By Teri Olsen
Here are five excellent educational products (all Christian-based) that are usable for high school credit, yet are not necessarily very well-known among the general homeschool community.
Chemistry 101 (DVD & Study Guide) – This video course produced by Westfield Studios is a complete overview of chemistry from a Christian perspective, suitable as a one-year high school class. The presentation is so good that it’s enjoyable for the whole family to watch just for fun! Wes Olson brings chemistry to life by including lots of little-known facts and history behind the science, as he guides you through all the essentials of chemistry and the periodic table of the elements. He explains complex concepts in simple terms, and uses clever mnemonic devices to emphasize important terms to remember. If you’ve ever had trouble understanding the Periodic Table of the Elements, you will want to get Chemistry 101 just to see his in-depth visual explanation! He also spotlights many famous scientists who were Bible-believing Christians, whose religious faith was the basis of their interest in science as a tool to explore God’s creation. On the fourth disc is a PDF guidebook covering the material presented in each segment, along with multiple-choice quizzes and thought-provoking discussion questions. Also included is a one-year high school Course Accreditation booklet with additional assignments and activities for homeschoolers who want to use Chemistry 101 as a full-length class for credit.
Economics for Everybody (DVD & Study Guide) – Economics for Everybody is a video curriculum produced by Compass Cinema in conjunction with Ligonier Ministries. It’s designed to be the basis of a one-semester economics class for homeschooled high school students. This course is taught from a Christian perspective and explains what the Bible says about economics, while providing a thorough foundation for understanding economic systems. The author and host is Dr. R.C. Sproul, Jr., a pastor and Bible college professor. Sproul is an engaging and knowledgeable instructor who presents a biblical understanding of economics in a fun and lively way. Tackling a subject that many students find boring, Sproul embellishes it with relevance, enthusiasm, and even a little humor with a montage of cartoon images, old movie clips, and public domain footage. Each lecture effectively depicts the relationships between real historical events and their corresponding economic theories. A 234-page softcover book comes boxed with the DVD. This study guide contains an expanded outline for each of the twelve chapters along with Scripture readings, pertinent quotations, resources for further study, multiple choice and short answer questions, and discussion questions. The study guide and additional readings make this a comprehensive curriculum in itself, or it can be paired with an economics textbook for those who want a more in-depth study.
Body of Evidence Series (DVD & Study Guide) – Explore human anatomy and physiology in a Creator-honoring way! Body of Evidence is a 16-part (8 DVD) series produced by Answers in Genesis in cooperation with the AFA Homeschool Channel. The host is Dr. David Menton, a former medical university professor with a Ph.D. in biology and a sincere passion for the wonders of the human body. In the videos, he takes two teens on an instructional tour through the major systems of the body (cells and tissues, the skeletal system, the integumentary system, the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system, the digestive system, the urinary system, the hearing ear and the seeing eye). Body of Evidence is appropriate for the whole family to watch and learn about God’s amazing designs for life. The lecture itself is a bit dry (what do you expect from a college professor), but he does employ anatomical props, models, slides, and microscopic images. Dr. Menton covers a lot of information and new vocabulary quickly, so serious students should be ready to take notes. The sixty-four-page Study Guide (sold separately or included, depending on who you buy the set from) contains more than 600 questions that allow high school students to get maximum benefit from the course. An answer key for the study guide can be downloaded for free at www.BodyofEvidence.org.
Signs & Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy (Text & Field Manual) – Science writer/illustrator Jay Ryan, a homeschool dad, self-published this Biblically-centered, evolution-free high-school level astronomy curriculum. Unlike most astronomy books that focus on popular “Modern Astronomy” such as space travel and black holes, Signs & Seasons teaches the traditional science of “Classical Astronomy,” one of the Seven Liberal Arts. This logical approach to studying the sun, moon, and stars was used for centuries by classical and medieval scholars, the great thinkers of the Renaissance and Reformation, through the Founding Fathers of the American Republic. The Signs & Seasons book contains chapters on the phases of the moon and the passage of the seasons; finding the constellations; identifying the visible planets; how our calendar is based on the sun and moon; and how the times of Passover and Easter are derived. Perhaps even more importantly, Signs & Seasons sets the record straight about supposed “pagan influences” in astronomy, and offers challenging Biblical and historical explanations that distinguish the legitimate science of astronomy from the ancient superstition of astrology. In addition to the main text, Signs & Seasons includes extensive Field Activities, a large Glossary, a Biographia of Quoted Authors (the extensive use of historic quotations is certainly unique in a science book!), Astronomical Tables, Selected Bibliography, a list of resources for further reading, and an index. High school students can utilize the activities in the field manual to obtain high school credit, and it is suitable as a self-study guide to the sky for homeschoolers, college students, and adults.
Homeschool Psych: Preparing Christian Homeschool Students for Psych 101 (Text & Workbook) – Study the wonders of the soul, the mind, the brain, and behavior from a Christian perspective! Homeschool Psych by Dr. Tim Rice, D. Min., a licensed professional counselor, is recommended for Christian homeschoolers as a prerequisite to college-level introductory psychology, to help prepare them for the worldview challenges of modern psychology. Some Christians argue that psychology is an idolatrous and unbiblical subject associated with humanism, evolutionism, and moral relativism. However, Christian thinkers and ministers throughout the centuries developed many understandings of human beings using the Bible as a standard for reflection. Dr. Kevin Leman, a well-known Christian author and speaker, earned his doctorate degree in psychology. Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, is an evangelical Christian and a licensed psychologist. Dr. Rice says “I believe that it is a mistake to reject psychology by equating the entire discipline with the whacked-out worldview assumptions of its modern ‘fathers.’ The human mind is the greatest of God’s creations and it is right and proper for Christian students to study it.” The Homeschool Psych text is presented in a well-designed softcover format along with a student workbook, quizzes, and answer keys. A motivated homeschool student can work through the text and study guide independently. The 2nd edition of Homeschool Psych will be coming out soon (Fall 2013). A similar book by the same author, Psychology: A Christian Perspective – High School Edition, is intended for use by Christian schools and homeschool co-ops. It has an accompanying Teachers’ Guide that includes Chapter Outlines and Summaries, Learning Objectives, Key Concepts & People, Activities & Discussion, For Further Study, Questions for Review, and Chapter Quizzes (with answer keys).