scientists and their discoveries.

Chemistry for Beginners - Cartoon Style

Some of us need to start off with the lighter side of a subject and this book by the esteemed Larry Gonick will introduce and explain with humor the basics of chemistry. My high school age sons devoured this book and gave us a basis for more in-depth work in high school level chemistry.

n addition, here is a fun unit for beginners and younger students: LEGO Chemical Reactions. It would be fun to extend this lesson for high schoolers. Free printables and lesson plans included.

YouTube Video Introductions to Some of the Books I Suggest - Watch and decide for yourself!

Additional Books We Read

Apologia Chemistry-Text and Supplements - If you absolutely want a more traditional approach to chemistry.

We used this text with our oldest son five years ago and it was a good fit for him. He is the kind of student that was not really interested in science or exploring chemistry too much so the text and accompanying labs was perfect for him. He used the text, companion CD, and completed the reviews and tests.

My younger two boys are only using some of the modules in this text and matching them up with The Teaching Company videos.

I will list the resources here in case you want to check them out for your family.

Please leave a comment!

Melissa on July 20, 2018:

This is great! Do you mind sharing how you wrote up your course description for the transcript?

Becky on March 08, 2017:

Did you use your own note booking pages or something online? Could you post some examples of your pages? Thanks so much for this blog. You answered several questions swirling in my mind

Genesis Davies from Guatemala on April 04, 2014:

This is some useful info that I'll be checking out when my boys are older. Thanks.

blessedmomto7 on September 24, 2012:

Re-reading this after 3 weeks in Apologia Chemistry and I am finding that it is not a good fit for my son. I don't think I am able to spend another $100 plus on the DVDs you mentioned, but wondering how to get through the year. Just read your blog and it was helpful. Anyway, back with a blessing from a struggling non-scientific homeschool mom.

Barb McCoy (author) on August 13, 2012:

@anonymous: We started with the Teaching Company video topic and either looked in the table of contents or index to find corresponding info in the Apologia text. They read and we did discuss their reading at our Friday meetings.

anonymous on August 13, 2012:

Barb, how did you decide which Apologia modules to use? Thanks for any advice you can offer... Jenn

blessedmomto7 on July 20, 2012:

Great resources here! My first is doing Apologia Chemistry, but my next needs a bit of a different approach.

DianaHarper LM on April 03, 2012:

I read your blog first - about changing your methods for chem ed. It was as though you read my mind. I was at a what next stage, and your blog (and this lens) helped tremendously. Pinned, Liked and Blessed by a Squid Angel.

JanieceTobey on January 12, 2012:

I'm starting to think about what we'll do for science next year. Thank you so much for sharing how you're doing chemistry with your boys! Blessed, again, by a Squid Angel!

waldenthreenet on November 12, 2011:

Love your lens on Chemistry. Most valuable. I just did one on a subtopic, the periodic table. Will visit with you again soon. Thanks .

anonymous on September 15, 2011:

Thank you so much for these. I've seen your nature study lenses but not these. While Apologia is not for us, I can easily find a substitute and use your other suggestions.

JanieceTobey on July 13, 2011:

Thanks for sharing your chemistry plans with us! Blessed by a Squid Angel!

ngio64 on April 26, 2011:

blessed by a Squid Angel. Very interesting.

LilliputStation on April 20, 2011:

My older boys will be doing Chemistry next year. I'm marking this page to refer back to. Great resources! Thanks for doing all the work for me. :-)

Evelyn Saenz from Royalton on April 01, 2011:

We loved the Cartoon Guide to Chemistry. My daughter also loved learning about the Periodic Table. We used Standard Deviants videos when learning the Periodic Table. With all this helpful information I just had to give it a SquidAngel Blessing.

Jeanette from Australia on February 14, 2011:

Those Chemistry videos are so great to have for homeschoolers. We don't need to miss out on experiments and demonstrations now. Makes chemistry a lot more fun!

Manikandan123 on February 04, 2011:

This is great. A chemistry site that's fresh.

Jimmie Quick from Memphis, TN, USA on January 19, 2011:

Chemistry can be a lot of fun. I was surprised at how much Sprite enjoyed learning the periodic table. What I feared would be dry was quite interesting to her.

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