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High School Chemistry in Your Home
A Research-based Independent Study Guide for Home School Families

By Bridget Ardoin
Science for High School
http://scienceforhighschool.com

116 Fairidge Drive
Jamestown, NC 27282
336-454-7023


High School Chemistry in Your Home is not your typical high school program, as evidenced by its subtitle: "A Research-based Independent Study Guide for your Home School Families." This is the second book in the "In Your Home" science series by Bridget Ardoin. The biology book has been through seven printings; the chemistry book I received for review is a second edition, copyright 2005. The chemistry manual set includes a parent's manual, a student manual, and a set of quizzes and final exams.

The comb-bound teacher's manual contains four parts, weekly assignment answers for both semesters, a Parent Lab Manual, and the Answer Key to the quizzes and final exams. The author states that a textbook is not needed with the program, although she does discuss what to look for if the family decides to use one. Instead, the author recommends the use of the library for supplemental books and says that she "firmly believes in having the student research the facts and have as many hands-on activities for the student to do as possible." At the beginning of the teacher's manual, Ms. Ardoin lists the syllabi for both semesters, including a complete lab supply list week-by-week.

There are 27 total weeks of study in High School Chemistry in Your Home. The first semester is comprised of 12 weeks of study plus one week to review for a final semester exam. Semester two contains 13 weeks of study and one week to review for the final exam. I like that there are not a full 36 lessons to cover; this gives the student time to cover the material without rushing through it. The core of the program is the student manual, which has two parts: weekly assignments and a lab manual. Each week there is a list of questions to be answered, including a section called Pre-Lab Questions. These questions cover material that the student needs to be aware of before proceeding with the experiments. All the student needs to do is research to find the needed answers. The author recommends that the student plan to spend a minimum of an hour daily working on the assignments given each week. Thorough answers to each question are in the parent's manual. The entire student manual is meant to be written in. The lab pages contain step-by-step instructions so that the student can complete the labs in a home setting. Answers to the weekly the student lab assignments are included in the parent's manual as well.

The parent/student manual set of High School Chemistry in Your Home retails for $80. The lab supply set costs $50, or the complete chemistry package can be purchased for $120. High School Chemistry in Your Home looks very good. Having taken chemistry in high school as well as in college, I feel comfortable teaching this subject. However, I know that some parents are dreading it! I am pleased with the thoroughness of the parent's manual; it contains plenty of information for teaching the lab section at home. Another important feature is the weekly lab supply list included at the beginning of the parent's manual. The parent and student can see, at a glance, what supplies to have on hand so that they are prepared to complete each week's experiment. (Although there is a supply kit available for purchase, it doesn't contain everything needed for the experiments. A list of additional materials is included with the supply kit). This curriculum is priced similarly to Apologia's chemistry program.

I will probably use a textbook for this subject instead of relying on lots of books from the library to teach the main topics. Although I know that this hands-on approach is going to be more effective for later retention, I feel that a textbook will probably be easier to use, especially with my younger child. However, if the parent chooses to use library books as the basis for the research, High School Chemistry in Your Home will completely immerse the student (and maybe the parent!) in the learning process.

Product review by Kris Price, Assistant to the Publishers, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, December 2006


High School Chemistry in Your Home
A Research-based Independent Study Guide for Home School Families

By Bridget Ardoin
Science for High School
http://scienceforhighschool.com

116 Fairidge Drive
Jamestown, NC 27282
336-454-7023


High School Chemistry in Your Home is set up as a two-semester curriculum. The package includes a parent's guide, an answer key for the quizzes and final exams, a student manual with labs, and a lab guide for parents. You may also purchase a separate chemical kit, which includes the chemicals for each lab, 12 test tubes, a test tube rack and clamp, and a list of the additional materials you will need to purchase on your own. This materials list is also included at the beginning of the textbook. There are no other textbooks that are required for this curriculum, but the author does encourage the use of the local library if the student wishes to research for deeper study.

In the first semester, which lasts 13 weeks, topics include such things as properties of matter, measurement, the atom, electron configuration, the periodic table, stoichiometry and nomenclature, chemical bonds, solutions, and colloids. In the second semester, which lasts 14 weeks, topics include such things as chemical equations, molecular relationships, heat energy and entropy, chemical kinetics, chemical equilibrium, acids and bases, gas laws, nuclear chemistry, and organic chemistry. There are 13 quizzes, a final exam for each semester, 12 labs for the first semester, and 13 labs for the second semester.

The author has designed this curriculum as an independent study. The student would simply need to follow the format as it is laid out in the textbook and student manual. The parents' lab guide allows the parent to facilitate the instruction as needed. Due to the abstract concepts involved in the study of chemistry, the author recommends that this curriculum be used for students in their junior or senior year of high school.

This is truly an incredible curriculum that is presented in a concise and clear manner. The student is actively involved in learning, utilizing visual learning through independent research, audio learning through discussions with other students or the teacher, and kinesthetic learning through hands-on activities. The course is written in a textbook format, but the inclusion of independent research and labs make it accessible to students who prefer a more relaxed method of homeschooling. If you are looking for a chemistry curriculum that is fun, yet challenging, you will be pleased with this product.



Product review by Christy Sensenig, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, October 2006


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