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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Friendly Chemistry - Review

Review of the high school chemistry curriculum - Friendly Chemistry

The word chemistry has a way of sending cold chills down my spine, or at least it used to until I found Friendly Chemistry.

I spent a good portion of my summer researching through various chemistry curriculum. Friendly Chemistry stood out to me because of its title. I wondered how chemistry could ever be "friendly".  I was so intrigued that I read the two volume Teacher's Edition from cover to cover in just a handful of weeks. Below, I'd like to share with you my review of this high school chemistry course which can be used by both Christian and Secular families alike.

The Authors' Background (From Their Website):

This book was written by Joey and Lisa Hajda. Joey has a doctorate degree in veterinary medicine and a master's degree in secondary and higher education, curriculum, and instruction. He has taught science courses at the middle and high school levels for over 20 years, as well as at the local community college level.

Lisa has a bachelor's degree in veterinary science, a master's degree in elementary curriculum and instruction, and completed her coursework towards her doctorate in education.

What You Need to Teach the Course: 

Teacher's Edition Volumes 1 and 2: This curriculum was written to be used in a group setting, but it can also be used independently. The Teacher's Edition includes:
  • Teaching tips for each lesson (There are a total of 32 lessons)
  • Instructions for the games/activities
  • Directions for the lab activities
  • The reading material that is included in the student edition, including lesson worksheets
  • Tests
Student Edition - Because Friendly Chemistry is not as bulky as most other chemistry books, it is not intimidating. It also includes lesson worksheets.

Manipulative Set - Comes in the form of a book which has to be cut apart.

Annotated Solutions

DVDs (optional) - I watched Disk 1 - Lessons 1-6 - Video included various graphics as the author read from the book. I didn't feel these added much value to the curriculum.


Labs are done using mostly household materials. A supplies list is included in the Teacher Edition Volume 2 book. They have also put together YouTube videos which show you how to do the experiments and the activities.

If you prefer using more common chemistry lab materials, I suggest purchasing a separate lab kit. (At this time, Friendly Chemistry does not offer lab kits.) 


The games and activities included in this curriculum not only help to add an element of fun to a subject that most students find difficult, but it also helps visual and kinesthetic learners better grasp the concepts being taught. Although these are geared towards a co-op type setting, there are some activities that can be done with just the teacher and the student.

You don't have to do the activities in order to use this curriculum. 


It includes a Doo-Wop Board which is used as a study aid to help teach the concept of electron orbitals. Don't know what these are? Don't worry; the Doo-Wop board does an excellent job of helping one understand this concept.

Also, included are some flash cards, and Compound Intensity and Doo -Wop Mania cards (both of these are games). Since these cards are printed on regular paper, the author recommends that they be laminated.

Topics Covered Within This Course:
  • Atomic Theory
  • Trends of the Periodic Table of Elements
  • Quantum Mechanics (Electron Arrangements)
  • Ion Formation
  • Compound Formation - Bonding
  • Avogadro's Number and the Mole
  • Calculation of Formula Weights and Percent Composition
  • Empirical Formulas
  • Writing and Classifying Chemical Reactions
  • Balancing Chemical Equations
  • Stoichiometry
  • Solutions and Molarity
  • Gas Laws
Watch the video below in which Joey Hajda answers some of the most frequently asked questions about this program.

Friendly Chemistry is written in an easy-to-understand manner. I picked a topic in the Friendly Chemistry book and then read about the same topic in another chemistry book. What I found was that I completely understood the wordiness of the second book due to the fact that I had first read about it in Friendly Chemistry. I actually did this several times. I was so pleased about this because I thought I would never be able to understand this subject.

Although Friendly Chemistry is a full high school curriculum, it is not as rigorous as other chemistry courses. For a student like my son, who is interested in the engineering field, I'm afraid that this course may not include all of the information he needs to learn in order to prepare him for college chemistry due to the fact that when I compared Friendly Chemistry to other popular chemistry curriculums, there were several topics found in the other books that were not included in Friendly Chemistry, such as the law of thermodynamics. However, I do feel that Friendly Chemistry is an excellent curriculum to help him understand the basic concepts. Because of this, I have decided to use Friendly Chemistry as a supplement, and will later use it with my other student when he enters the 7th or 8th grade.

My son really likes Friendly Chemistry. He appreciates the fact that it is easy to understand, isn't as thick as his previous science curriculums, and includes games to help him remember and grasp the concepts he is learning about.

If your student is not interested in going to college, or is interested in a field that does not require college chemistry, then I highly recommend Friendly Chemistry. I also recommend it as an excellent junior high curriculum or to be used within a co-op environment.

In conclusion, some of the things that I most liked about Friendly Chemistry were its ability to take away my apprehension towards chemistry and the authors' ability to make chemistry understandable. Also, I appreciated their quick responses to my questions.

  • Teacher's Edition 1: $24.99
  • Teacher's Edition 2: $24.99
  • Student Textbook: $49.99
  • Student Workbook: $29.99 (Purchase if teaching more than one student.)
  • Manipulative Booklet: $9.99
  • Annotated Solutions Manual (Although optional, I would suggest it). $9.99
  • Test Bank (pdf) (Optional) - Allows you to print tests straight from your computer: $8.99
  • DVDs: $14.99 Each

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Fun Summer Learning Activities for Elementary Students - Guest Post

Fun Summer Learning Activities for Elementary Students - A Slice of Homeschool Pie

A question that people who are unfamiliar with homeschooling often ask is if there is really much of a distinction between holidays and school days if you are being homeschooled. Doesn’t every day feel like a holiday? After all, study plans are not as rigid and structured as they are at regular schools. The answer is that the way children are homeschooled varies and yes, they are more flexible. But to completely slack off from studies during summer holidays will be as much of a step back for children being homeschooled as it is to children who attend regular school.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Learn Math Fast System Review - How It Was Able to Teach My High School Student What Other Math Curricula Couldn't

How It Was Able to Teach My High School Student What Other Math Curricula Couldn't

In the fall of 2014, we switched my high school son’s math program. As we were finishing up the school year, he told me that he was struggling with math. My son who had previously received A type grades in math had not only dropped his grade by two levels, but his confidence in his math skills as well.

Since I had experience using Volume I of the Learn Math Fast System curriculum with my youngest (you can read my review about it here), and having been really impressed with it, I decided to try it with my oldest. Because my son hopes to get into the mechanical engineering field someday, I wanted a math program that would help him understand math, in this case Algebra.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Spanish Level I Online Course - Fall of 2015

Online Spanish Level 1 Course

This fall I will be offering a Spanish Level I course for students in Grades 8 – 12 (Students in 7th grade may also participate if they have taken a prior Spanish course.)

This course will be taught online in a group setting using Google+ Hangouts. In order to participate, students must have a Google+ account and a scanner. Students will be required to scan their homework assignments and email them to me. All tests and quizzes will be emailed to the students. Students will receive a Certificate of Completion award at the completion of the full course.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Diary of A Homeschool Parent - The High School Years - Guidance Counselor and Transcripts

Diary of a Homeschool Parent The High School Years - Guidance Counselor and Transcripts

I have been a homeschool parent for the past 10 years. In May my oldest son will finish his first year of high school lessons, and this past winter I added a new title to my homeschool resume. This new title is Guidance Counselor. Having absolutely no past experience in this regard, I find this new position challenging.

For those of you who have not yet started down this road called the high school years, I thought I'd share my journey with you in a new series of posts which will read more like a diary. My hope is that by reading my "entries," it will assist you in preparing for this phase of your homeschooling career, or if you're already driving down this path, that we will be able to come alongside each other in order to help steer one another in the right direction.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Homeschool Mom's Deep, Dark Secret

A Homeschool Mom's Deep, Dark Secret by

I believe that most people who know me probably think that I have it all together as a homeschool parent. My house is pretty organized (on most occasions), I am a strong cheerleader for the homeschooling movement, I lead a homeschool support group, and my children are performing academically well. However, what people may not know is that I have a deep, dark secret, one that I feel lead to share.

Are you ready?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Excelerate Spanish - A Homeschool Spanish Curriculum (Review)

Excelerate Spanish - Review by

I first learned about Excelerate Spanish through an article I read in the 2014 annual print book of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. What captured my attention was that Excelerate Spanish used a method of teaching foreign language that was new to me, Teaching Proficiency Through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS).