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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Homeschool Crew Review: Apologia Exploring Creation With General Science

Apologia is one of my favorite homeschool curriculum companies.  We have used many different products from Apologia over my 14 years of homeschooling and have been impressed with all of them. I was very excited when I heard that they were releasing Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition this summer and even more excited when we received an opportunity to review it!

Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition is designed to be the first course students take in middle school to help transition them from the elementary series to work more independently and help them get ready to tackle the high school level courses.  The course contains 14 modules and if you follow the suggested schedule of working four days per week for 45 minutes to an hour per day should be completed in 33 weeks.

The 14 Modules in the course are:

The History of Science- Search for the Truth
Scientific Inquiry and the Scientific Method
Documenting and Interpreting Experimental Results
Scientific Analysis and History
Earth Science- Astronomy
Earth Science-Geology and Paleontology
Earth Science- Meteorology and Oceanography
General Chemistry
General Physics
Life Science
General Biology
Marine Science
Environmental Science
Science and Creation

The text is written directly to the student, there is no separate teacher manual.  There are 3 main components to the course:

Textbook- The textbook is a hardcover 430 page book.  It has the information for the student to read, colored illustrations, charts, and diagrams. Definitions that students should memorize are in blue.  On Your Own Questions are in dark blue boxes.  Explore More sections to enhance learning are in purple. Experiments are also in the text. The first few modules have a What to Do section breaking down information for students on how to take notes, complete On Your Own questions, experiments,lab reports, and timeline.  Answers to the On Your Questions are at the end of each chapter followed by a Study Guide for each module.  The back of the text has the Lab Supply List and Index.

Inside the text

Student Notebook- This book is spiral bound and 550 pages long.  The front of the book has a note to parents, information about note taking, grading, and experiments. It also has a daily schedule with boxes for students to check off as they complete each day's work.  The notebook has places for students to define vocabulary questions, answer On Your Own questions, take notes, fill out answers to the Study Guide, and write down thoughts about Creation Connections.  In the back of the notebook there is an Introduction to Labs and a place to record each lab from the course and write formal lab reports.  

Inside the Notebook

 What to Do in each section is clearly laid out
Pages to Fill out for each lab
This image has the chart in the text on the left and the chart the student copies in the notebook on the right.


Solutions and Test Manual Packet-This packet has two books in it.  The first is a 31 page thin paperback booklet that has just the tests in it.  The second is an 83 page paperback book that has the solutions to the study guide questions, the tests, and solutions to all of the tests.  The tests for the first two modules are designed to be open book tests.  There is no study guide or test for the last module, module 14.

You will also need a variety of easy to obtain supplies to complete the experiments. A list broken down by module is in the back of the text. You can also choose to purchase optional components such as the MP3 Audio CD ,Video Instruction Thumb Drive, and Apologia Online Academy.

This review came at the perfect time for me.  We have been using the Young Explorer series for years from Apologia with my younger 4 children but I really needed something for next year for my 13 year old that would allow him to easily transition from all of us doing science together to him working independently.  He is VERY interested in all things science (his main project for 4 H is STEM) but he is dyslexic and doing a lot of reading and writing can be a bit of a challenge for him.  We followed the suggested schedule in the front of the notebook and Anthony had no trouble reading and completing the assignments.  He worked around 40 minutes per day 4 days a week.

One of the reasons we love Apologia is because it is creation based and gives glory to God.  But that doesn't stop the course from being very scientifically thorough.  The lessons in the text are broken down in very manageable chunks for middle schoolers.  The text is written in a very conversational tone and is written right to the student. I think they did an outstanding job demonstrating in the first few chapters what the expectations of the course are such as note taking and how to complete the experiments.  I love all of the illustrations, photographs, and charts that are included in the text.

The experiments of course are always a fun part of learning about science and I love that the materials for the experiments are easily obtainable.  The only thing I had to purchase so far was a lemon.  Everything else we already had on hand.

A Density Experiment.  Anthony was so happy when it worked!

 In this experiment he had to find some corroded pennies and see what would happen when they were inserted into a lemon.

And then what would happen to the pennies when salt was put on top.

The Explore More sections are not required for the course but add an additional element to what is being covered.  Anthony loved making the mechanical hand.

The Student Notebook is an awesome compliment to the course.  It breaks all of the tasks for each module down for the student.  There is plenty of space for students to answer questions and define their vocabulary words.  I love the charts and graphics that are included for the students to complete. The instructions for the labs are written in a very clear, step by step manner.  We also we very glad for the charts and reports to fill out for the labs. 

I love the improvements that Apologia made in this third edition of Exploring Creation With General Science.  The text is broken down better for the students, it is more colorful, the work is more manageable for the intended age range, and the student notebook is the perfect compliment to the course (they didn't have notebooks back when my oldest used the 2nd Edition of this course.)

I am very impressed with Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition.  I think that Apologia succeeded in making a course that will help students work more independently after completing the elementary courses and will ready them for the high school courses.  To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

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