Biology 101 {Review}

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

As we head into the high school years I am so thankful for homeschool companies who have gone to great lengths to provide tools for a quality education. I first happened upon the 101 Series a few years ago when I was looking into chemistry programs for my son. I was playing with an idea to make our 8th grade year high school credit worthy, and again and again Chemistry 101 came up as a recommendation. I bought the program and I could immediately see why people enjoy this program so much. We used Chemistry 101 last year and enjoyed it so much that as we head into high school biology I absolutely wanted to also check out Biology 101.

 I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review this program as I am already a fan of this series. I appreciate that the 101 Series is designed with the homeschool family in mind. As a busy homeschool mom I am happy to see that this program set up in a way that is easily implemented on a weekly basis. Let me share the program's components.

Biology 101 is a high school level DVD video course that comes with a downloadable guidebook.

There are 4 DVDs in the course.

 All 4 DVDs have a total of 9 segments which cover the following lessons:
  • Introduction: Defining Life and Life Classification - 15 min.
  • Plants - 37 min.
  • Aquatic (water) Creatures - 40 min.
  • Avian (flying) Creatures - 44 min.
  • Land Animals Part 1 - 22 min.
  • Land Animals Part 2 - 28 min.
  • Mankind Part 1 - 27 min
  • Mankind Part2 - 24 min.
  • Conclusion: Cells, Genetics, and a Brief History of Biology - 40 min
  • Guidebook and Accreditation Booklet PDF 

Our family enjoys watching this series. I appreciate that science is taught from a biblical perspective in a clear and interesting way. Wes Olson is an absolutely fantastic teacher! You can see his enthusiasm come through in the way he explains the lesson. You can watch the introduction to the course here.

Each video lesson is broken into several parts. As the new subject begins, that topic is highlighted on the screen. The printable guidebook also follows the same format.

 The boys enjoy the videography of this series and giggle when Wes Olson uses some sort of digital trick to illustrate a concept. It's obvious a lot of work went into the production of these videos!

 The 4th DVD has a printable Accreditation booklet. You can find a sample here. The booklet is a schedule that lays out how to use the course in order to fulfill one high school biology credit with lab. You accomplish this over 27 weeks, doing 135 hours of total study to earn the credit. Your student will use the following methods to study biology:

Use DVD and Guidebook
Biology Notebook
Research and Lab reports
20 Hours of Biology Labs
Discussion Questions
Online Resources and Library Books
Field Trips

 This represents three weeks of work out of the accreditation booklet. You can find a sample here. There are great suggestions throughout the booklet for lab work to fulfill that requirement for biology. One of the labs for plants was to identify 10 non-vascular and vascular plants in our yard. I appreciate that there are also essays assigned to give them practice on writing in an academic way about science.

 Aedan watched the plants segment with me. I checked out some library books on plants and trees as suggested in the accreditation book. One of the lovely things about this course is that you can add living books to bring it even more to life.

 We also took a trip to a local nursery to identify some plants. I love that there are field trips suggested throughout the course. Field trips are the ice cream of our school days and such a fantastic way to experience what we are learning together. I hope we will be able to enjoy many of the suggestions in the year to come.

Another thing I really appreciate about this course is that it can be as much or as little as you want it to be. It can be a full blown course that gives your students the opportunity to really dive into researching topics that interest them, or you can use it as a supplement to other biology materials. If your student is drawn to independent research and going on rabbit trails of learning, this is the perfect program. I love that it gives so many opportunities for diving deeper into a topic of interest.

The printable guidebook has a lesson for the student to read either before or after the video lesson. There is a sample of the guide book here.

I've found that it's better for Aedan to read it before the video lesson and to answer as many questions from the lesson quiz as he can from the reading. If there are ones he didn't find in the reading the answer is often in the video lesson.

At the end of each reading there is a short multiple choice quiz. It is a good review of what they are learning and a good way to tell if they understood the main points of the lesson. There is an answer guide at the back of the guidebook that makes the quizzes easy to grade.

I hope you will check out the 101 Series for your homeschool! Be sure to check out Chemistry 101. We loved how it explained chemistry in the context of history. We traveled from the birth of chemistry through the development of the periodic table. We especially loved learning about many the many chemists who developed chemistry into what it is today. I am looking forward to using Physics 101 in the future! 

Disclaimer: In exchange for my review, I received a free copy of the Biology 101 DVD course. All of the opinions, however, are my own and are shared honestly.


  1. Great review! I've looked at this several times for my older two, ever since it was a "crew" review (that I didn't get). It looks fantastic! And, yes, field trips are so Mich fun.

    1. You should totally check this series out! It makes science far more approachable for these high school years :)


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