Sunday, April 5, 2009

TOS Crew Review: Apologia Science

"But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you..." 1 Peter 3:15

"Apologia Ministries exists to give the home-schooled student a scientific education that will help him or her make a reasoned defense of the Christian Faith." *From the Apologia website.

Apologia is a Christian homeschool science curriculum from a literal creationist prospective. They have material for elementary to high school level with some AP science type courses. All of there material is meant to be college prep (in high school to meet college requirements for college entrance.) Their material is written by a former university professor and homeschool dad. One significant benefit of using this curriculum is the FREE helpline, should a question you can't seem to answer arise.

All the material is very homeschool friendly with lists of materials needed at the beginning of the textbooks. Most of the material are every day items, you can easily find, while the more advanced sciences may take some extra effort to find. The text books have full color photos that are appealing to children and parents. I could not help but think that the elementary level texts have that sit down and snuggle on the couch feel about them. Very homeschool friendly.

The first text book that we are reviewing is Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day. You can see all sorts of samples, table of contents, course notebook and course flashcards here.

This book is generally considered a pre-requisite to the Zoology texts 2 & 3. This text covers classification of animals, in some detail, and the "dynamics" of flight. This text is meant for grades K to 6. However, my kindergartner and first grader were lost in the first chapter on classification. Although it got easier once we past that chapter. My third grade thoroughly enjoys the book and has gotten a lot out of it.

Like I said earlier, this text does have a curl up on the couch feel about it. The text (as are all Apologia books) feel like the author is talking directly to you. This book uses a "Charlotte Mason" type approach to learning. The activities in the book coincide with the (optional - not necessary to use the course) notebooking pages you can download at the website for free. You can build your notebook as you go through the book.

Since this is about "Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day" topics you would expect to cover are: Birds, bats, insects, and flying reptiles. This has a sturdy hard cover text, 14 modules, and 240 fully indexed pages. You would expect to complete the text in about a year.

Exploring Creation with General Science 2nd Edition, can be used for grades 7 through 9, depending on ability of the student. This is an overview of science to help prepare for future more in depth study of the sciences.

This text is similar to the above mentioned book, in that all lab supply list can be found in one place. In this book, it happens to be at the end of the book. There are 16 modules covering topics: history of science, scientific process, analyzing experiments, applied science, history of life (from a creation perspective,) geology, fossil record, life science, and several chapters on specific human body systems.

The text comes with a solutions manual and tests with answers to both.

My daughter was using an earlier edition of this text before we received this one. She enthusiastically switched over to the new edition which has updated pictures, and some new clarifications. For the chapters we compared, the questions were the same as the first edition.

You work through the "On Your Own" questions as you work through the module. These questions generally require some thought, not just rewriting what is in the text. The answers for the "On Your Own" questions are included in the student text in the chapter. The student completes any experiments as they come up. Then goes on to complete a study guide for each module. The study guide includes vocabulary words and study question in preparation for the test. The student must complete this before taking the test or they won't do well. Tests vary and contain matching, defining words, short answer, diagram questions / labeling, making lists, etc.

My daughter (8th grade) is the none science type, but has found the text easy and fun to use. She has learned a lot about creation science and different theories, which has help cement her faith. My son also used the 1st edition of this curriculum and was able to give him a strong foundation in creation science. My son does admit this was not his favorite subject, because it was his first formal science class he had taken (when he was in 7th grade.) He thought the questions were challenging. However,this course helped cement his future learning in science by giving him an excellent foundation. He went on to do Physical Science, Biology and is completing Chemistry.

My daughter does happen to be doing a lap book along with hers. That may make it more fun. She says the material is easy to understand and follow along with. Some of the questions, she thinks, are more difficult then others, but overall has not had a problem completing the work. She has been able to do the science projects mostly independently, sometime getting help from her older brother.

There are some other options available for this class that were not reviewed. You can find out more and see samples, table of contents, etc. by clicking HERE!

Exploring Creation with Biology, 2nd Edition is recommended for around grade 9. There are no prerequisites for this course. This book also comes with the text and solution and test guide. Other options are available for the course (cd-rom, mp3, etc.)

I was able to get me son to complete this course as apposed to another publisher, because this course does not include human biology. This is not necessary for the average student. Apologia does offer advanced biology which contains human anatomy and physiology. You would need both biology courses to take the advanced placement (AP) test for biology.

This biology is all the high school student, without aspirations to the medical field, would need. There is a lot of information and a lot of vocabulary words in each of its 16 modules. That was my son's biggest complaint - the vocabulary. The text is easy to read and like always, makes you feel like the author is sitting down next to you explaining things.

The format of modules and study guide are the same as the general science. There are some dissection experiments that are recommended. The experiments requiring microscopes are highly recommended, but not required because of the increase cost of having to purchase a microscope. The dissection experiments do include some pictures of what is going on and how to do most of the steps.
Apologia has done a great job at meeting the needs of the homeschool community by providing an excellent science curriculum. This area is often lacking in homeschools. Apologia makes it easier for homeschoolers meet science requirements without adding a lot of fluff. The upper levels are directed toward the student, so that with limited assistance from the parent/teacher, homeschooled students can get a great science education.
Samples are available on the Apologia Website.
To visit The Apologia Science website - CLICK HERE!

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