Knowing which science courses to offer your student at the secondary level and when to offer them can seem difficult. In reality, course sequencing for junior high and high school isn’t that hard when you know one important fact: A student’s mathematics level is the key factor for his or her success or failure in the high school sciences. If you make sure that your child is well prepared mathematically for the science course he or she will take, you will have gone a long way toward assuring your student’s academic success.
|Not Science Oriented||Science Oriented||Prerequisite|
|K-6||Dr. Wile’s Elementary Series (multi-level, any book for any elementary grade)|
|7th Grade||Science in the Atomic Age||Science in the Atomic Age||None|
|8th Grade||Discovering Design with Earth Science **||Discovering Design with Earth Science **||7th Grade Math|
|Freshman||Discovering Design with Biology *||Discovering Design with Biology
|Sophomore||Discovering Design with Chemistry*||Discovering Design with Chemistry
|Junior||Discovering Design with Physics*||Discovering Design with Physics
|Algebra I, Geometry, basic Trigonometry functions|
|Senior||Supplements||Advanced Biology or
Advanced Chemistry or
Advanced Physics or
*These courses may be spread out over four years for the student who is not science oriented
**This is a high school credit course even though taken in eighth grade due to homeschoolers generally being a year ahead of their public and private school peers
These optional supplemental readings for science-oriented students do not replace the main course listed. They merely give your student additional science material to learn if your student is interested.
- Universe by Design by Danny Faulkner, ISBN 978-0890514153
- Reasonable Faith: The Scientific Case for Christianity by Dr. Jay L. Wile, ISBN 978-0965629409
- Body by Design by Alan Gillen, ISBN 978-0890512968
- Science and Human Origins by Anne Gauger, Douglas Axe, and Casey Luskin, ISBN 978-1936599042
- The New Creationism by Paul Garner and Andrew Snelling, ISBN 978-0852346921
- Signature in the Cell by Stephen Meyer, ISBN 978-0061472794
Your student’s math level should drive this timeline, especially if the student is science-oriented. When the student begins Algebra I, that’s when Biology begins. Even if your student is not science-oriented, he or she will benefit from exposure to Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. You never know when a lifelong interest may be sparked!
Questions About Course Sequencing
- Why is the order biology, chemistry, and then physics? Since physics is the most fundamental science, shouldn’t it be first?
Ideally, physics would be first. However, this isn’t practical because of the math involved. High school physics requires a basic knowledge of trigonometry, which is generally covered in geometry. Chemistry requires a mastery of algebra 1, which is usually taken during the freshman year. Biology requires only basic arithmetic, which high school students should know. Thus, students take biology during their freshman year because they have all the math they need. They take chemistry sophomore year because they completed algebra 1 while completing biology. They take physics junior year because they learned basic trigonometry while taking chemistry. This brings up an important point. There are some math programs that do not cover basic trigonometry in their geometry course. If your student hasn’t covered basic trigonometry yet, have them take advanced biology, advanced chemistry, or marine biology junior year and wait before taking physics.
- What “basic trigonometric functions” are needed for students to take physics?
Students need to know how the trigonometric functions sine, cosine, and tangent are defined on a right triangle. Given just two pieces of information about the right triangle (such as the cosine of an angle and the length of a triangle’s leg), they should be able to determine everything else about the triangle.
- Do all students need to take biology, chemistry,and physics?
That would be ideal, but it may not be possible for every student. At minimum, a college-bound student needs to have three high school science courses with at least one course from the life sciences and at least one from the physical sciences. For a student who struggles with science, you can cover physical science (considered a high school science in public schools), biology, and chemistry. If you need to spread those courses over more than three years, that’s fine.
- What’s the point of advanced courses, and which should science-oriented students take?
Advanced courses, when combined with the first-year course, cover everything a student would see in a university-level course on the subject. For example, if students take Discovering Design with Chemistry and then Advanced Chemistry in Creation, they have covered an entire university-level general chemistry course. If they are confident about what they learned, they can take the AP or CLEP chemistry tests. If they score well enough, they can “test out” of university-level general chemistry. More importantly, taking both courses will show them what is expected of them in a university-level chemistry course. Students should take the advanced course that interests them most. This will help them decide whether to study that subject in detail at the university level.
- What if students are taking algebra 1 earlier or later than their freshman year?
I strongly recommend students take biology while they take algebra 1. If students are delayed in math, they are probably delayed in science as well, so starting biology any earlier is unlikely to work well. If students are ahead in math, they benefit from having more years to take advanced courses later. Anything they might “miss” by skipping 7th or 8th grade science will not be nearly as valuable as what they will get in those advanced courses.