Y’all my kids are in high school and I’ve discovered science labs are much more difficult than our labs in elementary and middle school. Elementary science lessons were easy, “Go grab the baking soda and the vinegar, and let’s go!” Now I need actual equipment for our science labs, and I can’t complete science lessons on the spur of the moment.
(This post is sponsored by College Prep Science Lab Intensives, and there are affiliate links in here)
The challenge of high school science labs
My kids are taking biology this year. The first lab was easy to complete. Print off the biological key, and classify the animals based off the questions. Easy!
The next lab required a microscope. I’d planned ahead, and bought one during Prime Day.
I however did not have the required slides or the methylene blue (that’s a somewhat funny and long story all by itself).
I obtained those, but y’all it’s been a bit since I took a science class using a microscope, and it was not this style of microscope, so my poor kids got to observe me relearning the microscope.
Once I got going, it started to come back to me, but I’m not an expert.
If I have kids who want to go into a major labwork career, I am not the best teacher for them.
Also, I really don’t want to do dissections. I haven’t done a dissection since freshman year of high school.
The answer: Two Day Lab Intensives
I do wish I’d known about this before I bought the microscope.
I’m quite serious, this is definitely in my plans for chemistry, because that I KNOW I don’t want to get the equipment for.
If you sign up for a Two Day Lab Intensives with College Prep Science (check out when I talked about College Prep Science before), you drop your kid (or in my case kids) off for the day of lab work. Since we’re studying biology this year, I’m going to go with the biology examples (that chemistry class looks good).
Your students arrive on the day of the science lab and start class at 9:00 am. They’ll go through classwork for the day, take a break for lunch and a snack, and will be done for the day at 5:00. During that time they’ll work through the materials completing several different labs and learn how to collect data and “create college quality lab reports” (I like that, so I quoted it, because then my rules lawyer child can’t argue with me on what is expected).
The second day is only a half-day of class, from 9:00-12:00. You can theoretically take both the biology and chemistry lab intensives at once, but I can just imagine how my kids would react if I gave them both of those intensives at once.
What do I, the homeschool mom, do while my kids are at their science lab? NOTHING!
I’m going to find a bookstore and read all day long while drinking a cup of tea.
Or plan homeschool lessons.
Either way, I don’t do a thing for this class.
Let’s look at what happens during a science lab
I mentioned I don’t want to do a dissection.
He’s got me covered. They will perform a sheep brain and a frog autopsy.
>>>>> Side note, theses classes are designed for 7-12th grade, but you need to evaluate if your kids are up for this. My daughter, while she is in 9th grade for skill, in terms of maturity, she couldn’t handle dissecting a frog.
Know Your Kids.
They’ll isolate DNA, look at diffusion and osmosis, learn about blood types, look at what happens to their body when they eat too much sugar (that can be an amazing study as different bodies react differently to this, I’m borderline hypoglycemic, and that would not go well for me).
Seriously, read the entire list of labs they’ll run. That’s not even getting into the real-life skills they’ll learn.
You’ve convinced me Ticia, when should I take the science labs?
That’s what I’m finding fascinating about how Greg is handling these two-day lab intensives. He’s going to assume you are coming in with zero knowledge of the topic.
This can work great for two reasons I thought of:
- You can take it at the beginning of the year as an introduction, and get your student excited about the topic.
- You could take it at the end of the year, and treat it as a review, and a chance for someone else to teach your kid the topic in a different way than you might have.
Now, this is also somewhat limited by when the labs are running. In Texas, the labs are in the spring in March. So, that, of course, means my kids would be taking the labs while in the middle of the subject they’re studying. I’m rather tempted to have my kids try the chemistry lab while still in the middle of studying biology so they can see what is expected of a true science lab…
We’ll see. I’m still thinking about when I should sign up for this.
There’s a chance to win a free class!
Okay, this is open to ANYONE! College Prep Science draws someone from their emal list to win a free class, that’s a $680 value.
In addition, if you join their newsletter you get:
- a tipsheet of 14 things to avoid in homeschool science (I wonder if not having science lab materials prepared is one of them?)
- weekly science tips (apparently I need these)
- occasional random freebies
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