Fascinating Education allowed us to use their online science program, Fascinating Biology to review for you! We had a choice of Biology, Chemistry or Physics. We are going to take Biology for our 9th Grade Science this year.
We used this online curriculum to get a jump start into the year. If you are a regular reader of our blog, then you may know that we use a different core curriculum for science. I wanted to give this a try, and see if the teaching method may be a help for Jon.
The program is pretty straight forward. There are several lessons as you can see above. We started with his interest, Take In Energy – Part 1 Lesson 5. Each lesson clicks through several PowerPoint style presentations while the teacher reads the text. You can view a PDF or print out the written words. I liked to read the words while he spoke, and Jon just wanted to watch the presentation on screen. As he goes through the explanation, the images on the screen spell out what he is saying. It is very detailed.
My older son, who has taken high school biology and 3 terms of college biology could follow along easily. He said that much of what this teacher was saying is what he learned in college. That confirmed to me, that this may be suited for a student looking for AP style work.
After listening to the lecture, which ranges to be an hour or an hour and a half, you take an online multiple choice test. It is REALLY detailed. I don’t think you could pass the test, without printing out the class PDF, studying it, and then taking the test. You’d have to take detailed notes during the presentation or have a steel trap memory. Neither Jon, nor I could pass any of the tests.
Which is sort of a good thing for others. Many homeschool moms are looking for a High School Curriculum online that will help them pass the Advanced Placement tests, or in our state the Proficiency Tests, or for Nate – the College Entrance Exams to place in higher College level classes. This program appears to be able to do that. We didn’t pass our tests because we didn’t pay enough detailed attention to the videos, and we didn’t ‘need’ to pass them. It was just good information.
This is also a very secular biology course. He mentions in the first video that he will not talk about religious ideas, or creation, or the age of the earth, that he will only focus on scientific facts. That’s good. That’s good for those of you looking to purchase science curriculum for umbrella charter schools. But it wasn’t good for us.
The very next breath talked about evolution and the big bang and the millions of years. For every other point the three lessons we watched, and the others that I read through for the review – it was filled with evolution as the reason that we function this way or that, for the reason that this has changed. Even with the specific algae in our lake, that is mentioned with a lesson, his ‘facts’ and the facts I’ve learned differed. Even without bringing God into the picture.
We have now taken a stand, to teach high school science, from observation first, and with questions of how, or why – lean those into God. This program wouldn’t work for our family – as it starts with information. A telling of what someone thinks to be true, and having us memorize formulas for why it is so. Observational science is filled with exploration, lab work, hypothesis, experiments, inquires, reading what others have experimented with, what others have discovered – and then laying on facts and memorizing pieces of information.
It is a difference between ‘living books’ and standard curriculum. This has worked for us, for our older son. We knew he would face a different world view going to a secular college. Yesterday was his first day of his second year, and geology started out with the – we will not speak of religion – speech that he gets on the first day of each class. I think he is old enough, and has enough of a filter and knowledge of observational science and trusting of the Word that he can filter out information, and learn what he needs to pass the class.
So I leave this review to you to consider based on your family needs. I do think it is an excellent resource to pass AP test exams and earn great marks in the college entrance exams. I think you could take course quickly, working on one to two lessons a week, and finishing in one semester.
The cool thing about our Schoolhouse Review Crew – is that we are a diverse group of families. If you click the banner below, you can see more reviews of how families use these high school online curriculum courses in Biology, Physics and Chemistry.