Monday, November 4, 2013

Schoolhouse Crew Review: Apologia Science

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You can't spend very long on (Christian) homeschool sites and forums without hearing someone sing the praises of Apologia science. When it comes to Creation-based, homeschool science, it's definitely the one I've heard mentioned most often. Last winter the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed Apologia Elementary Science, but, since we were mid-move, I didn't beg as hard as I otherwise would have, to be on the review, and we didn't get to review it. We DID get to review one of Apologia's Bible curriculums last year, and enjoyed it!

 photo chemistry2_zpsf5580e2f.pngSo, when Apologia Educational Ministries asked the Schoolhouse Review Crew to review their NEW Science book, Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics, and the Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics Notebooking Journal I really hoped we'd get a chance this time, and we did!!!! Wooo-hooooo!!!!

This is a K-6th grade, creation-based, science curriculum, based on the Charlotte Mason approach. It consists of 14 lessons, and if you follow the suggested schedule in the Notebooking Journal, you will spend 2 days per week, 2 weeks, per lesson, so the curriculum will cover 28 weeks. You can download a sample lesson here.

 photo notebookingjournal_zpsaa83790f.pngThere are 2 notebooking journals available, the Junior Notebooking Journal, for younger students and the Notebooking Journal for upper elementary students. For this review, I was sent up to 2 notebooking journals of my choice. Initially, I considered asking for one of each, so that Little Bit (Pre-K), and/or our neighbor, E (K, who joins us 4 days a week for homeschool), could share the younger one and the twins (5th grade) could share the older kid one). But after looking at the online samples (available at the links above), I determined that, while the little kids would probably like the coloring pages in the Junior Notebook (for that matter, so would my older girls), overall, the Junior notebook still assumes pretty advanced (IMO) writing ability, and would be well beyond Little Bit and E's, pre-reading, level.  So, I just requested 2 of the older kid journals, one for each of the twins.

The lesson plans for this curriculum are included in the Notebooking Journals, rather than the textbook. That can be frustrating, since I don't normally have the girls' notebooking journals with me when I'm doing lesson plans. Since I write my lesson plans in Evernote, I solved this problem by snapping a picture, in Evernote, of the lesson plan pages of the Notebooking Journal so I have it right with me when I'm writing my lesson plans. As mentioned above, the suggested schedule is 2 days a week, 2 weeks per lesson. I found for us, considering that I was including the younger kids in at least some of it (ometimes the reading, usually the hands-on stuff), I found the suggested lessons were sometimes too long (the sample pages of the journals on the website include one page of the lesson plans, so you can see how it is laid out). My default is to split the reading/try this days into 2 days, but we generally do science 4-5 days per week, so it all evens out. The  "workbook" pages, I usually don't have to divide, so overall, we are moving as quick, or quicker than suggested, just dividing things up differently.

I think, because of the lesson plans being included in the Notebooking Journal, I'd for sure recommend purchasing at least one Notebooking Journal (or Junior Notebooking Journal, the textbook assignments appear to be the same), for $24, in addition to the textbook for $39.  Whether to purchase a notebooking journal for each child is going to depend on your educational approach. My girls have enjoyed the pretty notebooking pages, but the same journaling could be accomplished in a regular notebook. The journals include word searches and some lapbook type pages, as well as a quiz at the end of the chapter, so if your child enjoys those types of pages and/or, quizzing is important to you, that would also be a reason to purchase the journals for each child.

This is an AWESOME curriculum! I really can't sing it's praises loud enough! As much as we generally don't go for textbooks, this one is just amazing! It has TONS of hands-on stuff, mixed all through the lessons. Most of it is very easy to accomplish with common household items and they are FUN and COOL!!! Just yesterday (I didn't get a picture because my hands were abit messy), we mixed yeast, hydrogen peroxide, and dish soap to create a really cool (I'm running out of adjectives here!) bubbly reaction that oozed out of the bottle and half-filled the bowl we had the bottle sitting in.

Lexie and Ashlyn are loving it! When I asked them if they had anything to add to the review, they said "it's really fun! There are PLENTY of experiments! And some even involve candy (that would be the hydrogen and oxygen "elements" we made out of Gobstoppers and Nerds the other day)!

Every day when E (6) gets here, one of his first questions is "do we get to do Science today?"  Little Bit (4) is still abit young, but she thinks the experiments are fun. She liked the candy one too LOL.

We are definitely planning to continue using this curriculum until we've completed it, and we're already talking about continuing to use Apologia for science after we finish this book (our current plan is to "trade" with a friend who is currently using Astronomy, after that, we'll have to see . . .)

To see what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought of this curriculum, click the banner, below:


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All prices are accurate at time of posting.

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