Friday, January 26, 2018

What Is It with Chemistry?

Seriously, ya'll!  Chemistry is hard.  Hard to learn, maybe harder to teach.  I do not know how I got through Chemistry in high school.  I must have had a terribly gracious teacher.  Or maybe just one that did NOT want to be stuck with me in class again.

So yes, here I am teaching Chemistry.  For the third time.  To a different child, mind you, not the same one three times!  My older girls managed to squeak by, but I really wanted my oldest son to "get it", not just sneak by. 


We worked with a Chemistry program the whole first semester which left me exhausted and him frustrated and on top of it all- there was no "getting it."  At all.

I knew we needed to regroup and try something new, so when Timberdoodle offered to let me review Chemistry 101, I jumped at the chance.  I will admit this program passed through my house before, but I just had never had the chance to explore it.

We are on lesson four and I am thrilled, my son is happier, and we are BOTH "getting it!"

Before I get ahead of myself, let's talk about the details.

Chemistry 101 is one of three DVD sets in the Christian based 101 Science Series.  Others include Biology and Physics.  Intended for ages 15 and older, this 4 disk set has 18 lessons divided into four sections as well as a Guidebook and Accreditation guide that you can print off for reference.  Each video runs 20-40 minutes long.  Sections include-
  • The Road to the Periodic Table
  • Chemistry Essentials
  • Meet the Elements
  • The Future

There is a chapter that you print out to correspond with each video.  There are discussion questions at the end of each lesson, as well as a quiz. 

With each lesson comes a lesson plan of sorts that shows target hours for each part, a place to write your actual time spent, and a place for the teacher to sign off when completed.

Additional activities include:  extra reading and research ideas as well as labs (which can also be viewed in the videos)   If you spend two weeks on each lesson with their suggested schedule, you can easily fulfill a high school science credit.

Our thoughts and experiences-
As I said, we had already done Chemistry for a semester and covered the main chapters we felt were important.  We are now using Chemistry 101 as a  fill in the gaps program since we only need a second semester.  We are covering all the chapters, but at a more accelerated pace.

It has been a perfect fit.  Since my son is an auditory learner, he has fully enjoyed the videos and is understanding them well.  He likes the history aspect of the program, such as information on the pioneers of Chemistry, not just the math and equation parts.  He has also said numerous times, this makes sense now.

Because he also has a chapter to read with each lesson, I know his learning is being reinforced.

For our purposes we have structured our week in this manner-
  • Monday- Watch Video
  • Tuesday- Read chapter
  • Wednesday- Do Discussion questions
  • Thursday- Take Quiz
  • Friday- Do experiments
I like that there is a check sheet for us to follow, and in each chapter there are sidebars of extra, what I would call "fun facts/tidbits" of information.  I think when you can catch a student's interest with neat things, they are more likely to stay tuned into the meat of the information.

Honestly, I wasn't sure how I would feel about this course as I am a textbook kind of gal, but I knew we were desperate and needed a change.  I wish I had not waited as long as I did to introduce this program into to our school, and look forward to using it again with our last child.

Well written, well organized and well done!  Chemistry 101 is a winner in our book!

*Timberdoodle includes Chemistry 101 in their 10 grade curriculum kit!


  1. Replies
    1. It really is! Working with out a textbook, often makes me leery, but this has been such a blessing to us!

  2. Thank you so much for this review! I will need a good Chemistry course for my youngest in about a year or two. This may be a perfect solution for us as well!


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