Category Archives: Apologia

Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology: Review

You know, becoming a member of the Homeschool Review Crew has been so much more of a blessing than I ever thought it might be! We have had the blessing of studying other selections from Apologia‘s Young Explorer Series science in the past, so I was thrilled to get to review Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology

My family has had the pleasure of reviewing other publications from Apologia:

Apologia was as usual, extremely generous to us as reviewers! We received the:

265 page textbook, which contains fourteen lessons, a section with answers to the narrative questions, and an index.

Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Notebooking Journal which contains the following, and much more:

  • A lesson schedule, notebook assignments, activities and experiments. This uses a two-day each week plan.
  • Pages in the notebook for your child to use in making a paper model of themselves.
  • color illustrations of the organs and body systems about which are to be cut out and added to the child’s paper model as they are learned about.
  • Scripture copywork

Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Junior Notebooking Journal, which is very similar to the Notebooking Journal, but better suited to all but one of my boys, “The Artist.” Perfect for . . .

  • Younger children that have not yet mastered handwriting.
  • Older children that are delayed in handwriting mastery.
  • Older children (or adults!) with learning disabilities.
  • Children that are new to written narration.

Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology MP3 Audio CD, a complete audio recording of the course Exploring Creation With Human Anatomy as read by the author Jeannie Fulbright.

I had expected that as it had happened in other Exploring Creation With . . . curricula, that all of my boys would prefer to use the Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Junior Notebooking Journal. Because of this, I ordered three additional Junior journals. And then we began. “The Artist” decided he would rather work in the regular Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology. And “Mr. Locquacious” was attending a charter school for a while. So, I ended up with two extra Junior notebooking journals! It’s all good though, someone will need those junior notebooks.

We have been enjoying our time with this curriculum! This time around, I purchased a lab kit to go with it, sorted out by lesson. We have been doing more of the experiments because we have just about everything on hand.

Here, we saw how a magnifying glass works, using a simple drop of water.

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A fun experiment, one that our boys really liked, was to see which substance would “mummify” the apple slices the most. They set up seven clear cups and labeled them with the original weight of the apple slice and the contents which were placed over the apple slices.

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After seven days, the powders were taken out, and each apple slice weighed in order to see which one had the most fluid removed.

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As “The Artist” just pointed out while I was writing this, it absolutely drove them out of their minds waiting! The kept going to check and see if anything had yet happened!

In the notebooks there are a variety of things to do. I mentioned above that they each have pages for the kids to make a model of themselves. What I did not mention is that there are three different pages, in three different colors. Plus, there are two templates for each color. The child is to put a small picture of their faces at the head. I have children of different colors, so I feel that this was a wonderful addition, something I’ve not seen elsewhere. As they learn about them, different organs, etc . . . are then cut out from clear pages and added to the model.

The Notebooking Journal has more writing in it . . .

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Whereas the Junior Notebooking Journal has more coloring in it, something which “The Puzzler” and “The Batman” both like better.

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We absolutely LOVE the Exploring Creation with . . . series, and hope to work through many more of the topics.

We will be taking our time through this curriculum. I would rather take a lot longer and have my boys really understand, than to rush them through and have them not retain things.

If you would like to read more fair and honest reviews of Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology, I encourage you to please click on the banner below. This will take you to the landing page for the reviews of all the crew members who have been working with this curriculum.

Apologia - Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Reviews 

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Writers in Residence: a T. O. S. Review

For several weeks now, we have been checking out another resource from Apologia Educational Ministries. This product is called Writers in Residence, and it is a very good, full language arts program, designed to be used over one year.

I must tell you, first and foremost, how overwhelmed I was when I opened the box! Even after reading about this program, I truly did not expect such a BIG Student Text and Workbook! It is an all-in-one book, and this program, Volume 1 Apprentice was written by Debra Bell. And when I say it is big, I am NOT kidding, because it comes in at 575 pages!

There is also a thinner (thank goodness!) answer key for the parent or teacher.

At first, when I saw that the first 30 or so pages were just for me to read, in order to learn how the Student Text and Workbook is to be used, I got a little panicky. I REALLY like for things to be kind of “open and go”, much like the “plug and play” games my kids used to have for the TV. However, once past those 30 pages, depending upon your student, it did end up to be sort of a “let him go to it on his own” sort of thing. There are suggested daily schedules in which he can check off his own boxes as he goes, for example.

Throughout the Student Text and Workbook, there are spotlights on Christian writers. These are very complete interviews with a variety of authors. I had never heard of any of them until now, but have become interested in looking for and reading their works.

This review did hit home with me in that we have never done “formal” grammar lessons, however, to be honest, it does not change my feeling that the way we have taught them, by example and with verbal correction has worked for our family.

I do think that this is a very good writing curriculum however. “The Artist” really enjoys writing stories, and so he was definitely interested in this review. He is always (like every day, in fact!) asking if he can go on the computer to write on one of his stories. He generally has more than one going at a time, sort of like me when it comes to reading books, lol!

I do like that you are encouraged not to force perfection on your child, but rather to reward their effort instead of marking it “wrong.” In my opinion, this helps the child to keep going, and wanting to succeed. I believe though, that we will take more than one year on this one; simply so that one, we can be thorough, and two, we can work at “The Artist’s” own pace.

 

To read what other crew reviewers think about Writers in Residence from Apologia Educational Ministries, please go here.

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Apologia Educational Ministries: The Ultimate Homeschool Planner My Review.

I have reviewed products from Apologia Educational Ministries in the past however, those reviews were for curriculum products. Now though, I’ve been given for review something completely different. This is the Ultimate Homeschool Planner, which was designed by Debra Bell.

This planner is very nicely made. It has an attractive vinyl cover in one of three colors: yellow, orange and blue. For my review, I received the planner with the orange cover. Right away, I was attracted by that pretty, pretty cover, lol!

Among the first things I noticed were the sturdy pockets on the inside of both the front and the back covers, which would be great to keep your child’s weekly papers in. I have four kids though, so I will need to find another use for them, because I would have them ripped right off the cover in no time with that many kids, lol!

There is a nice welcome letter right at the beginning, talking about the reasons this planner was designed in the first place, followed by a very thorough Table of Contents.

I especially like that there is a fairly extensive user’s guide right at the beginning, explaining what to do with each section, and the purpose behind them as well. This section begins with one of my favorite illustration stories, about a professor with a jar, rocks, stones, sand and water, illustrating that we need to put the big rocks of life in first, or we won’t get them in at all.

If you follow the precise instructions in this planner, you will be starting with a 4 to 8 hour yearly planning session. The user’s guide tells you exactly which pages in the planner you will need for this, and the purpose for doing it. It also gives you very good ideas for how to personalize it based on how the previous year, what didn’t work, what you want to accomplish in the coming year, etc.

Also in the user’s guide is a section regarding your approximately 2 hour monthly planning session. Again, you are told exactly which pages you will need for this. Here, we have the chance to block time for family things, make changes to your plan, etc. There are a lot of really great ideas for the use of this planning session!

There is also a section for Weekly Planning Breaks, about 30 minutes. Some of the purposes here are thinking about God’s faithfulness, working out your battle plan for the coming week, and committing it to the Lord. This is also when you will find your weekly grid pages for planning your days with your children. My orange planner allows for up to six children.

Still in the user’s guide, we have next the suggestions for Monday Morning Tutorials, about 20 minutes per child. This is to help children learn time management skills, go over the week’s assignments, encourage and pray with the child.

Lastly, we have Friday Afternoon Reviews, about 15 minutes per child. The purpose here is to teach the child accountability and to offer feedback.

After all of this information is given (in only the first 8 pages, mind you!), there are NINE pages of illustrated examples for each and every bit of information given in the user’s guide. I don’t know about you, but having the visual is a help to me.

There is a section for keeping scores, if that is of importance to you. I don’t test, nor do I keep scores, but I know that many homeschoolers are required to do so.

Something I love is the Reading List section, in which there is a space for up to six students to record title, author and type of the books they read. As an avid reader myself, I think this is very important! It also has a nice little legend for the books to be marked as assigned, independent, nonfiction and fiction. There is a similar section to record all of their field trips and/or outside activities.

At the end of my planner, I found some very good teaching tip articles, along with ways to figure out your child’s learning style. There is a chart to help you and your teen map out their high school years, and finally, a nice, two page year-end review section, which is a good way to go over what worked, and what didn’t.

One other thing I enjoy about the planner is that it is filled with quotes that were encouraging and helpful. There are also Bible verses sprinkles throughout however, as my readers already know, my family uses only the KJV Bible, so I wish this could be offered using it instead of other versions.

All in all, for the planner addict (don’t pretend, you know you’re out there reading this!) this is a WONDERFUL planner, and you will love it. For myself, I’ve turned out to be a little too laid back for major league planners. I’m the type to write a list on a tablet and cross it off as I complete, going so far as to, if I do something not on the list, write it on JUST so I can cross it off! 🙂

Apologia is a great company, and I recommend this planner to any homeschool parent who loves a definite plan. To see what other crew members thought, please click the banner below.

Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal Review

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What On Earth Can I Do? A T.O.S. Review

In our homeschooling family, we have really loved all things from Apologia Educational Ministries, so I was very excited to be given the chance to review for you the fourth volume in their “What We Believe” series, which is designed to aid you as you teach a Biblical world view to your children.

Volume 4 is titled “What On Earth Can I Do?“, and teaches a Biblical worldview of stewardship. We received the entire set in our review package, as listed and pictured below:

The main text “What On Earth Can I Do?” which is a very nice hard bound book, with just under 300 pages, and retails for $39.00

The Notebooking Journal, spiral bound, 236 pages, which retails at $24.00

The Jr. Notebooking Journal, also spiral bound, 184 pages, which retails for $24.00.

and the “What On Earth Can I Do?” Coloring Book, which is softcover, 64 pages, and retails for $8.00.

This curriculum technically has eight lessons within it, but they are broken up into small chunks, so if your family is like mine, you can really take your time with it. The eight lessons are titled with the following:

Your Story Or God’s Story?

Who Put You In Charge?

Will You Be Found Faithful?

Where Is Your Treasure?

Where Does Your Time Go?

Whose Life Is It Anyway?

Why Isn’t It Easy Being Green?

What Will Happen When The Master Returns?

Each of these eight lessons is, as I mentioned above, broken up into several segments. You can either quickly complete each one within a couple of weeks, or you can take your time, allowing yourselves to really dig in deep with questions, discussion, and following rabbit trails.

The first half of the book follows a family during World War 2, and we are really seeing it mostly from the view of the children. At first, I thought it might be too heavy for my children, but it wasn’t. They were very saddened by what was happening in the story, and in the true, historical things we read about, but it did spark really good discussion and questions. For example, in our church, we have close friends who are Messianic Jews, and “Mr. Loquacious” asked me “if L. and E. and Miss S. were alive then, would they have been in danger like that too?” So we discussed what kinds of changes World War 2 made in the world.

The second half of the study follows another set of siblings, this time in Africa. We have not gotten to that part yet, but we look forward to it!

Each lesson contains several important components:

The Big Idea (introduction and brief overview of what has already been learned)
What You Will Do (learning objectives)
Short Story (this is where we read more about the children featured in this section)
Think About It (comprehension questions)
Words You Need To Know (vocabulary words from that lesson)
Hide It In Your Heart (memorization verses)
Integrated Learning (articles related to an element in the short story or tied to the lesson)
What Should I Do? highlights a godly character trait that the child should demonstrate as the right response to what they have learned.)
Prayer (conclude the lesson with a prayer to thank God for the gifts He has given, and all He has done.)
Parables of Jesus (a retelling of a parable of Jesus, imagined from the perspective of one of the characters in the parable, giving cultural details to better help the child understand what is happening.)
Going Deeper (discussion questions to encourage children to think about the parables of Christ and what they may mean for us now)
House Of Truth (Beginning in the first book of this series, the student is given instructions on building a “house of truth”, with one section being built in each book.)

We are very much enjoying “What On Earth Can I Do?”, and really looking forward to completing it. We like very much that it is written to children, and that the stories about the siblings featured are written from their perspective.

While my kids, with their delays, vastly prefer the Jr. Notebooking Journal, I will tell you that the Notebooking Journal is quite nice! For the older child, there is more writing, the puzzles are a bit more difficult, and it does not have the coloring pages that the Jr. Notebooking Journal has. It does have the mini books to make, which are then glued to specific pages to keep.

In the Jr. Notebooking Journal, the puzzles are easier, there is a lot less writing, there are plenty of coloring pages, and it also has the mini books to make and keep.

The coloring book has many of the same coloring pages as the Jr. Notebooking Journal, and would be a wonderful addition to use with the very young child who would then have something related to do while the older ones are reading out loud, and working on the lessons in the curriculum.

What I chose to do was to have “The Batman” take turns reading with me, and we would all discuss the questions in the text. “The Artist” was chosen to work in the Notebooking Journal, “The Puzzler” worked in the Jr. Notebooking Journal, and by his own request, “Mr. Loquacious” worked in the coloring book. He doesn’t like to read or write, even though he can do so.

We will be continuing on with “What On Earth Can I Do”. I am extremely impressed with it. The only “con” for me is the usual one, that the Bible verses are never from the King James Bible, something I find very frustrating, given that it is the one version that you do not have to pay for the right to copy. At the same time, it did give my kids more practice looking up verses, as I prefer them to read them from the King James Version! However, when the Bible verse is a clue to a word in a puzzle, it’s harder for the kids if the puzzle uses a different version. With this one exception, I really love this curriculum, and highly recommend Apologia Educational Ministries!

Check out Apologia on social media:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/apologiaworld
Twitter – https://twitter.com/apologiaworld
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/105053356034237782125/posts
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/apologia/

To check out what other crewmembers thought of “What On Earth Can I Do?”, please click the graphic below!
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Filed under Apologia, Christian Worldview, home education, homeschool products, homeschooling, Schoolhouse Review Crew Post, TOS Review, What On Earth Can I D?, What We Believe

Exploring Creation With Chemistry and Physics . . . A T.O.S. Review

If you are looking for a hands on, Charlotte Mason Style Homeschool Science Curriculum with a definite Christian world view, you will certainly find it in Exploring Creation With Chemistry And Physics, written by Jeanie Fulbright and published by Apologia. This curriculum is written for children anywhere from kindergarten through grade six, and is perfect, in my opinion, for working together as a group, even in a multi-age group.

As reviewers, we were allowed to select any two of the notebooking journals which go along with the text book. Because I had hopes that at least one of my kids (“The Artist”) would be able to use the Regular Notebooking Journal, I asked for it . . .

Along with a copy of the Junior Notebooking Journal.

Because of a mistake in shipping, I actually received two of the Junior Notebooking Journals. Apologia was kind enough to replace the missing journals for those of us who received the wrong ones, and ESPECIALLY kind enough to allow us to keep the wrong ones! In the meanwhile, I was able to acquire two more Junior Notebooking Journals from other reviewers. 🙂 As it happened, this turned out to be a real blessing, because although “The Artist” probably CAN handle the regular Notebooking Journal, he definitely preferred the Jr. one.

The Notebooking Journals are very similar, but the Junior Notebooking Journal actually has a lot more in it for someone who likes art, and the Regular Notebooking Journal has significantly more writing to do, something “The Artist” gets balky about if he has to do it with handwriting as opposed to using the computer.

One of the best things about the Apologia is that when we use it as a read-aloud (and we do!), the text is very easy to understand, and there are plenty of good quality color pictures to go along with the text.

Spread throughout each chapter (Lesson) are boxes with the heading “Try This!”. It may be a small experiment, a game, or something else, but it always goes right along with what is being taught in that section. Some of the “Try This!” sections we have done are:

The 20 Questions Game, which teaches the skill of being able to describe the properties of matter.

Figuring out the volume of a small rock using the method discovered by Archimedes . . .

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during which we discovered that this small rock from our yard came in at about 50 cubic centimeters.

We began learning about density using two eggs, two glasses of warm water, and one half cup of salt . . .

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We learned more about mass, volume and density by seeing whether different objects would sink or float in a bowl of water . . .

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And we also did one other “Try This” to learn about buoyancy. The idea was to build a foil boat, put it into our “ocean” of warm salt water . . .
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then begin adding pennies (pirate treasure) to see how many it took to make the boat sink . . .
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In case you were wondering, it took 56 pennies!

In the main text-book “Exploring Creation With Chemistry and Physics“, there are 14 lessons. The breakdown of the lesson plans are in the Notebooking Journal and the Junior Notebooking Journal, with the suggested pace of two days per week, doing one lesson per week. As usual, we are slowing this down quite a bit, in order that all of my children can really get as much as possible out of this curriculum. I think that’s one of the best things about homeschooling, the fact that we can go at our own pace, tweaking here and there as needed to accommodate the various special needs my kids have.

There are also a multitude of lapbook style things in both of the Notebooking Journals for the student to cut out, fill in, and then glue to the appropriate page of their notebook. We are just getting ready to begin one of them, in fact!

There are vocabulary activities, such as crossword puzzles, word find puzzles, match-up sheets, vocabulary puzzle pieces, etc, and, should you need them, the answers are all in the back of the Notebooking Journal!

Here are just a couple of pictures from our Notebooking Journals:

From the Junior Notebooking Journal, you can see that my kids are not carbon copies of one another when it comes to coloring!
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Here is the one picture I managed to get of “The Artist” beginning a crossword puzzle in the regular Notebooking Journal, before going back to the Junior Notebooking Journal, which he very much prefers! 🙂
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Apologia is a good fit for my family, and we will continue to use it, but with one small adjustment in addition to slowing the pace down quite a bit. The only other change I will make is that when they have a copywork page with a Bible verse, I will be having them use our King James Bible, rather than the version used in the curriculum. As my regular readers are aware, that is my one pet peeve with Christian homeschool curriculum, it is mostly written using other versions these days. I would love it if this were offered with the option of being published using the King James Version for those of us who will use no other version of the Bible. In the meantime, I guess I will just continue to adjust for that by typing the verses out from the King James Bible and then adhering them to the Notebooking Journal over the other version.

The Textbook “Exploring Creation With Chemistry and Physics” by Jeanie Fulbright can be found here at the cost of $39.00.

The “Chemistry and Physics Notebooking Journal for Exploring Creation With Chemistry and Physics” can be found here for $24.00.

The “Junior Chemistry and Physics Notebooking Journal for Exploring Creation With Chemistry and Physics” is available here for $24.00.

My children and I are very much enjoying this Homeschool Science Curriculum, and I hope you will, too!

To find out what other Schoolhouse Review Crew members thought of “Exploring Creation With Chemistry and Physics“, please click on the graphic below!
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Filed under Apologia, Christian faith, education, family, home education, homeschool products, Homeschool Science Curriculum, homeschooling, Kids, Lapbooking, Schoolhouse Review Crew Post, special needs education, TOS Post, TOS Review