Cutest Blog and Widdlytink

My Stick Family from

Sep 6, 2016

Apologia Exploring Creation with Astronoomy, 2nd edition TOS Review

Exploring Creation

Apologia Educational Ministries has released their new Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition set and we got to review it!  I had already been through Apologia's previous Astronomy course with the bigger littles a few years ago.  I liked it very much and we had so much fun with the experiments and activities.  Unfortunately, the information had become outdated.  Many of the things we read *would* be happening had already occurred when we went through the textbook and Jr. Notebooking Journals.  It was, after all, written twelve years ago.

What we received.

  • Student Text
  • Notebooking Journal
  • Jr. Notebooking Journal
  • Audio CD

What's different?
I still have our old textbook and journals because I fully intended to go through Exploring Creation with Astronomy with Merrick for his first grade science next year.  I even purchased the previous version of the Jr. Notebooking Journal for him because I felt I couldn't justify the purchase of a new textbook for just one more kiddo.  How wrong I was!  Of course the information in the textbook is all updated, but the text and pictures are much more readable and attractive, too.

Student Text

Look at that spiffy new book!
Like the other titles in the Exploring Creation science series, the Student Text is a sturdy hardcover.  It is 216 pages long.  The corresponding Notebooking Journals, Science Kit, and Audio Book are each sold separately.  But the Super Secret Code to access online extras is included in the book introduction.  The course website has links to nearly 200 related websites, all listed with the lesson they relate to.

These are comparisons of the new (l) and old (r) text on corresponding pages.

Each of the 14 lessons is divided into several sections, activities, Wisdom from Above passages, Think About This boxes, and What Do You Remember? summaries.  You'll also find a symbol in the pages of the text which indicates an activity in the Science Kit.

The lesson topics include
  • an overview of astronomy, 
  • the sun, 
  • each of the eight planets, 
  • Earth's Moon, 
  • space rocks, 
  • the Kuiper belt and dwarf planets, 
  • and stars, galaxies, and space travel.
The Jr. Notebooking Journal (grades K-2/3) and the Notebooking Journal (grades 3/4-6) are *huge* soft cover journals (336 pages each) for recording all of the information covered in each lesson.  They are spiral bound so they lay flat or can be folded over on themselves.  These make a wonderful keepsake to look back on all that's been learned and can be proudly shown to family members.  I still have both of the bigger littles' Jr. Notebooks, so I was able to compare them with the new Jr. Notebooks.  If you're familiar at all with notebooking or lapbooking, many of the projects will be recognizable to you.  Students will cut out and assemble mini books, complete crossword puzzles, write copywork, record what they learned from activities (dictation is completely acceptable), and even color pictures in the Jr. Notebooking Journal.

The regular Notebooking Journal does not have coloring pages, seems to go deeper into some of the lesson content, and has smaller lines to write upon.  This was actually my first look at the regular journal and I was pleased to see how closely the lessons and activities tended to run the same or very similar.  While my bigger boys won't be doing astronomy with Merrick, there will be other years that I'll be keeping them all on the same subject.

The photos above show a comparison of the new and old versions of the Jr. Notebooking Journals.  The sun lesson, in which Merrick also drew all of the planets, is shown next to the old sun mini book page.  Next to that is the new version of the solar eclipse booklet in the old page.  The last photo shows the difference between pages for a later lesson on space rocks.  The previous version had only been a page of boxes to write and draw in.  The difference is tremendous.

Here's Merrick showing off his newly developed cutting abilities to make his sun wheel mini book.

All journals are consumable, and each is intended to be used by a single student.  This is one of those times I have no qualms about providing one for each child.  They have so much fun using these.  In fact, Xavier volunteered to work on the regular notebook for me and has been thrilled to complete activities with Merrick even though he has already covered this material and has his own science lessons to complete!

The journal lists a suggested daily schedule that breaks each lesson into four to seven assignments.  Completing two assignments per week will give you a full year course.  We school year round and I tend to break those assignments down even a bit more, to keep the sitting parts to a minimum for the littles.  We generally will still complete one Apologia science in a calendar year.

Audio CD
The audio book is read by Jeannie Fulbright, the author.  She has the sweetest voice and the boys love listening to her.  You can pop the CD into a computer and listen to the MP3 tracks or load them onto your phone's music player.  Some CD players will work, but I couldn't change tracks on mine.  I didn't mind if we hear the CD intro a couple of times, but I wouldn't care to start at the beginning each time we used the CD with the text.  Using a laptop wasn't a great option, as the kids have several online school programs and that would tie up the computer that someone else could be using.  The text is read nearly word for word, so a decent reader could follow right along in the text.

Experiments and Activities
These are found throughout the text and are labeled by chapter and a number.  For example, 2.2 Using a Magnifying Glass to Focus Heat (aka melting chocolate and butter) means it is the second lesson and second activity.

This experiment was fun *and* yummy.  Who doesn't love that?  We wanted to see how chocolate and butter reacted to exposure to the sun. It was super hot and windy that day.  We had to place rocks on the plates to keep them from blowing away.  Don't worry, we didn't try to melt them.  Photo one shows things just melting naturally. The chocolate did not look melted, but the boys were surprised to discover it was.  In the center photo, we used the magnifying glass to really direct the sunlight into a very small area on the food.  We were shocked when the chocolate actually started to smoke!  We even burned a small black spot into this square of chocolate (and the porch) with this technique.  The final photo shows a large dot magnification.  This concentrates the sun a bit less, so it took longer and, once again, the chocolate barely looked melted until curious fingers poked it.

This was also a *great* lesson about not looking at the sun!

Be careful!  You really can set things on fire with a magnifying glass!  Oops!
We had this sundial in a space kit we own.  While studying lesson one's Clocks, Calendars, and Seasons, it felt like a good time to get it out.

Here's Merrick demonstrating Earth revolving around the sun.  The funny thing about this was that he acquired these important science tools at the fair!  I've found that we can often use everyday items to reinforce our lessons.  One thing the text regularly asks of students is to tell someone what they have learned.  It helps make the lesson stick.  And Merrick loves to tell and teach!

I've said this before and I'm sure I will say it again, I've never used an Apologia product I didn't really love.  There are so many other courses on my wishlist.  They're a favorite Christian homeschool publisher.  Go explore the farthest reaches of space with your little astronaut!

Apologia Exploring Creation with Astronomy is for grades K-6.
The Notebooking Journal is for grades 3-6.
The Jr. Notebooking Journal is for grades K-3.
If your student is somewhere in the transition age, I recommend checking the website for the journal samples to choose the right journal on an individual basis.

The Apologia Exploring Creation with Astronomy Science Kit has just been released and it's 15% off through midnight Friday night, September 9, 2016.  The kit contains the things you'll need for the 42 activities in the textbook plus an additional 21 activities.

Another recommended resource for Apologia's Exploring Creation with Astronomy homeschool science curriculum is the Field Trip Journal.  Some of The Crew have reviewed it previously.

Find Apologia on social media.
Twitter  @apologiaworld

Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition Review

Crew Disclaimer

No comments: