Most of my readers know that I love using Apologia science curricula in our homeschool and we wrapped up Swimming Creatures right as the newest installment came up for review – Exploring Creation with Chemistry – so you might say I was a tad excited. Along with the text Apologia also sent notebooking journals – I received a regular journal and the junior journal to use with my 7 and 9 year old since my oldest is moving on to their middle school science. This set is geared towards grades K through 6th grade but I’ve been using it with my 7 year old 2nd grade son and my 9 year old 4th grade daughter.
Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics by Jeannie Fulbright is the newest addition in the Young Explorer series for homeschool science curriculum and it fits in great with the series. The book covers 14 lessons which covers Chemistry and Physics matter, matter, building blocks of creation, mechanics, energy, light and more that spans a full 28 weeks – for a full school year. I tend to follow the daily schedule that is included inside the pages of the journals, which makes knowing what each child needs to complete each day easy. It is set up for 2 days a week, for us that usually means Tuesday and Thursday but there have been times where the children and I are excited and we do science four days a week completing one lesson in a week.
Isn’t that cover pretty? I love the bright colors, it just makes it seem more fun to study this area – that most children don’t experience until their later years. The inside is also filled with a lot of colorful pictures that my children and I liked to look at as we studied the text, I read it aloud to them and stop as we need to too look at the pictures or do the “Try This!” sections. One difference I’ve also noticed in this newest science is that there are more hands-on experiences like Try This and actual projects – which use more items found around the house and made it easier for us to complete these activities as we came across them. They still include a list in the back of the book of all items that will be needed divided up by the lessons you’ll need them in. One suggestion is to gather all non-perishable items and store them in a box somewhere and getting the perishables as they come up in the study. Unfortunately, that isn’t an option in our tiny space so I just gathered them by the week as they came up. The text sells for $39.00 and with the beautiful colors and pictures and hands-on stuff makes it well worth that price.
To my children and I the journals are what really makes this a great science curricula – there is no printing or extra bulky binders to store, it’s all in one spiral bound journal that is easy to store in their school drawers and also to put away after end of the year assessments are done to look back on at a later date. Each journal is geared toward a child’s ability, the regular journal is said to be for the child who can write independently and also can take notes. That said my 9 year old hates writing so I still help sometimes by taking dictation from her but she really needed more in depth study than the junior journal could do. The regular journal has smaller writing lines, no coloring pages, what do you remember questions to answer, bigger crosswords and copywork in both cursive and print as well as the much enjoyed mini books to cut out, assemble and write in. The regular journal sells for $24.00 and is a big time saver in both planning the lessons and getting the work done.
The junior journal is for the younger student who isn’t quite writing on their own yet or has limited writing ability and that is obvious from the bigger lines with a middle line to aid in handwriting. The junior journal is more ‘fun’, with coloring pages – I let my little guy color these while I’m reading and he seems to be better able to focus on what he’s listening to when I let him do that. Like the regular journal there is copywork in both cursive and print but it gives bigger lines including that mid line to help them – I don’t force this with him and let him instead chose to do the print copywork or not. The crosswords are also not as in depth as the regular but it gives him enough to think he’s doing the same thing his older sister is. It does not have the ‘What do you Remember’ pages and that and the coloring pages are the two major differences, as the junior also includes the mini books to go on a page at the end of the lesson. The junior journal sells for $24.00 as well and like the regular, this saves a lot of time in planning and completing science work.
As I said we aimed for two days a week or sometimes four depending on the level of excitement of the children (or mom). The try this sections really helped keep my children’s attention since it breaks up the readings more and enables all of us to concentrate versus a long, uninterrupted reading. I didn’t always have everything on hand for all the hands-on projects but I either tried to substitute or we’d skip it depending on what it was and if I could obtain the items, sometimes we’d back track and make it up another day. So far though the favorite project has been making our own lava lamps. I’m hoping with using this homeschool science curriculum that once they get to the higher grade levels it’ll come easier and even make it more enjoyable. If you’d like to see what other homeschool parents thought visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.
(c) 2013, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws