Experience Chemistry by Journey Homeschool Academy is my recommendation for senior high school chemistry! And yes, this program can be enjoyed by students in CANADA! Read on for more details!
Journey Homeschool Academy is a more recent curriculum provider; JHA focuses most of its course offerings in the subject area of SCIENCE. The course designers, Luke and Trisha Gilkerson are Christian homeschool parents. Luke’s background includes interests in teaching astronomy, logic, and theology. Trisha’s background is in science and psychology. (Both have masters-level degrees.) Along with their team, they produce nicely-presented online video-based lessons, easy-to-follow along simple and comprehensive notebooks with diagrams, charts, fill-in-the-blanks and lab guidebooks.
Today’s blog post will focus on LEVEL C of CHEMISTRY. This chemistry course is presented as a senior level, i.e. grade 11/12, university preparatory level. If you are looking for a lower level of chemistry, please see another of my blog posts for a different suggestion grades 7-10/11 (link to be added shortly).
(Journey Homeschool Academy produces online video-based courses for elementary levels too, and you can check those too if that is the style you would prefer for elementary. I personally do not prefer online courses for elementary levels so I will not be trying to blog about those levels. But I realize that, for some homeschool situations, online learning is what is desired so I mention all of their science courses here:)
Below are ALL of their current SCIENCE course offerings (with my affiliate links).
Experience Biology Elementary
Experience Astronomy Elementary
Earth Science Explored (Middle School): (In Canada, middle school years equates to grades 7-10.)
Experience Astronomy (Middle School)
Experience Biology (High School): (In Canada, “high school” in this context equates to grades 11-12.)
Experience Chemistry (High School)
Experience Astronomy (High School)
Or check out Journey Homeschool Academy’s homepage!
You can also preview this course for FREE! Please click on my affiliate button link to do that here:
Journey Homeschool Academy has a Fabulous Fit Promise! They want this course to be a “fabulous fit” for your family. So, if you were to purchase the course, then discover that there is NOT going to be appropriate for your student, they do offer a 100% money-back, happiness guarantee within 30 days of the start of the course OR 6 months from purchase date (whichever comes first).
Scope and Sequence
What is covered in this course? From the chemistry description page, go to the section in large letters that says, “You’ve got questions…we’ve got answers!” Click on the first question to see the link for a pdf of the lesson overview – the topics and skills covered in this course!
This course began to be offered in the fall of 2021.
Experience Chemistry Level C: My Description
Here are the aspects which first caught my eye when I saw the science courses Level C advertised on JHA’s website. These are described briefly here and in more detail in my blog post for the Experience Biology course.
- The video component was visually-appealing, not flashy entertainment but are not a dry-and-boring lecture either.
- The notebook component was straightforward and attractive. There is a small amount of colour ink the pages but not huge amounts of it, making it economical to print and put into binders. Each student needs a notebook binder plus a lab manual binder. I like how the notebook guides the student to practice good notetaking skills.
- Marking: They (not the homeschool mom) mark the tests and exams! (This is done automatically since the tests exist online, on the computer.) This was actually a feature I was looking for – I wanted not just an answer key but rather, the tests marked for me. Sure, as a mom with a science degree, I might have “the ability” to mark the tests and follow along with an answer key BUT do I have a lot of time and energy to keep doing that for two teens plus work with the 4 elementary kiddos? Not really. There are both “quizzes” and tests/exams. Labs are marked by the parent but there are guidelines given for these. They specifically want to teach the skill of how to write a lab report as well, not just doing the hands-on work and answering a few questions about it.
- Flexibility: I also liked that the textbook is used as I think one should be for such a course – as a reference tool, not the curriculum itself. That means that any good senior high school level chemistry textbook is fine to use. And that meant I didn’t have to purchase another textbook but rather could simply use the chemistry textbook I already have in my home. Although the course is somewhat costly, especially when you figure in the exchange rate, I have felt that the overall cost versus benefit is quite reasonable.
- A math emphasis: Compared to some upper-level chemistry homeschool resources which I’ve seen over the years, this course has various mathematical calculations in a number of lessons. I feel that math is often downplayed while history is given a greater focus than needed in many other chemistry resources so I was thrilled to see MATH taught within Experience Chemistry!
You can preview Experience Chemistry through my affiliate link by clicking here or on the graphic!
Labs for Homeschoolers in Canada
WHERE CAN WE FIND LAB SUPPLIES? Canadian homeschoolers DO have a challenge in finding specialty science supplies which are available to them. The challenges are due to aspects such as import/border restrictions on chemicals, lab supplies only offered to “Schools” as licensed institutions to receive these sorts of materials, and finding supplies in reasonable quantities/sizes and related costs for home usage. I have searched since last summer for suppliers across Canada for various lab supplies. Generally, chemical items or breakable items have huge shipping costs added, even if ordering from a Canadian business (e.g $65 surcharge if one item is “too special”), so in my opinion, if you cannot find supplies in local stores, it might be more cost-effective to order the few specialty supplies through Amazon (Canada). The links in the below lab list are ones that I have both found and then double-checked with Journey Homeschool Academy staff to insure that these chemicals are appropriate for their chemistry course experiment instructions.
(In addition to the list, I also found a chemistry kit at this link which the Kidder company rep said it is available for home purchase and delivery. I’m unsure if it would be helpful or not to understanding concepts with this course but compared to other chemistry “toy kits” in other stores, it seems like it could provide additional lab experiments for interested students. We personally are not planning to purchase this kit for our family.)
HOW MANY LABS? American homeschoolers generally consider that 15 labs are in a full high school science credit. So, not all of the labs in this course need to be completed. Of course, it is still the family’s choice as to how many hands-on assignments to include. This course does have demonstration labs to watch; even though that isn’t the “most exciting” way to use this course, it is a satisfactory plan as well!
Out of the 26 labs for the course, 16 (or 17) of them could be done without accessing the hard-or-impossible-to-get-in-Canada-chemicals-if-homeschooling. I sincerely appreciate the assistance of JHA staff in figuring out this list for me to share with you. (Thanks, Megan!!)
Full Disclosure: None of the links for lab supplies are affiliate links. I am not an affiliate with Amazon or any of the other stores. I post these for your convenience only. On this page, I am only an affiliate with the links to Journey Homeschool Academy.
Here is that list of the suggested 17 Labs out of 26 with the non-household chemicals in bolded print:
- Lab 1 uses calcium chloride such as this food-grade one: Amazon example. While calcium chloride is used as a road deicer, the food-grade version has fewer impurities so it’s preferred (plus it is cheaper per bag).
- Lab 2 no specialty supplies
- Lab 3 no specialty supplies but does introducing the use of accurate lab equipment to measure.
- Lab 4 uses calcium chloride (see above) and phenol red which is available at a pool supply store or on Amazon example
- Lab 5 no specialty supplies
- Lab 9 no specialty supplies
- Lab 12 uses magnesium ribbon such as found on Amazon here or here; you might also be able to find it in a parts store (e.g. for computer repair).
- Lab 13 no specialty supplies
- Lab 16 uses 50 mL of 1M hydrochloric acid on Amazon . (Note 1: I asked about the more-common “Muriatic Acid” to JHA and their rep thought that it might have too many impurities for using it for their lab.) Note 2: In my opinion, HCl is too expensive of an item for a lab and so our family did NOT purchase it. The lab’s purpose is to show the making of a salt when HCl (an acid) is added to a base (baking soda) so that it makes NaCl + water. When the water is evaporated off, salt solids can be seen. You can see a similar lab performed here at this link. So what I thought of as a cheaper alternative lab is to make a different salt using vinegar and baking soda, such as what is shown at this link. However, I also should note that vinegar and baking soda are mixed together later for lab number 20, even if that lesson’s purpose is a bit different.
- Lab 18 no specialty supplies
- Lab 19 no specialty supplies but does use lab equipment.
- Lab 20 no specialty supplies
- Lab 26 no specialty supplies
- Lab 27 no specialty supplies
- Lab 29 no specialty supplies
- Lab 32 no specialty supplies
- Lab 34 no specialty supplies
JHA also provides a list of household supplies (which are not considered specialty supplies) for this course. The list includes: baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), an area to kick and throw a ball, ball, Frisbee, chalk or some way of measuring distance outdoors on the ground, water balloons, ¼ cup (dry measuring kind), ¼ cup (liquid measuring kind), 1 tablespoon measuring spoon, permanent marker, butter knife (or similar tool), acetic acid (white vinegar), sodium chloride (table salt), sucrose (table sugar), water, small plastic cup, funnel, cooking pot, 6 clear glasses or Mason jars, 6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 6 tablespoons flour, 6 tablespoons rosemary, 6 tablespoons sand, small mason jar with lid, long-nose lighter, colored pencils, M&Ms or similar candy to sort (5 colors, 20 of each color), packet of active dry yeast, thermometer (the kind that goes into a pot of water on a stove – e.g. a candy thermometer), plastic container, crayon or marker, 3 latex balloons, ice, dominoes or playing cards, scoop, 2 – Ziplock-type bag (at least 1 “quart size” which means large or x-large), a small scoop or scoopula.
Lab Equipment for the above mentioned 17 labs only
(Note: If you wish to do other labs beyond those mentioned ones, then there is additional equipment and chemicals – more than what is mentioned on my website. Please use my affiliate link here to go directly to the webpage where Journey Homeschool Academy lists their lab supplies.)
These are the expected pieces of “special equipment” for 17 of the 26 labs in Experience Chemistry. They could be found in various places, depending on the item, such as Canadian Tire (e.g. goggles, gloves), Scholar’s Choice, Spectrum Educational Supplies, Kidder.ca, or some larger homeschool supply companies.
Silicone or plastic mat for working on, such as this one at Amazon.
Goggles, gloves (latex or nitrile), apron, a scale that measures grams, weigh boats or weigh paper or similar (I’m saving/reusing empty individual-size plastic applesauce containers instead), 4 pipettes (sometimes found in paint/art supplies or in pharmacies), 25 or 50 mL graduated cylinder, 100 or 150 mL graduated cylinder, (Note: We personally will be using just one cylinder and got that one as a used item no longer needed by older students), 100 or 150 mL beaker (Lab 3; may be made of plastic), Erlenmeyer flask (150 mL – made of glass, used in Labs 3 and 19) with a stopper that has a hole to fit the mouth of the flask and a plastic tube that fits into the hole of that stopper (for Lab 19 which also uses a ring stand and ring clamp*), timer, meter stick or measuring tape in metric, forceps for holding 15 cm of magnesium ribbon (this looks like it’s for holding a piece of metal in a lab that uses a lighter so metal forceps e.g. tongs/tweezers is appropriate but plastic is not), 3 test tubes (to work with yeast; e.g. 20mL size), and anything mentioned for labs 29, 32, and 34 (which are not posted at time of publishing this blog since the course is under development for the last portion yet).
If you choose to also do Lab 16, then you’ll also need your beaker to be glass, and use a 100 mL evaporating dish and a 100 mm watch glass. Regarding Lab 19, in my opinion, purchasing a ring stand and ring clamp is not worth the cost for just holding a flask of water upside-down once, however, if people can borrow one or get one for low cost, then it would be useful. I personally feel that I’m comfortable with closely supervising 2 generally-competent teens and doing Lab 19 with using something like my canning jar lifter instead. Other parents might not feel the same comfort and want to use a ring stand and clamp as directed in the official lab instructions. Safety is the sole responsibility of the individual family members doing the lab(s).
Lab 9 explores the shapes of molecules. JHA lists this Molecular model kit and suggest that a kit includes a minimum of 3 oxygen, 4 halogen, 1 carbon, 3 hydrogen, 1 phosphorus, 1 nitrogen, 4 links for single bonds, and 4 links for double bonds. Alternatively, I (Joy) suggest using coloured marshmallows and toothpicks or going to a craft store to find something that can demonstrate these inexpensively.
One additional item that I (Joy) personally suggest having on-hand for any study of chemistry is pH paper or litmus paper strips to test for acids and bases. These are NOT used in any lab in this course. But I think these provide extra fun to explore with for any student age! Try seeing the pH in lemon juice, your drinking water, baking soda in water, bar of soap, tomato juice, etc.!
Journey Homeschool Academy will be having an EARLY BIRD SALE in the month of April 2022!!!
Final remarks about this course in general:
You can preview this course for FREE. Please click on my affiliate button link to do that here:
The Gilkerson’s designed this course to run a full school year (9-10 months, with a couple of video lessons each week). (That is common with American curriculum.) However, I prefer to have courses run for a semester rather than full-year so our family went through Experience Biology in the fall semester, finishing in February. That means there are about 4 video lessons weekly plus the lab to consider. It did work fairly well with their biology course, with some flexibility for the teens to double-up if they want to take a day off occasionally. For this second term, they are taking a second science course (chemistry). So, yes, this course can be paced like the semestered system many of us Canadians have known.
If you want to sign up for this course, don’t forget to do so WHEN their enrollment is OPEN!
While they “might” open the enrollment up once or twice during the school-year for a very brief time (e.g. maybe in January and/or in April each year), this isn’t guaranteed.
The start date(s) and pacing for their course is up to you (except Astronomy which runs according to the calendar for night-watching). (Pacing for senior level courses are 365 days from start date.) But you can’t register at any time – you can only register to be added into a course when the enrollment is OPEN. It closes for most of the traditional school year. This past summer, enrollment was OPEN until August 31st.
If you are interested in this course, sign up for my newsletter since, to the best of my ability, I will notify my subscribers whenever Journey Homeschool Academy is OPEN for enrollment.
Once again, here is my affiliate link to learn more details about this excellent senior high school level CHEMISTRY course: