Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Works For Me Wednesday – Homeschool Chemistry – 1/19/2011


If you are one of the 5 regular readers of this blog, you may recall that high school Chemistry was NOT working for Rosie Girl.  The good news is that I found something that does work!!  We started using Singapore Chemistry because things had gone so well last year with Singapore Biology.  Alas, the Chemistry course is more difficult to use at home than was the Biology course.  The textbook wasn’t terribly hard to understand.  The biggest problem was that questions in the textbook and workbook required more information than was given in the text, apparently because it was intended to be used in a classroom situation where the information would be presented.  This caused endless frustration for both Rosie Girl and me.  Sometimes I would be able to supply the required information, but at other times, I was also flummoxed.

Enter An Introduction to Chemistry by Mark Bishop.  This is an online textbook that PWM has used when tutoring high school students who had trouble with Chemistry.  The textbook is completely online.  It comes in two formats: Chemistry First and Atoms First.  From the website - “The chemistry-first version has a early emphasis on descriptions of the structure of matter and the nature of chemical changes, postponing the description of unit conversions and chemical calculations. The new atoms-first version provides a more complete description of atomic theory, chemical bonding, and chemical calculations early.”  Both texts cover the same material, just in different orders.

The textbook is supported by animations, tutorials, and glossary quizzes, and chapter maps to help the student.  Within the text are numerous examples of how the principles being learned are used in real life.  There are tons of questions at the end of each chapter and complete explanations of the answers are given in the study guide.  There are Power Point presentations accompanied by the book in audio format.  The author requests a donation of $20 if you choose to use his site – and it’s well worth far more than that.

Rosie Girl had just finished acids and bases in Singapore, so I had her start this book in Chapter 5 of the Chemistry-First version.  So far, things are going quite well.  Rosie Girl doesn’t really like reading from the screen, so she prints out sections of the text to take with her to read in the car, etc.  She has used some of the animations with success.  I love that I can get the answers to the questions from the study guide.  If I’m having a bad headache and it’s hard to think through things, all the information is online.  Overall, we’ve been very happy with using this textbook as the basis of her Chemistry course.  (She has a separate lab course.)

If you are trying to decide what curriculum to use for high school Chemistry, I strongly recommend that you look into this one.

That’s what “Works for Me” today.  Check out Works for Me Wednesday for other great ideas!



1 comment:

muddyboots said...

Reader #3 here ;)

Trouble with chemistry seems to be a common theme this year on the blogs I read. :( I've still not come up with a great plan, but I bought my 16yo Apologia at her request because it's time and I couldn't find anything better. At least she likes Dr. Wile's tone.