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Apologia Educational Ministries isn't new to the homeschooling community. If you've been homeschooling more than a year or two, I'm sure you've heard of their company and their products. We have been using Apologia's Exploring Creation with General Science for 13 year old A's science for several months now, but we hadn't ever used any of their elementary products. We were glad to receive Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day as well as an updated version of Exploring Creation with General Science to review.
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Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day by Jeanne Fulbright (scroll down to read the General Science review)
We haven't used a textbook approach to science in elementary school, so using Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day was a new style of learning for my 8 year old and 9 year old. To be honest, they weren't sure they liked having to listen to me read from a textbook, but they loved seeing "Try This!" on the page. That meant they were going to get to try a hands-on experiment. Our very first experiment related to lift and reduced air pressure over a bird's wing. Only 8 year old J could make that one work. I tried and C tried, but J was the successful one. He was so proud to show that to Daddy when he came home.
Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day is written directly to the students in a conversational style. Most importantly, as the title indicates, it is written from a Christian worldview, proclaiming God as the Creator. You will not find any evolution in Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day, as you study birds, bats, and flying insects. There are colorful pictures on every page and the chapters are clearly divided into shorter segments that make it easy to read in portions. The introduction suggests two different approaches:
- read each lesson chapter in one week, do the notebooking and experiments the second week, finishing the text in 28 weeks.
- read 5-6 pages of text each day, 2-3 days per week, and then perform the experiments after each lesson (chapter). This approach would last 32 weeks.
Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day includes a wide variety of activities and experiments, using easily available supplies. The supplies needed in each chapter are listed in the introduction. The introduction of the book also lists the information on how to log into the Book Extras on the Apologia website. The Book Extras include book corrections, helpful articles, frequently asked question database, and links to other helpful websites.
Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day is available for $35.00 at the Apologia website. You can also view a sample, the table of contents, and the course description in PDF format HERE. Jeanne Fulbright also has a beautiful helpful website HERE which includes free notebooking pages.
I definitely think this textbook is a good value for a family! It is a high-quality, totally reusable and non-consumable, Christian science curriculum. Although they enjoyed looking at the beautiful illustrations, my 8 year old and 9 year old weren't excited about listening to me read aloud, especially in the first chapter which is more technical. We tested out some later chapters to see if they would enjoy the chapters about the birds, bats, and flying insects more. They did find those more interesting, however I think we will use this more as a reference book, or use it in upper elementary school. It is written for children grades K-6, but I think it would work best for children in 3rd grade or above, unless they are more science-oriented.
Exploring Creation with General Science by Dr. Wile
We also received the 2nd edition of Exploring Creation with General Science. My 13 year old daughter had been using a 1st edition copy of Dr. Wile's General Science, so we were already familiar with this textbook, although not in its newest form. This was her introduction to using a textbook for science. (Prior to that we use a living book and nature study approach to science.) I was worried last year that she would dislike it, fight against using it, or find it overwhelming. I was pleasantly surprised to find that she loved it!
Every day she had something new to tell me, something exciting she'd learned in her science textbook. She was excited to learn about simple machines and the formula for figuring their mechanical advantage. Since she hasn't always liked math, that was a joy for me to see. Yesterday, she presented her very first science fair project on Simple Machines at our homeschool group ... inspired by her enjoyment of the Exploring Creation with General Science textbook.
Exploring Creation with General Science is a quality textbook designed for 7th or 8th graders. It is well-organized and well-illustrated. (My daughter was admiring the 2nd edition and commenting on the new illustrations that were not in the 1st edition.) It is written to the student, and they can work through it independently. The science experiments use common household objects and ingredients, and there is a complete list (by module) of the necessary supplies in the appendices of the text.
The textbook is comprised of 16 modules. Each module should be covered in approximately two weeks, allowing some flex time for more difficult chapters. That rate would allow your student to complete the textbook in one school year. Some of the topics covered in the 16 modules are: the history of science, scientific analysis, simple machines, geology, cells, and the human body.
There are many learning aids available with Exploring Creation With General Science. The text itself is available on CD-rom or in hardback book format for $65.00. There is a solutions and test manual for $20.00, a multi-media companion CD-rom for $15.00, and an audio MP3 CD for $15.00. These can all be viewed HERE. You can also view a sample module, table of contents and the list of lab supplies at the website. The introduction of the book includes the password to the Book Extras on the website, which provides a list of many helpful links for the modules, and a few articles by Dr. Wile.
Once again, this textbook is also completely reusable and non-consumable. The Solutions and Test Manual includes the tests, which can be reused if a student records their answer on a separate sheet of paper. The Solution and Test Manual also comes with a separate packet of tests which can be photocopied, or can be used as a consumable product.
Both textbooks are quality hardback books, with an easily navigated format, and excellent illustrations. They are both written from a Creationist viewpoint and are an excellent foundation for your family's science studies. Apologia Educational Ministries' goal is to help our children "Learn, Live, & Defend the Faith". Their textbooks do that well, helping parents in their goal to "bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4), rather than teaching them the godless teachings of evolution.
We definitely recommend them!
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Trusting in Him,