Teaching High School Biology

We usually have our children study biology in the 11th grade, after we’ve spent a year doing Natural Science in 10th grade. After spending a year studying famous naturalists and doing our own questioning, observations, and coming to our own conclusions from our own nine week experiment we are now ready to study living things.  Currently, we have three options for doing the study of biology.  One could use a standard textbook, such as Mr. Wile’s, Exploring Creation with Biology.  This text covers the basics of living systems, but does not include any anatomy.  There is a MODG syllabus that includes a daily lesson plan for this text with tests and answers to the tests.  If you do not have the time to do a full year of Natural History in 10th grade, the second option offers the opportunity to do eight weeks of Natural History before using Mr. Wile’s text, Exploring Creation With Biology and the MODG syllabus for this option is titled Mother Of Divine Grace Biology and Natural History.  The third option, which happens to be our family’s personal favorite, is using the book All Creatures Great and Small as the framework text and rounding out the study of biology by using additional reference materials.  We utilize our family’s library of books for each topic, as well as searching the library and internet for source materials to add to the creation of a self-made Biology notebook.

On more than one occasion, we have come across a new textbook that we feel is an improvement over the current texts as well as a valued resource for our favorite Biology course option.  Biology, of the Self-Teaching Guide, is well organized, clearly structured book that covers all the major biological concepts and terms. The author’s experience teaching at several colleges, as well as working at several museums has obviously enabled him to write in an accessible style.  What we really appreciate most about this option is that it is closest to a more natural process of studying and understanding science.  The student is encouraged to ask questions and to research the answers.  We require our children to keep adding to their notebooks with illustrations that are detailed and include definitions to the new concepts they are learning.  Several of the chapters in the books All Creatures Great And Small and Biology, of the Self-Teaching Guide offer essay topics, which gives our students the opportunity to make clear in their mind the concepts they are learning. Both Larry and I worked for many years as scientists for the DuPont Co. where we had to keep our own research notebooks, research topics we were responsible for, as well as present papers and give lectures to fellow scientists.  It was often noticed, on more than one occasion, that scientists did not communicate their thoughts well.  Remember, one of the most important aspects of any science curriculum, especially for a child who is particularly fascinated with science, is to give them the time to explore their interests, raise questions, search for answers and have a true sense of wonder and awe for God’s world,  and to be able to communicate well.

As to communicating well, we have used Life Science Based Writing Lessons. You will find many of the topics you are studying in Biology as the very assignments used in this course to teach writing, such as cells, classification, botany, zoology, etc. It is an easy way to incorporate writing assignments into any Biology curriculum you are using and in our opinion it is a vital skill to teach your children especially those interested in pursuing science degrees in college.

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