For Catholic students wishing to study Chemistry either at IGCSE or A level it poses no problems morally!
Chemistry has always been regarded by the majority as the toughest science and most children who study it will have been studying basic Chemistry for at least three years previously.
From personal experience (and not all positive!) children who wish to study the IGCSE Chemistry really should be very familiar with all the basic formulas and so on and this whole course is extremely rigorous and demands previous knowledge. It is also a course that needs time dedicated to it- at least a year. (It is a two year course anyway so completing it in one academic year is no mean feat!)
As Chemistry is a rather abstract subject it is useful to have various thought provoking programmes on hand as supplements to the course itself. The Khan Academy and Dr Brown's Lab http://www.docbrown.info/ can provide animated and stimulating lessons on line which may make the science more real for the student.
Again, as with the other subjects, the GCSE requires course work and they are also far less demanding than the IGCSE. As I have mentioned numerous times already, the standard of the IGCSE sciences compared to that of the GCSE is really apparent. They demand more depth and call upon knowledge the student will have studied rather than just facts which are learnt and regurgitated.
The two main boards offering the Chemistry IGCSE are CIE and Edexcel. They consist of three separate exams; multiple choice, an intense theory paper (usually the arduous of the three!), and the alternative to practical paper which is as it sounds, a paper which students take if they're not in school and able to do practical tests. It presents a scientific experiment and the student must answer questions based on this.
A friend and fellow home educator has designed IGCSE courses for the three sciences. She writes;
' I have written distance learning courses to help home educators to study for Biology, Chemistry and Physics as single IGCSE subjects and also for the Double award Science IGCSE. All these courses are available for both the CIE and Edecxcel specifications. There is no practical examination necessary so they are perfectly accessable to private candidates.
Do take a look at my website www.sammartell.co.uk for more information or email me firstname.lastname@example.org. I am a home educating mum, of four myself, and took my BSc Hons degree with the Open University so I understand all about distance learning and studying at home. '
Many home educators use Sam's courses with success. A list of the required books are given and the student's work is marked by Sam and corrected.
The C.I.E board offers IGCSE Chemistry;
The Edexcel board offers IGCSE Chemistry too;
A sample paper from C.I.E November 2010, not for the faint hearted!;
Chemistry is an absorbing subject yet I honestly believe children need good grounding in all three sciences before embarking on the IGCSE.
Not being a scientist in any shape or form myself (English, Catechism and Art are my favourites) I especially welcome any wise words on this subject!