Alpha Omega presents each year's program in ten LifePacs per subject. LifePacs are designed to be used independently by students for most of the coursework, but they do require some teacher interaction as directed by the teacher handbook that comes in the boxed set for each course. The teacher handbook contains basic instructions for using the curriculum, tests, discussion topics and questions, answers, and activities—all of which are important for a complete course.
Home Science Tools sells lab kits for each of these Alpha Omega science courses.
Science LifePacs 700 - 7th grade or 800 - 8th grade
Topics covered in 700 for seventh grade are tools and methods of science, science careers, measurement and graphing, astronomy, the sun, the moon, the atmosphere, weather and climate, and the human body.
Topics in 800 for eighth grade are science and society, the structure of matter, health and nutrition, energy, machines, balance in nature, and science and technology.
For both seventh and eighth grades, there are also optional DVDs, 7th Grade Science Experiments DVD and 7th Grade Science Experiments DVD.
Science LifePacs 900 - 9th grade: General Science
Topics covered in this general science course are atomic energy, volume, mass, density, physical and historical geology, body health, astronomy, oceanography, science and the future, and scientific applications.
Science LifePacs 1000: Biology
The course itself is challenging for high school level biology; it covers more chemistry than others and includes more difficult vocabulary. It covers taxonomy, chemical aspects of biology, microbiology, cells, plants, human anatomy and physiology, genetics, cell division and reproduction, ecology/pollution/energy, and principles and applications of biology. It has less coverage on animal anatomy and physiology than do most other courses, and requires a very minimal amount of animal dissection (a chicken leg was all that I spotted). Nevertheless, there are more activities and experiments than we find in some other courses, and students are required to write numerous essay answers ranging from a few sentences to multiple paragraphs. At the teacher's discretion, students are also assigned a number of written reports. The Christian viewpoint is very evident throughout the course.
To make this a lab course, experiments are built into the body of each lesson. This means that it is difficult if you stray very far from the experiments as planned. Required materials are listed in the teacher's handbooks, so you can put together your own lab equipment. Check the sources under " For Lab Work" for information about materials you might wish to order.
Some chemistry-type experiments are included which require chemicals, test tubes, beakers, and other apparatus. The lab kit from Home Science Tools has most of what you need but does not include a microscope or balance. The cost of the lab equipment might make this course impractical for some home educators. It might be possible to skip some of the lab experiments that require the most costly materials or come up with less expensive ways to illustrate the same principles, but that would require a bit of creativity on the part of parents.
Optional resources that Alpha Omega recommends for use with this course are the Visible Man or Visible Woman Human Anatomy Model Kits, a microscope, the book Body by Design, and The Evidence of Design science experiment video. The video sounds especially helpful since it includes actual lab experiments addressed in the course.
Science LifePacs 1100 level: Chemistry
This is a challenging chemistry course, covering a significant amount of organic chemistry. Algebra I is prerequisite. Quite a lot of lab work is required throughout the lessons. Home Science Tools' lab kit includes the most difficult to obtain items, but not a balance. (As an alternative, you might buy the LifePacs and their companion teacher handbook first. Use them to make a list of necessary chemicals and equipment in order of priority. Then make your purchases from sources such as those listed under "For Lab Work." However, this will be very time-consuming.) The experiments themselves are incorporated into the lessons and are essential for completing the course, so most of them need to be done one way or another. However, if you choose to skip some of them (especially some of the more dangerous ones), the answer key does describe what the results should have been. You can use that information to discuss the experiment with your son or daughter then go on with the lesson.
Science LifePacs 1200 level: Physics
Prerequisite: Algebra I. This course covers kinematics, dynamics, work and energy, introduction to waves, light, static electricity, current electricity, magnetism, and atomic and nuclear physics. This course does not have to be used as a lab course, but it is strongly recommended.