We are two chapters into Holt Biology and we really love it. As a homeschool mom, I love it because of the resources available and the ease of use. This is a giant textbook with 984 pages and 34 chapters of good material to teach to your child, so much that if you were in a public school you would probably only cover 15-20 of them. That gives you freedom to choose if you want to cover them all, or if there are some chapters that you would rather just leave out.
Each chapter has virtual labs, animated biology sections, internet magazine articles and videos for your student to use to help understand the concepts that are being taught in the chapter. The website has an ebook with active links to all of these resources, so Anna usually reads the chapter on the computer so she can click on all of the links as she needs them. The vocabulary words are all spoken online with their definitions, so that is a great resource for a homeschool student to learn how to pronounce the terms correctly. (Often Anna reads in her head, and then she pronounces technical terms differently than standard pronunciation, so this online dictionary is really helpful.)
There are multiple worksheets that I can assign as the teacher, and all of the answers are provided, so that makes grading super easy. Generally, I print out a chapter study guide for Anna, and also assign the two Pre-AP worksheets for each chapter. Then I let her do the virtual lab, Biozine article, and any videos she wants to watch. After that she takes the chapter test. There are also labs and projects to do that are not online that are recommended for each chapter. The unit 1 project has her study a famous experiment and then write a lab report as if she was the scientist conducting the experiment. I think that is something that we will do. I like all of the ideas, worksheets, and labs that are available to choose. You really don’t need them all, but it is really nice that they are there.
I also love that there are several levels of worksheets and active reading practice. There are sheets for ESL learners, chapter reinforcements and Pre-AP activities, so you can adjust it to the needs of your child individually. We have found the Pre-AP activities to be really great challenges that are raising Anna’s ability to critically think through scientific concepts.
For Anna, Biology has become one of her favorite things to do. She loves all the information and everything she is learning. We put it first in the day to get her going strong in her school work. It was more work than she was used to for science, so the first week was a little bit uphill, but once she saw that she was learning new things and that it was answering questions she had always wondered about, she started to eagerly do her homework.
Chapter 2 was a crash course on chemistry and it was a bit of a reach for Anna (5th grade), but the animated biology and other online resources did a really good job explaining things like hydrogen bonding, and I felt like she got what she needed to from this overview before starting into studying cells, and it really helped Anna feel confident that she could learn anything that the book threw at her. I will update more as we progress through the book, so stay tuned…
For more information:
Here is a link to the Homeschool Buyer’s co-op sale for Holt Biology.
You can preview the table of contents at Rainbow Resource, but the chapter sample on Mendel is not in the book. Mendel in this book starts of page 155 and is Chapters 6-7, so if that isn’t what you see in Rainbow Resource, look elsewhere for a sample.