We have had great fun with our high school botany studies this year. While I was not able to find a suitable prepared homeschool high school botany curriculum, I was able to put together a course using various resources, some free and some fairly inexpensive that I feel thoroughly covered the science. Taking the advice I received from Jeannie Fulbright when I asked her if her Botany course had been used by older students, I used her book as a general outline and supplemented it heavily with books that went more in depth on the topics and had more sophisticated experiments.
We have been following a fairly simple course of study based on topics. We studied each topic as outlined below doing a combination of book study, experimentation, and nature studies.
- Functions and Parts:
- Introduction-Plants Purpose
- Plant cells
- Germination- with ongoing experiments for about a month
- Buds and Stems
The following are in depth studies which include specific plant studies:
- Seedless Vascular plants
- Nonvascular plants
- Wild Flowers & Weeds
- Garden Flowers
- Cultivated Crop Plants
We allocated a few unscheduled weeks to count for reviews, testing, and free field studies away from home.
These are the resources that we used:
Exploring Creation with Botany by Jeanie Fulbright
The Botany Coloring Book by Paul Young (Don’t let that title fool you. This is a very detailed book with not only excellent coloring pages, but an abundance of educational reading material)
Free Resources from Google Books (titles linked to Google Books files):
Plants and Their Uses: An Introduction to Botany
Botany for Secondary Schools
Laboratory Botany for the High School
The Study of Plant Life
New Edition of Botany for Beginners
Botany: Lessons in Botany and Analysis of Plants
Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock (we actually have the print copy of this book but it can be found for free on Google Books.)
There are many other really good older books in Google Books on the topic of botany. I searched through probably 30-40 different titles before deciding on the titles above. I wanted books that would not only present the information but would have thought provoking questions for my kids to answer in their notebooks. Because these books do not include score keys, I worked through the course along with my children so that I could not only be sure their answers were correct but so that I would be equipped to answer their questions.
Worksheets from other website:
Growing Native Curriculum
We used Lesson 2.1-Trees Inside Out Students investigate the basic anatomy of tree
This site also includes teacher keys for the worksheets.
We also used the Trees of North America Book and some other field guides that we had picked up at the library book sales and had on hand.
A few of the experiments that we did were:
- Examine plant cells, chlorophyll, and pollen under the microscope
- Dissect a rose, roots, shoots, seeds, and other plant parts, using the microscope whenever possible to get an even closer look.
- Experimented with the effect of light and temperature on the growth of seeds
- Tropism, respiration, hydroponics
- Forcing bulbs to bloom in winter.
I really wished that I had taken more pictures of the experiments that we did, especially when we did the hydroponic experiment. That was really cool. We did that at the same time we were forcing the narcissus bulbs to bloom. I had an old carafe that the bulb sat perfectly on. When the plant began to grow we could easily see the roots extending down the neck of the carafe into the bottle. All the bulbs that we were forcing were planted at different depths and in different planting mediums. Because of this all the plants bloomed at different times. We had flowers from about the end of December right through to January. Pretty cool.
The kids really did a nice job on their journal pages and I wanted to share them here.
Here are my some of my daughter’s pages:
And here are some of my son’s pages:
If you are interested in the basic lesson plan I put together I made a PDF from my Homeschool Tracker lesson plan along with the list of resources. Not everything we did is included as we went on a few ‘rabbit trails’ along the way, but the basics are all there. I also included the Leaves test and key, Germination-Roots-Buds-Stems test and key, the Cone Discovery Worksheet, and the Conifer Leaf Study Worksheet I created and you can download everything HERE.