Thursday, September 8, 2016
Exploring Creation with Astronomy 2nd Edition - A Schoolhouse Review Crew Review
When we first began homeschooling way back when my 20 year old was in 4th grade, I was obsessive/compulsive. It was kind of like when you have your first child. You wanted everything to be perfect and you wanted to do everything perfectly. Then, of course, your second and third children come around and all of your great plans are thrown out the window - but that's for another blog post. Anyway, I wanted everything to be perfect for John Allen and before we began I definitely did my homework. I pored over homeschool curriculum catalogs, read books, studied different homeschool methods, and talked to numerous home school parents about what they used and how it worked. One of the things that kept coming up over and over again in my research was the great Apologia Science elementary curriculum that was being written by Jeannie Fulbright. At that time, the different volumes were just being written, but there were a couple of them finished and Exploring Creation with Astronomy from Apologia Educational Ministries was one of them. So, that is what we went with for our elementary years of school.
John Allen loved it! We had a fantastic first year of Science and we continued to use all of the Exploring Creation series for the rest of our elementary years. When my two youngest reached their elementary years of schooling I always pulled out the Exploring Creation with . . . books but always put them back away for one reason or another because of my boy's learning difficulties. Finally, this year, I thought the boys might be ready for them and, lo and behold, what might be offered to the Schoolhouse Review Crew but Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition! I am so glad that we were chosen to review this new edition. It is completely updated, looks wonderful, but has the same fantastic content as before. All of the stuff that we loved with John Allen is still there but even better. Plus we received copies of the Notebooking Journal, Jr. Notebooking Journal and Audio CD as well as the Student Text to review! WOW! And they are all great. Let me go over them one by one.
Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition Student Text: As I mentioned above, the new 2nd Edition Student Text has the same great information that I remember but is updated to take into consideration new scientific discoveries.
I love that Exploring Creation with Astronomy is completely Christian. You could probably tell by the title but I just wanted to confirm that it actually is based on the six days of creation. If you don't believe in the literal six days of creation then you need to know that is what is taught in the Exploring Creation with . . . books. There is so much scientific information in this book that it is a valuable study anyway. But, as for our house, we do believe in the literal six days and I love the fact that this series of books is scientifically based on that. I also love the fact that Jeannie Fulbright uses Bible verses throughout to enhance the study.
Having said that, the text is very scientific and your child will definitely be studying Astronomy in a scientific way. There are fourteen lessons (or chapters) in this textbook that include an introduction to Astronomy, the sun, the planets, the moon, space rocks, the Kuiper Belt and Dwarf Planets and, finally, Starts, Galaxies, and Space Travel. In the Notebooking Journals that I will discuss later there is a suggested daily schedule that is very flexible. There are 71 suggested lessons so, realistically, if you wanted to do a lesson every day then you could easily complete the whole book in a half a year. As for us, we do about three lessons a week, so it takes us about a year to complete the book. That also leaves us a little space in case we have to miss a lesson for some reason or another.
There are three main things that may be included in a lesson. Reading from the Student book, Completing something in the Notebooking Journal, or doing a Science Activity/Experiment. There are two types of experiments that can be done. You can purchase an Apologia Science Kit separately that includes everything needed for some special experiments, or you can do the suggested activities that are in the book. The ones in the book use things that are found around the house or can be easily bought. We did not receive the Apologia Science Kit that is sold separately so I can't comment on those although they look very fun. The ones included in the book are excellent, though, there are many that I remember doing with John Allen that were super fun then and were super fun for the younger two as well. Some new ones are included as well, though.
The text itself is written in a very personal and readable style. It is broken down into bite sized bits. There will be some text, then a "Think About This" activity or an experiment activity. Periodically the child is asked to stop and explain something to someone using their own words (Charlotte Mason fans would like that and so do I).
I am choosing to read the text to my kids since one is a very literal reader and the other, although he has high comprehension, is a slow reader. This allows me to stop and talk about things if needed. Never fear, however, because, remember that I mentioned above that we also received the Exploring Creation with Astronomy 2nd Edition MP3 Audio book on CD. This is excellent for parents that aren't able to read the book to their kids but their kids would benefit from it. And, it is read by Jeannie Fulbright herself! What a neat thing! I love to read the book myself to the kids because I learn so much along with them, but having the MP3/CD is a fantastic resource.
We also received both the Exploring Creation with Astronomy Notebooking Journal and the Jr. Notebooking Journal to review. I am using the regular journal with my middle child, Joshua, and the Jr, journal with my youngest, Jacob. I have to do the journals in bite sized chunks since both have small motor problems. In fact, I have to do a lot of Jacobs for him. But, that is the beauty of homeschooling. You can use things and adapt things to your own children.
As far as the notebook journals go themselves, there is little difference between the two except for a few things. They both have spaces for them to write their thoughts and what they learned from each lesson. They both have really neat activities for the child to do. There are very cool lapbook type activities in both of them where you make matchbooks, mini-books and more to be included right in your journal. And, both have copywork activites that are short but beneficial and can be done in either print or cursive. The differences that I saw, though, were some of the puzzle activities. The puzzle activities were made a little easier in the Jr. journal - a letter is added to the answers in the crossword or something like that. Also, in the regular journal there is a a review activity at the end of and it is replaced with a coloring page in the Jr. journal.
We are loving Exploring Creation with Astronomy 2nd Edition by Apologia Educational Ministries. The boys love the texts and activities. I love the easiness of the lesson plans and I love that the boys are loving it. As I mentioned above. It is the same wonderful Exploring Creation with Astronomy text we loved before only updated and improved (I didn't think the first could be improved but it was). To find out more about this curriculum just click on any one of the highlighted links above. To find what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought of this science curriculum just click on the banner below. Happy Homeschooling!