I am going to be teaching a high school honors chemistry class to a small group of homeschoolers next year and I’ve been having a heck of a time finding a textbook that I like, mainly because I’m just not that found of reading chemistry textbooks. I started with Chemistry: The Central Science by Brown, etc which comes highly recommended but my eyes started glaze over when looking through it and after doing some more digging I found its mainly used in AP Chemistry classes where its the kids second chemistry class. Most of the kids in my class will have done some chemistry before but this just looked like too much of a leap… at least for me. So back to the drawing board.
Searching for ‘honors high school chemistry’, I found many teachers use Modern Chemistry and since its available as an ibook on iPads for only $15 I went ahead and bought it. Its not too bad and I think my kids will prefer the ibook verion, its much lighter than carrying a huge textbook for one and you can zoom in on the pictures and it even has some short movies here and there. Personally I like to have a textbook to flip through so I went ahead and bought the homeschool package through the homeschool buyer’s co-op which saved me about $25 over buying it directily from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. This will get me a real textbook, online access to a textbook, labs and other resources.
I also found a gold mine of resources put together by Ian Guch, a high school chemistry teacher. I plan on using his textbook, Chemistry: The Awesomest Science, which you can download free on his website. He has a link set up for donations and since I plan on using a lot of his lessons and his textbook I made a donation. He says he’s working on a middleschool chemistry textbook for the fall which I’m hoping he finishes since I’l also be teaching a chemistry class for 10-12 year olds.
The other book I recommend my students buy is the Cartoon Guide to Chemistry by L. Gonick. I love all his books and find them to be a quick and easy read compared to most textbooks.
Students will also be required to have a laboratory notebook. I require this because I want the students to be able to take these lab notebooks to colleges and prove that they did indeed do ‘real’ science labs as homeschoolers. Of course the only student to really give me grief over this is my own, who prefers to do a digital lab book on his iPad. I find this hard to accept but searching the web I found many companys and universities are moving toward digital lab books so I may let him go digital this year.