My favorite high school science courses are Apologia Education Ministries' biology and chemistry. Apologia recommends that your student take Exploring Creation with Biology concurrently with algebra. We suggest this because Exploring Creation with Chemistry usually comes after the biology course and algebra is a prerequisite for chemisty. The course consists of a 578-page hardbound student text and a paperback solutions/test manual. The student textbook will hold up well to years of rigorous use. My copy of Exploring Creation with General Science looks great after being in constant use for 3 years. What sets ECWB apart from other biology programs, is that the authors write directly to the student. Parents do not have to teach the material. This is a major benefit for my family. I can learn along with my children, instead of being the teacher.
Dr. Wile and Ms. Durnell write in the introduction: "Are you ready to be impressed? If not, then you'd better get ready. Why? Well, in this course, you are going to get a broad overview of God's Creation. As you begin to learn its secrets, you will become more and more impressed with its majesty and complexity. The sheer grandeur of it all should leave you in awe of God's mighty power." ECWB is not a secular biology course. Students explore the wonders of the world as God created them. ECWB's balanced approach to evolution, coupled with Darwin's Black Box by Michael Beahe, will equip students to defend a Biblical view of creation.
ECWB contains 16 modules (units), a glossary, an appendix, and index. With the exception of module 6, each module should take 10 days to complete. Following this schedule will have your student finished in 33 weeks. The authors suggest spending 30 minutes per day in reading/study and then adjusting your daily time so you will finish a module in 2 weeks. I think that most students will need about 45 minutes per day of reading/studying time. Experiments and dissection will add additional time to some days.
ECWB includes two levels of experiments. The dissection experiments are not required to finish the course, but must be performed in order to give a full credit for this class. The microscope experiments give students a fuller understanding of biology. Lab materials are available through Apologia as well as other online resources. The textbook gives the required specifications for these items if you prefer to purchase them locally. I purchased my supplies from Sonlight Curriculum (www.sonlight.com). Two supplementary products that I highly recommend are the companion CD from Apologia and the Biology Schedule Plus guide from Sonlight.
To examine the table of contents for ECWB go to www.apologia.com and click on the biology link on the left. Here you will see all of module 1, the table of contents, and parent and student comments. You can also explore additional resources available from Apologia Educational Ministries and answer the science question of the week. The website also lists the supplies needed for ECWB, to help you prepare for upcoming experiments.
ECWB is an academically solid biology course. The "on your own" questions require students to think about the material they are studying and not regurgitate information they just read. A student who completes this course with an 80% test/lab average is very well prepared for chemistry and advanced science. I gave my final course grade based on 65% test scores and 35% lab write-ups. Apologia Educational Ministries offers e-mail and phone help to parents/students using their programs. I have e-mailed Dr. Wile several questions and he has answered each within a day. I do not know of another science program that offers this level of personal help. If you are looking for a high school biology course from a Christian perspective, I do not think you will find a better program than ECWB.