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ChemExplained.com Entire Course with Teacher and Student Resource Manuals Review by Jenn LandRichard "Mr. Riz" Risbrudt
2416 Lakeview Drive
Fergus Falls, MN 56537
High school chemistry seems like a daunting task for many homeschooling parents, but the ChemExplained.com Entire Course with Teacher and Student Resource Materials is here to help. Throughout the program, Mr. Riz, otherwise known as Richard Risbrudt, takes high school students through this chemistry course with the kind of rigor one would expect from an intense public or private high school classroom. You and your student can decide which pathway to use to complete the ChemExplained.com high school course: Foundational, Traditional, or Honors. A calendar with suggested assignments and pacing is available on the website.
The entire course, which includes website access to all the lessons and digital resources, retails for $295 per student per year. However, ChemExplained.com offers multiple discounts at any given time, so it is worth checking their Discounts page before purchasing. To use it, you will need a device with internet access and the ability to navigate to the ChemExplained.com website.
A printable, digital PDF version of all paperwork is included with the course; however, hard copies are available. If you would like to purchase a printed copy of the Student Resource Manual with Lab Manual, the cost for that component is $49. A print copy of the Teacher Resource Manual with Lab Manual costs $59. Both resources come three-hole-punched and ready to be placed into a large binder.
The Student Resource Manual has over four hundred pages of note sheets, worksheets, review sheets, chemistry charts, and the eighteen labs and all paperwork for them. The Teacher Resource Manual has almost eight hundred pages and includes answer keys for all the note pages, worksheets, review sheets, quizzes, tests, and labs. These sheets are not merely answers listed on their own but rather duplicates of the pages that students use with the answers filled in on them. In addition, the Teacher Resource Manual also includes blank copies of the quizzes and tests.
There are twenty chapters in the complete ChemExplained.com course. Depending on which pathway is chosen, your student may skip a few chapters or portions of chapters as an option and still be eligible to complete the rest as a complete high school level credit. In addition, there is a checklist of assignments and tasks that students can use to navigate through the coursework.
The online portion of ChemExplained.com is a large part of the coursework. Students watch teaching videos, often referred to as podcasts, to help them fill in their note sheets. This is the lecture portion of the class and is led by an award-winning high school chemistry teacher, Richard Risbrudt, who has decades of experience teaching this material. The note sheets that students are left with after the lectures then serve as the textbook for this chemistry class. Generally, students will watch 2-4 videos before completing a worksheet to reinforce what they have learned. They may do a few worksheets before reaching a quiz or test.
The chapters included are An Introduction to Chemistry, Data Analysis and Scientific Measurement, Properties and Changes of Matter, Atomic Structure and Nuclear Reactions, Electron Configuration in Atoms, The Periodic Law and The Periodic Table, Chemical Formulas - Metals and Alloys, Lewis Structures of Covalent Compounds, Chemical Reactions and Equations, The Mole Concept, Stoichiometry: How Much?, States of Matter and the Kinetic Theory, Gas Laws and Stoichiometry, Solutions and Concentration, Thermochemistry and Enthalpy Change, Chemical Kinetics - Reaction Rates, Chemical Equilibrium and Solubility Equilibria, Acid and Base Calculations, Oxidation-Reduction Reactions, and Electrochemistry and Cell Potential. There is an algebra component to this course, so it is recommended that students have completed Algebra I before beginning. However, for students who are not strong in math, Mr. Riz does cover the algebraic equations needed to be successful in the podcasts.
A comprehensive supply list is provided for the eighteen labs and a list of science supply companies that they recommend. A few of the labs require simple household items, but most of them do require supplies that are not included with the purchase of the ChemExplained.com course. For families unable to provide supplies for their students or students who prefer to simply watch the labs, there are videos available within the online course for each of the eighteen labs.
ChemExplained.com is presented like a public or private high school level chemistry course. The lectures, coursework, quizzes, and tests very much resemble what you would find in a school. It is designed for homeschoolers and can be adapted to be used with a co-op, with each student purchasing their own copy. Parents wishing to prepare their students for college-level sciences will appreciate the rigor and methods used to instruct the students through the material. It is very structured and predictable in the way that you move through the class. It is creation and evolution neutral, so no stance is made either way in the curriculum.
My 11th-grade daughter has used the ChemExplained.com program for several weeks. She spends about an hour a day on chemistry. Most of the time is taken up by podcasts, and the tests are quite lengthy to complete as well. When used as recommended, it would be difficult to cut the time to complete the assignments and videos and still get all the information needed to complete a full chemistry credit. The material is robust and simply takes time to work through.
My daughter and I do not feel that the course content is too difficult, but we were not expecting it to take so long. The information is easy to understand, but the worksheets, quizzes, and tests still take a while to work through due to the algebra involved.
As a parent, I love that all the blank worksheets and filled-in worksheet answers are provided. I had the hard copies of the paperwork, but I love that it is so easy to grab the printable version and make a copy any time I need it. I have enjoyed that a qualified teacher is leading this program for my daughter because chemistry is not something I am strong in myself. Mr. Riz is engaging, factual and can present the information in an easy-to-follow and understand way.
Another thing I like about the program is that there are videos in the teacher section of the website for chapter test explanations. If my child had a challenging time on something, I do not have to learn chemistry to help her understand where she went wrong. I simply pull up the video and let Mr. Riz walk her through the steps to lead her to the correct answer.
Features I wish were included would be some way of tracking course progress within the online portal itself and having online answer submissions and automatic grading. I must manually grade each worksheet, quiz, and test myself, which does not take much time, but it would still be nice to have an online option available.
If your family is looking for a professional, complete chemistry program for your high schooler, I highly recommend the ChemExplained.com program. It is taught by an actual chemistry teacher with over 44 years of experience, has several completion pathways, and is rich with video and worksheet content. Students will learn a lot about chemistry without stressing out about the math component, and Mr. Riz even offers email support if needed. I am glad to hand over the task of teaching this material to ChemExplained.com and have been incredibly pleased with my daughter's success since beginning the program.
-Product review by Jenn Land, The Old Schoolhouse®, September 2021