Often I am asked how I handle it when the topics get difficult. Often I have found that it depends on the resources you pick. I am not gifted with an understanding of science (or math). Science needs to be taught and taught well for the high schooler for them to succeed in college. This was the field that often caused me the most concern. That was until I ran into Apologia Science. The science resources I found from this group were wonderful. I have yet to be disappointed.
I found a group of text books produced by Apologia written by Dr. Jay Wile. Each are titled with Exploring Creation through . . . Dr. Wile is a Nuclear Physicist and author of 10 text books. He is a creationist and advocate for homeschooling. Visit the Homeschool Speaker and Vendors Association page on Dr. Wile to learn more about him and about his various thoughts on homeschooling, and even creation. All of his papers are very interesting.
As Catholics we are not exclusively creationist and these books are written from a Protestant slant but they are the best books I have found. I have looked for years. The Catholic books are either too light in science or too light in faith. These books are heavy in faith and very challenging in Science. What I like most is that they are taught (worded) in a way that is designed for the homeschooler. They are challenging for the young scientist and heavy in the scientific method and yet worded to be understood by the student. I have made sure that my 1000 Years of Catholic Scientists resource is close at hand. If something is mentioned I try to back it up with this resource giving a full Catholic understanding to this Christian presentation.
We do not use the schedule that Dr. Wile proposes for these books. My children are not gifted in science. We wait to use the Dr. Wile books until the highschool years. But we do follow his recommended progression through the books.
1) Exploring Creation with General Science is recommend as the resource for 7th graders. We use it for the first semester of Freshman year. I was also able to locate an audio recording of the books that have helped me with my dyslexic children. They can listen and read along. So this keeps them on track when I am not able to read out loud with them.
2) Then his 8th grade book that we use for second half of Freshman year is Exploring Creation with Physical Science.
3) They then move onto Biology as a Freshman and we use it for Sophomore year. It is more challenging than the first two but still worded in a way that takes this difficult teaching topics and presents them in an easy to understand manner. Exploring Creation with Biology.
4) Then we try to get through Chemistry for our Junior year. Exploring Creation with Chemistry.
5) Then the company offers Physics, Advanced Biology, Marine Biology, Advanced Chemistry, and Advanced Physics. All great selections . We didn't use them except for the Advanced Biology. You see we also ordered the disection kit. Pooker fell in love with this and wanted to pursue biology. We got her the Advanced Biology which is called The Human Body: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made. This led Pooker to an interest in nursing. She is curently pursuing this possible career in her college courses. This is something that I owe to these specific sets of books. I could have never presented this material in such a loving and respectful manner. These books give the glory to our creator while challenging the student to learn.
They are so well written that they are very easily self taught. A student can be given the task of pursuing a chapter/module on their own. I require that my students keep a list of all bold face words and write out their definition, and answer all questions in a notebook. I let the test be open book as long as they can do it in a short amount of time and get it correct. We talk about the chapters at great length to make sure they understand what they are learning. My goal is to inspire the mind more than tax it with tests. That being said this series of books can not be beat for that purpose.