Monday, October 21, 2019

Can Biology Be Friendly?

Can you believe that I am on my fourth child in homeschooling and I am still in search of the perfect science program?  Specifically, science at the high school level.  We have used a few we have liked, but man, we have also used a few that I just cannot bring myself to teach for a fourth time!  Biology is one of those subjects.  I am just NOT a science lover, but I do have a few science loving kiddos- one of which will be ready for Biology soon.  So yes, the search is on!

Enter Friendly Biology!  I have been keeping my eye on this program authored by Joey and Lisa Hajda for a while now.  Husband and wife team, both have extensive degrees, have taught at higher levels, and have homeschooled ten children.  They have a huge fan following and reviews are pretty impressive, so when I had the opportunity to see for myself what the excitement was about, I jumped at the chance!  Reviewing for Timberdoodle Co. is always a privilege and this time was no exception. This is the science listed in Timberdoodle's  9th Grade Curriculum kit.  

Let's talk about the program components!

First up- the text book. This hefty 457 page softbound book covers 28 chapters from Biology basics to Genetics and Animal Kingdoms.  Each chapter has key words and phrases in bold type and main ideas highlighted in yellow boxes throughout the text.  Full color pictures abound.  The chapters end with a quick review of the main points and then a lab activity is presented.  Sample chapters can be found here!

Labs- The labs included are simple yet well tied to the chapter lesson.  Supplies are listed at the beginning, and a complete supply list can be accessed online.  Procedures and any safety measures needed are listed clearly and there is a space to write results in the book if desired.  You can also download lab worksheets from the Friendly Biology website for your student to use. 

Student Workbook- In the consumable student workbook you will find two practice pages for each chapter.  The first is a fill in the blank- multiple choice format.  The second practice page is a word search or crossword puzzle.

Lessons Tests and Answer Keys- A multiple choice test is included for each lesson to give to your student.  Included are tests answer keys, as well as the practice pages answer keys.

 My thoughts- 
Though we have not started using this as a curriculum yet, I have spent a lot of time reading it on my own.  I have been in search for a Biology course that is rigorous and yet easy to use, so it is important to me to know what I am getting into before I start it.  In the past I have found science curriculum that either water things down too much or are so high and lofty that only a trained science teacher could understand it.  Yes, some of the concepts in Friendly Biology are pretty deep (enzymes and genetics, anyone?), but they are clearly explained and I believe student friendly.  While it is always my goal to work through subjects with my children, I do believe that my son could handle this course on his own with little extra help.

I love that there are experiments included for each chapter but do not require extensive and expensive lab equipment.  As Joey Hejda explains, often times to see what you really need to see via a microscope you would have to have one that costs hundreds of dollars.  Instead, they provide true life pictures that more clearly show anything you would see on your own.  One of the neat aspects of Friendly Biology is that you can purchase a video package that has live teaching for each chapter.  This is a perfect addition for those of us who have more visual or auditory learners!  A few examples are available for you to preview on the Friendly Biology website. 

I appreciate the practice pages are concise and not a bunch of busy work. The tests and answer keys are thorough and easy to use and an integral part of the program.  And one of the best parts- the customer service!  I have not used it first hand, YET, I hear over and over again what a joy the Hajda's are to work with, and they can even be reached by phone.  Fellow homeschool moms will join me in a hallelujah chorus, I am sure! Let's face it, sometimes you just need to have a student's question be answered by a professional.

Bottom line, I have found our new Biology and am eager to use it, possibly as early as next August!  After careful consideration , I am confident Friendly Biology will prepare my son for higher level sciences while allowing me to maintain my sanity!  It's a win- win for all!

The Hajdas have also authored Friendly Chemistry and Friendly Anatomy.




  1. This sounds really good. I like that it has different components to help children learn the material.

  2. Since writing this blog, have you used the curriculum? If so, what are your thoughts after using it?


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