If you are searching for a Christian homeschool science curriculum that is perfect for a visual learner, or perhaps a non-science-y student, I have the best recommendation for you: The 101 Series from Westfield Studios. Our family has used and enjoyed this curriculum for many years, so I want to tell you why we’ve continued to use it and why it may work for you.
One of the most common questions I get, and one I see on the web almost weekly, is this: “Is there a young-earth high school science curriculum that my non-science-loving-kid might enjoy?” Another similar question is, “What high school science curriculum is interesting, young earth, and isn’t heavy on the experiments?” My answer, 100% of the time for all similar inquiries is The 101 Series.
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There are some excellent homeschool science curriculum options out there for high school, and plenty of great ones that teach all of the science topics with a strong biblical worldview. But some of them are very heavy. What I mean is, they are packed with information, quizzes, tests, and detailed experiments, and are often just more than a mom or a student can handle. Some of them are described as “college prep.” And while the content is wonderful, the program is overwhelming. For homeschool moms and dads who are not strong on science, and for students who don’t love science and have no plan to go into a scientific field, this heavy curriculum can be frustrating, and often go unfinished.
I am one of those moms. We all have our interests and strengths, and let me tell you: science has never been on that list for me. So, I first used this curriculum with my two oldest kids who are just like me. I wanted them to take certain courses, and I wanted them to understand what they were learning. How was that going to happen when we felt burdened and frustrated by lessons that just baffled both of us?
Our first experience with The 101 Series was with Biology. It was a perfect fit! Basic biology video lessons, presented with a Christian worldview, engaging, and including optional (easy) experiments and accreditation work – – it was everything I was looking for. We eventually added the Chemistry and Physics programs to our collection. I have been overjoyed at the way my kids are interested in the content, understanding things I certainly cannot teach, and taking the initiative to dive into further research!
So let me break the 101 Series down for you:
Video Based (Mostly)
The 101 Series comes as a DVD set, (and includes PDF files to print). Each lesson begins with a video segment that is approximately 30 minutes long. Wes Olson is the creator and host of the curriculum. In an interesting documentary-type format, he uses narrative, photos, and video creatively to keep the lesson moving. It never gets dull, and often I see my kids pausing the video to discuss things they just heard.
Our favorite thing is seeing experiments in the video lessons. They are given the option in the printable curriculum (more on that below) to recreate the experiments, but if they choose not to, it’s no big deal. They’ve already watched it.
It’s important to note that these videos are suitable and interesting for all ages. In fact, they are quite entertaining for Christian families on their own. My elementary students have often been found sitting in with the older kids to watch these high school level lessons, and picking up a great deal of information! And like me, I suspect other homeschool parents might find themselves doing the same.
If you’re a family that prefers online classes, The 101 Series has a streaming option, too!
Each level of curriculum includes two PDFs: a Guidebook and an Accreditation Booklet. The Guidebook includes a short chapter to read after watching the video, followed by a quiz. The Guidebook is divided into segments (chapters), one for each video lesson.
The Accreditation Booklet presents a list of assignments for each segment that, when completed by the student, count for a full high school credit.
We use all of the included materials. I have found that it is a wonderful and complete homeschool Christian science curriculum. (Both printable PDFs are also available to order from Westfield Studios in hard copy format.)
Young Earth Creation and Biblical Worldview
It is so important for our family to give our kids a Christian education, and science curriculum is one of the most important apologetics resources for Christian homeschoolers. The Christian religion is politically incorrect. It is under attack on so many fronts. And now, science itself is under attack. It is vital that we seek out a Christian curriculum that supports the biblical narrative and equips our students with both the wisdom of scripture and the incredible knowledge of past centuries.
If this is important to you, you will be very pleased with The 101 Series. It is a top notch Christian high school science curriculum that presents life science, the human body, physical science, and the natural world all from a biblical, young earth perspective. What’s more, the students are taught just how many scientists in world history were Christians, and how their faith in God drove their research and discoveries. It is the complete opposite of a secular curriculum. While the student is exposed to secular thought and theory, these are not presented as fact. Wes uses scripture throughout the videos as the firm foundation for earth science.
The 101 Series meets all of our requirements for a Christian homeschool science curriculum. Read my related blog post Christian Education: Science.
Flexible Grade Levels
While this is designed as a high school curriculum, I have found it very flexible in regard to when to use it. In our home, we have used Biology anywhere from 8th grade to 12th grade. As I mentioned above, my younger kids also enjoy watching the videos with their high school siblings, because the presentations are that interesting. Middle school students will enjoy these science courses as stand-alone video lessons, and high school students can dive into the entire lesson plans to fulfill required credits.
One of my favorite things, in fact, is the flexibility of the grade levels and the order in which the courses are taken. In a standard curriculum, the subject areas of science must be studied in a certain order. And before a student is allowed to take Physics, they must first complete certain levels of math. Good news! This is not necessary with The 101 Series. When we began the Physics 101 curriculum, I was so happy I could have cried. In fact, it was the Physics course that led me to write this blog post.
As an out-of-the-box homeschool thinker, I’m always asking WHY education is done a certain way in America? WHY is all language arts curriculum the same? WHY does Biology come before Chemistry? WHY did history class turn into social studies? WHY do homeschool curriculum providers mimic the public school system?? And WHY must a student conquer Algebra 1 and 2 before being able to take Physics in high school?
Well, with The 101 Series they don’t. My high schoolers have never taken Algebra 2, but thanks to Physics 101, they are loving Physics. In the past month they have been able to learn so much about sound, light, heat, and everything that goes with that, and they didn’t have to wait until other sciences or higher math were complete. With every physics lesson, they pause the TV, discuss, search the internet for cool videos, and even voluntarily do the experiments.
Optional (easy) experiments
As I mentioned above, the experiments on the DVD are a great option for non-science parents or students. Most of the time, my kids are content to watch them in the video. However, the Accreditation Booklet included in the curriculum includes them as an optional assignment. We have done some on occasion, depending on the supply lists. But we don’t always do them correctly, and it’s disappointing when nothing happens the way it’s supposed to. Watching it on the video solves that problem!
These are not college-level lab sciences. And that’s one of the reasons the 101 Series is my favorite Christian homeschool science curriculum. Not everyone wants or needs college-level science in the high school years. What they really do need is a lesson that’s interesting, easy to understand, taught with a biblical perspective, and takes the pressure off of parents. This is a great way to give a complete science education to students who might otherwise dread high school science.
How We Use The 101 Series
When beginning a new subject, I print out the entire Guide Book and Accreditation Booklets, and put them in a binder for my student. I keep the answer key for myself. Each week, we watch one video segment, and then I choose which portions of the Accreditation checklist to assign. Experiments are always optional, but I usually require the rest of the assignments. These might include a research topic, writing a paragraph, visiting a local facility, or copying down scriptures or quotes. My students read the Guide Book, of course, and then follow all of this up with the Quiz.
Since all kids are different, my level of involvement varies. Some of my kids have done well with taking the assignment list and tackling it on their own. Others prefer to have my oversight and assistance.
We have used Biology 101, Chemistry 101, and Physics 101. The latest release is General Science 101, which we have not yet ordered.
Last Words on The 101 Series Christian Homeschool Science Curriculum
The 101 Series by Westfield Studios meets a need that I see every day in the Christian homeschool community: video lessons from a Christian perspective, that don’t take a long time to complete, adaptable to many types of learners, and affordable! The DVDs are just $each. And since they may be used repeatedly within the same family, the price goes down each time you use it!
I’m not the only one who loves it. The 101 Series by Westfield Studios has received many awards: the Practical Homeschooling Reader Award, Best of 2020 in the Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Family Favorites Guide, and Favorite High School Product from Schoolhouse Review Crew.
Order from ChristianBook.com
|Chemistry 101, 4 DVD Set
By Wes Olson / Westfield Studios
Take a captivating tour through God’s chemical world. This 4 DVD set contains 19 individual, 20-45 minute segments examining the world of chemistry and the periodic table of the elements. Included on the fourth disc is a printable (PDF) guidebook with quizzes covering the material presented in each segment and a one-year high school course booklet. Contains 30 lab hours.
By Westfield Studios
Wes Olson presents the amazing mechanics behind the world God created! Students will learn the physics of light, sound, heat, electricity, and motion; be introduced to quantum mechanics; and explore the future of this field of study. Ages 15 and up. Includes twenty 30- to 40-minute lessons on four DVDs, as well as a downloadable leader’s guide and high school course booklet. Contains 40 lab hours.
|Biology 101: Biology According to the Days of Creation, 4 DVDs
Follow the creation story as you delve into the world of biology. Visually rich and designed for students 15 and up and their families, this biblically oriented overview presents biology following the actual creation days. Nine segments are covered on 4 DVDs; a 114 page guidebook on CD-ROM/DVD includes quizzes for the material in each segment. Contains 20 lab hours. 4 DVDs.
If you’re interested, you can see all of our homeschool curriculum in this post.