View Full Version : Science and Math

Paige P
03-16-2013, 03:21 PM
With dd1 entering 7th grade next year, I'm realizing I need to get organized and start mapping out a plan for 7-12 ....

For science, I guess you typically do General Science in 7th. What comes after that in 8th and beyond? Do you still only need 3 science credits in high school to graduate with a "college prep" type diploma?

What about Math? As I was looking at the Common Core stuff, I see that somewhere along the line, Algebra I has "typically" moved to 8th grade. I had no clue :crazy: So, I guess we'll do pre-algebra or ????? next year and then Alg. 1 in 8th, BUT do you get high school credit for it if you do it in 8th? What is the typical math progression, then, for high school?

Oh, wise ones who have gone before, please enlighten me :D

Thanks :kiss:

Heather W
03-16-2013, 05:30 PM
I can tell you what it was when I taught school and I can tell you what we are doing right now.

Science (as it was when I taught has not changed): 6th general science, 7th life science, 8th earth science, 9th physical science, 10th biology, 11th chemistry, 12th choice- biology II, chemistry II, or physics (I took a second year of biology and chemistry my senior year and opted out of physics until college). It's the same now where I taught except that they do a 4 mod day in high school so you take courses by the semester and have 90 minute classes.

Math: The typical path for math is algebra I, geometry, algebra II, trig/pre-calc, and calculus. Common core may say that algebra has moved to 8th across the board, but I'm going to guess that is still for very capable students.

High School Credit: Where I am, in order to give high school credit for courses taken before 9th grade, you must report it at the end of the first year of high school. So, if you have an 8th grader taking algebra, then you would record both their 8th grade course and their 9th grade course on the transcript at the end of 9th grade.

What do we do?

Math- we are using Life of Fred for high school math (and before that too, but I'm focusing on high school). The author prefers to have both years of algebra before offering geometry and I couldn't agree more. It is good for kids to be older when they take geometry- the thinking is so different and the extra maturity is a bonus. My 9th grader started algebra in 7th grade. He's started with Saxon and we ditched it half way through. That's explains the timing for him...he has completed Beginning Algebra and Advanced Algebra with Fred (Algebra I and II) and has begun Geometry. At the end of this year I will report Algebra I and II on his transcript. Next year he'll start Trig and by 11th grade he'll take Calculus.

Science- We decided to do Chemistry this year. We are using CK-12 General Chemistry which has labs, teacher's manual, text with embedded videos and the works. It's going very well. Next year we'll likely do biology, then physics, then probably an AP course of some sort in one of those disciplines.

As a science educator, I don't think the science order matters a whole lot as long as you do biology before organic chemistry (which is not usually a high school class) and that you have strong math before doing chemistry. If you accelerate science in 8th grade, there's no need to do physical science in high school. Just start with biology.

The biggest piece of advice is to see what your state requires for graduation for the numbers of credits for both. In NY state our children will not earn a high school diploma. However, we can request a letter of equivalency from the superintendent of our school district. We have a great homeschool administrator who is a good advocate and he will request the letter. In order to get an equivalency letter, you must follow the higher diploma standards- so three credits of math and 3 of science rather than just two.

I would also take a look at the interests of your students. You can easily build courses that fall into the general category of chemistry, biology, physics without it looking like traditional course content. Units of time make credits and as long students are putting in the TIME you build coursework to suit them. Consider concentrations on environment, alternative energy, plant biology, etc. This is especially true for kids not interested in science careers.

Paige P
03-16-2013, 08:40 PM
Great, detailed advice, Heather. Thank you so much!

Science, for me in high school (and I don't remember middle school :blush: ) was Earth Science, Biology, and Chemistry. I didn't have to have a 4th to graduate, and I didn't take one.

The Common Core math stuff really threw me -- I'd intended Katie to take Algebra I in 9th, as I think she'd be MUCH more ready for it at that point. She does fine with math, but she's a much stronger English/LA/writing/History student (much like her Mama ;) ).

In high school, I did Alg. I, then Geometry, AlgII/Trig (one semester of each), and Pre-Calculus.

I've been thinking that I need to talk to an AL hser and/or guidance counselor......

Kelly K
03-16-2013, 08:52 PM
For our science, we're doing Biology - 9th (Sci Shepherd), Chem 10th (Spectrum) Physics 11th (?), Dunno for 12th gr.

Our plan for math has been TT and this year (9th) we are doing Alg 1, then Geometry, Alg 2.

Heather W
03-16-2013, 09:07 PM
Paige, I really would not sweat Algebra in 9th grade if that is your plan and you feel your dd will be better equipped for it at that time. I suppose if you want her to have Calculus in high school, then go for Algebra in 8th. If not, then carry on as planned.

Tricia O
03-16-2013, 09:09 PM
My plans for Elizabeth are:
7th General Science & TT 7
8th Physical Science & TT PreAlgebra (she just isn't ready for algebra & I'm not going to push her into it)
9th Biology & TT Algebra
10th Chemistry & TT Geometry
11th Physics & TT Algebra 2
12th Advanced Biology or Marine Biology (more than likely not advanced physics or chemistry since she doesn't like math) & TT PreCalculus

Katie & Michael will be similar except Katie will do Algebra in 8th grade and Michael may even do it in 7th grade

03-16-2013, 10:23 PM
Is there a reason why you're looking to the Common Core for direction on this? Do you feel you need to look at that, or does AL require it of hsers? :eek: (I just deleted my little diatribe on the Common Core and I shall remain silent on that for now. :D )

I would ignore it. :)

So anyway, IME, Heather is exactly right. You don't have to do algebra in 8th -- that's for capable and advanced math students. I verified this with my local public h.s. back when my oldest was in 7th. He was in no way ready for algebra in 8th and I verified with the math department that most (she said about 75%) of their students took algebra in 9th grade.

Same for science. You don't have to do general in 7th, physical in 8th, and biology in 9th. This is an advanced track, as far as I know. It's fine to do that, but it's not necessary unless you feel like they'll need quite a bit of advanced science (physics and also another advanced class) in h.s. Physical science is a h.s. class, so you can do general in 8th.

I have a boy who's young for his grade and he did algebra in 9th and physical science in 9th. I have a girl who's old for her grade and she did everything a year earlier than he did, because she was ready for it. You do have some flexibility -- that's what hsing is all about, and that doesn't change entirely just because your dd is in h.s.

I'll be reporting physical science and algebra on her h.s. transcript as taken in 8th grade (just with an asterisk). I may also give her .5 credit for literary analysis, a h.s. course she did with her brother earlier this year. Talk to some AL hsers and see how they report h.s. classes taken in 8th.

(BTW, all of this is so familiar to me -- I went through the exact same thought process when my ds was about to enter 7th grade. I'm so glad I waited for him rather than trying to push him into the advanced math and science that he wasn't ready for. With my dd, it was clear to me that she WAS ready, so it was an easier decision.)

Paige P
03-17-2013, 08:21 AM
Great info, again :thumb:

Rebe, the only time I looked at cc standards was to read a lamblasting article in the newspaper a few weeks ago. I've paid no attention to it up to this point, but now I know why I'm utterly opposed to it ;). It mentioned, though, that they'd move alg.i from 8th to 9th. Well, I'd always assumed alg I was 9th for most students -- it was when I was in school, and it was when I quit teaching 12 years go. I just figured maybe something had changed over that time.

I don't know what my others will do. -- I know if Cale continues being the great math student he is, he'll do alg. In 8th. He just "gets" it. Concepts immediately make sense to him, and he loves it. He already talks about becoming an engineer. If so, he'll need advanced math.

As for science, I asked more detailed questions about gen. Science in Katie's thread in the 3rs room. Our coop is going to offer the lab portion next year for 7th graders, which would be a great opportunity to prepare for high school, but I didn't realize that was "advanced." Not that she couldn't do it, but ........

Gotta start making a plan on how to get "there" from here and make sure she's ready for high school.....

Joy in Alabama
03-17-2013, 03:11 PM
In AL you will want to do the 4x4. Four English, four history, four math, four science. And take the ACT instead of the SAT. (Our mutual friend Shelley could give you some GREAT advice, since she's just been in the midst of this, Jax has gotten a great scholarship, and she used a counselor) If your administrator is OK with it, you can start giving hs credit in the 8th grade. If you are still in the same school, just tell him Joy said. :roflol:But you need to get advice about the transcript and where to put things correctly.

Paige P
03-18-2013, 08:44 AM
Thanks, Joy :D I spent some time talking to Holli yesterday, and she gave me some great advice (Shelly's advice to her ;) -- HA! One thing she mentioned is that colleges want to see what is "typical" coming from a traditional high school, so VERY LITTLE 8th grade high school credit -- that you usually have plenty of that anyway. We talked about getting Shelly or Julie McL. or another experienced high school mom (I told Holli she could be in that category ;) ) to have a general "high school" Q&A session with the home school group -- so many of us are just starting that journey or are getting ready to start that path .... Tim thinks it's a good idea :)

BTW, Joy, another AL question for you -- am I reading it correctly that you have to have 2 US History classes or is that from a specific high school? AND, is 24 credits standard for graduating? Do you usually do 6 per year or 8 per year? or a variety?

Joy in Alabama
03-18-2013, 11:35 AM
BTW, Joy, another AL question for you -- am I reading it correctly that you have to have 2 US History classes or is that from a specific high school? AND, is 24 credits standard for graduating? Do you usually do 6 per year or 8 per year? or a variety?

US History, 1 credit
World History, 1 credit
World Geography, 1 credit
Gov/Econ, 1 credit
Those are the usual thing. I think most schools are doing 24 credits. You don't want to have years with lots of credits because it looks suspicious, like you've done very easy things or you are somehow "cheating". Try to keep it pretty even every year.

ETA: Apologies to everyone for Paige and I getting personal. I used to be her administrator IRL.

Paige P
03-18-2013, 01:50 PM
ETA: Apologies to everyone for Paige and I getting personal. I used to be her administrator IRL.

:yes: Didn't mean to leave you all "out;" I just wanted to clarify where some of my info was coming from :)

I did think the advice about not having too many 8th grade high school credits was good and thought you all might like hearing that :)