Biology Lab Reports- What Is Typical? {HomeSchool High Link-Up}

One difficult thing that I have found in homeschooling is assessing or grading my children's work. It's hard to decide what is typical of an age or grade when you only have a few students' work to compare.

We don't give grades until middle school age, and then only in certain subjects. In high school, obviously, all subjects get a grade. This has been when I really wish that I had an idea whether my teens work seems typical or whether I need to push them harder.

As you know, we have been doing our biology labs with a group of students at our co-op.  It's usually a fun hour of wandering through a room full of teenagers and lots of microscopes. I love all the science-y fun I get to observe. But I digress… As I am wandering the room taking pictures or video and answering questions, I have had an opportunity to see all the students' lab notebooks.

This made me think…


homeschool lab reports

I'm still not certain that my teens' work is typical, but I wanted to share a bit of their lab notebooks with you. If nothing else, I think it helps us all figure out that there really isn't a "normal."

These samples are all from the same experiments. This is how they looked when my teens first finished the experiment. They were all sent back to finish, fix, or polish.



We are using Apologia Biology. I opted to use Knowledge Box Central's Lapbook Journal pages along with our studies. Colleen has arthritis, and it affects her writing hand. I wanted to use these printable pages to lessen the amount of writing for her. We are using the journal pages rather than the lapbook pages. The student questions and study guides have the question printed out, and the student just needs to fill in the definition or answer. The thing I love the most is the partial filled out pages for the labs! The supplies and procedure are printed for you. This leaves a minimal amount of writing for Colleen, which means her hand doesn't ache and she can fill out the rest of the lab neatly and in one sitting. Totally worth the $10!

(We are also using Knowledge Box's Flash Cards. We typically hate flash cards, but with all the definitions to learn these have been a life saver!)


Sean is my youngest student in biology. He's in 9th grade. He hates to write by hand, but loves science. He is excelling at biology so far!



Colleen is somewhere between 11th and 12th grade. She does not normally enjoy science. She is really finding biology interesting, but it does not come naturally to her. It's a lot of work, but she's rising to the challenge.




Judah is on the brink of finishing all his high school course work. Biology is one of his last courses. He doesn't like science either, but biology has surprised him. He's enjoying it, but I think he's kind of competing with his brother. He's just sure that Sean is going to get a much better grade than he and his sister– which makes me snicker a little bit. (Where did he get this competitive stuff? Certainly not from me. For real.)





I hope this helps you feel better about where your children are starting in their biology labs. We all have to start somewhere, but it doesn't mean we have to end there. Hopefully by the end of our biology course, my children will be producing much more precise lab reports. Surely my bit of science background will either teach them well or frustrate them. Hopefully, it will be the former. {grin}





HomeSchool High is sponsored by Apologia.

I hope you'll tell them a big "thank you"!


Now it's your turn. What have you been doing this week with your high school teens?

Check out the Link-Up Guidelines, grab a button or banner for your post, and link up your post– old or new.

Be sure to visit some of the other ladies who have linked up! Leave them an encouraging word. Let's link arms, ladies! Spur one another on to the finish!




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8 thoughts on “Biology Lab Reports- What Is Typical? {HomeSchool High Link-Up}

  1. Those lab reports look pretty typical, especially for the first half of the year. When I taught Apologia Biology in a co-op type setting, I had each student keep an official lab notebook just like I did in college courses and when I worked in a lab. Each lab was broken into “procedure, hypothesis, observations and summary”. The whole idea was that they should be able to pick up the lab notebook at any point in the future and use their notebook to recreate the experiment. Sometimes, the students had trouble with the summary. Giving them questions to answer such as “Was your original hypothesis correct? Why or Why not?” or “How did this experiment help in your understanding of the subject?” helps out.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing! My oldest is taking Apologia Biology this year and it helps me so much to see examples of lab reports. Great link up too! I’ll be back, hopefully with a post to link.

  3. Lovely post.

    I haven’t typically made my kids do many lab reports but we do lots of experiments and log the hours with a copy of the lab instructions. They do a couple of reports each year, so that they have exposure to the process (but I never did very many because I LOVE biology and didn’t want to take the fun out of it by making it a writing assignment).

    1. Hi. My daughter is doing biology with lab now for 9th grade science. While she doesn’t mind the experiments we do at home, she really doesn’t like writing lab reports. I’m glad I found this post, because I was getting worried about forcing her to write these reports every week. I also don’t want to take the fun out of these activities, but I’m now wondering how important it is for my daughter to keep writing these lab reports in the usual formats I see online. She does take photos to document her experiments, and keeps note of the sources (online or book) of the experiment procedure.

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