Friday, February 8, 2013

Schoolhouse Review: Apologia

Hello, friends! I am so excited to bring you my first Review Crew post for 2013! There are so many great resources out there but homeschooling families are simply unaware of them. Over this next year, I will be using some of these great resources and then sharing them with you so that you will be made aware of a few options available!

Today, I will be sharing one of my faves: Apologia Educational Ministries. I had the pleasure of reviewing the Exploring Creation with Zoology II textbook and Exploring Creation with Zoology II notebooking journal. This book focuses on Day 5 of Creation: The Swimming Creatures and let me say that my girls were ecstatic when we received the new resources. Sea creatures, whales, dolphins... you name it filled the pages and my girls were eager to jump right in!
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Description:

Apologia Science is a faith-based curriculum that focuses on Science through a Biblical worldview. Zoology II begins with a week's worth of reading and activities about the ocean itself before jumping into the different animals found in the ocean. A sample schedule is given to assist homeschool teachers in easily integrating Science into their schedules. However, the beauty of this program is the ability to adapt the books to your particular educational method. For instance, we wanted a steady routine of Science each day. So instead of following the sample schedule of completing Science twice a week, we did it four days a week. This enabled us to complete a lesson a week. Should you want to take a slower pace, you could easily stretch this lesson into 2-3 weeks depending on the level of your student.

Ocean Minibook
Each of the Zoology books flow seamlessly from one to another; however, each book is stand alone and can be completed independently from one another. The textbook is filled with hands-on projects that reinforce the lessons being taught and the journals include not only opportunities to write but to also complete mini-books, matchbooks, or other neat comprehension tools.

Routine:

As I mentioned before, we chose to use the curriculum in such a way that each lesson could be completed in a week. This schedule was labor intensive as there was much reading required in one sitting. However, we used it in a group setting so we had a great time reading it together! One advantage of this program is the ability to teach both my 3rd grader and 6th grader with the same curriculum. This will change next year as I will have a new track for my middle schooler; however, this year's science has become a great time of read-alouds, discussions, projects, and journaling activities. 

Here is how we used Apologia Zoology II:
Apologia Notebook Journal
Monday- Read half-way though the reading assignment for the lesson. As we came upon experiments or questions, we would complete them. 
Tuesday- Complete the reading by reading aloud as a group. (Again, we would complete any projects or experiments from the textbook as we came to them.)
Wednesday- Begin work in the journaling notebook. I chose to have them do the writing activities and projects in one journal... together. I was so pleased with this decision as they were much more eager to work through each page with a Science "buddy" so to speak. Much of this first journal day was answering comprehension questions and filling out journal prompts about their reading.
Thursday- My girls would complete their journals by creating a mini-book of some sort, completing a vocabulary crossword puzzle, as well as working on their handwriting with copywork. (Loved that feature by the way!)

 Good to Know:

1.) The textbook is reading intensive and the reading is at a higher elementary level. If you have a child that doesn't enjoy reading or is unable to read well, you will need to adapt the curriculum to your child. For instance, use the Science book as a read-aloud and break it into smaller pieces. You can also have your child working on their journal WHILE you are reading the textbook aloud. When they hear or see something interesting, allow them to draw and write about it in their journal! If they don't like to draw, allow them to print pictures off of the computer and paste them into their journal like a scrapbook!

Learning about Echolocation
2.) Some materials will be required for the projects and experiments; however, much of it you will already have around your home! I haven't bought anything so far and the experiments have been so much fun for my girls. I would highly recommend taking the time to complete the projects for each chapter. A convenient listing of materials is included in the book so that you can prepare for each week's lesson. It really does improve their learning retention which is always our goal!

3.)  There are two journaling options available. We chose to use the older option as I wanted to use it with both my 3rd grader and 6th grader. But there is a Notebook Jr. option for early learners.The Jr. Journal has coloring options and cut/paste activities that would be enjoyable for early learners.

4.) The textbook is $39 and the journal is $24. Again, I used one textbook and journal for both of my girls so that is an option if you are looking to save a penny.

5.)  This particular series is designed for Kindergarten through Sixth grade. Titles are also available for Middle and High School which I will be looking into for next year. Would you like to look at sample pages of Zoology II? Just click the pictures below:

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My Thoughts:

I have searched far and wide for a Science curriculum that taught from a Biblical perspective that relieves the worry of evolutionary theories creeping in to our lessons. I also wanted a curriculum that focused on ONE topic for a year rather than jumped from one to another all year. I found both desires in Apologia resources. I enjoy the activities they include to make learning fun and the in-depth study of the topics. My girls have been learning with excitement and that alone makes it an A+ for this teacher.

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Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

1 comment :

Thanks for dropping a line! Happy Blogging!