Wondering about chemistry high school curriculum for homeschool? In this ultimate guide, find resources and tips for teaching high school chemistry at home. Chemistry is a necessary course for high schoolers considering college, especially if they are going into STEM fields or competitive schools.
National Chemistry Week is celebrated the third week of October in conjunction with Mole Day. Can I get a high five for acknowledging that Mole Day is between 6:02 am and 6:02 pm on 10/23? If this isn’t striking a chord, you’ll need to know that a mole is 6.02 x 10^23 aka Avogadro’s number.
It’s a chemistry thing.
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Every year there is a new theme for National Chemistry Week and this year it’s all about catalysts (those chemicals in a reaction that speed it up!).
National Chemistry Week is October 17-21, 2021 and this year’s theme is “Fast or Slow…Chemistry Makes It Go!”
When Is It Time to Take Chemistry?
I have the privilege of working with many families homeschooling high school and one of the things we talk about is chemistry either because parents want to know when it’s time or because their teens are struggling with it.
Chemistry is not next just because your student took biology already or they are in 9th grade.
Typically, chemistry is for 11th graders unless their math is accelerated early.
If your teen’s math is not where it needs to be, it’s not time to take chemistry- no matter what grade they are in.
So, let’s talk about the skills necessary for success in high school Chemistry.
- Algebra I– you need to be able to manipulate equations and solve for an unknown
- Significant Digits– make sure your answer is not more precise than your original data
- Scientific Notation– write small or large numbers as multiples of 10
- Exponents– know the rules for working with powers
- Logarithms– count in multiples of a base number
- Quadratic Equation– solve for a variable when there is a variable to the second power and the first power in the same equation.
- Using a Scientific Calculator– to work on logs and exponents, etc.
Make sure your teen is ready before they try to take a chemistry course, whether that course is at home or outsourced.
Choosing High School Chemistry Curriculum for Homeschool
As with any curriculum you choose, you need to decide whether a curriculum is a good fit. Sometimes it’s hard to know what will be a suitable curriculum for your teen.
At our house, we look at:
- Our student’s goals
- Curriculum style
- How we want to teach the course
- Any outsourcing we want to do
- Content found in the course
- AP, dual credit, etc
- Types of experiences
- Authenticity of the program
What are the criteria you use to tell if a curriculum will work for your teen?
Homeschooling High School Chemistry Curriculum Choices
- CK-12.org– This is an free open source online program out of California which we use for much of our high school science. You can choose the level you want to teach and everything is online which a mobile app for quizzing, etc. Each chapter has videos, quizzes, and other submitted activities from the community. I miss the old days of being able to download the text on a Kindle, but I still have those old files so it’s ok. Now the program is totally web based.
- Oak Meadow– I like this curriculum because it curates and makes a syllabus for Prentice Hall Chemistry which is a solid chemistry text. The program has a few too many busy work elements for my science educator taste, so I modify as necessary. It looks like this syllabus is on clearance, so if it is appealing to you, grab it up!
- Prentice Hall Chemistry– if you just want to go for the text book, you can do that too. This one has it all. It’s a good reading level for most high school students and it includes short labs. Pro tip if you are ordering this book used: Most of these books were once circulating in high schools, so check the pages for typical teen graffiti.
- Kristin Moon Science Chemistry Labs– Kristin is a former homeschooling mom who has graduated her teens and has returned to her roots as a science teacher to bring you lab courses that go with your science curriculum. You don’t want to miss this resource because the videos will guide your teens to completing the labs and she doesn’t break the bank on equipment for the job.
- Khan Academy– this tutorial site has increased its reach and capabilities in recent years and using the chemistry course is a cost effective way to bring chemistry to your high school. It’s always nice to be able to visit and revisit concepts with a video, especially when your teen starts balancing equations and doing stoichiometry. This is a great resource for advanced chemistry topics.
Outsourced Chemistry Courses for Homeschoolers
Sometimes teaching chemistry at home is not practical or your teen is looking for a more substantial experience.
Learn more about the chemistry high school curriculum for homeschool by outsourcing and taking online courses with The Big List of Ideas for Homeschooling High School Online.
Some options include:
- Dual Enrollment– most community colleges offer lab science courses and this is a great opportunity to try courses for college credit. Make sure your student is ready for starting college because there are no take backs on this grade.
- Oak Meadow Chemistry Matters– the current homeschool chemistry program from Oak Meadow which is an asynchronous online course.
- Outschool– is a great place to find chemistry experience for older high school students. Any of these could add to your chemistry course at home.
- MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)– through Coursera or EdX where you can find chemistry courses. Try this one from MIT. These courses sometimes offer certificates or you can simply try them out and always at your own pace.
- The Potter’s School– a faith based online school which teaches many types of courses, including chemistry
Equipment for Homeschooling High School Chemistry
Besides chemistry high school curriculum, homeschooling high school chemistry means using scientific glassware and equipment rather than kitchen materials because you don’t want to use chemicals in the things you might eat and drink out of. You’ll need these items to go with the lab portion of your curriculum.
Lab safety is key in the high school years.
- Chemistry Equipment Set– this set includes many of the basic items you need for chemistry labs like an alcohol burner, test tubes, graduated cylinders, beakers, a thermometer, a stirring rod, and a funnel
- Complete Introduction to Chemistry Kit– this set has all of the basics plus some chemicals and instructions for labs
- Lab Chemistry Hardware Kit– ring stand, tongs, test tube holders, and other equipment to helps you hold up and move around glassware during experiments
- Thermometer– glass and both temperature scales
- 50 ml Burette– with a stopcock for doing titration experiments
- Distillation Kit– to purify water out of solutions. This is not necessary, but it is a fun addition to your chemistry course if your student has chemistry aspirations.
- Triple Beam Balance– for measuring mass in an analog process
- Digital Balance– for massing items using a digitally
- Glassware– for sure you need graduated cylinders, beakers, flasks, and test tubes in varying sizes
- Chemicals– check the supply lists in your curriculum or lab manual for the ones you need and this is a great source for them. Be sure to store them safely, keeping acids and bases apart.
Chemistry Resources from Blog, She Wrote
When considering Chemistry high school curriculum, STEM instruction is one of the things we love about homeschooling high school.
Below are some resources for you to browse as you consider how to put together your homeschool high school chemistry course.
The Ultimate Resource Guide for Homeschooling High School Chemistry– all the details on choosing curriculum and what resources are the most important.
100 STEM Projects for Kids & Teens of All Ages– 100 projects for all kinds of STEM, including chemistry
STEM Activities for Teens– the hub of all the STEM resources at Blog, She Wrote where you can sign up to get these STEM Task Cards for free. There are 12 tasks in all disciplines of STEM, including chemistry.
Comparing the Accuracy of Liquid Measurement Tools– the perfect beginning chemistry lab to get familiar with volumetric tools and what they are best used for
Adventures in Chemistry– lots of resources and ideas for an exploration of chemistry for out of the box teens
How to Make a Batik– an activity for dying fabric and creating a wax resist. Any kind of dying is a chemical process whether the dyes are natural or not.
100 Awesome Educational Videos for Homeschooling High School– which is a list of 100 Amazon Prime documentaries for your high schooler listed by category. There are lots of chemistry related videos, especially in the biography section.
Chemistry High School Curriculum for Homeschool at The Curriculum Choice
Building a Solid Foundation in Chemistry– with lots of chemistry resources from Home Science Tools
The Homeschool Chemistry Curriculum Your Student Needs– a review of Apologia Chemistry by Danielle
Creative Chemistry for Your Homeschool– is all about simplifying the process of teaching chemistry at home
Building a Solid Foundation in Chemistry with Home Science Tools– Eva takes us on a tour of the resources at Home Science Tools and the basic chemistry they teach
Apologia Exploring Creation with Chemistry – Exploring Creation with Chemistry fits the needs of my science-oriented high schooler and promotes independent learning! Plus, this course is designed for success – with tips for the homeschool teacher and student along the way.