Monday, November 04, 2013

Apologia - Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics {Schoolhouse Crew Review}

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Science has been quite an enjoyable experience for me as a homeschool mom thanks to Apologia Educational Ministries. I've used a few other science products here and there, but Apologia has always been the backbone of our science curriculum. I have truly enjoyed learning all about God's amazing world alongside my children. I was very excited when Schoolhouse Review Crew members were given the chance to review their Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics curriculum. My daughter and I received the Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics physical book and the Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics Junior Notebooking Journal.


Apologia Mission

Do you know what the word Apologia means? It's a Classical Greek word that is used in the New Testament eight times and is associated with someone defending his faith, beliefs, or actions by reason and logic. Apologia Ministries is a family-owned corporation that provides families with Biblically sound educational materials and curriculum (science, history, language arts, Bible) to equip them to defend the Christian faith according to 1 Peter 3:15.

Apologia in Our Homeschool

Our family has gone through every single one of the Apologia science books up to ninth grade. (Their creation based science curriculum is K-12.) Presently, my sixth grade son is using Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day, and my ninth grade son using Exploring Creation with Biology. My third grade daughter and I started off the school year tackling Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology, but I figured it would be well worth it to interrupt our studies to review the one Apologia book that we've never used. So, as you can see I am a huge Apologia fan!

*A note on book order: Really, the elementary science books do not have to be done in any particular order, however, Astronomy, Botany, and Zoology 1 and 2 are more easily understood by younger students. I have personally found that doing Zoology 1, 2, and 3 in numerical order works best for us. With all of the elementary books, there is always information that seems to go over my younger kids' heads, but I don't worry too much. I know they will get the information in greater depth in the junior high curriculum and high school curriculum. Flexibility is key to making this quality, God honoring, academically sound curriculum successful in your homeschool!

Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics Textbook

Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics is part of the Young Explorers Series in Apologia's elementary science curriculum written by Jeannie Fulbright for students in grades K-6. This homeschool science curriculum follows the Charlotte Mason approach to learning and provides an excellent introduction to the marvels of God's creation regarding the wonderful world of chemistry and physics. The text, written directly to the student, reads more like a conversation which makes learning more fun and memorable. There are plenty of pictures and illustrations, hands-on-experiments, and other activities to keep kids interested, too.

This full-color, hardback volume contains 14 lessons that can be broken up into manageable time slots according to your own schedule, ages of children, and specific needs. The Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics Junior Notebooking Journal, designed to accompany the textbook, includes a detailed, suggested 2-week schedule for each lesson. I personally go a little slower with younger children and try to stretch lessons out to 2 1/2 weeks with some lessons taking less time or even more time to finish. Also, I don't stress over doing every single project throughout each lesson, especially with this book as it seems to have more than the other books.

Basically, you can go at your own pace with this curriculum. Take the immersion approach and spend an entire year on one book, or go through them faster so you and your children can complete all 7 of the elementary books before they are ready to start the junior high curriculum. So far, we've always spent the entire year on one book. Sometimes we finish before the year is up which is great because I give my kids the freedom to choose something they would like to learn about for the rest of the year.

Lessons included in this course are as follows:
  • Chemistry and Physics Matter
  • Moving Matter
  • Building Blocks of Creation
  • Compound Matter
  • Multitude of Mixtures
  • Mechanics in Motion
  • Dynamics of Motion
  • Work in the World
  • Sound of Energy
  • Light of the World
  • Thermal Energy
  • Electrifying Our World
  • Mysterious Magnetism
  • Simple Machines
Jeannie Fulbright includes several Try This! hands-on-experiments in each lesson to help children understand the concepts she is teaching. Throughout each lesson, children are also asked to narrate what they've learned to help them retain information and learn to communicate clearly and effectively. At the end of each lesson there are What Do You Remember? questions, notebooking activities, and a final project. All of these activities can be completed without the accompanying notebooking journal, however, it is a very convenient addition to the curriculum which I will address in just a minute. Before I move on, I want to mention a few more features of the Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics textbook.

The textbook includes a wonderful introduction that tells you everything you need to know in order to effectively complete the course. It provides a step-by-step guide on how to use the book and gives course website information if you want to dig deeper. At the end of the book, you will find a complete supply list for everything you will need to complete the Try This! activities, experiments, and projects for each lesson. Most materials are household items or things that can be purchased easily at the store. Finally, there is an answer key to all of the What Do You Remember? questions and any questions asked throughout the text.


Though we didn't do all of the Try This! experiments, we did do quite a few. Here are some from Lesson 1: Chemistry and Physics Matter. My daughter is demonstrating volume and displacement, density, and buoyancy in the following activities. My middle son even got in on one of the projects in which we had to make boats out of aluminum foil and see how many pennies they could each hold. My daughter was so excited that her boat held the most. :)


More Try This! experiments: here my daughter is learning about one of the properties of metals - magnetism. A simple project, yet she was quite fascinated.


At the end of each lesson, there is always a final project, and she couldn't wait for this one - making lava lamps. Even though she'd done a project like this before, she wanted to do it again because it is so fun.


During the review period, we were able to start Lesson 2: Moving Matter, but we haven't finished it yet. In this chapter, we are learning all about solids, liquids, and gasses. Here are a few Try This! experiments we've done so far: discovering which types of liquids will freeze the fastest, observing expanding gas putting pressure against the sides of a balloon, and learning that air takes up space and actually kept a piece of paper from getting wet even though the cup was submerged in water. Cool stuff!


Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics Junior Notebooking Journal

The junior notebooking journal is designed to accompany the textbook and is great for younger elementary students or for those with limited writing skills. You will find coloring pages, lined pages for recording fascinating facts, Bible verse copywork in print or cursive, additional projects and book suggestions, lined pages for recording all of the experiments your child completed, crossword puzzles and word searches, and full-color, cut-and-fold mini books to assemble. Field trip sheets are provided at the back of the notebook to record information if you choose to visit museums, etc.


As I mentioned earlier, the notebook includes a suggested schedule of completing one lesson every 2 weeks. Their schedule also suggests doing science 2 days per week, however, it is entirely up to you how you plan your schedule. There is much room for flexibility, in fact, we do science every day. To me, it is much easier to divide the lessons into really small chunks for younger children. Actually, I think it's better for me that way, too. :)


While the notebook is very handy, you can use the Apologia elementary science curriculum without it. In fact, I have used an Apologia notebook only one other time. Having a very tight homeschool budget, we usually make our own science 3-ring binders for recording notes, answering questions, and tracking projects. My sixth grade son even prefers this method since he doesn't like all of the extra "busy work" in the Apologia notebooks. I think the Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics Junior Notebooking Journal is working well for my daughter, though, since she doesn't like to write very much and even struggles a little in this area. On some days I substitute coloring pages or crossword puzzles for note-taking. That keeps her from becoming overwhelmed with too much writing.

Opinion

I honestly didn't think learning about chemistry and physics could be so interesting. I remember hating chemistry when I had to take it in high school, but Jeannie Fulbright has a gift for bringing science to life, making it fun and interesting, and glorifying God in the process. Truly, after I read any of her science books, I can't help but be in awe and want to praise the Maker of heaven and earth!

I know my daughter has really enjoyed doing so many experiments. In this book, a lot of them are pretty quick and easy to do, so we've been able to do more than usual. When I asked her if she wanted to go back to anatomy and physiology after the review period, she said, "No!" She really likes learning about chemistry and physics which surprised me. In a good way, though. :) So, we will continue with Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics this year and resume anatomy next year which happens to be my favorite.

Cost

The 280-page Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics textbook is $39.00, and the 237-page Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics Junior Notebooking Journal is $24.00. Both are available on the website.

I highly recommend Apologia! Be sure to read more crew reviews by clicking the banner below.

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3 comments:

Adriel Hong said...

Great review, Brandi. We use Apologia for science too. =)

Lisa M. (aka. Lisa @ Farm Fresh) said...

Thanks for this great review! I've heard nothing but good things about the series. I bought our first one to use next year!

Visiting from Farm Fresh Adventures

Heidi said...

That made physics seem fun. Great write up and pics. I remember dropping in high school because there was so much math. Any word on and elementary geology book from Apologia?

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