We had the chance to review Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics from Apologia Educational Ministries. We received one Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics Junior Notebooking Journal for each of our older two children (ages 5 and 7) who are both doing First Grade work at this time.
Because we have previous experience with another subject in their homeschool science curriculum from our review earlier in the year, I already knew there were many things we enjoyed about it. We always lean more toward faith-based curriculum, and my goal is to not only have “Bible time” as a subject we cover during the day, but rather something that is intertwined into ALL of our day. So I always appreciate curriculum that is faith-based and includes scripture and is centered around God.
I was particularly excited about Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics because I have always enjoyed Chemistry and Physics. Knowing how our kids are tactile learnings and are very hands on, I knew they would, too! However, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find a faith-based curriculum on this subject, and this one really delivered!
The Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics is a Charlotte Mason style curriculum for grades K-6th. The textbook starts at the very beginning – God created the world. It branched out then to explain how everything was created by God – including everything we would be learning in Chemistry and Physics! It starts with the very basics of Matter and progresses from there. As I mentioned, I appreciated the scripture and Biblical references, and even I saw things in a new way I never thought of before!
I was in awe of all the information in the Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics textbook and a little intimidated by all the experiments! After looking everything over to familiarize myself with the experiments ahead of time so I could make sure we had the materials, it really wasn’t that intimidating anymore. Many of the items used can be found around your home! The introduction in the textbook breaks down what to expect from this curriculum, how to get the most out of it, helpful resources, and how to use the book in a step-by-step guide. It does also provide a supply list at the end of the book, so if you really like to plan ahead, you have the whole list in front of you! I, personally, found planning two weeks at a time worked well for us, but that will definitely vary. One point that is often reiterated is to do what works best for your family – even if that means it’s a little different than what is recommended.
Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics has a lot of hands on experiments, which I found to be great for our younger kids with shorter attention spans. Although there is still a fair amount of narration on my part, reiterating it with a hands-on experiment really helped to make the lesson “stick.” In fact, they found the lessons to be quite fun! Our preschooler even insisted on joining in on some of our experiments with their particular favorite (so far) being loading treasure onto our pirate ship! There have been many other experiments that I, personally, thought were more exciting, but they really loved trying to guess how much treasure the ship would carry and challenging each other!
The Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics text book can be purchased for $39.00.
The Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics Junior Notebooking Journal provides a recommended schedule at the beginning, which I tore out to have it on hand. It divides each Lesson into 4 days and recommends doing a lesson two days per week. Of course, it does mention that this is just the recommended schedule, and you can definitely tailor it to work on it more or less often as well if needed. We actually broke each lesson in half, and I would just find a spot in the lesson that had a “natural break” and mark that on the lesson sheet. We would then do four lessons per week, but we were still doing the same amount of work that is recommended in two lessons. Although we do love the hands on experiments I did find with our children’s special needs, it was a bit too much information and experiences to process at one time, so it is better for us to break it down a little more.
The Junior Notebooking Journal is an optional component, and you can make your own notebook, but I find it just fits so well with the lessons that it is something I would personally choose regardless. It also provides a few extra activities as well to compliment the lessons. The Junior Notebooking Journal not only adds to the educational experience of the lessons, but it also is a great way to help them remember what they have learned by documenting their favorite or most memorable parts of the lessons. They each have me write down something different and draw different pictures, which is so unique. Because they are still young and not yet reading, I would have them tell me what they wanted to say, and I would write it for them. There was also an exercise in the first lesson that asked for writing a story, but I had them draw a picture of it instead. I love how you can make it uniquely yours while still getting everything out of the lesson!
The kids have really enjoyed the lessons and working in the Junior Notebooking Journal. There have been no complaints! All of the extra activities in the Junior Notebooking Journal like the crossword puzzles, Miniature Flap Books, Match-Ups, and more have been well received.
A Regular Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics Notebooking Journal is also available for older children and those that have mastered writing. Both Notebooking Journals can be purchased for $24.00.
Overall, I am very grateful to have a Chemistry and Physics curriculum that is full of great information, hands-on projects, and centered on God.
For more reviews on Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics including some families that used the regular Notebooking Journal (or even both!) check out all the reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew by clicking on the button below!
We had the chance to review Look Left, Look Right, Look Left Again from Greene Bark Press. Look Left, Look Right, Look Left Again is a board book written by Ginger Pate who had been hit by a car when she was young. She wrote the book in hopes of preventing children from such accidents. It is recommended for children ages 3-8.
I was excited to read it to our kids (ages 7, 5, and 3) not just because it is a good lesson for every child to learn, but also because due to our children’s special needs (particularly our oldest who is on the Autism Spectrum) basic safety is something I have to reinforce constantly. Look Left, Look Right, Look Left Again is very detailed in the way it explains how to cross the road safely as you follow Wally Waddlewater on a journey to deliver a card to his grandmother. It also doesn’t mention roads alone, but discusses all types of vehicles – trains, trucks, emergency vehicles, etc. It also has bright, fun illustrations, which is great for keeping our kids’ attention as well.
We have already read the book many times since we received it, and the kids could really connect to the message. They did ask questions (as they always do), and we discussed it more in detail. They even started putting it into practice when we cross the street. Now they always say “look left, look right, look left again,” while doing so. Prior to reading this book they did know basic safety for crossing the road, but I do feel this book helped reinforce not only the importance of road safety, but also a more detailed explanation rather than the simple “look both ways.” Our kids need very specific directions, and I feel this is a good resource for providing that information.
Look Left, Look Right, Look Left Again can be purchased for $8.50.
To read more reviews check out what the other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say by clicking the button below!
For our review we received Classical Conversations PreScripts Cursive Letters and Coloring for ages 3 – 7. I was excited for the chance to use it with all three children, but I didn’t know at the time that our 3 year old would have surgery during the review. So, I used it with only with our 7 and 5 year olds.
When I received the package I couldn’t wait to get started! After looking it over I was even more excited. PreScripts Cursive Letters and Coloring starts with tracing lines, circles, and curved lines and then progresses into tracing basic pictures and cursive letters. The tracing is something that is so important for them because they both have fine motor challenges, so repetition and practice really helps. After the Progression of the first day we fell into the pattern of doing four pages per day which covered a cursive capital letter, tracing a simple picture, the cursive lowercase of that letter, and then a full picture to color from medieval and world history. It was a really great pattern, and we used it every day Monday through Friday. You can view a sample.
For each cursive letter you begin by having the child trace the large letter at the top of the page with their finger. They then have lines where the child can trace the letter than write one next to it. It continues in this pattern for 8 total letters traced and 8 letters written. Each picture drawn would start with a simple line, curve, or shape for the first picture. It would then progress adding additional details to each picture until you come to the completed picture, which they then color when finished. Our daughter absolutely loves to draw, so she really enjoyed the drawing! It was great for our son because he isn’t confident in drawing, but the step-by-step approach made him realize that drawing is broken up into small parts. He is so visual that he has trouble seeing anything except the finished picture, so this really helped him see a different perspective.
What I really enjoy about Classical Conversations Prescripts is the fact that it covers so many bases. It isn’t just a single subject. In just one lesson we covered writing, history, art, and the bonus of therapy! All of that was done in 30 – 45 minutes each day! Our daughter’s Occupational Therapist mentioned that some children with fine motor challenges actually do better with cursive letters due to the consistent motion without the the breaks or the need to lift the pencil. Plus the dynamics of cursive makes it harder to reverse, which was mentioned in the introduction of the book. Despite our daughter having an incorrect grip she has been able to compensate and still write nicely. Our son, though, has writing challenges. Even tracing straight lines can be a challenge. After the initial challenge of the straight lines and circles, though, he has done really well! He has definitely been able to write the cursive letters more easily than print. It has really helped build his confidence in writing again! Our daughter is doing well with the cursive letters as well!
Our daughter particularly has been paying special attention to the details when she is coloring the pictures, which not only is encouraging her love of art but is also opens teaching opportunities in regards to the history behind the pictures. I love that it opens the door for more learning opportunities – not only for them, but for myself as well because it was a nice review for me, too! Having three children so close in age I also appreciate that Classical Conversations is family friendly in that they allow you to print additional copies for use within your own family. They mention in the introduction that the broad age spectrum helps support the one-room schoolhouse model, and I feel like this really helps reinforce that statement as well. It also leaves room for margin of error if you have a child that may need additional practice or would like to do more. If our 3 year old hadn’t been recovering from surgery he would have been working along side us as well! I anticipate he will be joining us for the last half next week, and we may likely do it again or visit our other options!
You can connect with Classical Conversations on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
Classical Conversations Prescripts can be purchased for $11.99. They offer a variety of subjects and levels. I will be checking out more myself! See what other Crew members had to say in their reviews by clicking on the button below!
Christianity Cove offers a variety of lessons and Bible resources. They have over 700 resources available! I had a chance to review their Bible Science Experiments and KidMin Power Pack. Both are recommended for a variety of ages. I used them with our children who are ages 7, 5, and 3, but primarily with our 7 and 5 year olds who are both learning at a First Grade level.
Bible Science: 25 Fun and Easy Science Experiments That Show the Nature of God contains experiments using light, color, motion, magnetism, and gravity. It can be used with all ages and each lesson has a list of materials (most of which you probably already have in your home), steps, answers to questions your children may ask about the experiments, and a scientific explanation. Each experiment also contains a Scripture Verse and an “Understanding God” section, which is one of my favorite parts! I love how the lessons tie in both Scripture and a discussion about God’s Nature.
The first week we used Bible Science in place of our usual science curriculum for our review but because the lessons are short I found we could do about three lessons in the time we usually allot for Science or we could even fit one in when we just wanted to mix things up since most of the materials, as I mentioned, we already had in our home as well. So, I decided to take the latter approach and use it as a supplement to our curriculum rather than a replacement. Of course, this did give us options, though. This was particularly nice for us because we definitely have days where their attention span isn’t as long and the shorter lessons DID replace the longer lessons that week! What a nice relief! The lessons are simple and fun. Plus, the clean-up is just as quick and easy as well! The lessons take the natural curiosities of children and explore them further while also relating them their Creator. Bible Science can be purchased for $25.
The KidMin Power Pack contains a variety of lessons, games, music, snacks, fundraising projects, and even some science projects for Sunday School teachers. It can be used with a variety of ages and small or large groups. I received both May’s and June’s Power Packs for review. The KidMin Power Packs use lessons and activities based around the holidays and events of the current month such as: April’s Fools Day, Earth Day, Mother’s Day, Pentecost, Memorial Day, etc. I, personally, had a hard time using the KidMin Power Pack activities with our kids. I feel the KidMin Power Pack may be good for a group setting where you need a day’s worth of activities (such as a Sunday School class as it is intended), but I found it difficult to modify for a homeschool setting and somewhat hard to follow. We took some of the activities and songs that were a better fit for our younger kids and used them to supplement our Bible curriculum. The KidMin Power Pack is a subscription based resource. The first month is $1, and it is $19.99/month for the following months.
For more reviews as well as reviews of other resources Christianity Cove has to offer see what the other Schoolhouse Review Crew Members had to say by clicking on the button below!