When we started homeschooling Bookworm in 4th grade, we were just trying it out for a year.  I really didn’t think much about high school.  However, here we are.  I used to get intimidated thinking about teaching high school science, but with the right program and the right tools, it is possible.

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Bookworm is currently taking Apologia Educational Ministries‘ high school biology class in 8th grade.  In anticipation of the science he will use next year, I happily reviewed Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set.

About Marine Biology

Marine Biology is a comprehensive program that counts for one high school science credit.  A prerequisites to the class is high school biology.  For review, we were given the following:

  • Exploring Creation with Marine Biology Textbook, 2nd Edition
  • Exploring Creation with Marine Biology Solutions and Tests, 2nd Edition
  • Exploring Creation with Marine Biology Student Notebook, 2nd Edition
  • Exploring Creation with Marine Biology 2nd Edition Audio CD, 2nd Edition

There are also other items available to go with this course that we did not purchase including:

Using these items can help fulfill the requirement for a science class with a lab.


Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set
This 2nd edition textbook is visually appealing.  There is a picture or diagram on every page, a green background is used for the On Your Own questions, and vocabulary and definitions are separated from the rest of the text and are in blue.  The experiment directions are written with a background that looks like graph paper.

The book is written by Sherri Seligson, a scientist and homeschool mom who has written several other Apologia books.  Dr. Robert Carver, Ph.D. Marine Biology served as Technical Editorial Contributor.

There are 16 modules in the book:

  1. The Oceans of Our Planet
  2. Life in the Sea
  3. The First Four Kingdoms
  4. Marine Invertebrates I
  5. Marine Invertebrates II
  6. Marine Vertebrates I
  7. Marine Vertebrates II
  8. Marine Ecology
  9. The Intertidal Zone
  10. Estuary Communities
  11. Coral Reefs
  12. Continental Shelf Communities
  13. The Epipelagic Zone
  14. The Deep Ocean
  15. Ocean Resources
  16. Effects of Humans on the Sea

Each module should take about 2 weeks to complete and requires 45 to 60 minutes per day, five days per week.  The book contains three types of lab experiments:

  • microscope labs,
  • dissection labs,
  • household labs

If you’ve covered high school biology, you should already have a microscope and dissection tools for labs.  The household labs use items commonly found around the house.  For example, one experiment uses sugar, salt, and cinnamon to demonstrate how mountains are formed when plates move.

Solutions and Tests

The Solutions and Tests Manual

This soft cover book contains everything you will need to grade your student’s work and to administer tests.  Inside, you’ll find solutions for the study guide, summary, and test for each module, as well as the test itself.  It also includes the quarterly tests and the answers for those tests.  This resource is invaluable for teaching and grading your student’s work.

Test Manual

The test manual contains 16 tests (one for each module) as well as four quarterly tests (one for every four modules).  Each module test has six to eight vocabulary words to define as well as ten to twelve short answer questions.  The quarterly tests contain 23 to 25 short answer questions.

The Student Notebook

Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set

You can simply buy the textbook and solutions and tests to offer a full course, but I find the Student Notebook indispensable!  The Student Notebook offers a daily schedule, taking all of the guesswork and planning out of preparing this course.  As a parent, I really appreciate this feature!

Second, the Student Notebook gives a rubric for grading as well as a chart for keep track of the student’s grades and  a suggested weight to give to each assignment (35% for labs and 65% for exams).

Finally, the Student Notebook offers a handy place to keep all course information.  There are pages for taking notes for each module, for answering the On Your Own questions, for defining the important terms for each module, for completing study guide questions, an optional summary for each module, and an experiment section at the end to form a hypothesis and record the results of each experiment.

I’ll be buying the Student Notebook for every Apologia high school science course Bookworm takes!

Audio CD

Marine Biology 2nd Ed Audio CD

The Audio CD is perfect for audio learners or those with learning disabilities who have trouble reading.  Even thought the textbook has the pronunciation of difficult words in parentheses after the word is given, the audio CD is helpful for hearing how words are pronounced.  The CD is narrated by a female who has a clear voice and speaks slowly.

The CD covers all of the written text in a module, as well as the On Your Own questions that appear interspersed throughout the modules.  However, it does not cover the figures (often graphs or other diagrams) in the book, so ideally a student should listen while also having the book in front of him.

My Experience Using Marine Biology

In high school, science was my second to last favorite subject with math taking first place.  The only science course that I enjoyed was biology.  So, I happily dug into Apologia’s Marine Biology for this review.

The first thing I noticed was the conversational style of the text.  If I had had science texts like this in high school, I might have enjoyed science more!

I found the schedule to be one I could keep pace with on a daily basis, and the guide of taking 45 to 60 minutes a day to be spot on.

What I was surprised by was how challenging the study guide questions and test questions were.  Don’t let the conversational tone of the text fool you that this is a watered down course.  It most definitely is not.  What I loved is that the author challenged students to take the information they had learned in a module and apply that learning in a real life situation.  For instance, one of the Module 1 study guide questions was, “If you were given a fish in a fish tank and were told to keep the salinity of the water very high and the temperature of the water very low to keep this fish healthy, what part of the ocean would you think was the natural habitat of the fish?”

Final Thoughts

This course is meant to be taken after high school biology.  Apologia’s Marine Biology is a fabulous way to help your student get another, in-depth science credit.  The course is meant to be student-directed, so very little assistance is required from the homeschool parent.  With all of the additional aids that Apologia offers, including the audio CD, instructional DVD, and microscope slide sets, both parent and child should feel confident and happy in their ability to both teach and finish this course successfully.  Next year, this will be Bookworm’s science course.

Keep up with Apologia on social media:

Apologia Educational Ministries


I was one of 55 people to review this program.  To read more reviews, click on the link below:

Marine Biology 2nd Edition Advantage Set {Apologia Educational Ministries Review}

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