Apologia Biology Labs as a Co-op Class {HomeSchool High Link Up}

As you know, we are studying biology this year. The idea of doing biology with my high schoolers was always daunting for me– mostly because I knew we would need to find a way to buy a microscope.



Last spring, as I was planning out our next school year, I learned that our co-op was going to do biology labs as a co-op class. We would be using Apologia Biology. The most important part for me was that the co-op would be borrowing microscopes from some homeschool families for the class to use. {yay!} By doing this, many of us would be able to afford the cost of doing biology with our teenagers, even if we couldn't afford to buy a microscope. In the end, it turned out that my family was able to provide two microscopes for the class to use {Thanks to Apologia and Nature's Workshop}, but that was beyond my wildest dreams at that point.

If you are thinking of doing a science labs class at your co-op, there are some benefits and some drawbacks to consider. We have done two courses as a co-op– Apologia General Science and Apologia Biology.




  • Sharing a microscope- As I stated above, we borrowed microscopes from local families for co-op use. Some of these families are part of our co-op, but not all of them. Our teacher/ facilitator began the class by explaining to the students that these microscopes were very expensive and were borrowed. An agreement was signed by each student and parent stating that if they mishandled and broke a microscope, they would replace it.
  • Sharing prepared slide sets- We also were able to borrow a prepared slide set for each microscope (some families opted to buy one to have for future students), which means that the co-op did not have to buy 7 sets of prepared slides.
  • Sharing supply fees- By shopping as a group for the supplies needed to conduct each class experiment, we were able to lower our costs. Certain items were less expensive because we could buy a larger quantity and split it between all 14 students rather than only using a small portion for one student.
  • A schedule for class labs- The class schedule keeps you moving through the lessons at home since you need to be ready for the next class time.
  • Doing experiments as a group- Let's face it. It's more fun doing experiments as a group!




  • A schedule for class labs- Yes, this is also listed as a benefit! The class schedule keeps you moving, but it can also feel like an obstacle at those times when life demands a bit of a break. Thus, it can be easy to fall behind the class.
  • Lots of planning for the teacher- Our teacher did all of the supply shopping and bargain hunting. She bought supplies from two or three different places in order to get the best deals. She brings supplies back and forth from home each week. She also planned out the schedule for each week's labs. {More on this in a minute.}
  • Doing experiments as a group- {Yes, also a benefit} Since it is more fun doing experiments with friends, it can also get rather noisy. The fun is good, and we want to keep that element since it helps foster a love for science. However, there is a fine line between fun and chaos.



Our class has 14 students. We have one teacher/ facilitator and two helpers. The bulk of the work really fell to our teacher, Julia. She did all of the supply shopping. She brings things to and from class each week. She planned out the schedule for the whole year's worth of co-op classes.

Planning the schedule was a feat in and of itself! She needed to plan out which labs to do together and which to do at home in order to make 36 weeks of Apologia Biology labs fit into our 20 weeks of co-op classes. This is the second time that our co-op has done Apologia Biology labs as a class. The previous teacher was able to give Julia some help about which labs needed more or less time. By using her advise and some other co-op schedules, Julia was able to put together a reasonable schedule for our unique time frame.

Julia was gracious enough to let me share her co-op class schedule with you. Click the graphic below to download the year's biology labs schedule as a pdf.



And to give you a taste of what biology labs can be like in a co-op setting, I set up a camera at one end of the room and let it run while we did Experiment 10.1 during Co-op Week 9. It really is necessary for the students to talk as they work in pairs, so it can get a bit noisy. Also, this particular week our classroom was open to the musical rehearsal in the room next to us (the folding wall was broken) so it was a bit more noisy than normal, but the video will still give you a good idea of how labs in a group setting can look.



Yes, it's as fun as it looks! I really miss these guys!





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!

HomeSchool High…


Ideas, Resources, and Friends…
so It's not so scary.

11 thoughts on “Apologia Biology Labs as a Co-op Class {HomeSchool High Link Up}

    1. Thank you, Barb! That would be fabulous! {I’m actually working on a Biology Resources page today, and your lens is on it. Good stuff!}

    1. Thanks, Tricia! And thanks for linking up so regularly. You’re a fabulous resource for others homeschooling high school!

  1. We had a great time doing Apologia Biology as a group a few years ago. The students did all their reading and test and home and we did the labs together. There is a large section on my blog, module by module if anyone would like to see how we put it together. So glad I found your blog.

  2. Hey Connie – Just wanted to let you know I’ve added a link for you on my Apologia Biology page. Glad to have another great resource to provide for those doing Bio.

  3. We have used the Apologia Science books for science co-ops with our younger children. This helped me understand all of the many more details to be considered when thinking about doing high school science together. Thanks for sharing at the Finishing Strong Link-up!

  4. I’d love a copy of the microscope use agreement. We are doing the same thing with our home school group this year.

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