If you are looking for a solid biology homeschool curriculum for your high school student that teaches the main points and is strong on microbiology, in a very understandable way, this is it. The best part is that Apologia science gears everything so that the student can study independently. With the lab option, your student will have a fully college preparatory biology course and know more about science than many public school students.
The layout of the Apologia science homeschool curriculum is divided into 16 modules, which the student completes independently. This is followed by a study guide which should be taken closed book, then graded and the wrong answers studied to prepare for the module test (a great way to study for the test! Saves a lot of time that you might otherwise spend reviewing things you already know).
Dr. Wile is careful to include in his written descriptions everything that a teacher in a classroom would normally add in verbally in a lecture. This gives a friendly, “conversational” style to the homeschool curriculum. It also means that the book is quite thick, yet still doesn’t quite cover all the ground that an intense AP course like Bob Jones would.
If the student is planning on majoring in science in college, then taking Advanced Biology later in high school might be a good idea in order to fill in the human anatomy and physiology missing from the ECB science homeschool curriculum. Personally, as someone who graduated from a private college in a non-science major, the background from Apologia science (ECB and Exploring Creation with Chemistry) was great preparation for the required science core course. The dissection labs I did for ECB were more rigorous than the college required!
To compare this sequence with Bob Jones, BJ is very teacher intensive and the manual recommends picking chapters to skip in order to complete the whole book in one year. So actually, you still don’t get all that material in one year with BJ, either. With Apologia science, they openly break the homeschool curriculum into two years that the student should have little trouble completing independently. Instead of being teacher intensive, the only thing mom should have to do is grade the tests (yes, there’s a great answer key to make this easy).
Some parents are very interested in having their kids do Advanced Placement, and that makes a lot of sense. It is a great way to save tuition money and education time. But for a thorough AP preparation, you would need to study both ECB and AB from Apologia science. This is a good option for a non-science major who wants to Clep out of required college science courses. However, some colleges won’t accept any sort of AP credit for courses in your major field. So if you are planning on majoring in science and want to get ahead, perhaps a good option would be to find a community college to dual enroll at and transfer the credit to the college of your choice (do find out ahead of time that they will accept the transfer credit).
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