Jul 082017

Creation versus Evolution

Evolution is taught as basic fact in schools. It is what all “scientists” believe. Only uneducated, brain-washed Christians believe that God created the universe and everything in it. Right?

It seems that there is a lot of division in the US and the world today. Creation versus evolution is just one of the issues dividing us. But is creation only for people who have “blind faith” in the Bible? Is evolution science, but creation religion?

Is Genesis History? seeks to show that a belief in creation does not require “blind faith” but is an entirely reasonable conclusion when viewing the evidence from a Biblical perspective. In the 101 minute film, Del Tackett visits 13 different PhD scholars in fields like geology, paleontology, microbiology, astronomy, archaeology, and Hebrew to discuss the Genesis account of creation and how the evidence that we find on earth is consistent with what we read in Genesis. In the discussions, they compare the ways that evolutionists and creationists look at the same data and come to different conclusions based on their starting assumptions. They also point out many of the inconsistencies in evolutionary theory.

The film is divided into the following sections with each one featuring a discussion with a different scientist.

creation versus evolution

  • Changing Our Perspective
  • What do the Rocks Tell Us?
  • A Question of Paradigms
  • What Does the Text Say?
  • How Do You Measure Time?
  • A Brief History of the World
  • The Origin of Fossils
  • When Dinosaurs Walked the Earth
  • Soft Tissue in Dinosaur Bones
  • The Genius of Design
  • The Potential of Created Kinds
  • The Purpose of the Stars
  • Where was Babel?
  • Genesis and Our Culture
  • A Changed Perspective

Our thoughts on Is Genesis History?

The film is well-made and interesting. It does a nice job of displaying beautiful scenery while explaining key concepts. I think the graphics are nicely done and are helpful. I like that the chapter divisions on the DVD  allow for a quick review of certain topics. The film flows well as a whole and does not seem a pasting together of individual chapters.

Our family is not new to the study of creation versus evolution. My husband and oldest son are especially educated on the topic. We have a relatively large home library of books and videos dealing with the topic of Biblical creation and evolution. So with that in mind, they had a couple of criticisms of the film.

First, neither my husband or son liked the conversational style of the video. Both of them felt it made it seem scripted, and somewhat disingenuous. I personally wasn’t particularly bothered by the conversational style, but it may grate on some. My son was particularly frustrated by the section on stars and the universe. He felt that in an attempt to keep things simple, they glossed over some very important ideas and current creationist hypotheses about how we can see starlight if the universe is only thousands of years old.

Considering that this film is intended as more of an introduction to the various topics discussed, I think that it fulfills that role nicely. It should inspire someone less familiar with creation versus evolution issues to do further research into areas that don’t seem as clear, and seek out resources that more fully address some of these difficult topics.

You can purchase a copy of the film in DVD or Blu-Ray format. A DVD/Blu-Ray combination package is also available. You can view the various options at Compass Classroom.

Are you interested in science curriculum from a Biblical creationist perspective? Try Apologia Science .

Disclosure: The links provided are affiliate links. If you purchase through the links on this post, I will receive a small commission. I received a free copy of Is Genesis History? in order to write this review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Mar 142016

I’m continuing my look back over the 13 years of homeschooling my oldest son, David. This week the Virtual Curriculum Fair focuses on Exploring Our World. I think that my statement of Starting Gently, Finishing Strong, may be less applicable to this topic.

We did indeed start gently. We used Story of the World in the elementary years and I thought it laid a good foundation for later history studies. We used the Apologia Elementary science series and also enjoyed learning about plants and animals with that series.

I do plan to use those books again, but I think I was a bit too concerned with remembering the facts. Not that I spent a lot of time drilling my older children on history and science facts, I didn’t. But it was something that I always felt that I should be doing more of. We’ve always managed to complete the “skill” subjects while the “content” subjects took a backseat. I worried when it came to my attention that my children didn’t know their history dates.

So when high school came, I decided it was time to really get serious about these subjects and make sure that we did them well. So we muscled our way through Notgrass World History and the Apologia Science courses. There wasn’t really much enjoyment there.

Honestly, that was not what I had envisioned for high school. I wanted us to have discussions about history. I wanted my students to read real books and original source documents. I pictured complex science fair projects with original research. OK, I know I dream big.

So high school didn’t look how I’d originally envisioned. It ended up being a whole lot more like traditional school than I thought it would. But I have realized that there are 2 things that we provided throughout the years. These things were good for encouraging curiosity about the world. Those are providing

  1. Easy access to resources and information about topics of interest.

  2. Time to explore those interests.

David is currently taking Psychology at the community college. He has recently told me how much time he spent reading a book about the brain when he was around 8-10 years old. He was fascinated by the brain and how it works. He studied it so much at that time, that now, all these years later, he remembers studying many of the things he’s learning about in his class now!

David had time to read about the brain when he was younger. He had time to learn about making videos. Even in high school, he has spent countless hours researching topics for videos and making and editing those videos. He had time to spend doing things that he’s passionate about.

And the kid who never showed any interest in social science has spent hours researching the presidential candidates. It turns out he needed a reason to be interested. Aren’t we all like that? Why did I expect my kids to be interested in everything?

Encouraging Curiosity Virtual Curriculum FairYou can read other posts about Exploring the World at the 2016 Virtual Curriculum Fair.

Yvie @ Gypsy Road – Bringing It to Life! History, Geography, & Science 

Jen Altman @ Chestnut Grove Academy – Virtual Curriculum Fair 2016: Exploring Our World, How We Do Social Studies and Life/Earth Science 

Laura @ Day by Day in Our World – Learning About the World Around Us 

Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses  – Social Studies a Science of Relations

Lisa @ GoldenGrasses – Exploring & Discovering Around the World 

Annette @ A Net In Time – Science and Culture Around the World and at Home

Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break –  Exploring History and Geography 

Laura @ Four Little Penguins  – Going Around the World at Our Kitchen Table

Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory – Our Tackling of the Social Studies and Science
If you have a post to share about how you explore the world in your homeschool, you can add it to the link below.

Jan 102015
unschooling science

Photo credit http://www.mymemories.com/store/designers/StoryRock

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of the links, I will receive a small commission.
This week we’re talking about Math and Science in the Virtual Curriculum Fair hosted by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds  and Laura @ Day by Day in Our World. I’ve spent an interesting couple of hours going through old posts on my blog and I have come to the following conclusions.

I have a ton of posts about math. Some of the best ones are the posts for previous Virtual Curriculum Fairs.

If I Knew Then What I Know Now About Math

Spiral Math: The Post Where I Admit I Was Wrong

Thinking Mathematically: How I Choose Math Curriculum

Besides those, I’ve written reviews of my favorite math curricula as well as various other math curricula and supplements I’ve been asked to review over the years.

There are also posts lamenting my oldest son’s lack of speed in math calculation and the need for more drill.

(He still doesn’t show his work on his math, but if you check out this video he made for a national math video contest last year, I think he’s doing just fine. He placed 2nd!)

Then I did a search for posts about science and found fewer posts.

There’s a review for Apologia Elementary Science. I used several of their books for my older kids when they were younger. It’s a great program. Now both my high schoolers use Apologia Science text books. And in theory William and Lizzie are using the Apologia Elementary ones. But practically speaking…

We’re unschooling science for the younger kids.

I’m not totally satisfied with that fact. Really it’s a big experiment. (Seems fitting since I am talking about science, right?)

But the truth is, I just don’t get science done with my younger kids.

It’s on my list every year.

It’s always a goal.

But I’ve yet to achieve it.

Even though we don’t “do” science very often here, that doesn’t mean William and Lizzie know nothing about science. We own the entire collection of Magic School Bus videos. Lizzie and Andrew watch them all the time. (William is too old for them, but he watches them anyway.) We also have many of the Magic School Bus Books, lots of Usborne science books, animal books, and the entire set of Moody Science videos.
679657: Moody Classics, 19 DVDs

We also have fun science kits that the kids think of as toys. Today William built an egg beater with K’nex. Another fantastic science “toy” are these Snap Circuits. These get a lot of “play” time!



Will my unschooling experiment end up with high schoolers who can’t learn science?

I seriously doubt it. But I’ll probably still feel guilty occasionally about our lack of formal science instruction. Then I’ll try to remember all they are doing on their own for science.


Don’t miss this other great posts about Math and Science.

Learning about Patterns in Our World Through Math and Science by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

Relaxed Homeschooling: Mathematics in the Early Elementary Years by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart

Using a Bible-Based Math Curriculum by Tauna M @ Proverbial Homemaker

Math, Science and Logic for 2015 by Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses

Playing with Numbers by Sarah @ Delivering Grace

Unschooling Science by Kristen H. @ Sunrise to Sunset

Logically Speaking: Math, Science, and Logic for 7th Grade  by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

Numbers and Molecules! by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays

Math and Science in Our Homeschool by Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life

5 Math & Logic Resources We Love by Becky @ Milo & Oats

Giving Your Kids The Right Start With Math by Amy @ One Blessed Mamma

Math in Our Classical / Charlotte Mason Homeschool by Sharra @ The Homeschool Marm

Classical STEM by Lisa @ Golden Grasses

Math, Science and Logic – How do we Tackle Them? by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

The Physics of Delight-Directed Learning by Susan @ The Every Day of Education

Tackling High School Science by Debra @ Footprints in the Butter

Choosing Math Curriculum for Special Learners by Heather @ Only Passionate Curiosity

Math for all ages by Denise @ Fullnest

Middle School Monday – Math With Fred by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break

Learning With Math and Science Resources  by Leah @ As We Walk Along the Road

Jun 192014

Third Grade Curriculum

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

It is hard for me to believe that my baby girl will be in the 3rd grade this fall! Lizzie is, for the most part, a cooperative student. She grasps new concepts quickly, and she doesn’t mind writing things down. She liked having her own school desk in the living room this year and did well with most of the curriculum, so we’ll be continuing on with much of the same for her third grade curriculum.

Third Grade Curriculum MathMath

She is a natural at math and enjoys it. Singapore and Miquon have been a great fit for her. She’ll be working in Singpore 3A and 3B as well as the final two Miquon books: Yellow and Purple.

Third Grade Curriculum Language Arts

Language Arts

I love All About Spelling. It’s super easy to use and works well for both the natural speller and the struggling speller. Lizzie will be using Level 3 this fall.

I have fallen in love with Memoria Press Literature guides. She worked through most of the 2nd grade ones this year and will be starting with Mr. Popper’s Penguins in the fall. Then we’ll be using Farmer Boy, The Moffat’s and Charlotte’s Web. All great books!

For handwriting, she’ll be using New American Cursive 3 also from Memoria Press. She has done amazingly well. This is the first time I’ve strayed from Handwriting without Tears. I like the appearance of New American Cursive so much better!

Rod & Staff English is a favorite in our house. With her literature lessons and Latin studies, she really doesn’t need the complete course. I’ll be using it as a supplement though.

Third Grade Curriculum Latin and BibleLatin

I have become a fan of Memoria Press Latin series after initially rejecting it for my oldest son. (I’m still not sure that was a bad decision. Different children learn best with different approaches.) I like the no-nonsense approach of Memoria Press. Lizzie finished Prima Latina this year and will be moving on to Latina Christiana I.


I’m trying something new this year. We’re starting Classical Academic Press’s Bible curriculum called God’s Great Covenant – Old Testament 1. We haven’t started of course, but I think Lizzie and William are going to like it.  I’ll give a more thorough opinion after use.

Now this leaves the things that I have really struggled with getting done. History and science require more time and effort from me. I really like the resources that I own and I want to give myself another chance to make it work. I am planning on making these as low key as possible, but I don’t feel like I can continue to ignore these subjects with my younger students. I hope to keep these as simple as possible.

Third Grade Curriculum History and ScienceHistory

We will be reading The Story of the World Volume 1. I own the audio version as well, so I may not actually be doing the reading. Along with that we’ll be using the activity guide for note booking exercises and I am hoping to implement a “book basket” with related resources for independent reading time.


I’m sticking with my old favorite Apologia Elementary here too. We’ll be working through 1 or more of the zoology books next year. I will have a book basket with more titles there as well.


Jun 192012

There are some days when I’m really discouraged about our homeschool. I feel like we’ve not accomplished any of the goals we set for our family. On other days I know that I’ve allowed doubt to creep in. I’ve allowed myself to listen to Satan’s lies.

But on those days when I feel like I’ve done nothing, there is one thing that I can remind myself.

We are a family that loves exploring God’s creation.

Yes, we may not always enjoy doing it the same way. And no, my children have not made beautifully illustrated nature journals. But we all like being outside. We all like learning about animals and plants, and we all believe in God who created them all. That’s something to celebrate.

How have we accomplished this?

We have taken all of our children on many hikes starting even before they could walk. Our child carrier backpack has gotten a lot of use!

We have our own collection of books and magazines about nature topics. These books are always accessible to the children. They look interesting. (I know that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, but an enticing cover does wonders in drawing someone to open a book. I like it when my children learn things without me having to ask them to read.)

We encourage wild life in our yard by having several bird feeders and plants to attract birds and butterflies. (And I’m really bad at weeding. I can tell myself that having a “wild” yard is good for the wildlife, right?)

I’ve found something else to add to our collection of enticing nature materials.

It’s called Creation Illustration.

Creation Illustrated is a gorgeous quarterly magazine. The beautiful glossy cover of each issue has a photograph that begs people to pick it up.

Inside are informative articles on a variety of nature topics. I received 4 issues to review. Contained in those issues are articles on Aspen, Saguaro National Park, hummingbirds, Yellowstone National Park, fragrance (in flowers and fruit), stars, insects, and more. Scripture is woven into each of the articles.

Another interesting feature of each issue is Genesis Cuisine. There are 3 recipes in each issue. They are all natural/healthy/vegetarian recipes and  pertain to a particular theme. The themes in the 4 issues that I received are Cupcake Craze, Smooth Smoothies, Grapefruit Greats, and Hazelnuts. I have unfortunately not tried any of the recipes yet. They do often contain an ingredient or two that is somewhat unusual, or at least not a typical item that I purchase. For example, coconut milk is found in several of the recipes that sound appealing to me.

Each issue also contains an Instructional Guide. The guide is “designed to help students of all ages integrate and embrace the practical spiritual lessons available through the study of God’s handiwork”. The guides include recommended devotional readings from each issue. There are also questions about the articles to encourage deeper study. Some of the issues also include a word search and creation activities .

Do you have a budding photographer in the family? Creation Illustrated publishes photos submitted by young photographers ages 5 to 15. The top 3 entrees each quarter are awarded cash prizes. Along with each photo, the student submits a poem, Bible verse, or statement about what the photo says about God the Creator.

A yearly subscription to Creation Illustrated is available for $19.95, but there is a $5 discount if you pay with credit card. You can also request a free issue.

Disclosure: I received 4 free issues of Creation Illustrated in order to write this review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.


May 312012

As homeschoolers we have the ability to take time out and go down rabbit trails with our children as they discover things that interest them. I want my children to find something they’re passionate about and hopefully be able to convert that into a career. And even if they aren’t able to use their passion in their career, they can still have hobbies and other interests that are exciting to them. I love to meet people who are passionate about any subject, because I’m always inspired to learn new things myself when I’m around them.

Annie Crawley is one of those people. She is passionate about oceans and marine life, and she wants to share that passion with children. She especially wants children to love the sea because she believes that people will try to save what they love. There are many problems that the ocean is facing in the years ahead. When today’s children are adults maybe they will be able to find solutions. Annie specializes in underwater cinematography and uses that to make spectacular underwater views accessible to everyone in their own homes.

I received a copy of the What Makes a Fish a Fish? DVD and corresponding Educator Guides from Dive Into Your Imagination to review.

What Makes a Fish a Fish? contains 8 different segments.

  1. What Makes a Fish a Fish
  2. Sea Anemones and Their Friends
  3. Hide and Seek on the Reef
  4. Frogfish are Funny Looking Fish
  5. Bath Time for Fishes
  6. Don’t Be Afraid of Sharks
  7. Dinner Time for Fish
  8. Fishes, Fishes, More and More Fishes

My thoughts:

The DVD is a high quality, professional video. The images are amazing!This sample will give you a good idea of types of things that you can see in the videos.


The narration is gentle but not babyish. The facts are interesting, but not overly complex for younger children. Both my 5 year old daughter and 17 month old son enjoy watching the DVD. My 10 year old son likes it as well, but he does think he’s a little too old for it. I was happy that there were not references to millions of years in these secular videos. (At least none that I noticed.) It did say that sharks have been around since before the dinosaurs, but I don’t have an argument with that since swimming creatures were created on the 5th day and land animals on the 6th.

I confess I was not prepared for what I would find in the educator guides. I knew they were designed for classrooms, so I didn’t expect to find much useful for my family. I was pleasantly surprised. For one thing, these are huge files. There are 298 pages in the PK-K guide! They are well organized with lessons designed for each of the 8 sections of the video. These include activities, printable pages, and extension ideas for additional research. Yes, there is some “teacher-speak” that I’m not used to. The formal lesson plans are different, but for the most part they are adaptable to a homeschool setting. Some activities like doing skits and making bulletin boards require more adaptation than others. But the printable pages from the educator guides could easily be used for notebooking or lapbooking assignments.

I would recommend these DVDs to others, especially families with young children. You can purchase the DVD’s on the AnnieCrawley.com site for $19.95 each. She is offering free shipping on any order placed through the end of June. Also, if you add a comment in the notes that you are a homeschool parent, she will give you a download of the pdf for FREE! This is a tremendous value because they will be $69 when they become available on the site. The printed educator guide are $299! That is not something that a homeschooler can likely take advantage of, so if you’d like the guides, I highly recommend ordering soon.

Be sure to visit HomeschoolCrew.com to read more reviews of Dive into Your Imagination.

Disclosure: I received a DVD and corresponding  educators guides for free in order to write this review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.


May 172012

Science experiments.

We really don’t get along.

It all started in the 9th grade when I caught the towel on fire in the lab. I seem to have struggled with science labs ever since. And I’ve taken a lot of lab classes. I don’t know what it is about me, maybe I’m just bad luck in the lab. But failed science labs seem to follow me around.

What’s a homeschool mom to do though? I don’t want to skip science! As my kids have gotten older, I have them do more of the experiments. And I’ve learned how to identify the sources of experimental error over the years.

But sometimes it is nice for my kids to see how the experiment is supposed to work.

And now I have found a great resource for doing just that.

Go Science!

Go Science videos include science demonstrations by Ben Roy. He performs these demonstrations with a live audience of students in elementary and middle school. Not only does he perform the demonstrations, but he also explains why they work. And he always points the child back to how science demonstrates God’s power and creativity.

There are 6 titles in the series.

  1. Motion and the Laws of Gravity
  2. Simple Machines, Sound, Weather
  3. Magnetism, Electricity, Engineering, and Design
  4. Chemistry, States of Matter, Life Sciences
  5. Air, Flight
  6. Water, Space, Solar System

I received 2 DVD’s from Library and Educational Services to review.

Volume 3 includes fun demonstrations such as an electromagnet, making a compass, and a Tesla coil. In Volume 5 there are the Egg in the Bottle experiment, Can Crush, Cartesian Diver and many more. Each of these videos is between 45 minutes and 1 hour long.

We own a lot of science videos, but none are like these. Most of the videos we watch are documentaries. Some do include demonstrations, but these are the first I’ve watched that contain just demonstrations.

Ben Roy is very excited about sharing science with children and it shows in these presentations. My 10 year old son really enjoys these videos and will watch demonstration after demonstration. That’s not really the way the videos were designed to be used though, because the segments are a bit repetitive when watched one after another. My 5-1/2 year old daughter insisted that she was NOT going to like these videos, but I noticed that she didn’t leave the room when they were on. Later she admitted that she actually did like them after all. Even my toddler was entertained.

On the other hand, my 14 year old son and 12 year old daughter were not very fond of the videos. The suggested age range is 6 to 14, so they are at the upper end of the target audience. And my older 2 children are very no-nonsense type of kids. They have never liked programs in which they felt they were being talked to like… well, like children. That’s just how they are. I didn’t mind Ben Roy’s enthusiasm myself. I do think that since these are videos of live demonstrations, some of his volume and excitement would be better suited to being in the audience than it is for the video. It’s kind of like the difference between actors on stage and film. Stage actors speak loudly with exaggerated movements, while film actors act like you’re right there, because the camera is.

This sample is a good representation of the rest of the videos.

I think the demonstrations are excellent and the science is well-explained, but some students may be bothered by Ben Roy’s style.

I received these videos from Library and Educational Services. They are a wholesale distribution company that sells books and media to resellers,  libraries, and schools. Homeschoolers are included in the schools category! I have purchased from them in the past, and their prices and selection are fantastic. The Go Science videos are only $8.97 each, or you can order all 6 for $47.95.

Be sure to visit HomeschoolCrew.com to read more reviews of Go Science.

Disclosure: I received these videos free for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Mar 232010

REAL Science Odyssey Chemistry

Chemistry is one of those subjects that people seem to either love or hate. And I think most people hate it. I say this because my husband is a chemistry teacher, and after he meets someone and tells them he teaches chemistry, over 75% of them say “Yuck, I hated Chemistry.” OK, so maybe not those exact words, and no, I haven’t actually recorded the data.When I opened my package from Pandia Press to find that I had received R.E.A.L. Science Chemistry (level one) to review, I was very excited. Even though they say that opposites attract, in our home, my chemistry loving husband married a chemistry loving chemical engineer.

About the program:

R.E.A.L. Science Chemistry (level one) is designed to be used by students in the 2nd – 5th grade for a full year of study. The text (available in bound, loose-leaf, or e-book format) contains:

For My Notebook Pages – These page are to be read either aloud by the teacher or by the student himself. These present the new material and vocabulary.

Lab Sheets – These are the sheets that the students complete as they are performing the labs.

The Instructor Pages – These pages contain the supply lists and detail the laboratory procedures.

Poem Pages and Crossword Puzzles – One of these is included per unit for reinforcement of vocabulary and concepts.

My thoughts:

This program is very clearly laid out, and the explanations make the chemistry concepts understandable.

It is FULL of labs, which is absolutely essential for a chemistry program. Also, the labs use household materials with a master list of all the supplies conveniently placed at the beginning of the book. The labs emphasize the scientific method in a meaningful way. I have seen some science programs where the scientific method seems “tacked on” to an otherwise fun activity.
R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Chemistry

This photo is of part of Lab #2: Telling Things Apart. The objective of this lab was to learn about physical tests and chemical tests and to determine which were more effective in telling the difference between 3 white powders: baby powder, powdered sugar, and baking powder. The lab sheet was clearly laid out, making it easy for my daughter to record her data and draw her conclusions. I also want to point out that we are using regular kitchen materials. A word of warning, these labs are not quick. This one took my daughter over an hour. She enjoyed it, even though she was resistant at first. (She has this crazy idea that she doesn’t like chemistry, which is not allowed in our house.)

The course also contains other hands-on activities like making element models from marshmallows and making an element book.

Why you might not like this book:

You won’t like this book if you don’t want to do hands-on-activities. They are time consuming, but an absolutely essential part of this program. If you’re looking for a book to read about chemistry for younger students, this is not a good choice.

You might not like this book if you don’t want to do any lapbooking type activities. These types of activities do not make up the majority of the activities, but you would be skipping too much of the text if you left them out.

You won’t like this book if you’re looking for a Christian chemistry text.  We are a Christian family, and we do tend to use Christian science texts. However, I think that chemistry is the easiest science for a Christian to use a secular text, because it doesn’t involve discussions of the origin of the earth or the origin of life, like geology and biology do.

I am planning on going back to our regular science to finish this year, BUT will come back to R.E.A.L. Science Chemistry next year for my older daughter and younger son. I would recommend this program to people who don’t fall into the categories I mentioned above. If everyone had such a fun, early chemistry experience, maybe there wouldn’t be so many chemistry hating people in the world!

How to order:

You can order R.E.A.L. Science in an e-book format directly from Pandia Press. They list the advantages of an e-book on their website. One of the advantages is a lower price. This text is only $47.99 in the electronic format, plus you don’t pay shipping.

But honestly, for a book this size, I would recommend a paper copy. You will need to be printing almost every page anyway, so unless you’ve got a VERY low cost way to print (the book is 431 pages!), you won’t be saving any money buying the e-book. Plus, you are permitted to make copies of the pages for your own family’s use, so you don’t have to worry about buying extra student pages. (That’s assuming you have an easy and inexpensive way to make copies.) There is a list on the Pandia Press website with links to suppliers that sell the printed copies. The price varies, but I did notice that Rainbow Resource currently sells R.E.A.L. Science curriculum for $38.50 for either loose leaf or the bound format.

Disclosure: This product was provided to our family for free as members of the 2009-2010 Old Schoolhouse Magazine Homeschool Crew. Reviews and opinions expressed in this blog are our own.

Apr 092009

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.

Mar 122008

We completed our Heat and Energy lapbook last week. This was the first lapbook that really made sense to me. I have liked the idea of lapbooking since I heard of it about a year ago, but most of the ones we have done seemed somewhat awkward to me.  I guess I’m not really a unit study person.  I can’t wrap my brain around a true unit study.  Most of the pre-made lapbooks have seemed to me (and my kids) that we were learning things to make the lapbook.  Unfortunately, that is a general tendency that I have seen in myself as a teacher (and a person for that matter.) I struggle with doing things just to get them done.


Anyway, I digress.  For our Heat and Energy lapbooks we used God’s Design for the Physical World – Heat and Energy published by Answers in Genesis, as our “spine”.  We read the lesson, did the accompanying activity, and made a minit book corresponding to the lesson.  (Sometimes making the book was the activity.) This method finally made sense to me.  Making the minit books was reinforcing what we were already learning.  Looking at our completed lapbooks now and in the future will serve as a good review of our study. The kids enjoyed making the books (for the most part.)


Here are the titles of the minit books.

  1. What is Energy?
  2. Types of Energy
  3. Law of Charges
  4. What is  Temperature?
  5. Circuits
  6. Celsius and Fahrenheit Thermometers
  7. Convex vs. Concave
  8. What is Conduction? Convection? Radiation?
  9. What is Static Electricity?
  10. Conductors and Insulators
  11. Sound
  12. The Electromagnetic Spectrum
  13. Wave Diagram


Here are some pictures from my son’s lapbook.  He took the pictures himself so they’re a little bit blurry.


Heat and Energy Lapbook
The cover.
Heat and Energy Lapbook
What is Energy?

Thermometer transparencies
The inside of the lapbook

Types of energy book

Types of energy showing the definition of themal energy

Inside the circuit book

The back of the folder showing the Electromagnetic Spectrum and a diagram of a wave.