Honors Biology

Course Overview

biology.jpgHonors Biology is your online entry into one of the foundational high school sciences, where you will study everything from the cell to the diversity of plants and animals that exist around you. In this highly interactive asynchronous class, you will learn how our understanding of biology has developed over the ages and recognize its impact, both personal and societal, in the 21st century.

A wide variety of online tools and active class dialogue will guide and enhance your journey, as you and your classmates strive to connect biological concepts to relevant real-world applications.
As a student in this pre-AP Biology class, you'll perform a wide variety of experiments—in both virtual and hands-on labs. This will allow you to examine life through a different lens, as well as emphasize inquiry-based investigations in which you ask questions, make observations, and conduct experiments.

Some of your biology lab work will include hands-on dissections with the aid of virtual technology and videos. Performing dissections of an earthworm, a crayfish, a perch, and a frog will allow you to closely examine the magnificent internal designs of different species and learn to identify each of the body’s systems. In all your labs, you will collect and critically analyze data, constructing arguments based on your findings. Then, working closely with your instructor and sharing results with your classmates, you will be taught how to write labs and investigative reports.

This course will also prepare you to take the SAT Subject Test for Biology. The College Board recommends the completion of a one-year high school biology course—as well as an algebra course—before taking the Biology subject test. In this course, we will cover all the core concepts found in both Tests E and M. The E test deals more with biological communities, populations, and energy flow; while the M test deals more with biochemistry, and cellular structure and processes—such as respiration and photosynthesis.

  •  After a thorough investigation of mainstream biology resources, your instructor has selected the Holt McDougal Biology textbook to ensure that this course will provide a firm foundation and set you up for success if you choose to move on to AP Biology or Anatomy & Physiology. Topics that will be covered thoroughly include the chemistry of life, the cell, genetics, biological classifications, ecology, plant and animal life, the human body, and biotechnology.  

  •  Your text will be supplemented with a wide array of highly interactive online tools that offer representations, videos, models, and activities that instruct, explain, and reinforce scientific phenomena and help you explore and solve scientific problems. 

  •  Understanding that biology is not a static field—but one in which there is ongoing investigation and debate—you will become well informed and present your own findings and opinions on a current biology-related issue or topic in several unit projects. 
The interweaving of dynamic virtual tools, the weekly collaboration and interaction with your classmates, and the active instruction and guidance by your instructor will offer you an engaging and enjoyable class experience. Join Honors Biology with an eager anticipation to work with other homeschool students, as you microscopically and macroscopically explore the world around you!

Course Goals

  • To learn the different characteristics of organisms within each biological Kingdom 
  • To study the relationship that exists among microscopic and macroscopic living organisms
  • To classify the types of molecules of which all organisms are composed, understand their functions within cells, and explain the structure of cells
  • To explain the cellular processes involved in the maintenance of stable internal conditions within organisms
  • To explain the processes of photosynthesis and respiration as they pertain to how organisms obtain and use energy to build and maintain body structures
  • To explain the processes and structures involved in the processes of digestion and nutrient absorption, and how these processes allow organisms to both acquire energy and maintain homeostasis
  • To describe the structures and processes involved in circulation and gas exchange within organisms and how these organ systems work together to maintain homeostasis
  • To learn the intricacies of writing college-level lab reports through a process of drafting and revision.
  • To respond appropriately to feedback, revising and improving course assignments
  • To actively participate in weekly on-line class discussion forums--sharing, comparing, and providing encouragement to peers

Student Resources

Below are the course resources and lab supplies you will need to obtain. Please plan to purchase or obtain these before the first week of class.  Used resources (such as a borrowed microscope or dissection kit) are highly encouraged.

Class Texts: 

Lab Resources and Supplies:  

  • Microscope
  • Colored pencils
  • General lab supplies: A list of supplies that can be bought at your supermarket will be provided.
  • Science lab supplies: The instructor will offer a complete lab kit, including a dissection kit (tools), dissection specimens, and safety goggles, for purchase (microscope not included).
     A list of supplies and suggested suppliers—including links to online vendors—will be provided if families wish to purchase their own supplies. 
     Estimated science lab supply cost: approximately $105.00.

Online Format

This is an asynchronous online biology course. While it is highly interactive and includes audio and video resources, there is very little live audio or video--and no requirement that a student must be present at a given time during the week. This gives you the flexibility to plan and complete your coursework in a manner that works with your busy academic and extra-curricular schedule. Assignments are set up on a Monday-Sunday timetable, with no specific times during the week that you must be available to "meet" with your instructor or classmates. You will want to visit the class website regularly each week, to complete assignments and participate in class discussion forums.

moodlepowered.jpgThe class is hosted on Moodle, a learning management system that is popular among online educators and universities. (See a 1-minute video here.) You will complete your biology assignments directly on the website and upload lab reports as Word documents. The course website is password protected and accessible only to registered students.You will need access to a computer with a current browser. All up-to-date browsers work with Moodle: Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Google Chrome. Old versions of these browsers may limit your interaction with the website.

Course Tuition, Size, and Schedule

Honors Biology is open to advanced 8th to 12th grade homeschoolers who are age 13+. Tuition for 2017-18 is $600.00. A small class size will allow the instructor to be fully engaged in the class each week, offering individual instruction, assistance, and detailed lab/investigative report feedback.

The class will begin on Monday, August 21, 2017 and conclude on Friday, May 11, 2018. There will be a one-week fall break (October 9-15), a shortened Thanksgiving week, a two-week Christmas break (December 18 - Jan 1), and a one-week spring break (March 12-18).

If you have questions about whether Honors Biology is a good fit for you—or if you would like additional information about this course—please contact the instructorLearn about Irene Paine's background and experience by scrolling down on these pages: