So this is your first year of homeschooling a high school student. How exciting! You get to write a high school transcript and you are in charge of choosing the order your student will learn the high school sciences. The question is how do you make that decision.
Traditionally the high school sciences are taught in this order: physical science 9th grade, biology in the 10th grade, chemistry in the 11th grade and physics in the 12th grade. However (unless your state requires it), you do not have to teach these classes in this order unless you choose to do so! High School physical science introduces the basics of scientific methodology including the scientific method. Included in most physical science curricula is the study of non-living sciences such as geology, weather, astronomy and more. Biology is the study of living organisms. We study how living beings interact with one another. Included in most high school biology curricula is the study of the human body (including cells), plants, genetics and the classifications. You do not have to have studied physical science to be able to understand the concepts of biology. The study of physical science certainly does not require biology as a prerequisite.
Chemistry is a little more specific to the older high school student. The math and abstract concepts involved may be more advanced than your 10th or 11th grader is ready for. Only you and your student can make that determination. Due to the advanced concepts in the material, physics is almost always done in the last year of high school.
If your high school student is scientifically inclined, I highly recommend giving him the opportunity to study both chemistry and physics during the high school years. By taking chemistry in high school, I had a much better foundation for studying chemistry on the college level. Regretfully, I did not take physics in high school. I believe that if I had been exposed to a physics course in high school, my college physics classes would have been less confusing.
So, as you can see, the decision is yours. Your state or home school association may have standards that you may need to consider when deciding which course of study to pursue. My goal in this blog article was to give you some material to help you make the right choice for your school.