Three steps to Homeschool High School Chemistry
Are you scared to homeschool high school chemistry? Let me assure you that you can teach high school chemistry to your high school student! All you have to do is take your time and carefully plan through the subject in three steps.
1. Choose a Textbook
There are many good high school chemistry textbooks on the market. We’ve chosen to use Exploring Creation With Chemistry. It is written to the student and the experiments are designed to be done in a home environment. The latter I’ve found critical. We’ve skipped labs in the past if they were too complex or required hard-to-find materials.
A few other popular chemistry textbooks are Conceptual Chemistry, Friendly Chemistry, World of Chemistry,
or Power Basics Chemistry. For honors-level chemistry textbooks, you might consider using General Chemistry: The Essential Concepts or Chemistry for Christian Schools.
2. Labs or Experiments
Since we’re using Apologia’s Chemistry textbook, the needed labs are written into the text. Other textbooks have a separate lab book to go along with the textbook. In this case, simply follow along, completing the labs as you work through the textbook.
Another option is to use the Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture (DIY Science) along with your textbook. If you choose to use the Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments, you’ll need to choose what labs you’d like your student to do over the school year.
Many textbooks include 10-15 labs, expecting the labs to take 1-3 hours. This includes setting up the lab, conducting the experiment, analyzing the data, and writing a lab report.
Keep the lab reports simple at this stage. You can hand them a lab notebook and a list of requirements such as this:
- Date and Title
- Objective – Why are you doing the experiment and what are you trying to prove
- Materials – What supplies did you use
- Procedure – What did you do
- Conclusion – did you achieve your objective? Why or why not? What did you learn?
This is not the formal lab report that will be required at college. A formal lab report will also need an introduction, works cited page, and a list of questions the experiment raised that will need to be answered in further experiments.
3. Gather needed supplies
Most of the science curricula I have seen include a list of needed lab supplies. I now spend part of the summer purchasing needed science supplies. Kits are lovely time savers but not needed if you have a good list.
For instance, my oldest needed:
- 6 piece test tube set and rack
- 3 piece glass beaker set
- glass stir rod
- watch glass
- alcohol burner
- stand for the alcohol burner
So I wrote up a shopping list and went shopping, both online and at local stores.
Planning to homeschool high school chemistry was one of the most intimidating things I’ve done. But once I set up with the textbook, labs, and lab equipment, it quickly turned into one of the easiest subjects to teach.
Don’t forget to read: How to Teach Classical High School Science!