Review Crew: Apologia Zoology

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Apologia Educational Ministries is a Christian publishing company that produces Creation-based science curricula, Christian worldview curricula, writing and history resources, as well as inspirational homeschooling and parenting resources. 

What did we receive?

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We had the chance to review Apologia’s elementary science curricula Exploring Creation with Zoology I-Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day as well as the corresponding Junior Notebooking Journal.

The text contains 14 chapters covering topics about basic zoology, birds, bats, and insects.  Each chapter has full-color pictures, ideas for notebooking, and projects that correspond to the lessons.

The junior notebooking journal has coloring pages, copywork pages in both manuscript and cursive, blank notebook pages, activities such as cut paste and matching, additional project ideas, and lapbook pages.

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The text is a hardback textbook and retails for $39 and is geared for elementary aged children.
The notebooking journal is softcover and spiral bound and retails for $24.  It is for grades K-2.

How did we use this curriculum?
I used this curriculum with Curly (with Tiger listening in on some days).  We read through several sections in the text each day as she colored the pages in the notebook journal.  After our reading, she would narrate a sentence about what she remembered.  I wrote her sentence in the notebooking journal.  We did any projects on Fridays or the weekend and then recorded our results on the experiment pages in the notebook journal.

I have to admit that we’re not big on lots of science projects at our house, so we just did the minimum and spent most of our time reading the text and looking at pictures.  We were often able to complete a chapter in 1 week; however, if we were doing all the suggested activities, each chapter would take us at least 2 weeks.

This was a snuggle in the bean bag chairs and read together type of curricula.  We slowly worked our way through the chapters with lots of discussion.  I can’t tell you how many things I learned through reading the chapters to the kids!  We often followed up our readings with some online videos to go along with the topic.  This is my kind of science learning!

The kids enjoyed coloring the pages, drawing pictures of the birds we studied, and going on nature walks to go bird watching.  Ok, they may have taken the bird watching a little far!

What didn’t we like?
There is a lot of information in each chapter.  Each topic is covered very in depth.  It would not be possible for a student of Curly’s age (1st grade) to remember all the definitions and terms learned in each chapter.  I don’t think a student on the younger end of the suggested age range will reap the full benefit of the curricula.  So, if you’re a perfectionist like me, know that not all the details will be retained by a young child.  Some of the information will go over their heads.  But if your goal is exposure then you’re covered!

A couple of the projects were not doable for us due to food allergies.  We can’t be around eggs or bird seed so that really limited what we could do with a study about flying creatures.  Other experiments or projects included bananas and peanut butter which are also allergens here. We had to pick and choose our projects, finding those that didn’t contain allergens.  This is one of the most difficult aspects of science for elementary ages-many experiments and projects require food items and no alternatives are listed.

What did we like?
The book presents scientific topics from a Christian, creationist, young earth perspective.  This is hard to find in science curricula!  Since the books align well with our beliefs it was refreshing to read through the text and be able to have discussions with Curly about what we believe.  The book often discusses animals that show proof of a Creator or arguments against the theory of evolution.  These are great discussion points.

The text is full of information and can be read over and over again in the coming years.  You will learn something new each time you read the text.  In addition, the many full color pictures are beautiful and add so much to the text!

There is a good mix of experiments and projects-some are to create a field notebook or do a nature scavenger hunt.  Some projects are more like art projects like creating a fossil egg-they are more of a demonstration or activity rather than an actual scientific experiment.

The notebook journal has a wide variety of pages.  My kids especially loved the coloring pages and they were the perfect addition to our studies.  They would color while I read to them.  The copywork pages were great for practicing handwriting-each page had 1 Bible verse.  Curly’s favorite part of the journal was the lapbook component.  She loved cutting and pasting and creating a finished journal.  It was a great way to keep and store all of our work in one place.  Hurray for not losing loose papers!

What did we think overall?
We love using the Apologia text as a read aloud, sparking discussions and leading into a few extra science projects.  They are books that we will keep on the shelves for reference for years to come.  My kids even enjoy just sitting and paging through the pictures in the books.

I am thankful for a Creation based science text that aligns with our beliefs.  I can hand over the books and let Curly, now a confident reader, read sections on her own without worrying about content.
We are excited to continue with the series and use a new Apologia book each year in our homeschool!

Check out the thoughts from the rest of the Crew at the Crew blog!

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Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

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