I have a degree in biology from a Christian university, so as I look to teach biology to my 13 and 15 year olds this fall, I find it very interesting to choose curriculum for them.Yeah, the Campbell and Reece text is definitely more suited for a gifted high school student.
After reading your recommendations on your blog and much of your "Teaching Science from a Christian Worldview", I purchased the Campbell and Reece Biology text. It is very interesting for me, but I think maybe a bit too much for my kids. (One is definitely engineer oriented, the other a writing, artistic type).
I wanted to find some reviews on the Prentice Hall or Glencoe biology texts you recommended. All I could find were some reviews of their texts from the late 1990's. The reviews were done by The Textbook League. None of those reviews were complementary: they said the science was outdated and wrong. Have you or anyone you know reviewed the 2008 or 2010 editions of the Prentice Hall Biology?
While I haven't specifically reviewed the 2008 or 2010 editions of Prentice Hall, in my experience they don't seem to change much from year to year. Due to all of the nationalized education standards, major publishers like Prentice Hall and Glencoe basically contain the same information. Sometimes they even have the same illustrations. In other words, there isn't a whole lot of difference between the two.
And yes, both will have the obligatory chapter on Darwinian evolution. But if you've been reading this blog for any length of time you already know my position on that: So what? Kids will have to learn about it sooner or later.
One thing that kind of frustrates me personally about the larger textbookpublishers is that, although they are becoming more accommodating to homeschoolers, they still kind of don't know what to do with us. It would be nice, for example, if they offered more previews on their web sites (like sample lessons, Table of Contents, etc.). If I were a public school teacher, they'd be willing to send me a review copy. But because I'm a homeschooler and probably only want to buy one copy anyway, they won't let me do that.
Even so, my suggestion would be to call the publisher directly and tell them you are a homeschooler and ask them if they have any sort of return policy. That way if you get the text and it just doesn't look like it will be a good fit for your family, you have a way to send it back.