Biology 101–9th Grade, A Review

I was pretty excited when Timberdoodle asked if I’d like to review the Biology 101 DVD Series.  I have seen DVD products for High School Science, but had not used any as of yet.

As many of you know, we have been focusing on a Charlotte Mason approach to learning. Living Books.  Tools and Resources. Written and Verbal Narration. Hands On Experiences.

We have collected wonderful living books, along with volumes from Apologia and AIG to help us know the depth of materials we would want to cover before saying – High School Biology Credit Complete. We are not front cover to back cover curriculum types, taking  breaks to research Oceanography, Marine Biology or Chemistry.

The 101 Series DVD’s fits well into how we learn. The Biology 101 is a collection of 4 DVD disks covering the following 9 topics:

  • Introduction: Defining Life and Life Classification
  • Plants
  • Aquatic (water) Creatures
  • Avian (flying) Creatures
  • Land Animals Part 1
  • Land Animals Part 2
  • Mankind Part 1
  • Mankind Part 2
  • Conclusion: Cells, Genetics, and a Brief History of Biology

(Click to their site to see more on “What does Biology 101 Cover”?)

As to High School Credits – I started to get a bit confused when reading the web site and hearing a few comments from friends.  Is the Biology 101 DVD a stand alone credit for high school? After researching and our experience – I’d have to say yes – and no.  Although the review on the website says it will depend on if you want to be college ready or not – I would have to say – that it will depend on your lifestyle at home. At least for Biology. Here is how we have used the materials so far.

We’ve spent a couple of weeks on Classification and Plants.  So far – everything in the DVD has been putting a nice topping to our Nature Studies.  Living in the Pacific Northwest – we have instant access to Biology – Animals, Birds and Plants. We’ve spent the last few years participating weekly in Nature Study. This past year we have stepped up the Narration – asking for more details from the field guides for the specimens that we observe. So – I didn’t know – how much ‘more’ we would need from a text course.

P1120681The Video. As soon as we started watching Introduction: Defining Life and Life Classifications – I knew I had the missing piece of our puzzle.  Our family enjoyed the teacher, his voice and his mannerisms.  I enjoyed that he would walk through a library looking at the living books we use at home, pull one out, and help us define a precept. He would then walk through the area outside where the subject was found and show through words and actions what he was talking about using several examples.

Onward to Plants for the next two weeks.  We learned quite a bit about Vascular and non Vascular plants and finally had a scientific set of where to put our Fungi, Moss and Algae. There is simple humor in the film as well – the boys giggled his reference to Algae and Algebra . . . your family will chuckle as well.  Watching the plant video has given us a frame to place the pieces of knowledge into – and a visual photo as well.  Fruit – that part of the plant that forms around the seed.  Then putting it to visual example in trees, flowers, garden varieties, and the grocery store.

Yes, I do believe that with our current Nature Studies and this DVD series we will be able to stand firm in the knowledge that the High School Credit has been earned in Biology.

You might be asking  – how does this help your family – if you have not been participating in Nature Studies?  You live in the city? Do you see more cement than fungi? Does your state require hours to be shared? You have not collected shelves of Biology Resources?  Biology 101 has that covered!

Along with the DVD – you have access to two PDF files.
The Guide Book and Course Accreditation  Booklet.


The Guide Book. As we have watched the lesson we have the Laptop open with the Guide Book to help follow along with the video. I have printed out various parts to put in Nate’s Notebook.






This month, our Wordsmith Lesson is on taking notes from Non –Fiction sources, so we have combined those assignments and he wrote more notes than usual during our second viewing. (Sample Guide PDF from the Plant Study)





P1120710Accreditation  – Very simple ideas to spread  one video over the course of 2-3 weeks.  There are suggestions for using Field Trips, the Bible, the Encyclopedia, Library Selections, and intentional reading of The Guide Book. Unit Quizzes are offered with Multiple Choice. So far, none of the extra ideas should be outside of your daily habits – they will just help you to bring in the information into your week – with intention. If you are living in the middle of a city – this is the help you may need. Or –  if  science and biology are just not your bag – you will love the Accreditation Booklet. You may click on the sample to see how the hours are laid out to help you keep track if your state requires. (Sample of the Accreditation Booklet)

P1120711Is it enough?  You may have a better feel for it as they take the quizzes. You’ll see what points are familiar and which need more research. We needed to research Chlorophyll. Nate knew that the Petiole is the part attaching the leaf, but couldn’t explain why it changes color in the winter to the detail shared in the lesson.  I have talked to quite a few families who have used this program and they gave me a Yes, It was Enough. We were able to chat up our science projects at a reception party of a friend who just earned her Masters in Biology – and she was quite thrilled with what the boys shared. She is arranging a field trip to her college labs to show them around.  She agreed – that what we are doing – is enough – if not more.  I believe – that the DVD, Guidebook, and Accreditation Booklet should cover High School Biology.

However, should you want to look at text book options, if you have not been able to gather those resources – Timberdoodle’s Science options will give you some great choices.  They offer a text book along with Biology 101 in their 9th grade core subjects as well.

I look forward to sharing with you over the next few weeks as we study the Animals, Birds and People!  Thank You Timberdoodle and thank you Westfield Studios for the 101 Series. I’m looking forward to watching more of these!

Disclaimer – As a part of Timberdoodle’s Review Team, Because Mom Said, I was able to have Biology 101 for free in exchange for using it in my home and sharing our experience and opinions with you. I was able to choose this product and asked to be able to review it. I will be able to keep it and share it with Jon when he is in 9th – 10th grade as well.

About +Angie Wright

The Transparent Thoughts of an Unschooling Family of Boys - Answering the question - What DO you DO all day?
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1 Response to Biology 101–9th Grade, A Review

  1. Pingback: Biology 101–9th Grade, A Review by Petra School « Because Mom Said

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