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Honors Biology | 2023-24

Blue Tent Honors Biology

Honors Biology is a live, online class where upper-middle and high school homeschoolers will study everything from the cell to the diversity of plants and animals that surround us. In this interactive science class, students will learn how our understanding of biology has developed over the ages, and they will consider its impact--both personal and societal--in the 21st century. 

  • Live Class: Students will meet live with their instructor and classmates for 90 minutes once a week, and with the use of online tools and interactive resources, this course will offer a diverse array of print, digital, and live learning options.

  • Optional Study Hall: In addition to the live 90-minute class, the instructor will offer a live study hall each Friday from 1-4 pm Eastern. Students can utilize this study hall in two ways:

    • Drop in. They can drop in to a Zoom study hall at any time for a quick question.

    • Homework time. They can log in to a Zoom study hall--with microphones muted and videos on or off--to work on their any science homework, and then unmute to get immediate help when questions arise.

Class Details

  • Honors Biology is a full-year lab-science class.

  • Tuition: $775

  • Instructor: Irene Paine.

  • Dates: August 21, 2023-May 5, 2024.

    • See our FAQ for a complete list of days, times, and breaks.

  • Weekly Live Class: Thursday 1:30-3 p.m. Eastern.

  • Optional Live Study Hall: Friday 1-4 p.m. Eastern

  • ​Grade level: varies, typically 8th and up

    • For age/grade guidelines, prerequisites, and class-fit recommendations for all classes, please see our FAQ page

  • Class size: 25

  • Course materials are listed HERE.

  • Format: Students share an interactive online classroom throughout the year and meet once a week on Zoom in live classes.

    • Students who attend live classes are requested to keep their webcams on and participate.

    • Live classes will be recorded for those who miss classes or prefer to watch later.

  • CA students: this course is a-g approved if taken through some homeschool charters. See our FAQ.

  • All Blue Tent science courses are NCAA-approved.


Both Hands-On and Virtual Labs

A wide variety of interactive online tools and class dialogue will guide and enhance the journey as students and their classmates strive to connect biological concepts to relevant, real-world applications.

  • In this pre-AP Biology class, students will engage with both virtual and hands-on labs. This will allow the examination of life through a different lens, emphasizing inquiry-based investigations that provoke questions and encourage observations that spring from experiments.

  • Hands-on and virtual labs will utilize various resources, including eMind virtual software, videos, and live instruction.

    • Dissecting a sea star, a crayfish, a perch, and a frog will allow a close examination of the internal structures of different species as students learn to identify each of the body’s systems.

    • In all the class labs, students will collect and critically analyze data, constructing hypotheses based on their findings.

  • Understanding that biology is not a static field—but one in which there is ongoing investigation and debate—they will become well informed and present their own findings and opinions on a current biology-related issue or topic in several unit projects. 

Core and Supplemental Resources

After a thorough investigation of mainstream biology resources, the instructor has selected the 2017 edition of the Holt McDougal Biology textbook to ensure that this course will provide a firm foundation and set students up for success if they choose to move on to AP Biology or to an Anatomy & Physiology class.

  • Topics that will be thoroughly covered include the chemistry of life, the cell, genetics, biological classifications, ecology, plant and animal life, the human body, and biotechnology.  

  • The text will be supplemented with a wide array of online tools that offer representations, videos, models, and activities that instruct, explain, and reinforce scientific phenomena and help students explore and solve scientific problems.

  • The ebook, which is included in the digital package, has audio capability, so students can choose to listen to parts of the text if they wish to.

  • Students should expect to spend 8-12 hours per week on classwork (which includes instructional videos and live class time).

In an active Moodle classroom, the interweaving of dynamic virtual tools, weekly collaboration and interaction with classmates, and instruction and guidance by the instructor will offer an engaging and enjoyable class experience. We hope students will join Honors Biology with an eager anticipation to work with other homeschooled students as together they microscopically and macroscopically explore the world around them!

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