We have been homeschooling for three years and during that time we have used Apologia Educational Ministries to provide our homeschool science curriculum so I was jumping with joy when I heard I was able to review their brand spanking new book Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics and the coordinating Note-booking Journal.
For the last two years we have done science with another family, and I am delighted to say that although I received these books free to facilitate this review my friend bought the books for her children so we could still work together. The course is written for children K-6 although I am letting Jam join in as he LOVES science so much it would almost kill him to be excluded. Plus we go through the books at a slightly accelerated rate because our children are at the higher end of the recommended age they can keep up with the pace and still learn lots. In the past we have used Exploring Creation Astronomy, Botany, Zoo 1, Zoo 2, and Zoo 3. We had planned to use Human Anatomy and Physiology next but we were more than willing to wait and do Chemistry and Physics first.
I received the hard bound science book containing the text and experiment information and two regular note booking journals and my friend bought the same for her two children. I considered using the junior notebook for Little J (just turned 5) however after looking at it I thought there was a little too much writing for him. We will however definitely use it for him in a year or two.
The Text Book retails at $39.00 and the Notebook retails at $24.00.
Although we have used Apologia numerous times before we have never used the Notebooks. I loved how all the work that Jam and Boo do for this subject are all kept in the same place. In front of the Notebooks there is a schedule that breaks down the textbook into two days a week for twenty eight weeks. We have just finished lesson 3 which puts us six weeks into the schedule. I think we will speed up though and complete a lesson every week. If I was doing the program just with Little J I would definitely follow the schedule as written.
Lesson 1 - Chemistry and Physics Matter
Since we are doing this science course with another family and we get together once a week. The kids did all the reading and notebook work and we saved the 'fun' experiments for when we got together. Both Jam and Boo enjoyed the notebook, especially the crosswords. I loved that because of their age they pretty much do the work by themselves all I do is join in the reading and supervise.
Boo really enjoyed completing the pages entitled 'Fascinating Facts about Matter'. I was impressed with the effort that she put into it.
We have always used lap-books with our homeschool science curriculum up until now and so my kids liked the small lap booking features you can see on the picture above. As they have gotten older I have felt that a lot of the cutting and gluing involved was not a benefit to them and so sometimes I have been know to prepare the lap books for them. These lap booking features in the notebook were just enough to make them feel like they were doing a different activity without a lot of wasted time.
Lesson 1 Experiments
Most of the experiments just call for ingredients and household objects. We were fortunate since we were working with another family between the two households we rarely had to buy anything. My biggest struggle was finding clear straws for one of our first experiments. Luckily our neighborhood Dairy Queen was more than happy to donate some when I told them it was for a science experiment.
We completed experiments to explain Volume and Mass, Density, Buoyancy, and Matter. The kids filled out their observation sheets for each experiment and we had a blast.
Lesson 2 - Moving Matter
In preparation for the experiments we again completed the reading assignments and notebook work at home before getting together with our friends. We read about the state of matter, solids, liquids, and gas.
The experiments covered the same topics. We placed a selection of substances in the freezer (including jello, alcohol, water, salt water, and a water and Epsom salt solution.) and monitored them to see the effect cold had on each liquid, we also noted in what order they froze (and if in fact they froze at all.) We also used pop rocks and soda to discuss the effects of expanding gas.
Our favorite experiment by far was the making of a very familiar mixture using cornstarch and water. The kids (even the little's) had a blast playing with it.
Lesson 3- Building Blocks of Creation
This week the experiments were all about atoms, the variety, how they attach, how they are charged. We discussed things that I haven't thought about since I was doing Chemistry in school. Neutrons, Protons, and Electrons, The Periodic Table of Elements. It was a fun chapter full of information, that I know we will have to review. My son found a laminated copy of the Periodic Table and has been studying it.
There are 14 lessons altogether since I have already mentioned the first three here are the other chapters with their titles.
Lesson 4 - Compound Chemistry
Lesson 5 - Multitude of Mixtures
Lesson 6 - Mechanics in Motion
Lesson 7 - Dynamics of Motion
Lesson 8 - Work in the World
Lesson 9 - Sound of Energy
Lesson 10 - Light of the World
Lesson 11 - Thermal Energy
Lesson 12- Electrifying Our World
Lesson 13- Mysterious Magnetism
Lesson 14- Simple Machines
I am sure you can tell that we love this curriculum. It makes my children think. I don't feel that the information has been 'dumbed' down, even Little J (5) and my friends daughter #6 who is only 3 come away from each class learning something and being excited about the new information.
Apologia is creationist science, I love this. I love that God is honored for his role in creation. He is not a sideline in this curriculum, his miracles are mentioned often throughout each lesson.
We are enjoying using the notebook journals, however I love that this program is designed that they are not necessary. You could be very successful following the curriculum without them and since the textbooks are non-consumable it could be very cost effective for those on a limited budget. Personally after using the notebooks I think they are great, it has helped us keep all our work together as we do not always work on this at home.
When I asked Jam, Boo and my friends son and daughter what they thought so far they all said that this course is AWESOME. You can't get better than that.
But don't take just our word for it, check out what others on the crew thought by clicking on the link below...
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