Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Explore the Universe with Apologia Educational Ministries Exploring Creation with Astronomy REVIEW!

Apologia: Exploring Creation with Astronomy Review
Mr. B LOVES all things astronomy. Love is actually an understatement when describing his newest fascination, so you can imagine our sheer delight when Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition from Apologia Educational Ministries arrived on our doorstep! 
This was our first experience with Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition, and it has been a GREAT one! This program will take your student through the universe as they study God's wonderful creation. Apologia was gracious enough to send us the following for this review:
Apologia: Exploring Creation with Astronomy Review

How did we use this:

So the idea is to use this for a year's worth of science doing 2 assignments each week. The notebooking journal lays out a really nice plan of study that includes 4 or 5 assignments per lesson, with each lesson spreading over about a month. That would probably work just fine, unless your child is like mine and he reads the entire textbook in a week! Mr. B has LOVED this. He wouldn't stop! 1 lesson in a month? HA! Try a lesson each week, until I made him slow down and start doing more of the hands on activities. 

Now, we didn't do ALL of the hands on activities as some required more time and attention than I could devote at the time he was on it, and by the time I had the time to help him he was off onto a different topic. I hope to go back and do some more. One activity that we really enjoyed was roleplaying as the sun and the Earth. One person would be the sun and one would orbit around as the earth. We also did this as the moon and the earth.

Another activity asked you to make a model solar system. We changed this up a little and went to the local Pottery Place with my mom and niece. Mr. B got a plate and proceeded to paint the solar system on it, even the Kuiper Belt! The textbook includes various activities. Some are pretty easy to complete, others require you to find additional materials or use their new Astronomy science kit they have recently released. This kit contains everything you need for all of the hands on activities.

The Apologia Field Trip Journal is listed as a recommended resource to accompany this program. We put ours to use during the Persoids meteor shower this year! It's our favorite meteor shower event, and we saw more than 20 shooting stars in the first hour! 


Photos of our adventures so far:





What I like most:

I really like the Charlotte Mason approach featured in this science curriculum. I like that the notebooking journal is so hands on, and consumable. I like the mini books, ect. that are included in it. These features make it like a scrapbook of learning. I love the dashed lines of the Jr. Notebooking Journal, and I like how the Jr. and regular are the same, except for the lines. This would be great for parents of multiple children who are on different writing levels. It's also great for special needs. Mr. B has a much higher academic level than his handwriting would show. 

The imagery in the text is colorful and amazing. I appreciate that a NASA guy provided content contribution. This is a Christian based program that is not lacking in the least. I only wish they had a higher level in addition to this, so Mr. B could continue his studies at a later, more advanced date, also.

I also need to mention the Audio CD. This has been soooooo fantastic! We go on out of state medical visits multiple times each month. It is a 3 hour drive one way, in good traffic. It's great to be able to pop in this CD, and let Mr. B listen to his schoolwork.

I also really like the layout. You start off with "What is Astronomy" and progress from there. Next up is The Sun. the lessons progress from there through the solar system. It's a great way to not only teach the subject in a way that makes sense, but it also helps students learn the order everything is in!

Solar System
Sun
Mercury
Venus
Earth
The Moon
Mars
Space Rocks
Then there is a review of all the inner planets.
Jupiter
Saturn
Uranus
Neptune
And then a review of outer planets.
After this extensive study on all of the planets your child moves on to the Kuiper Belt and the Dwarf Planets, including Pluto, and they end with a lesson on Stars, Galaxies and Space Travel.

This layout just makes sense! Mr. B skipped around and read what interested him at various times. For the purposes of his Notebooking Journal, I have him reread the text as he works on his daily assignments. He has spent countless hours reading to me from the text! The reading is easy enough for him, but younger students may need a bit of assistance with some words-as would be the case no matter the subject.

I can say, having explored the book thoroughly, each section is very similar to the others. You will learn about the atomosphere of each planet, like Venus has a big greenhouse gas issue and the average temp. is 900f! Mercury has a lot of extreme temps that range from 800 in the day to even -300 at night. Each section of the notebooking journal has a host of hands on activities, mini books, and review pages. I really like how the book encourages note taking at a young age by asking students to jot down things they have learned. 

Overall:

I can't say enough positives about Apologia and Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition. It is a fantastic product that is full of information and hands on, fun activities. I highly recommend this, and plan to continue using this until he has finished the remainder of the Notebooking Journal. We have been using both of the notebooking journals. The Jr. journal has more coloring pages and less writing, so there are days we use it instead. Both books are FANTASTIC!

Does Apologia Educational Ministries Pass My 4 Ingredient Test?


1.) Customization: Is it easily adaptable? Can we customize it to fit “us?” Can we modify or set our own schedule? Can we take breaks, jump ahead, or flat out skip?

This is easily adaptable. The lessons are short and sweet, and you can easily takes breaks as needed. There is a suggested lesson plan, that is really easy to follow. You can also skip to where you need to be if you have already been studying astronomy. 

2.) Value: Is it long lasting? Will it cover multiple grade ranges? Are you locked in to one specific grade level? Are there hidden fees?

It lasts for a year, if you follow the included lesson plan. Mr. B whipped through it much quicker because he would do 3 or 4 assignments each day, more if I let him! This covers a range of grades, and works for students who aren't strong writers up to upper elementary grades.  
 
3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long?

Mr. B found it to be engaging and exciting. There are a lot of colorful pictures, but its not overwhelming or distracting. 

4.) Does it tie into other things we already have.
This is strictly science and astronomy, though you do write a lot, copywork is included, and a variety of skills needed for the hands on activities.

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Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition Review

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Writers in Residence 
Ultimate Homeschool Planner

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