Apr 092009
 
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Apologia publishes a full-range of science texts for the Christian homeschool. They began with high school science texts which have been very popular with homeschoolers for many years. More recently, Apologia began publishing elementary texts. Currently, the Apologia Elementary science series includes five titles: Astronomy, Botany, Flying Creatures, Swimming Creatures, and Land Creatures. These texts follow the immersion principle of learning. Rather than study a wide-variety of unrelated science topics during the course of a school year, these texts dig deeply into one science topic.

Our family already had several of the Apologia Elementary Science books and have been using them as our main science curriculum for the last several years. I was very excited to receive Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day to review. I knew it would be a keeper, and I was not disappointed.

 

Features of Apologia Elementary Science Books

  • Engaging hard-cover text with many full-color pictures
  • What Do You Remember? questions to discuss
  • Common household items used in experiments and projects
  • Master list of necessary materials
  • Notebooking activities included

Before I received Flying Creatures, I thought of it as a bird book. That was a misconception of mine. Though this text includes a great deal on birds, it also includes lessons on bats, flying reptiles, and insects. There are 14 lessons in the book. They are:

  1. What is Zoology?
  2. What Makes a Bird a Bird?
  3. Birds of a Feather
  4. Flying Factuals
  5. Nesting
  6. Matching and Hatching
  7. Bats
  8. Flying Reptiles
  9. A First Look at Insects
  10. Insect Life Cycles and Life Styles
  11. Social Insects
  12. Beetles, Flies, and True Bugs
  13. Interesting Insects
  14. Order Lepidoptera

So, there are actually more lessons about insects than birds! Don’t be fooled into thinking that with only 14 lessons this won’t last a whole year. These are not short lessons. They each include 15-20 pages of text (I read these aloud). In addition, all the lessons include at least one notebook assignment and either an experiment or project. Many lessons have both a project and an experiment. I like that the author has clearly separated projects and activities from experiments. In the experiments, the scientific method is emphasized including discussions of variables, controls, hypotheses, data collection, and drawing conclusions. So although the book could easily be read in less than a school year, completing all the included notebook pages, projects and experiments will extend this text to easily encompass a year’s study.

I love that this one text can be used with all my students. I can customize the notebook assignments to fit their abilities. (Some of the notebook assignments have two options: one for older students and one for younger.) My first grader loves to sit and look at the pictures. He doesn’t participate in very many of the activities, but he is still learning with us. Many first graders could easily participate more than mine does. My daughter who is in 3rd grade now, completed the astronomy book when she was in kindergarten. She completed the notebook assignments and still remembers much of what we studied. I say this as a reminder that this text is easily adapted to the needs of families with widely varying ages and abilities of children.

So why would anyone not like Apologia Elementary Science?

You will not like this text if you do not want to include any of the Bible in your science lessons. These texts are unapologetically (pardon the pun) Christian. The author believes in creation and presents evidence that supports creation in the text. It does not give equal time to evolutionary theory believing that is better left to science geared to older students. Of course, most any animal book checked out of the library contains references to evolution, so this book helps provide a balance with its absence of evolutionary content.

You might not like this text if you want a more traditional approach to science including worksheets, tests and quizzes. The reinforcement of material in these texts is through talking about the text and creating notebook pages. The writing style is also different than most science books. These books are written like the author is talking directly to you. I don’t mean vernacular speech, but it contains questions that are somewhat rhetorical. It also goes into great detail.  Additionally, if you want to study many different topics in one school year, these texts would not be a good fit.

As I’ve said, my family thoroughly enjoys these texts. We are looking forward to learning more about birds, bats, flying reptiles, and insects. If you are interested in purchasing this book or any of the other Apologia Elementary Science books, they are available from many vendors of homeschool products including ChristianBook.com.

Disclosure: I received this product as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. All opinions expressed are my own. This post contains an affiliate link.

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